Michial Farmer is a poet, essayist, and history teacher. He is the author of Imagination and Idealism in John Updike's Fiction (Camden House, 2017) and the translator of Gabriel Marcel's Thirst (Cluny, 2021). He lives in Atlanta.
children are inchoately aware of the sadness of the world; it’s another of the human mysteries that they already have access to. Lobel’s genius is in choosing for his subject tragedies that are too small to really qualify as tragedies, and thus by the paradoxes of the spiritual world become the deepest and most incandescent tragedies of all.
The summer, its heat and its flowers, has finally been put to death. But the dust remains. George Wilson is covered in it, alive and dead, and as Nick told us at the beginning of the novel, the empty space around Gatsby’s dream is made up of that same dust, those same ashes.
His books are not a diminishment of historic and intellectual Christianity. They are a translation of Aquinas, Barth, Calvin, and the rest into the language we all speak innately but are all too often deaf to: the language of our quotidian lives, in which the undifferentiated mass of uncertain “certain things” forms the alphabet of grace.
The conservationist recognizes that the society we live in, as much as the natural world we live in, was given to us as a gift with the demand that we pass it on to future generations, and therefore it is neither easily discarded nor above reproach.