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In Praise of Good Bad Books

I had a fairly bookish childhood. I don’t mean that I was a sedentary youth; I spent a greater portion of my days out of doors than is normal for most children in our culture today, given our dread of strangers, our ignorance of our neighbors, and our bizarre belief that sports are things one . . . . Continue Reading »

Chesterton on Fairy Tales and Evil

G. K. Chesterton had a way with words. Some of my favorite quotes come from him, and that includes a quote about fairy tales. The quote is usually stated like this: “Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that . . . . Continue Reading »

Brokenness and Modern Poetry

Readers charged that Kathleen Graber's poetry was “slovenly” and “shapeless.” As the poetry editor of First Things, I thought I’d step in and open a wider discussion of poetry, particularly as it pertains to First Things Continue Reading »

Loving the Businessman

Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is sometimes an almost unbearably bad novel, but it keeps selling. I just finished rereading it trying to find what can be redeemed from it beyond the obvious fact that it opposes the evil of collectivism. I need more because it is easy to find a more concise and . . . . Continue Reading »

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 »

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