A Mother’s Tale: Hilda van Stockum’s “The Winged Watchman”

By |2021-03-25T12:03:45-05:00March 26th, 2021|Categories: Books, Catholicism, David Deavel, Fiction, Senior Contributors, World War II|

The sharp focus on Mrs. Verhagen gives “The Winged Watchman,” Hilda van Stockum’s novel about a Dutch family during World War II, such power. The close-up tasks of the women are just as heroic as the tasks of the men who often fought to protect their loved ones. Who knew a great war story would [...]

Myths versus Novels

By |2021-03-23T16:30:10-05:00February 28th, 2021|Categories: E.B., Eva Brann, Fiction, Literature, Myth, Senior Contributors, St. John's College, Virginia Woolf|

Although myths and novels belong to different categories, they are alike in being the venues of human figures who are not presented as images of actually existent, “real-world” people. They have their being in a specific work of art, a drama or a narrative, such as the “Oresteia,” or a novel, such as Edith Wharton’s [...]

Tom Joad and the Quest for an American Eden

By |2020-12-28T14:26:45-06:00December 28th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Fiction, Literature, Mark Malvasi, Senior Contributors|

In the course of telling the story of a people and a country in “The Grapes of Wrath,” John Steinbeck offers an unforgettable evaluation of the American desire to enter the Promised Land. But Steinbeck’s garden is Eden after the fall dominated by the expectation of hardship, suffering, and death. In such a world, men [...]

Flaubert’s Fictional Faith

By |2020-11-14T09:49:27-06:00November 14th, 2020|Categories: Beauty, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Fiction, Literature|

Although Gustave Flaubert professed to be a mystic who believed in nothing, in “A Simple Heart,” he gives us an unironic portrait of guileless faith that melds the hagiographer’s preoccupation with sanctity with the modern fictionist’s oblique incorporation of symbols. In so doing, the professed atheist purifies the cynical soul. Since doubt was carried into [...]

Timelessness and “Times Square”

By |2020-11-05T15:42:30-06:00November 8th, 2020|Categories: Books, Fiction, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Senior Contributors, Time|

“Times Square and Other Stories” by William Baer, a man and writer who is truly alive in the presence of the past, is storytelling at its best, both compelling and contemplative. Those who take up this volume will be changed for the better by the reading of it. Times Square and Other Stories, by William [...]

The Best American Ghost Story? William Gilmore Simms’ “Grayling”

By |2020-10-28T11:11:44-05:00October 29th, 2020|Categories: Fiction, Halloween, Timeless Essays|

William Gilmore Simms When it comes to stories that make your hair stand on end everyone’s mind understandably goes to master of macabre Edgar Allan Poe. But what did Poe himself consider the best ghost story? Of William Gilmore Simms’s short story “Grayling, or Murder Will Out,” Poe wrote “it is really an [...]

“A Single Life”

By |2020-10-23T13:38:24-05:00October 22nd, 2020|Categories: Books, Fiction, Love, Marriage, Religion|

Though written before COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the agitated lead-up to the 2020 election, Daniel Goodman’s novel, “A Single Life,” resonates with the pain of increased isolation, racial tension, and alienation as Eli Newman treads the arduous road to romance and struggles with his observant Jewish life. A Single Life, by Daniel [...]

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 formal [...]

“Little Women”: A Gem of American Literature

By |2020-09-04T15:08:15-05:00September 4th, 2020|Categories: Family, Fiction, Literature|

Louisa May Alcott’s subtle insight into the enduring truths of human nature has been overlooked by academics, yet she deftly navigated the rapid current of change in her time to produce a valuable piece of literature that refuses to be relegated to the nursery as “just a children’s book.” Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women (1868) [...]

An Oaf’s Magnificat: On Kingsley Amis and “Lucky Jim”

By |2021-01-25T13:20:27-06:00July 30th, 2020|Categories: Books, Education, Fiction, Humor, Literature, Satire|

In 1954, “Lucky Jim” was a new planet: When Kingsley Amis wrote it, English satirical fiction had been for a third of a century a decidedly mandarin and highbrow business. Unlike his predecessors, Amis depicts representatives of the lower orders and the previously inaccessible university world that is not so much a garden of philosophy [...]

A Good Woman is Hard to Find: The “Racism” of Flannery O’Connor

By |2020-07-05T13:00:59-05:00July 5th, 2020|Categories: Catholicism, Christianity, Fiction, Flannery O'Connor, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Politics, Senior Contributors|

Some previously unpublished letters and postcards, only made available to scholars since 2014, reveal that Flannery O’Connor used “inexcusable racial slurs” in private correspondence. What, therefore, are we to make of this revelation of racism, however mitigated it might be by other factors, and how should it impact our reading and reception of O’Connor’s work? [...]

Abuse of Love: “Till We Have Faces”

By |2020-06-28T01:34:05-05:00June 27th, 2020|Categories: C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Christianity, Fiction, Literature, Love|

In “Till We Have Faces,” the story of Orual and Psyche which Lewis weaves is so powerful because it presents us with the hope that even the greatest cruelty perpetrated by selfish love can be forgiven by true love. Picture the scene, cliché as it is: A young teenager’s parents have just refused her permission to [...]

Beauty & Utility in Hawthorne’s “The Artist of the Beautiful”

By |2020-06-25T17:05:24-05:00June 26th, 2020|Categories: Beauty, Culture, Fiction, Literature|

Our modern lives need beauty, because, in the machine-like pace of modern life and the machine-like culture, there is not much beauty to be found. Nathaniel Hawthorne pointedly illustrates in “The Artist of the Beautiful” the cost of valuing the practical over the Beautiful. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “The Artist of the Beautiful,” the [...]

Go to Top