Dr. Thorndyke: A Man of His Times

The day a man reads his last new Sherlock Holmes mystery is a sad one. The stories decline in quality, but to the very last retain some echo of what made the early tales classics of the detective genre.The best Holmes can be reread, but still a man likes to have something new to read during his free . . . . Continue Reading »

On Hell or: is Plato There?

Americans are much less sure of the existence of Hell than of Heaven. Hopefully this is because they have had such glimpses of the Divine that Hell seem fuzzy to them. There seems, however, some chance that it is because they have become too nice to believe anyone is in Hell.In chatting with regular . . . . Continue Reading »

A Giver of Rings

Beowulf contains a great many lessons relevant to daily living. First, don’t go to sleep near the hero or the monster will eat you. Second, after you kill a monster don’t go to sleep before knowing whether the monster has a mother bent on vengeance. If you don’t take care, she . . . . Continue Reading »

25 Favorite Short Stories

In his Devil’s Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce defined a novel as “a short story padded.” This is an all too apt description. The inability to prune a story to its essential story is an unfortunate quality shared by many modern writers and the primary reason that bookshelves are filled with . . . . Continue Reading »

Tolstoy and Dostoevsky
(and Christ)

I have had this experience three times now, on three different occasions, in admittedly similar circumstances, but not similar enough to explain the coincidence: I am speaking from a podium to a fairly large audience on the topics of—to put it broadly—evil, suffering, and God; I have been talking for several minutes about Ivan Karamazov, and about things I have written on Dostoevsky, to what seems general approbation; then, for some reason or other, I happen to remark that, considered purely as an artist, Dostoevsky is immeasurably inferior to Tolstoy; at this, a single pained gasp of incredulity breaks out … Continue Reading »