It was some time ago that I discovered this three-part lecture series by Dr. Tom Shippey on Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf, and it has been on my mind to share it with you. Dr. Shippey is a respected Tolkien scholar, specializing, like Tolkien, in Old and Middle English language and literature.1 His lectures are always … Continue reading Exploring Tolkien’s Beowulf with Dr. Shippey
My stack of books has finally dwindled down to a sane degree. During the fall and spring semesters I usually have a mound of reading material on my bookshelf: required books for any classes I am taking, philosophical literature I am reading for information, the one novel I am reading for pleasure, as well as … Continue reading Reflections on The Lantern Bearers, by Rosemary Sutcliff
This past spring I audited a Socratic dialogue class on the literature that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s imagination. Among the many works explored and discussed, we spent two weeks reading Phantastes, by George MacDonald. The students in the class were discussing the character of Anodos and his seeming inability to make reliable decisions and follow the … Continue reading Is Anodos Naïve or Immature?
It is common in western culture to depict the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as an apple. However, a brief flip through Genesis will confirm that the forbidden fruit remains anonymous; there is no mention of an apple nor any other fruit. The universal use of the apple results … Continue reading The Malum Malum Presents Its Case
Hamelin Town's in Brunswick, / By famous Hanover city; / The river Weser, deep and wide, / Washes its wall on the southern side; / a pleasanter spot you never spied; / But, when begins my ditty, / Almost five hundred years ago, / To see the townsfolk suffer so / From vermin, was a pity...
My first reading experience with Homer’s Iliad was the equivalent of hauling a boulder along a gravel track by a piece of string. I was unused to the weight of classical literature and my mind was exhausted by the long-winded descriptions and detail, excessive slaughter, and exasperating characters. I found great comfort in the thought … Continue reading The Unexpected Value of Rereading the Iliad
It is time I described in depth the style of education called the Socratic method, which I have referred to at intervals over these last months and intend to continue referencing in the future. The Socratic method formed the base of my recent education and influences my approach to literature and writing on this blog. … Continue reading What is the Socratic Method?
In January, a friend of mine initiated a writing project based on the paintings of the 19th century English artist Edmund Blair Leighton. Each participating writer chose a painting and used it as a prompt. The result was a collection of unique and touching short stories and poetry beautifully reflective of Leighton’s style. I was … Continue reading In Time of Peril (Original Story)
A refuge is a place people run to when they require or desire protection or sanctuary. It is one of those English words whose meaning is so ingrained that the word ceases to be a word at all and becomes only the meaning. The word has dissolved and only the idea remains and the idea, … Continue reading The Etymology of “Refuge”
I wrote last week about the influence freedom has on the Narnians’ actions toward their fellow men (and animals). However, what I did not have time to write about was how this freedom influences their attitudes as well. If one reads enough C.S. Lewis, it becomes clear that the Narnians are Lewis’s interpretation of a … Continue reading More on the Influence of Freedom on Character in The Horse and His Boy