Category: Literature

Douthat Defends Chesterton

Adam Gopnik’s piece about G.K. Chesterton in the New Yorker continues to stir up dissenting opinions.  The latest comes from one of my favorite contemporary conservatives, Ross Douthat, who writes: But the whole point of the “in the context of...

/ July 29, 2008

Pearce’s Questionable Case for Shakespeare’s Catholicism

Occasionally I come across a book review so scathing that it makes me laugh, cringe, repent for laughing (in that order) and then pray that I am never the recipient of such harsh language. It is rarely surprising to find...

/ July 23, 2008

The Question of Shakespeare’s Catholicity

Shakespeare’s religious orientation and beliefs are an endless source of speculation and bickering among those who take an interest in the Bard.  And for good reason:  because Shakespeare’s plays are replete with religious imagery, language, and themes, discerning a coherent...

/ June 4, 2008

Chesterton and Lewis, Cont.

While offering his own take on the differences between the respective literary imaginations of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, Martin Cothran offered this substantial and skillful critique of my defense of C.S. Lewis: Matthew Lee Anderson at Mere Orthodoxy has...

/ May 21, 2008

In Defense of C.S. Lewis’s Literary Imagination

Via Rod Dreher comes this piece by Fr. Dwight Longenecker, who writes: Tolkien disliked allegory so intensely because he felt it was too didactic. It leaves no possibility that any other levels of meaning in the work could exist. Tolkien...

/ May 19, 2008

Have a Good Friday

TS Eliot, from Four Quartets: “The wounded surgeon plies the steel That quesions the distempered part; Beneath the bleeding hands we feel The sharp compassion of the healer’s art Resolving the enigma of the fever chart. Our only health is...

/ March 21, 2008

The Greatness of Bottom: GK Chesterton on the Hero of Midsums

I am a big fan of both G.K. Chesterton and Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.  (You can read some of my thoughts about the latter here.) I had read G.K.’s reflections on Bottom before, but when Peter Leithart posted them in...

/ February 15, 2008

Typological Reading and the Christian Text

How should we then read? It is a question with which I have occasionally wrestled. My freshman year of college, I was introduced to the world of hermeneutics, which seemed at the time to be the discipline of debunking other...

/ January 18, 2008

Irony, Awakening, and Dissolution

Esolen’s Ironies of Faith hangs upon the premise that the Christian understands irony differently than his secular neighbor.  Esolen writes: Contemporary literary theorists have attempted to distill the essence of irony, that which underlies both the winking assertions of ignorance...

/ January 17, 2008

Hierarchy and the Body: Esolen on Adam and Eve

One of the more useful aspects of Anthony Esolen’s Ironies of Faith (see my review here) is that his exploration of Christian literature highlights the disparity between their worldview and our own. At points, it becomes clear that Esolen has...

/ January 16, 2008