Tag: literature

For the Love of Books

Out-of-sight, out-of-mind is the quintessential modern American problem-solving strategy, and it sure does have a lot going for it, when it comes to dealing with our problem of stuff—that other quintessential modern American problem. Alas, it won’t work in this case, for we really do pull these things off the shelves regularly to look up one thing or another. And it is wonderfully convenient to be able to say “oh, yes, here’s where I read about this topic” to a friend who is over for dinner—and then pull the book I’m thinking about off the shelf, right then and there.

Narnia Against the Machine: Deep Magic for the Modern Age

Witnessing the ascendancy of the Machine, Lewis understood what was at stake. He watched this ideology sweep across his society and take hold in its schools, and he keenly felt the loss of what was so hastily displaced and soon forgotten. The medieval worldview that Lewis cherished was replaced by an ideology that breeds nihilism and despair.

Gatsby: Grasping for Transcendence

Gatsby’s character yearns for the infinite; he sparkles with something unusual in the midst of the lavish wealth and chaotic parties of Long Island’s frivolities. Gatsby has “one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it . . . it faced—or seemed to face—the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor.”

Democracies Need Shared Literature

Before we totally condemn the Athenians as selfish, entertainment-addicted bad citizens—which, to be fair, they sometimes (or often?) were, just like us—it is worth considering what such shared democratic spaces of entertainment facilitated. And a related question to consider: What might we, as a democracy, gain if we had something similar?

An Empty Room of One’s Own

There are things that a full room can do for us. It can reassure us. It can offer comfort. It can offer luxury and pleasant distractions. A full room can be cozy and a crowded refrigerator reassuring. A room can be full of company. We can be and feel less alone. A full room can teach us to share.

Invitations to Dwell

We soaked in the morning and our coffee, aware that we were technically trespassing. But, at the moment, we felt the weight of heritage, a complicated term that outmatched the real-estate deeds housed in Pulaski county courthouse.

Jonathan Swift’s Street Cred

Swift knocked out several tracts and sermons on the problems of the Irish economy. And in them he said, in good FPR fashion, several FPRish things—for example, that place matters.

Returning to the Love of the Book

Hooten Wilson draws on theological as well as literary works to demonstrate various approaches to a text, leading to the contemplative mode, which she asserts should be “the end of all our reading.”

Advisor Wanting: The Absence of Moral Limits in Lady Macbeth

Our best ally should not be a man or woman who lacks the aptitude to discern right from wrong...one should not draw unto himself or herself a companion like Lady Macbeth, for Lady Macbeth does not exercise virtue.

Vaya con Dios: Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023)

Somewhat surprisingly, this is also McCarthy at his most delighted at everyday joys. There are many tender passages of drinking coffee in porcelain cups in diners, eating tortillas and beans on stops in the desert, working with cowboys at small jobs on ranches, and companionship with horses, mules, even wolves.