“Thoughts That Wound From Behind”: Great Books & the Power of Allusion

By |2019-07-30T22:14:33-05:00July 30th, 2019|Categories: Alfred Tennyson, Dante, Great Books, Literature, Morality, Poetry|

One value of reading truly great works of literature, works that have stood the test of time for decades or even centuries, is the opportunity such reading affords for exploring the tradition that has since built up around them. Any such truly great work—the Iliad, the Aeneid, Paradise Lost, Shakespeare’s Hamlet—will have accrued innumerable [...]

Love, Ancient and Modern

By |2018-12-08T21:36:00-05:00December 8th, 2018|Categories: Aeneid, Dante, Family, Love, Marriage, Odyssey|

“Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy.” The opening words to Homer’s Odyssey are among the most famous and recognizable in Western literature. That beginning stanza captures so much of the human condition and [...]

The Wonder of “The Comedy”: How to Read Dante

By |2019-04-25T12:40:50-05:00May 2nd, 2018|Categories: Books, Christianity, Dante|

Dante’s Inferno is the poem of interiority. It aims to crack the crusty shell of the heart and gain access to its secret, guarded places… Although the Comedy is a poem of impeccable order, the poet is careful to make sure that our first impression is not of the poem’s architecture but of its emotional power. [...]

Democracy, Aristocracy, and the Fate of America

By |2019-02-28T12:10:19-05:00March 12th, 2018|Categories: Aristocracy, Aristotle, Civil Society, Culture, Dante, Democracy, Great Books, History, Marcia Christoff-Kurapovna, Politics|

Only where Democracy and Aristocracy are harmonized and unified culturally can a nation really be healthy and advanced; its history becomes the awe of the world… “Be it known to you that a son is born to me; but I thank the gods not much that they have given me him as that they [...]

Earning the Tradition

By |2019-04-11T11:26:34-05:00February 7th, 2018|Categories: Catholicism, Christianity, Dante, Featured, Glenn Arbery, History, Liberal Learning, T.S. Eliot, Tradition, Virgil, Wyoming Catholic College|

Tradition in action gives rise to new work, and the new work changes the tradition… At a gathering of Wyoming Catholic College faculty and staff on Monday morning, I had occasion to mention T.S. Eliot’s seminal essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent.” Eliot still had an overwhelming ascendancy in literary circles even in the 1960s and [...]

Reflections on Christ and the Classics

By |2019-01-03T15:48:07-05:00January 20th, 2018|Categories: Christianity, Dante, Friedrich Nietzsche, Gospel Reflection, Great Books, History, Homer, Virgil|

In a certain way, Christ is both priest and offering, a self-sacrifice transcending both concepts. This is something the classical world found disquieting… The extent to which the pagan classical world and Christianity are able to tell a common story has had an uneven history. In late antiquity, the Church Fathers were reluctant disciples [...]

Winged Words: Reading & Discussing Great Books

By |2019-08-08T14:44:24-05:00December 17th, 2017|Categories: Aristotle, Dante, Essential, Featured, Great Books, Homer, Humanities, Imagination, Liberal Arts, Liberal Learning, Peter Kalkavage, Plato, St. John's College, Timeless Essays|

Great books introduce us to ideas and to ways of looking at the world that are new to us. They provide a refreshing distance from the trends, fashions, tastes, opinions, and political correctness of our current culture. Great books invite us to put aside for a while our way of looking at the world [...]

The Christian University: Steward of Western Civilization

By |2017-11-23T16:36:39-05:00November 23rd, 2017|Categories: Christianity, Civilization, Culture, Dante, Education, Great Books, History, Humanities, Liberal Learning, Western Civilization|

The main reason Western civilization, with an emphasis on “Great Books,” deserves a prominent—indeed, the prominent—place in the curriculum of the Christian university is stewardship: This study is how we lay claim to our rightful inheritance of wisdom, nobility, and gracefulness… For many Americans, the onset of fall means pumpkin-spice lattes and cozy sweaters. [...]

Snow Angels, Goodness, and Intelligence

By |2018-12-04T12:10:23-05:00April 28th, 2017|Categories: Christianity, Dante, Humanities, Liberal Arts, Love, Virtue, Wyoming Catholic College|

As a professor who values intelligence, I tend to like most those students who talk to me about books and ideas. Yet recently when a student, unasked, quietly shoveled the snow from my sidewalk, he taught me a lesson about a profound depth of goodness that I need to study up on… G.K. Chesterton [...]

Poetry & Politics?

By |2019-06-11T17:56:22-05:00February 23rd, 2017|Categories: Dante, Featured, Glenn Arbery, Humanities, Liberal Arts, Poetry, William Shakespeare, Wyoming Catholic College|

It is difficult to imagine great shifts in politics without great poetry informing them… Students at Wyoming Catholic College memorize many poems in the four years of the humanities curriculum, but few of the shorter lyrics they learn—Housman’s “To an Athlete Dying Young,” for instance, or Hopkins’ “Pied Beauty”—would explain Percy Bysshe Shelley’s assertion [...]

Was Dante Wrong to Name the People He Put in Hell?

By |2018-11-26T16:28:47-05:00December 14th, 2016|Categories: Christianity, Classics, Dante, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Religion|

Might Dante not have been better served had he peopled the Hell of his Divine Comedy with fictional characters of his own invention, instead of actually naming them and therefore damning them?… If one were asked to name the greatest work of literature of all time, there would be only a handful of serious contenders. [...]

Belloc versus Tolkien: Two Views of Anglo-Saxon England

By |2019-03-11T14:09:06-05:00October 13th, 2016|Categories: Dante, England, Hilaire Belloc, History, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Pearce|

Editor’s Note: Joseph Pearce has written this article to commemorate the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, which falls on this day. Picture the scene. An expectant audience, which includes the great Catholic writer, J.R.R. Tolkien, awaits the arrival of another great Catholic writer, Hilaire Belloc, the latter of whom has been invited by [...]