Who Now Remembers Andrew Lang?

By |2020-11-26T09:07:56-06:00November 26th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Imagination, Literature, Myth, Senior Contributors|

As an anthropologist and folklorist, Andrew Lang believed that fairy tales and folklore serve as records of the past in the cultural realm, much like the tradition of common law in the legal realm. Through the study of cultural norms and folkways, one can understand the mores of the present. Some men should never [...]

Prayer, Beauty, and Civilization

By |2020-11-21T10:16:29-06:00November 21st, 2020|Categories: Art, Beauty, Books, Christianity, Civilization, Culture, Imagination, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors|

In our zeal to articulate how Christianity has shaped civilization, we are apt to neglect the specific role of prayer. The good, the true, and the beautiful fostered by our civilization have been initiated and sustained by prayer. If one does not pray, what measure of human cultivation is one missing? Art and Prayer: [...]

The Assault on Opera

By |2020-11-12T13:17:40-06:00November 5th, 2020|Categories: Art, Culture, Imagination, Music, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays|

Hardly an opera producer now, confronted with a masterpiece that might otherwise delight and console an audience, can control the desire to desecrate. The more exalted the music, the more demeaning the production. What modern producers seem to forget is that audiences are gifted with the faculty of imagination. The disappearance of the bourgeoisie has [...]

Zombie Legends in the Age of Mass Man

By |2020-10-30T15:23:04-05:00October 30th, 2020|Categories: Culture, Death, Halloween, Imagination, Literature, Modernity, Myth|

Zombie legends remain a relevant medium that continues to capture the imaginations of modern people. As with any myth or legend, we gain wisdom about ourselves when we endeavor to unearth the symbolic meanings that lie buried beneath the surface. At times, what we find is as frightening as it is illuminating. With the [...]

Tolkien’s “On Fairy Stories”: The Argument

By |2020-10-30T10:11:20-05:00October 27th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

J.R.R. Tolkien proclaimed that fairy—like all mythology—is an expression of our deepest longings and fears. Fairy itself, far from being supernatural, is the most natural of worlds, and reminds us of the deepest truths of existence. For J.R.R. Tolkien, Fairy was a world parallel to ours, embodying many of the rules and norms and [...]

Tolkien’s “On Fairy Stories”: The Setting

By |2020-10-23T15:15:52-05:00October 23rd, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

Coming when it did in J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing career, “On Fairy Stories” reveals more about the mind and soul of the man than any other non-fiction work he produced in his lifetime. Not too long after Tolkien had published The Hobbit—to much critical acclaim—and was just beginning a sequel to it, the Faculty of [...]

Understanding William Faulkner

By |2020-09-25T16:33:48-05:00September 24th, 2020|Categories: Books, Cleanth Brooks, Imagination, John Crowe Ransom, Literature, South|

In the forties and fifties, the most influential literary quarterlies in America featured “new criticism,” a brand of formalism that never succumbed to the absolute relativism of the deconstructionists. One of their foremost practitioners was Cleanth Brooks, who devoted himself to interpreting and popularizing the work of one of America’s greatest but most difficult [...]

Going to Purgatory With J.R.R. Tolkien

By |2020-09-03T15:27:03-05:00September 6th, 2020|Categories: Art, Christian Humanism, Christianity, Fiction, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Senior Contributors|

In his short story, “Leaf by Niggle,” J.R.R. Tolkien provides a much more colourful and comforting purgatorial vision than that afforded by Dante. Niggle, a personification of the Artist, recognizes the landscape as the perfect, living form of which his painting was but a shadow or a foreshadowing. J.R.R. Tolkien expressed a dislike for [...]

The Forgotten “Freddy the Pig”

By |2020-08-07T16:07:51-05:00August 7th, 2020|Categories: Books, Humor, Imagination, Literature|

Even though Walter R. Brooks’ “Freddy the Pig” series doesn’t aim to teach a moral story, deliver great epiphanies, or grapple directly with universal human themes, the books are refreshingly unself-conscious and yet still make a considerable contribution to American literature in the same way the works of P.G. Wodehouse have done for English [...]

America’s “Logres”: The Mythology of a Nation

By |2020-08-10T16:01:28-05:00August 6th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, C.S. Lewis, Culture, Flannery O'Connor, Imagination, Literature, Myth|

C.S. Lewis believed that every nation possesses what he called a “haunting,” a “Logres,” which baptizes it with a unique inner life. What, or where, is America’s Logres? Who is the mythological hero that could guide the American identity the way Arthur guided Britain and inspired generations of English poets and artists? During my [...]

“Advent of the Eskaton”

By |2020-07-25T12:10:18-05:00July 25th, 2020|Categories: Christianity, Evil, Imagination, Poetry|

‘You may say this to Théoden son of Thengel: open war lies before him, with Sauron or against him. None may live now as they have lived, and few shall keep what they call their own. —J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings ‘Ware, ‘ware! in the watches of the night; for the devil reigns in darkness [...]

Ernst Jünger’s “The Forest Passage” and the Conservative Mind

By |2020-07-20T13:42:50-05:00July 21st, 2020|Categories: Books, Conservatism, Freedom, Imagination, Literature, Myth, Nature|

Written in the shadow of the Second World War, Ernst Jünger’s “The Forest Passage” reimagines the forest as a symbol of freedom in an age where the “Leviathan,” or all-encompassing totalitarian state, threatens to encroach on liberty and free space. Yet as long as the “forest rebel” has access to the domains of art, [...]

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