Category Archives: Literature

What is a Classic?

How do we recognize a classic? Tradition has held that classics are works of a very high order that touch on matters of immense importance. They are not mere skilled works of whatever category; they establish a category of their own. In fact, when we examine those works that readers have agreed upon as classics, […]

Dulce Domum: The Longing for Home in Literature

Dulce Domum

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” – C. S. Lewis   Sweet Home. It’s more than just a lovely sentiment cross-stitched on a pillow. You might say it’s engraved, embedded, etched on our very souls. […]

Wait and Hope

Wait and Hope

Many people see The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas as an amazing yarn, but not much more. And indeed, it boasts one of the most intricate, fascinating plots ever devised. But the tug-of-war between free will and Providence, between justice and revenge, between despair and hope make The Count of Monte Cristo much […]

Why Read Literature?

Why Read Literature?

Amidst the gushing river of popular culture, the turbulent climate of politics, media bias, and misinformation, the tornadic winds of modern educational theories, and the volcanic eruption of screens and technology, a pertinent set of questions exists: Why read literature? Of what value is literature? It is helpful to think about the role of literature […]

The Lord of the Rings and the Five Dimensions of a Story

Five Dimensions of a Story

Every story, long or short, has five dimensions. They are usually called its 1) plot, 2) characters, 3) setting, 4) style, and 5) theme. We could call them respectively, the story’s 1) work, 2) workers, 3) world, 4) words, and 5) wisdom. “Philosophy” means “the love of wisdom.” So a story’s philosophy is one of […]

There is a Special Providence

Special Providence

“The time is out of joint,” utters Prince Hamlet to his close friend Horatio after encountering the Ghost of his recently deceased father, King Hamlet, on the battlements of Elsinore. Hailing from a purgatorial realm, the Majesty of Buried Denmark has come to inform Hamlet of the true nature of his death—that he was murdered […]

Wardrobes are for Grown-Ups Too

Grown-Ups Too

By any stretch of the imagination, and by any criteria, the Chronicles of Narnia are among the most popular books ever written. Several major surveys of the bestselling books of all time place The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in the Top Ten, a few places below The Lord of the Rings by C. […]

A Long Day’s Journey Into Paradise

Journey Into Paradise

In the Winter 2018 issue of The Classical Teacher, I wrote about the notion of the journey, suggesting that how we get to any worthy destination may in fact be the most important part of the experience. The journey is not always about the future destination; sometimes it is about the inner growth that takes […]

How We Get There Is Where We’ll Arrive

Heading Out Beyond here there’s no map. How you get there is where you’ll arrive; how, dawn by dawn, you can see your way to feel. You’ve no need now clear: in ponds, sky, just as woods you walk through give to fields. And rivers: beyond all burning, you’ll cross on bridges you’ve long lugged […]