The Sound of a Summer Symphony: Grofé’s “Grand Canyon Suite”

By |2019-06-07T12:30:57-05:00June 5th, 2019|Categories: Christine Norvell, Culture, Music|

Ferde Grofé’s “Grand Canyon Suite” communicates an infectious passion for the beauty of the Canyon, especially the allure of the composer’s magnificent first impressions. His pictorial orchestration is emotional but that does not imply simplicity. It is a strength that welcomes and holds listeners of every age. Emblazoned with striking black and white titles, [...]

Herman Melville’s Last Story

By |2019-05-08T10:46:01-05:00May 8th, 2019|Categories: Books, Christine Norvell, Great Books, Herman Melville, Literature|

Some would argue that Moby Dick, written at the height of his popularity, is Herman Melville’s best work. But his novella Billy Budd, written in obscurity and published twenty years after his death, just might surpass his early masterpieces for its concise portrayal of humanity. “The author is generally supposed to be dead,” writes [...]

Parable, Fable, and Allegory

By |2019-04-25T23:38:27-05:00April 25th, 2019|Categories: Books, Christine Norvell, Culture, Fiction, Imagination, Senior Contributors|

Each one is a tool of influence. Parable often teaches truth or morals through comparison. Whether translated as the Greek “beside” or the Hebrew “meshalim,” known as a riddle of “mysterious speech,” the parable is always couched in story or the routine of life. Fable implements story in the same way with a variation [...]

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Spring Wisdom: “To a Skylark”

By |2019-04-10T22:35:52-05:00April 10th, 2019|Categories: Christine Norvell, Literature, Poetry, Senior Contributors|

Appreciating poetry begins with finding poetry you like, poems you’re drawn to, poems that resonate and delight. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that I most enjoy the Romantics or those moderns who have a romantic flair. As the seasons change, and spring breaks from winter, I especially delight in the work of [...]

Lessons in Speaking from Longinus

By |2019-03-28T14:20:30-05:00March 27th, 2019|Categories: Christine Norvell, Culture, Rhetoric, Senior Contributors|

Men seem to admire “that which is astounding” when they hear someone speak. Some would say our modern news cycles seek to either find or twist facts to make them astounding, but in On the Sublime, Longinus examines the power of persuasion along with language’s sublimity. Effective persuasion is often fueled by passion which [...]

Why Charles Dickens Makes Me Cry

By |2019-03-13T17:00:52-05:00March 13th, 2019|Categories: Books, Charles Dickens, Christine Norvell, Compassion, Literature, Senior Contributors|

I have read A Tale of Two Cities at least eight times now. Each time, I cry. Yes, each time. Why, I wonder, does Charles Dickens’ writing have this effect on me? I surprised myself today. As I was discussing the end of A Tale of Two Cities with my high-school juniors, we reviewed how [...]

Vivaldi and the Cello

By |2019-03-03T22:22:43-05:00March 3rd, 2019|Categories: Antonio Vivaldi, Christine Norvell, Culture, Music, Senior Contributors|

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi’s music is timeless. Performed within the orchestral world, period films, and popular culture today, his works and melodies are recognizable, even to a movie crowd. Yet his work was often discredited in his lifetime because he was prolific. Composers and critics alike believed that Vivaldi’s sheer quantity of production outweighed his quality. Vivaldi [...]

Booker T. Washington’s Compromise

By |2019-02-07T12:05:07-05:00February 6th, 2019|Categories: Books, Character, Christine Norvell, History, Senior Contributors|

Booker T. Washington indeed might have sought reconciliation between white and black, but his call was truly to his own race alone to educate themselves and to work hard to improve mind and character. Does that make Washington a lesser advocate for racial equality, a less successful one? I first read Up from Slavery ten years [...]

Truth in Story: Lois Lowry and “Gathering Blue”

By |2019-01-24T22:13:56-05:00January 24th, 2019|Categories: Books, Christianity, Christine Norvell, Fiction, Literature, Senior Contributors, Truth|

Tales and stories are an elementary wonder because they touch the nerve of the ancient instinct of astonishment. Wonder and astonishment can prepare our minds and hearts to receive truth just as soil receives seed; one such truth-bearer is Lois Lowry’s Gathering Blue… According to G.K. Chesterton, tales and stories are an elementary wonder because they [...]

The Humanity of Huck Finn

By |2019-01-10T15:36:43-05:00January 9th, 2019|Categories: Books, Christine Norvell, Fiction, Literature, Mark Twain, Senior Contributors, Virtue, Wisdom|

Huckleberry Finn is no hero, though he does symbolize the American conscience at the time Mark Twain wrote, or at least the conscience Twain hoped for. Yes, Huckleberry Finn is a coming-of-age tale and a social criticism and satire, but it also asks crucial questions: Who actually changes? What type of American will change? Huckleberry [...]

Home and Hearth: A Cautionary Christmas With Washington Irving

By |2018-12-08T00:35:23-05:00December 6th, 2018|Categories: Advent, Books, Charles Dickens, Christendom, Christianity, Christine Norvell, Christmas, G.K. Chesterton, Literature, Senior Contributors|

In the 1820s, Washington Irving was credited with inspiring the romantic revival of Christmas in America. His Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gentleman relayed sentimental tales of the British holiday with all its romance and traditions. The five Christmas tales were later published in 1875 as a separate collection titled Old Christmas.* Having lived in London and its [...]

John of Salisbury and the Ideal Scholar

By |2018-11-26T09:25:28-05:00November 25th, 2018|Categories: Christianity, Christine Norvell, Education, History, Liberal Learning, Reason, Senior Contributors, Timeless Essays|

Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Christine Norvell as she considers the model of scholarly endeavor embodied by John of Salisbury. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher John of Salisbury not only depicts the thorough and balanced measure of the education of the ideal scholar, but he also [...]