Science Fiction and the University of Chicago

By |2020-05-08T19:05:51-05:00May 8th, 2020|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Fiction, Imagination, Literature, Science, Senior Contributors|

During the spring semester of 1957, the University of Chicago invited a number of distinguished speakers to campus to lecture on the meaning and significance of science fiction as a genre. Robert Heinlein, C.M. Kornbluth, Robert Bloch, and Alfred Bester each gave insightful speeches, all of which were collected by Basil Davenport and published [...]

“Dark Black” by Sam Weller

By |2020-04-29T17:03:09-05:00April 29th, 2020|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Fiction, Imagination, Senior Contributors|

With twenty stories, accompanied by lush but tenebrous full-page images, Sam Weller’s “Dark Black” is a thing of haunting beauty and voluptuous terrors. Dark Black, by Sam Weller (254 pages, Hat & Beard Press, 2020) Most readers of The Imaginative Conservative know Sam Weller as the extraordinary biographer of Ray Bradbury and as the [...]

Strange and Admirable

By |2020-04-24T12:15:34-05:00April 24th, 2020|Categories: Culture, Fiction, Literature, Modernity, Poetry, Writing|

One of the most encouraging trends among conservatives in recent years has been the increased amount of recognition and discussion they have given to the importance of culture and the arts. There is, on the right, a growing sensitivity to the ways that many of the political and social ills we commonly bemoan have [...]

Who Is Queen Mab?

By |2020-04-22T18:25:36-05:00April 22nd, 2020|Categories: Books, Fiction, Imagination, Literature, William Shakespeare|

In his collection of essays, Soliloquies in England, George Santayana dedicated some pages to a piece titled “Queen Mab” presumably after the enigmatic faery who is mentioned by Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet.[1] The essay turns into an analysis of British literature, which I take to mean that Santayana saw some form of greater [...]

Tolkien: Entering Faerie

By |2020-04-24T15:23:57-05:00April 20th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Fiction, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Myth, Senior Contributors|

What, exactly, is Faerie? While not quite the realm of the supernatural, it is the realm of grace (and its enemies), and it can be, even in its greatest beauty, dangerous in the extreme. It is also, by its very nature, sacramental, tangible, and incarnational. On March 8, 1939, just five months shy of [...]

Tolkien’s “The Lost Road”: Brilliant But Unfinished

By |2020-04-18T18:37:55-05:00April 18th, 2020|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Fiction, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

An endearing story about fathers and sons—and almost certainly an autobiographical understanding of J.R.R. Tolkien himself and his own, mostly imagined father, as well as Tolkien and his son Christopher—”The Lost Road” begins with a son, Alboin, asking his father, Oswin, about the origin of his name. Though Tolkien had already written and published [...]

Russell Kirk’s Literary Gentlemen

By |2020-04-08T16:41:39-05:00April 8th, 2020|Categories: Christianity, Fiction, Imagination, Literature, Moral Imagination, Russell Kirk|

It is no exaggeration to suggest that the idea of the gentleman stands as the lynchpin of Russell Kirk’s entire social theory. Well-educated, well-read, and virtuous, the gentleman stands as the living link between the present and the past; in many ways, he is the moral imagination embodied. After decades of neglect, the Gothic [...]

The Shire and Pestilence: A Fairytale

By |2020-03-27T17:23:35-05:00March 27th, 2020|Categories: Civil Society, Economics, Fiction, Imagination, Joseph Pearce, Senior Contributors|

Once upon a time there was a beautiful land that called itself the Shire. Its people were happy. They lived and worked on their own small pieces of land, growing their own food and trading the surplus with their neighbours. Many of them were also craftsmen, making and fixing things so that everyone could [...]

David Weimer’s “The City as Metaphor”

By |2020-03-26T10:56:58-05:00March 27th, 2020|Categories: Books, Christine Norvell, Fiction, Imagination, Literature, Senior Contributors|

David Weimer’s “The City as Metaphor” traces the concept of the city through a century of American fiction, to find that its depiction has a trend. Where once the city was a symbol of hope, a place to seek one’s fortune, where expectant immigrants and starry-eyed farmboys sought success, all has changed. The City [...]

The Haunting of America: Russell Kirk’s Ghostly Fiction

By |2020-03-16T09:18:18-05:00March 16th, 2020|Categories: Ancestral Shadows, Fiction, Imagination, Literature, Mystery, Russell Kirk|

The ghost story was the perfect vehicle for Russell Kirk to extend his own sense of awe-filled wonder to a wider audience. He was keenly aware of the need for romance and mystery in everyday life—and how hard it was to achieve it in America. He created for his readers one of those places [...]

The Mixed Legacy of Christopher Tolkien

By |2020-03-07T11:20:36-06:00March 7th, 2020|Categories: Fiction, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Senior Contributors|

Only the works published during J.R.R. Tolkien’s lifetime should be considered canonical, whereas the unfinished works collected, collated, and edited by Christopher Tolkien should be considered extra-canonical. I would even venture to suggest that Christopher Tolkien’s work should be considered as footnotes to his father’s corpus and not an extension of it. In the [...]

The War of the Gods and Demons

By |2020-02-22T21:48:55-06:00February 22nd, 2020|Categories: Aeneas, Aeneid, Culture, Fiction, Literature, Louis Markos, Religion, Senior Contributors|

Playwright David Lane has graced the Christian community with a formal, blank-verse play that takes up the war of gods and demons. “Dido: The Tragedy of a Woman” retells the tragic tale of the “Aeneid,” but with some dramatic plot twists that allow it to function both as a timeless meditation on the universal issues [...]

“Libertopia”: A Glimpse Into a Progressive Future

By |2020-02-20T13:27:30-06:00February 20th, 2020|Categories: Fiction, Joseph Mussomeli, Liberalism, Progressivism, Senior Contributors|

The great question that perplexed progressives throughout much of the 21st century was how to completely untether us from the past, thereby for the first time in history truly liberating ourselves from our moorings and ushering in a new age of gender freedom, radical equality, and ethnic equity. The Crime His fingers twitched, but [...]

The Land, War, and Knowing Oneself: Willa Cather’s “One of Ours”

By |2020-02-13T10:38:34-06:00February 12th, 2020|Categories: Books, Christine Norvell, Fiction, Imagination, Literature, Senior Contributors|

After publishing her pioneer trilogy and numerous short stories, Willa Cather turned her writer’s craft to the effects of World War I with One of Ours (1922). A Pulitzer winner, it is often touted as a moving story of war, glory, and martyrdom. Critics responded that it was clichéd, recycling a sappy tale of [...]

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