Cultural Anorexia: Doubting the Decline of Faith in Fiction

From Web Exclusives

When Dana Gioia’s essay “Can Poetry Matter?” appeared in The Atlantic in 1991, it galvanized a national conversation about the state of American literature and how creative writing was being taught, produced, and consumed by the reading public. Among other points, Gioia argued that poetry had become obscure, self-referential, and detached from common experience through the influence of university writing programs and trendy ideological nostrums. Gioia’s latest essay, “The Catholic Writer Today,” published in the December 2013 issue of First Things, bears a striking resemblance to his Atlantic essay on poetry . . . Continue Reading »


From the May 2005 Print Edition

The Finishing School by Muriel Spark Doubleday. 192 pp. $16.95 Muriel Spark, Dame of the British Empire, expatriate Scot living in Tuscany, has been practicing her peculiar brand of elegant satire for half a century. Approaching ninety, Spark has just published The Finishing School , her . . . . Continue Reading »

Sweet Sistine

From the October 2003 Print Edition

Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling by Ross King Walker and Company. 373 pp. $28. According to Giorgio Vasari, author of the monumental Lives of the Painters, Sculptors, and Architects , Michelangelo was so secretive about his work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel that Pope Julius II, the . . . . Continue Reading »

Impoverished Theology

From the April 1999 Print Edition

Theologians move in two worlds, working not only with the abstract categories of philosophy but also with the highly concrete and often complex literary forms of the Bible. One of the central tasks of biblical theology is to provide a description of God that is compelling as well as truthful. If . . . . Continue Reading »