Category Archives: Literature

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 […]

Four Stages to the Central One Idea

Discovering and internalizing the Central One Idea in a great work is vital for proper reading and for cultivating wisdom and virtue.1 There are four stages of acquisition and expression that can be used to lead the student (and teacher) to this Central One Idea. The four-stage sequence is rooted in the trivium—grammar, logic, and […]

More Important Than The Cosmos Itself

why literature matters

Why study literature? This question is often asked by indignant parents, who want to know why their children, destined for business, learn fancy subjects instead of things serviceable to them in life. An open and alert mind—which understands human nature and its possibilities, which can judge and sympathise, which, because of its wide survey and […]

How J. R. R. Tolkien Used Middle-Earth to Reveal Who We Are

J. R. R. Tolkien

In his famous essay on fairy stories, J. R. R. Tolkien asserted that one of the most important facets of fairytales is that they hold up a “Mirror of scorn and pity towards Man.” The fairy story, Tolkien wrote, “may be used as a Mirour de l’Omme” (mirror of man), as something that shows us […]

The Saving Power of Story

Saving Power of Story

“Great works of art pass through us like storm winds, flinging open the doors of perception, pressing upon the architecture of our beliefs with their transforming powers …” – George Steiner One of life’s great little mysteries, if not ironies, remains the unpredictability of what children will grow up to do for their life’s work. […]

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