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Joseph Bottum is the former editor of First Things.

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God & Bertie Wooster

From the October 2005 Print Edition

Suppose that words were all you had. Suppose the great edifice of Western civilization had collapsed around you—all its truths, all its certainties, all its aspirations smashed to meaningless shards. Suppose . . . oh, I don’t know, suppose that it was 1919, and the First World War had just . . . . Continue Reading »

I had lunch yesterday with …

From Web Exclusives

I had lunch yesterday with Alan Jacobs, whose new book The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis will be published next week, just in time for Disney’s movie version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe . Alan once wrote a hilarious piece in the Weekly Standard that mentioned the . . . . Continue Reading »

The trouble with blogging …

From Web Exclusives

The trouble with blogging, RJN, is narrative structure. Or maybe voice. Or maybe diction. Or maybe syntax. Or maybe I just don’t have a clue about the deep configuration of the blog entry as a literary genre. Does anything go? Does nothing go? I’ve got this really nice little . . . . Continue Reading »

The New Fusionism

From the June/July 2005 Print Edition

Social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, libertarians, agrarians, communitarians, foreign-policy hawks”who can figure them out? Neocons and theocons and paleocons, to say nothing of soccer-mom Republicans, country-club Republicans, and just plain, garden-variety Republicans: If you read . . . . Continue Reading »

Easter Morning

From the April 2005 Print Edition

Quick as dawn, the dogwoods have raised improbable awnings, christened with rain. Thrusts of witch-hazel, stands of rue, and there—there, across the stream, in the shade of those dark-lichened rocks— white phlox and geranium strain to reach the angled light. One bright morning, a clean . . . . Continue Reading »


From the March 2005 Print Edition

We never exactly mean to dawdle or let the day slip by. I stopped at the pond for just a moment to see if the mallards would try the corn I’d found for them last evening. I didn’t stay too long. But times moves slower near to water, the lazy current strong. And there are fish to watch . . . . Continue Reading »

The Unsilent Pope

From the November 2004 Print Edition

Inside the Vatican of Pius XII: The Memoir of an American Diplomat During World War II By Harold H. Tittmann, Jr. Image. 224 pp. $13.95 Critics of Pius XII have long claimed that the Allies were bitterly frustrated by the pontiff’s official neutrality during World War II. Among the evidence for . . . . Continue Reading »

The Threshold of Verse

From the May 2004 Print Edition

The Poetry of John Paul II-Roman Triptych: Meditations Translated by Jerzy Peterkiewicz United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 40 pp. $19.95 Poland went through something of a golden age of poets in the second half of the twentieth century, and I’ve always suspected that Zbigniew . . . . Continue Reading »