On Catholic authors

16 05 2019

A perhaps unpopular take that I had recently is that, in the English-speaking world, erudite Catholics used literature to replace an actual Catholic culture. Or perhaps a better way to put it is that they use literature to make up for the fact that English does not have a Catholic culture in which to speak. While certain convert authors seem to be popular elsewhere (for example, I know Tolkien and Chesterton have a following in the Catholic right in Latin America, mainly for their fiction), in general the concerns of the Catholic mind elsewhere have little to do with authors who originally wrote in English. I don’t really think that people in Catholic countries consider certain authors to be “Catholic authors,” but mainly just authors, or the role of literature is somewhat muted viz. their Faith. Read the rest of this entry »

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Conservatism as titillation

5 12 2018

 

You can talk about John Kennedy Toole’s novel, A Confederacy of Dunces, from many angles, but here I wish to focus on the main character Ignatius J. Reilly’s views on modernity and how they are manifested in the narrative. As a brief introduction, Reilly is portrayed as a nee’r-do-well living in early 1960’s New Orleans who has failed to launch at the age of 30. He seems unable to hold down a job and protects himself from the world through his eccentric dress and constant excuses for failure. With more education than common sense, Reilly’s criticisms of his time are constant: entertainment is decadent, the Church is rife with heresy, sex is an ever-present abomination, etc. Instead of withdrawing into a cloister or at least walking away from the city, Reilly continues to plop himself right into the fray of things he despises. Like the proverbial gawker at a car crash, he simply can’t look away from that which he pretends to despise. Read the rest of this entry »





Phyllis et Aristotles

11 05 2011

ONCE upon a time, Aristotle taught Alexander that he should restrain himself from frequently approaching his wife, who was very beautiful, lest he should impede his spirit from seeking the general good. Alexander acquiesed to him. The queen, when she perceived this and was upset, began to draw Aristotle to love her. Many times she crossed paths with him alone, with bare feet and disheveled hair, so that she might entice him.

At last, being enticed, he began to solicit her carnally. She says,

“This I will certainly not do, unless I see a sign of love, lest you be testing me. Therefore, come to my chamber crawling on hand and foot, in order to carry me like a horse. Then I’ll know that you aren’t deluding me.”

When he had consented to that condition, she secretly told the matter to Alexander, who lying in wait apprehended him carrying the queen. When Alexander wished to kill Aristotle, in order to excuse himself, Aristotle says,

If thus it happened to me, an old man most wise, that I was deceived by a woman, you can see that I taught you well, that it could happen to you, a young man.”

Hearing that, the king spared him, and made progress in Aristotle’s teachings.

AND they lived happily ever after. Source





Stolen from a friend

7 02 2011

It occurred to me while thinking about this how we naturally assume that prose is the “first” language and that “poetry” is a development from it. But why should this be so? Surely animals are born, copulate and die quite efficiently (sometimes more efficiently) than the “speaking” animal. Where the first words spoken by humans “Sell consols and buy blue chip”? Don’t you think it would have been more like:

Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus,
that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans.