Euripides’ Advice to Us About Change

By |2019-04-02T22:01:24-05:00April 2nd, 2019|

Our lives are marked by reversals and recognitions for which we are rarely prepared. That change will come is certain, whether on the stage or in your home. The only question is how you will receive it when it comes. Author’s Introduction: Imagine if Homer, Virgil, Dante, Chaucer, and the other great poets of ancient Greece, [...]

Freedom’s Flaw in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

By |2019-02-09T14:24:15-05:00February 8th, 2019|

Mrs. Maisel must decide, like all other men and women who follow a path that separates them from their family, home, gods, and city, whether the allure of a life in the spotlight and the total freedom it promises is preferable to, or reconcilable with, the many good things she risks turning away from… [...]

The House of Usher & the House of Poe

By |2019-01-19T00:11:03-05:00January 18th, 2019|

There is a notable nightmarish and intangible quality to “The Fall of the House of Usher,” as there is in many of Edgar Allan Poe’s gothic masterpieces—a vague sense of foreboding, a floating uneasiness, or shadowy moodiness that is beyond the power of words to express... Edgar Allan Poe. Enigmatic. Eccentric. Erratic. Melancholic. Alcoholic. Neurotic. [...]

The Long Shadows Cast by “Nightmare Alley”

By |2018-11-30T18:08:22-05:00November 23rd, 2018|

Just as the Second World War ended, the 1946 novel Nightmare Alley by William Lindsay Gresham became a bestseller. Perhaps more than any other, the noir genre fitted the mood of Post–war America. It was a nation that had not yet emerged blinking into the Technicolor 1950s of Eisenhower and later prosperity. It was [...]

Family, Love, and Tragedy in “The Godfather”

By |2019-04-07T17:32:11-05:00November 22nd, 2018|

The Godfather is the Augustinian film par excellence–though it does not conclude where Augustine's vision ends... The Godfather, by Mario Puzo, was the best-selling book when it was first published and the film adaptation by Francis Ford Coppola is rightly considered a masterpiece. The drama of The Godfather is an epic; it is an epic because [...]

“Othello” and the Devil Inside

By |2018-11-17T22:38:30-05:00November 17th, 2018|

In Othello, William Shakespeare, the philosopher of everyday life, holds up a mirror to us and shows us what human beings are capable of. Beneath our most pleasantly cultivated exterior, there often lurks a serpent… William Hazlitt is widely recognized as one of the greatest of Shakespearean critics. Yes, there is Dr. Johnson; yes, [...]

A Death in New Mexico: The Old Healer

By |2018-09-28T23:27:58-05:00September 28th, 2018|

When I moved to Santa Fe, the City Different was a small, sleepy Western town with real stores around the Plaza, not upscale tourist traps that appeared after marketers invented the Santa Fe style. One day, I wandered into a small shop on Galisteo Street, not far from the Plaza. A forty-watt bulb dimly lighted [...]

“Romeo & Juliet”: A Tragedy, Not a Romance

By |2018-07-14T08:12:35-05:00July 11th, 2018|

Seeing something noble in Romeo and Juliet’s self-obsessive and self-destructive passion is to see it with eyes that are blind to the moral that Shakespeare teaches… Romeo and Juliet is not the only Shakespeare play that the modern world, modern critics, and modern teachers get wrong. Truth be told, Shakespeare abuse is rampant. Just about [...]

Misremembering the Russian Revolution: Romanticism Not Reality

By |2017-10-05T13:21:02-05:00October 4th, 2017|

The tragedy is not that the Russian Revolution is being forgotten; it’s that it is being remembered in the wrong way. It is being seen through rose-coloured spectacles, its grim reality being smothered in layers of romantic myth… This month is the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution, one of the most important moments in [...]

History as Tragedy and Farce: The Rise of Nationalism

By |2018-09-21T14:46:32-05:00September 3rd, 2017|

In their political offensive against socialism and democracy, many European statesmen of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries found in nationalism a convenient doctrine to electrify and exploit the masses… Karl Marx famously began The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte by observing that Hegel “remarks somewhere that all facts and personages of great importance in [...]

The Dark World of Fyodor Dostoevsky

By |2018-09-28T16:27:22-05:00June 24th, 2016|

Man, it is often said, cannot jump over his own shadow. The poet—and by “poet” I mean a writer of imaginative works in verse or prose—leaps over the universe… Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper et in saecula saeculorum. I We not only read a novel, we enter into its created world. [...]

The Tragic Education

By |2016-06-21T09:44:54-05:00June 22nd, 2016|

Perhaps there is nothing in the world as truly educative as tragedy. When you have known it, you’ve known the worst, and probably also you have had a glimpse of the mystery of things. And if this is so, we may infer that there is nothing which educates or matures a man or a [...]

The Tragic South

By |2016-05-20T22:12:00-05:00May 20th, 2016|

Recently, whilst staying with friends in Dickson, Tennessee, I came across an article in a local newspaper, which was nothing but a vitriolic venting of the spleen against the South’s role in the Civil War. Seldom have I seen an article as shrill, as venomous, as negative and as lacking in charity. Something of [...]