​Russian Brahmin

From the April 2016 Print Edition

Laurusby eugene vodolazkintranslated by lisa haydenoneworld, 384 pages, $24.99 Eugene Vodolazkin’s novel Laurus has been much praised, especially by Christians, and rightly so. It is a fine novel. But at its heart, I suspect, the book is not Christian in spirit so much as Hindu—more . . . . Continue Reading »

Lena Dunham's Inviolable Self

From the May 2013 Print Edition

In an episode from the first season of HBO’s series Girls, Hannah Horvath—played by the show’s creator and chief writer, Lena Dunham—is having sex with her occasional lover Adam when Adam does something odd. The description I am about to give will strike some as exceedingly graphic, but in . . . . Continue Reading »

Against Stupidity

From the November 2011 Print Edition

I have been thinking a lot about stupidity lately, largely, I suppose, because I spend a good deal of time online. I define stupidity as “remediable but unremedied ignorance,” and few human traits are more evident to a reader of your average website. It is relatively easy to discover that . . . . Continue Reading »

Beyond the Wild Wood

From the October 2009 Print Edition

The Annotated Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, edited by Annie Gauger. W.W. Norton, 480 pages, $39.95 The Wind in the Willows: An Annotated Edition by Kenneth Grahame, edited by Seth Lerer Belknap/Harvard, 288 pages, $35 My history as a reader is an odd one. I began, conventionally enough, . . . . Continue Reading »

Pedantic Park

From the Aug/Sept 2009 Print Edition

Worlds Made of Words: Scholarship and Community in the Modern West by Anthony Grafton Harvard, 432 pages, $29.95 Alas, poor Casaubon! Your name, thanks to George Eliot, has become a byword for dryasdust pedantry and pseudomonastic self-absorption. The creaky scholar of Eliot’s novel . . . . Continue Reading »

Blessed Are the Green of Heart

From the May 2009 Print Edition

Some years ago I was leading a summer study tour in Oxford, England, during which as a matter of course—we were from Wheaton College, after all—we paid a visit to Magdalen College, the longtime academic home of C.S. Lewis. The dean of divinity, as Magdalen terms its chaplain, was gracious and . . . . Continue Reading »