World War I and the Inklings

By |2019-07-18T21:38:17-05:00July 18th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, War, World War I|

The Great War destroyed much the Inklings had held true, personally and culturally. Each lost friends, and each felt the guilt that any survivor of a war feels. Many of them refused to talk about their own experiences, for good or ill. J.R.R. Tolkien, perhaps, provides the best example. Though not the best-known Inkling, [...]

Authors Who Shaped Me

By |2019-07-15T23:00:31-05:00July 15th, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Imagination, Literature, Senior Contributors|

As a child, I spent my free time divided between two activities—exploring the environs in and around my hometown, and reading everything under the sun. Ranging from biography to high fantasy to rigorous logic, these books shaped my tastes, thoughts, and aspirations. Ever since attending first grade—at Wiley Elementary School in Hutchinson, Kansas—I’ve loved to [...]

“Dandelion Wine”: Awakening to the World

By |2019-07-15T22:52:09-05:00July 15th, 2019|Categories: Beauty, Books, Christine Norvell, Fiction, Literature, Nature, Ray Bradbury, Senior Contributors|

Dandelion Wine is a summer read if ever there was one. I know quite a few Ray Bradbury lovers who read it as a summer ritual, and for good reason. From the first moments when we meet Douglas Spaulding, we know his life is one of imagination and adventure. In Dandelion Wine, Doug is [...]

The Power of Metaphor

By |2019-07-12T12:26:29-05:00July 11th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Literature, Poetry, Writing|

Metaphor should not be approached as some “thing,” but as a transformative power, the invisible process by which “things” come into being. Using metaphor, even very simple language and very common-place images can be brought into new, unique constellations. Contrary to the sundry definitions of metaphor proffered by many school teachers and dictionaries, metaphor [...]

Friendship Among the Inklings

By |2019-07-05T19:02:56-05:00July 5th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Friendship, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

J.R.R. Tolkien not only held onto friendship for dear life, but he also incorporated it into every aspect of his literary mythology. And for the Inklings, friendship had a mystical element. “Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a fire?” C.S. Lewis once famously asked. Surely not, [...]

Dickens’ “Great Expectations”: Pip’s Confessions

By |2019-07-02T11:56:04-05:00July 1st, 2019|Categories: Charles Dickens, Christianity, Literature, Morality, Paul Krause, Senior Contributors|

“Great Expectations” is a novel of self-introspection—especially as the story relates to our narrator and protagonist, Pip. The question of who Pip is and what he shall become is the fundamental theme that drives the story forward. “My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of [...]

The Roots of Political Correctness

By |2019-07-01T00:59:45-05:00June 30th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Liberal Learning, Politics, Ray Bradbury, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

Over the last thirty years, political correctness has metastasized. Today, so many politically-correct assumptions have become mainstream that, as Tocqueville once predicted, they have narrowed our questions and our ability to question, rather than actually tell us the exact answers to things. Over the last decade, it has become normal for students, professors, and the [...]

American Eden: The Rise and Fall of New World Man

By |2019-07-02T16:45:32-05:00June 30th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Federalist Papers, James Madison, Literature, Mark Malvasi, Thomas Jefferson, Timeless Essays|

Americans transcribed the Edenic myth and heralded the supremacy of the New World over the Old. Yet, many could not suppress the fear that they were already losing their sense of purity, innocence, and power, and would in time come face to face with the disappointments of history, the sorrows of the human condition, [...]

Clarity and Obscurity: The Essences of Classical & Modern Poetry

By |2019-06-27T18:08:39-05:00June 27th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Literature, Modernity, Poetry, Tradition|

As a sustained artistic school, modernism cannot endure. But classical art is eternal because the ideas it expresses are eternal. A resurrection of classical form does not represent a return to the past, real or imagined, but instead a return to sanity, a reorientation of the artistic eye back to its natural, fully human [...]

“Death in Venice”: The Problem of Romantic Reaction

By |2019-07-03T09:43:30-05:00June 24th, 2019|Categories: Books, E.B., Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Literature, Modernity, St. John's College|

We live in a state of decadence, of falling away, the more so for no longer naming it as such, and Mann’s way of laying the past to rest seems to me vastly better than the hatred of it accompanied by ignorance which characterizes the brutal branch of the phenomenon of decadence. For the [...]

Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” and Flannery O’Connor

By |2019-06-21T17:03:57-05:00June 21st, 2019|Categories: Culture, Dwight Longenecker, Film, Flannery O'Connor, Literature, Senior Contributors|

Quentin Tarentino’s film “Pulp Fiction” and Flannery O’Connor’s stories smell of nihilism. But at the end of the film, and at the end of O’Connor’s stories, the light of Providence glimmers tantalizingly. So there was a meaning after all! But it was not the meaning I was expecting. Pulp Fiction is the violent, witty, [...]