Matthew Arnold

The New Secular Puritan Covenant

Thanksgiving brings back memories for Americans of the Pilgrims and Puritans, carrying out their “errand into the wilderness” to build a “city on a hill,” surviving that first bleak Massachusetts winter of 1620-21. As a kid, I remember that cutting out Puritan hats from black construction paper and taping them to the school windows was [...]

Why the World Fears Beauty

I have always wondered why people enjoy scaring themselves, intentionally. Around Halloween, for instance, entertainment-seekers spend good money to have someone frighten them—perhaps by watching a horror movie, or at one of those warehouses filled with demented decorations and actors hired to dress up in hideous disguises and jump out from hidden places to frighten [...]

Our Summer of Silents

Silent movies were never silent; they were always accompanied by some manner of music, sometimes a full symphony orchestra led by white-tied and usually white-haired conductors, but more often the celebrated theater organist. For Chippy and me, this has been the summer of silents – excuse me – “pre-dialogue movies” more accurately describes the genre.  [...]

Newman and the Two Arnolds

  Matthew Arnold was the son of Dr. Thomas Arnold, the legendary headmaster of Rugby, who many decades after his death had the misfortune to be one of the four figures held up to ridicule in Lytton Strachey's landmark book, Eminent Victorians. (The other three were Florence Nightingale, Cardinal Manning, and General "Chinese" Gordon). Matthew, [...]

MENU