Shakespeare and Douglass: Giving Speech to the Soul

In the eighth chapter of his autobiography, Frederick Douglass describes the loneliness that alone attends his grandmother in her final days. Continue reading Shakespeare and Douglass: Giving Speech to the Soul


“Over the Bent World”

To celebrate today’s feast of Pentecost, my church placed an abundance of spring foliage on the floor before the iconostasis. The blue and red-robed icons of Christ and Mary the Theotokos rose right out of the vernal turf — a vision of their thrones in paradise. Continue reading “Over the Bent World”

SparkNotes and Your Soul

What’s wrong with SparkNotes? I’ve always joked with my English students that SparkNotes will make them shallow, but I’ve never articulated to them (or myself) exactly why. Continue reading SparkNotes and Your Soul


What Marx Missed

In an essay on the French coup of 1851 (in which the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte took over as emperor), Karl Marx writes that “all great world-historic facts and personages” repeat themselves: “the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.” Continue reading What Marx Missed


Consolation on Veterans Day

Veterans Day — My parents spent time with my grandfather today reminiscing about his time in the Navy. He enlisted (underage) during World War II and served aboard the USS San Francisco. Continue reading Consolation on Veterans Day


Looking at Saint Luke

Today the church celebrates the feast of Saint Luke. On his Vultus Christi blog, Dom Mark Kirby describes Luke’s gospel as a “rosary of icons”–a series of events from the life of Christ upon which to meditate. Continue reading Looking at Saint Luke


Eavesdropping on the Sacra Conversazione

During the Italian Renaissance, an art form emerged known as the sacra conversazione or “sacred conversation.” Fra Angelico, Filippo Lippi, later Titian and others painted the Madonna and Christ Child talking with saints and sometimes the artist’s own patrons. Recalling Dante’s beatific vision, figures otherwise separated by time and space meet in the planes of these paintings. Continue reading Eavesdropping on the Sacra Conversazione