James Matthew Wilson’s “The Strangeness of the Good”

By |2020-12-09T16:05:56-06:00December 9th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Literature, Mystery, Poetry, Senior Contributors|

James Matthew Wilson’s collection of poems, “The Strangeness of the Good,” by acknowledging illness and disappointment and death, tries to see through it, to the mystery beneath. Seeing the mystery leads to the unveiling of the reality, the thing standing beneath all feelings and appearances that alone can make them genuinely good in themselves. Bradley [...]

Less Than Nothing: The World Without Mystery

By |2021-03-29T13:14:56-05:00September 12th, 2020|Categories: Christianity, Friedrich Nietzsche, Modernity, Mystery, Truth, Western Civilization|

Only by recognizing the divine mystery that predicates existence in the world can one reclaim his individuality. Only then will he be capable of searching for meaning generated outside the human intellect. Humans can never be gods, but they need God to live meaningful lives. Most students I teach believe that reality is subjective and [...]

The Haunting of America: Russell Kirk’s Ghostly Fiction

By |2020-10-18T13:16:52-05:00March 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 in [...]

Listening to “Four Quartets”

By |2019-08-17T16:18:15-05:00August 17th, 2019|Categories: Beauty, Culture, Dwight Longenecker, Four Quartets Series, Literature, Mystery, Poetry, Senior Contributors, T.S. Eliot|

T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets” is highly personal, uniquely-fashioned religious poetry. This wordless realm into which Eliot takes us is the region of dreams, the numinous, the collective unconscious. He wishes us to plunge into the experience instead of simply pondering the meaning. I first read T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets as an undergraduate and was surprised [...]

The All-American Magic of Ricky Jay

By |2018-12-28T21:53:27-06:00December 28th, 2018|Categories: Culture, Film, Imagination, Mystery|

Ricky Jay was born in 1948 and died last Saturday. He was the greatest magician in America for more than a generation and a character whose like we will not see again. He combined the all-American love of wonder, which he understood to fixate on European aristocracy, and the all-American passion for science. He was [...]

The Underground Shakespeare

By |2018-12-22T09:16:58-06:00December 21st, 2018|Categories: Books, Culture, Dwight Longenecker, England, History, Literature, Mystery, Senior Contributors, Theater, William Shakespeare|

Despite their obscurity, The Rape of Lucrece and Venus and Adonis were Shakespeare’s best-sellers. But why were these poems so wildly popular? In Shadowplay—her first book about the secret messages in Shakespeare’s plays—Clare Asquith explains what sparked first her imagination and then her research: In the early 1980s she and her husband attended a small [...]

Horror and Eternity: Russell Kirk’s Ghostly Tales

By |2020-10-18T13:12:43-05:00October 25th, 2018|Categories: Ancestral Shadows, Books, Film, Heaven, Mystery, Russell Kirk|

Russell Kirk’s horror stories are fundamentally conservative, insinuating a chain of being that connects the living and the dead, reminding us of our duty and obligations to the past. They challenge us by piercing our day-to-day sense of the temporal with bright flashes of eternal order. And they lay upon us the heavy but joyous [...]

Alfred Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps”: A Coded Message?

By |2019-09-28T09:49:59-05:00October 4th, 2018|Categories: Film, History, Mystery, StAR, World War II|

The 39 Steps is one of five films that Alfred Hitchcock made in England about espionage in the mid-to-late 1930s. These films capture the growing threat felt in Britain from foreign powers. In their scenarios the nation's security was nowhere more threatened than by spies hiding in plain sight... The Thirty-Nine Steps. A novel. Then a film: The 39 Steps. In the end, that [...]

The Day Mozart Stole Music From the Vatican

By |2020-04-07T03:18:26-05:00September 29th, 2017|Categories: Audio/Video, Beauty, Catholicism, Christianity, Music, Mystery, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart|

The Vatican knew it had a winner on its hands with Allegri’s “Miserere” and, wanting to preserve its aura of mystery and exclusivity, forbade replication, threatening anyone who attempted to copy or publish it with excommunication. But that didn’t stop the teenaged Mozart. The fourteen-year-old Mozart didn’t see himself as being a music pirate, mind [...]

Relentless Rationalism

By |2017-09-01T15:05:36-05:00September 1st, 2017|Categories: Imagination, Modernity, Mystery, Science|

Relentless Rationalism burns up the “life, mind, morality and reason” of man, seeing in the ashes the only true liberation of humanity… “Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.” —Jules Verne, The Journey to the [...]

On Mysteries and Miracles

By |2019-05-30T12:10:51-05:00July 22nd, 2017|Categories: Christianity, Dwight Longenecker, History, Mystery, Myth, Science, Senior Contributors|

We can approach the miracles and mysteries of the Bible, accepting the possibility of their essential historicity while allowing for elaboration, exaggeration, and the misunderstandings of the pre-scientific mind… I have had a terrific time researching and writing my new book The Mystery of the Magi—The Quest for the True Identity of the Three Wise [...]

Mysticism, Political Philosophy, & Play

By |2019-11-21T13:58:17-06:00July 10th, 2017|Categories: Christian Humanism, Faith, Fr. James Schall, Government, Mystery, Philosophy|

To link spiritualism, political philosophy, and play together is, at first sight, rash. What could they possibly have in common, since they clearly are not the same?… Spiritualism seems to me absolutely right on all its mystical side. The supernatural part of it seems to me quite natural. The incredible part of it seems to [...]

“The Haunting of Hill House”

By |2018-10-02T13:33:19-05:00January 6th, 2017|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Fiction, Mystery, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors|

Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House revolves around three intrepid explorers who accept Professor Montague’s invitation to spend a summer living there, getting to know one another and getting to know—intimately—the workings of the house… Though she never made it past the young age of forty-eight, Shirley Jackson was known for two important things [...]

The Inspector Morse Mysteries and a Lost Eden

By |2019-01-10T13:57:31-06:00January 5th, 2017|Categories: Christianity, Justice, Mystery, Oxford University, Television|

In the murder mystery, the portrayal of an apparent Eden is broken by the intrusion of crime, and the specific crime of murder, so that by the intervention of clever and wise persons the social world can be healed and order restored… There’s a wonderful moment in one of the old Inspector Morse shows—the one [...]

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