Category: Literature

Harry Potter and the Age Old Story

Tonight is the opening night of the final installment of the Harry Potter movies. I have lots of feelings about this. A little over a year ago I was still refusing to read those little children’s books about a boy named Harry...

/ July 14, 2011

Christian Influence Fail: Rob Bell and Time Magazine

I never really cared about Rob Bell. I’ve never read his books but I like his nice videos. They seem like they might be attractive to people, maybe help influence doubters or seekers to examine Christianity a little more closely....

/ May 30, 2011

Developing an Ecological Orientation Through the Narrative Imagination

For the last several weeks I have been trying to develop an ecological orientation through the narrative imagination. By ecological orientation, I mean “a new consciousness of the country” or “a new relation to it,” as the narrator of O...

/ July 22, 2010

Crazy Ivar: Walking Gently on the Earth

A Meditation on Willa Cather’s O Pioneers! Shortly after the death of Nebraska pioneer John Bergson, his children––Alexandra, Lou, Oscar, and Emil––go on a “pleasure excursion” to buy a hammock from Crazy Ivar, who obtained the name from his hermetic...

/ July 9, 2010

“Her eyes drank in the breadth of it”: a phenomenology of receiving the land

Here I am again at the writer’s desk with a tall glass of lemonade, ready to analyze two passages that invoke “the Genius” of the land in Willa Cather’s novel O Pioneers! In the first passage, we witness the retrospective...

/ July 7, 2010

The same old New World?

Since the discovery of the American continent, Europeans saw the land I call home as the objectification of Nature, good and bad.  Coming to a relatively unpopulated region, the European explorers, settlers, and thinkers were faced with a lot empty...

/ June 30, 2010

The Genius of the Land

In my first post on O Pioneers! I mistakenly drew a historical contrast between the modern project of “marking on the land” and a postmodern project of “being marked by the land.” This contrast is too neat and tidy. As...

/ June 24, 2010

Hamlet on Embodiment

Tonight I enjoyed some of the best free Shakespeare I’ve ever seen, and one of the most difficult plays to pull of well, too.  It’s long, it’s brooding, and the over-acting potential is through the roof. Especially in the final scene...

/ June 4, 2010

Shakespeare the Chaste Christian

The case for Shakespeare’s Catholicism may be a bit shaky, but Anthony Esolen recently made a compelling case that the Christian virtue of chastity is indispensable for understanding his plays. He writes: There is an abundance of evidence to show that Shakespeare...

/ May 24, 2010

Italian Sonnet

I AM, the holy smoking fire, Burns bright on Sinai’s awful height; And tremors from His words of might Split wide the earth and shake the pyre Where goat and bull and Self perspire: Vain off’rings for the King of...

/ April 28, 2010