Reflections on Imaginative Conservatism

By |2021-01-21T12:00:41-06:00January 21st, 2021|Categories: Conservatism, E.B., Essential, Eva Brann, Imagination, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, St. John's College, The Imaginative Conservative|

My first and last care is not politics but education. Education seems to me inherently conservative, being the transmission, and thus the saving, of a tradition’s treasures of fiction and thought. But education is also inherently imaginative. Author’s Note: I wish to dedicate this essay to a writer of books whose greatness is at [...]

“The Speech”: Maintaining Sanity in an Insane World

By |2021-01-08T09:36:34-06:00January 6th, 2021|Categories: Civilization, Culture, Forrest McDonald, Hope, Imagination, Timeless Essays, Wisdom|

I propose to address the question, how does one survive—and I mean survive as something—in a world that may not? How does one remain sane in a world that is insane; how does one live without fear in a world in which the only certainty is that nothing is certain? As the new year arrives, [...]

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 [...]

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