Peter J. Leithart is President of the Theopolis Institute, Birmingham, Alabama, and an adjunct Senior Fellow at New St. Andrews College. He is author, most recently, of Gratitude: An Intellectual History (Baylor).

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Hamlet: Texts

From Leithart

More notes toward a lecture. Shakespeare’s Hamlet exists in three significantly different forms. The earliest published text, the First Quarto or the “Bad Quarto,” appeared in 1603. Though recognizably Shakespeare’s play, it is different in many significant ways, and . . . . Continue Reading »

Hamlet: Sources

From Leithart

Some notes toward a lecture on Hamlet. When Shakespeare put the story of Hamlet on stage in the early seventeenth century, the story was already an old one. Saxo Grammaticus, a 12th-century monk, told the story of Amleth, Prince of Jutland in his Historiae Danicae. According to Saxo’s version . . . . Continue Reading »

Girardian Dickens

From Leithart

Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities rings the changes on the Girardian dynamic of mimetic violence. Blood evokes and demands more blood, until an oppressive and disordered ancien regime collapses into chaos. And the only path out of the game of violence and counter-violence is through Sidney . . . . Continue Reading »

“Natural” architecture

From Leithart

In an overview of the architectural work of Santiago Calatrava, Sara Williams Goldhagen (TNR January 23) cautions against the chimera of architecture grounded in “nature”: “Maybe the first architects needed to pay obeisance to nature’s designs, but that primal moment is long . . . . Continue Reading »

Sermon Outline, Fourth Epiphany

From Leithart

INTRODUCTION Solomon ends Ecclesiastes where he began, by emphasizing our lack of control (11:5) and the brevity of life (12:1-8). Wisdom means adjusting our actions and expectations to these realities. THE TEXT “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. Give a . . . . Continue Reading »

Eucharistic meditation, Third Epiphany

From Leithart

Ecclesiastes 4:1: Then I returned and considered all the oppression that is done under the sun: And look! The tears of the oppressed, but they have no comforter— on the side of their oppressors there is power, but they have no comforter. The great evil that Solomon describes here is not . . . . Continue Reading »

Baptism meditation, Third Epiphany

From Leithart

Ecclesiastes 4:8: There was a certain man without a second, having neither a son nor a brother, yet there was no end to all his labor. Indeed, his eyes were not satisfied with riches and he never asked, and for whom am I laboring and depriving myself of pleasure. This too is vapor and a grievous . . . . Continue Reading »

Exhortation, Third Epiphany

From Leithart

According to what has become the “traditional” interpretation of the Constitution, every American woman has the right to kill her unborn baby. Since the Roe v. Wade decision in January of 1973, over 45 million babies have been killed, and, though the abortion rate has slowed since 1990, . . . . Continue Reading »

Same and Other

From Leithart

Evaluating Levinas and his criticisms of Husserl, Derrida probes the coherence of Levinas’ notion of “infinitely other.” Contrary to Levinas, who argues that we are incorrectly seduced by everyday life to think of the other as an “alter ego,” Derrida says: “The . . . . Continue Reading »

Art for Art

From Leithart

Adorno points out in an essay on television that “it would be romanticizing to assume that formlerly art was entirely pure, that the creative artist thought only in terms of the inner consistency of the artifact and not also of its effect upon the spectators. Theatrical art, in particular, . . . . Continue Reading »