Literature

Emily Dickinson and Drinking All Summer Long

By |2019-08-14T21:49:54-05:00August 14th, 2019|Categories: Christine Norvell, Imagination, Literature, Nature, Poetry, Senior Contributors|

Emily Dickinson creates a simple buffet for our imagination in her nature and summer poems, but most especially in "I taste a liquor never brewed." And rather than being accosted by her “drunkenness,” I embrace her abandoned delight in the essence of summer. I taste a liquor never brewed – From Tankards scooped in Pearl [...]

Unity in Difference: Language-Learning & God’s Kingdom

By |2019-08-10T22:07:13-05:00August 10th, 2019|Categories: Charity, Christianity, Culture, Education, Language, Literature|

Learning another language helps me to not only understand, but to better experience first-hand how another person thinks, feels, and interacts with the world; this creates the possibility for empathy, fellow-feeling, and ultimately, charity. Having taught high-school Spanish for the first time last fall, I have been wondering why it is that we teach [...]

An Introduction to English War Poetry

By |2019-08-09T21:38:25-05:00August 9th, 2019|Categories: Death, England, History, Literature, Poetry, War, World War I|

The poet’s career doesn’t end once he dies. The soldier’s career arguably does. The poet-soldier, then, has died physically, but what remains of him is his art. Both Edward Thomas and Francis Ledwidge managed to create something that transcended their persons and lasted long after being killed in war. When we think of English [...]

Homer’s “Iliad” and the Shield of Love and Strife

By |2019-08-08T09:43:26-05:00August 8th, 2019|Categories: Great Books, Greek Epic Poetry, Homer, Iliad, Literature, Love, Odyssey, Paul Krause, Senior Contributors, War|

The human characters of Homer’s grand epic, the “Iliad,” embody what Homer is driving home at with his poem: the tension between strife and love. Achilles transforms from a rage-filled and strife-filled killer to a forgiving lover touched by the very power of love. Homer’s Iliad is the defining epic of Western literature. Its [...]

Grace in the Garden: The Fall of Man & the British Pastoral Tradition

By |2019-08-04T22:08:19-05:00August 4th, 2019|Categories: Imagination, Literature, Moral Imagination, Poetry, Timeless Essays, Truth|

The transcendent ‘overcoming’ or reconciliation of the Fall of Man—that symbol of the cause of the disorder that we would wish re-ordered, of the return to the garden—is what great poetry graciously asks of us. The pastoral tradition will probably persist as an expression of the moral imagination in which artists in all spheres [...]

On the Anniversary of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Birth

By |2019-08-03T07:44:10-05:00August 3rd, 2019|Categories: Culture, History, Literature, Poetry|

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s extensive reading of the greatest classical thinkers led him to a deep love of beauty. Though he was hounded out of his country, slandered and ostracized, he became, after his death, immortal, as his works spread and succeeding generations were able to experience their beauty and profundity. Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) is [...]

J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Beren and Lúthien”

By |2019-08-02T23:19:30-05:00August 2nd, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors, Tolkien Series|

J.R.R. Tolkien's story of Beren and Lúthien remains one of the most beautiful parts of Tolkien’s entire mythology. It matters profoundly in "The Lord of the Rings" and indeed also mattered profoundly in Tolkien’s own life. “The chief of the stories of The Silmarillion, and the one most fully treated is the Story of Beren [...]

The Batman and Tolkien’s Batman

By |2019-08-01T23:45:27-05:00August 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 [...]

Reason in the Making: Artistic Vision in Albert Camus’ “The Guest”

By |2019-08-08T12:54:16-05:00August 1st, 2019|Categories: Culture, Literature, Morality, Philosophy|

Albert Camus was a gifted writer, and though he approaches the edge of beauty, he fails to make the leap. In doing so, he condemns his stories, ironically, to the role of featureless individuals, accidents of energies. Artistic vision, Flannery O’Connor insists, takes place in a space where, “The writer’s moral sense must coincide [...]

“Thoughts That Wound From Behind”: Great Books & the Power of Allusion

By |2019-07-30T22:14:33-05:00July 30th, 2019|Categories: Alfred Tennyson, Dante, Great Books, Literature, Morality, Poetry|

One value of reading truly great works of literature, works that have stood the test of time for decades or even centuries, is the opportunity such reading affords for exploring the tradition that has since built up around them. Any such truly great work—the Iliad, the Aeneid, Paradise Lost, Shakespeare’s Hamlet—will have accrued innumerable [...]

“The Pilgrim’s Regress”: The Allegory of C.S. Lewis’ Conversion

By |2019-08-02T11:41:05-05:00July 29th, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Christianity, Fiction, Inklings, Literature, Senior Contributors|

In “The Pilgrim’s Regress,” C.S. Lewis fictionally traces his own intellectual and faith journey. As Lewis wrote ten years after the book’s first publication, “All good allegory exists not to hide but to reveal: to make the inner world more palpable by giving it an (imagined) concrete embodiment.” During the thirty-one years that C.S. [...]

Chaucer & the Heresy of Courtly Love

By |2019-07-28T21:18:35-05:00July 28th, 2019|Categories: Geoffrey Chaucer, Great Books, Literature, Love, Mitchell Kalpakgian, Senior Contributors, Timeless Essays|

With consummate sophistication, courtly love idealizes the vice of lust as a beautiful sentiment and spiritual longing that only the so-called holy gift of “love” can satisfy. Chaucer’s satire on innovative theories of marriage and the heresy of courtly love validates the wisdom of the Church’s teaching on hierarchy, fidelity, and indissolubility. Today’s offering [...]

Escaping From Myself

By |2019-07-27T08:55:07-05:00July 26th, 2019|Categories: Books, Catholicism, Christianity, Dwight Longenecker, Literature, Poetry, Senior Contributors|

This summer, two books got me because they took me outside myself: Danusha Goska’s “God Through Binoculars” and Sam Davidson’s “Love’s Many Names.” Both authors write truth from the heart, and both books are refreshing and heart-inspiring reads. Books should take you outside yourself. They should introduce you to new people, new worlds, new [...]

Was Owen Barfield an Inkling?

By |2019-07-25T22:12:31-05:00July 25th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Friendship, Inklings, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature, Senior Contributors|

Any right-thinking individual, then or now, would want to have Owen Barfield as a vital and central member of the Inklings. Yet placing Barfield within the Inklings is incredibly difficult, given that he attended fewer than ten percent of the total meetings, and could not name the beginning or the end of the group. [...]