Matthew Schmitz is literary editor of First Things. His writing has appeared in the The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Spectator, the Hedgehog Review, and other publications. He holds an A.B. in English from Princeton University.

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Pilgrims of Progress

From the May 2017 Print Edition

America’s national epic was not written in meter and verse. Nor, for that matter, was it written by an American. Yet The Pilgrim’s Progress is nonetheless the primal American story, the account of our mad flight from order and lonely quest for grace. Hemmed in by civilization, resentful of kin, . . . . Continue Reading »

Violent Lessons

From the January 2017 Print Edition

Children are not exposed to enough violence. Yes, I know the grim statistics, how a child who enters middle school has already witnessed 8,000 murders and 100,000 other violent acts on TV. As he and his friends enter adolescence, they take up first-person shooter video games. In college, he becomes . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

From the December 2016 Print Edition

Exodusby thomas joseph white, o.p.brazos, 336 pages, $32.99 In days past, to study Scripture was to study the tradition of its reception. The sacred text was read with the Fathers of the Church, accompanied by commentaries and catenae, with frequent glosses explaining the meaning of difficult . . . . Continue Reading »

We Are Not Tools

From the November 2016 Print Edition

During my time at Princeton, there was no more popular insult than “tool,” an epithet hurled at anyone who tried too hard. Of course, the term was unavoidably classist. An Amazon executive’s daughter who had attended Lakeside or a banker’s son who’d gone to St. Ann’s didn’t have to . . . . Continue Reading »