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Dramas of Decline and Fall

In 2013, Dana Gioia argued in these pages that “although Roman Catholicism constitutes the largest religious and cultural group in the United States, Catholicism currently enjoys almost no positive presence in the American fine arts.” I was reminded of that contention when it dawned on me that . . . . Continue Reading »

Reading Lewis

The subtitle of this book characterizes it as a “guide” to The Abolition of Man. Potential readers might, therefore, ask themselves: What does Michael Ward mean in calling his book a “guide”? And why should a guide be needed for a book that (with rather large print) runs to only a . . . . Continue Reading »

Tolstoy's Wisdom and Folly

In his speech “The Strenuous Life,” Theodore Roosevelt identified “the American character” with “the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife.” “The man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil,” Roosevelt asserted, “wins the ultimate . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

I read R. R. Reno’s charitable words on Karl Barth with great interest (“Karl Barth,” May) and would like to offer my own remarks as a ­supplement. At the Protestant Theologicum in Tübingen (1974–5), I spent a year sharing an office with Reno’s mentor, Ronald Thiemann. Ron’s background . . . . Continue Reading »

Truth, Reading, Decadence

After Harold Bloom died in ­October 2019, E. D. Hirsch told a story from the early 1960s, when they were assistant professors of English at Yale. They both had lived not far from campus, and Hirsch frequently spotted Bloom walking past his house and joined him for a stroll to the office. They had . . . . Continue Reading »

Learning by Heart

In Darwin, Australia, sometime in 1958, an old man lay dying in hospital. He asked to see—of all people—the British writer ­Malcolm Muggeridge. They didn’t know each other, but ­Muggeridge was touring Australia and the old man had heard him on the radio. As ­Muggeridge recalled it, . . . . Continue Reading »

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