Fiction

A Reflection on the Resurrection of the Superfluous Man

By |2019-12-07T03:11:19-06:00December 6th, 2019|Categories: Character, Fiction, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Imagination, Literature, Russia|

Russia’s nineteenth-century literary luminaries all found themselves wrestling with a particularly Romantic archetype: the Superfluous Man. Bored, confused, dissolute, yet noble and aristocratic, the Superfluous Man experiences tragedy in his reckless pursuit of passion. And I can’t help but wonder whether there is any hope for these characters—both the Russians in the novels, and [...]

The Comforts of Religion: Gustave Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary”

By |2019-11-30T03:15:16-06:00November 30th, 2019|Categories: Books, Christianity, Europe, Faith, Fiction, Imagination, Literature, Religion|

The nineteenth century was a difficult and dynamic period for the French nation, as citizens of all classes and philosophical persuasions struggled to come to terms with modernity. These struggles are reflected in Gustave Flaubert’s first novel, Madame Bovary, published as a complete text in 1857. The story is well-known: Emma Bovary finds herself [...]

Who Is Alien? Science Fiction Shorts by Updike and Klein

By |2019-11-14T13:01:27-06:00November 14th, 2019|Categories: Christine Norvell, Fiction, Imagination, Literature, Senior Contributors|

Many authors use imagery to create atmosphere, and in short fiction, that efficient imagery is vital. It may be a particular environment for their characters, but in the case of science fiction, it is also an ample tool of criticism, one in this case that has a lingering bite. […]

J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Leaf by Niggle”

By |2019-11-05T21:50:56-06:00November 5th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Fiction, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Tolkien Series|

J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Leaf by Niggle” must rank as one of the finest short stories of the twentieth century, breath-takingly beautiful, even by the highest Tolkienian standards. As with so many of his writings, “Leaf” takes seriously issues of goodness, free will, destiny, subcreation, and eternity. One very late night or early morning in 1939, [...]

“Perelandra”: Preventing the Fall

By |2019-11-03T07:22:07-06:00November 2nd, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Fiction, Imagination, Literature, Senior Contributors|

It would be no exaggeration to claim that C.S. Lewis’s “Perelandra”—arguably the least read and least remembered part of his “Space Trilogy”—is nothing short of a masterpiece. In it, the author ably blends science fiction and theology, giving us a gripping thriller, steeped in thought, adventure, and myth. In the second of the three [...]

Curses and Magic in the “Night of the Demon”

By |2019-10-30T17:32:43-06:00October 30th, 2019|Categories: C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Culture, Fiction, Film, Literature|

Like the best horror tales, the “Night of the Demon” came back from the “dead.” This was as a result of a late-night slot for cult movies on British television in the late 1980s. Continuing to this day, the film has attracted ever-increasing praise from critics and found an ever-more appreciative audience. It seems [...]

The World Spins On: “The Value of Herman Melville”

By |2019-10-07T12:22:17-06:00October 9th, 2019|Categories: Fiction, Great Books, Herman Melville, Imagination, Literature|

The quest to write the Great American Novel has long been the American literary equivalent of the quest for the Holy Grail. Among the perennial roster of contenders for this legendary status, there is a strong case to be made for “Moby-Dick.” With the generosity of a patient teacher, Geoffrey Stanborn makes that case in “The [...]

How Edgar Allan Poe Ensured That Gothic Stories Will Never Die

By |2019-10-06T22:47:52-06:00October 6th, 2019|Categories: Christine Norvell, Edgar Allan Poe, Fiction, Imagination, Literature, Senior Contributors|

At the same time that writers were bringing depth of character to the gothic setting in the 19th century, Edgar Allan Poe revitalized the genre in mid-century America. Suddenly Tales of Horror had a distinctly American flair and a surprising psychological depth. This nuance captivated readers then and still does today. Two hundred and [...]

“Priscilla and Norton: The Last Yankees”

By |2019-09-19T12:19:33-06:00September 19th, 2019|Categories: Fiction, George Stanciu, Imagination, Senior Contributors|

“I can’t believe it’s you!” Libby shouted. “Just don’t stand there. Turn around so I can see you.” Priscilla spread her arms straight out and slowly spun around so her friend could see the results of her complete makeover on the “Oprah Winfrey Show.” “I love that suit, and the rest of the outfit,” [...]

The Witness and Wisdom of C.S. Lewis

By |2019-09-28T09:49:34-06:00September 4th, 2019|Categories: C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Christianity, Fiction, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Philosophy, Senior Contributors, StAR|

The great fruit of C.S. Lewis’s clarity is that he shows his readers that the great truths are knowable through the application of pure and simple common sense. He makes the truth seem so obvious and so inescapable that we feel that we must always have known it, at least subconsciously. Some time ago, [...]

The Challenge of Goodness in George MacDonald’s “Sir Gibbie”

By |2019-08-29T11:20:52-06:00August 29th, 2019|Categories: Books, Charity, Christine Norvell, Fiction, Literature, Morality, Senior Contributors, Virtue|

In “Sir Gibbie,” George MacDonald shows us how goodness is not in action only, but also in the doer first. The virtuous person sees truly, judges rightly, and acts. It is the love of God within Gibbie that prompts him to do so. Sometimes you read a book that causes you to marvel at [...]

Tolkien’s “The Children of Húrin”

By |2019-08-23T11:55:02-06:00August 22nd, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Fiction, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Tolkien Series|

How does one account for J.R.R. Tolkien’s seeming ability to live inside of mythology? He read it, he translated it, and he absorbed it. After all these grand things, he rewrote it. Yet, no matter how deeply he delved into the profound and pervasive paganisms of pre-Christian cultures, he never lost his ability to [...]

The Batman and Tolkien’s Batman

By |2019-08-01T23:45:27-06:00August 1st, 2019|Categories: Christian Humanism, Dwight Longenecker, Fiction, Heroism, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Superheroes|

While we continue to marvel at the steady stream of superheroes being pumped out in comics and movies, I am more interested in ordinary heroes. The ordinary hero is the man or woman behind the scenes. They are the ones who play the steady, supporting role. Natural second fiddles, they are the loyal retainers [...]