In a Nutshell

"By What Authority" brings the period of the Tudor Terror to life in a way that is hardly possible in a non-fictional historical narrative. We get to know the characters as they come to terms with the tyrannous time in which they’re living.

"By What Authority" brings the period of the Tudor Terror to life in a way that is hardly possible in a non-fictional historical narrative. We get to know the characters as they come to terms with the tyrannous time in which they’re living.

Home, like Rome, is a “holy place,” and The Four Men is full of spiritual premonitions of “the character of enduring things” amid the decay of time.

The Path to Rome by Hilaire Belloc is a work of humility and awe, of gratitude and hope, of faith and love.

There are indeed such things as moral and immoral books, whether well written or badly written. Moral books show us ourselves and our place in the cosmos.

Charles Dickens is arguably the finest writer in the English language after Shakespeare, and his "Tale of Two Cities" is by far his most popular work.

It may be Eastertide, but Christmas is in the air as Joseph Pearce continues his review series on the classics of Western literature.

The darkness of Wuthering Heights is driven by the refusal of the novel’s principal protagonists to love their neighbors or to forgive those who have sinned against them.

"The Betrothed" by Alessandro Manzoni is little known, but could be acclaimed as the greatest ever novel.

Mary Shelley seems to have learned the hard way that iconoclastic “freedoms” do not make men into gods, or women into goddesses, but that they turn men into monsters and women into their victims.

Whereas sense and sensibility can be separated, with disastrous consequences, pride and prejudice are always inseparable, the former always resulting in the latter.

Jane Austen is a giantess among giants, towering above the greatest writers of her own sex and indeed of both sexes. She holds her own among the greatest of all time.

A look at the classic tale of Gulliver's Travels.

Although almost all the great writers prior to the mid-seventeenth century had been Catholic in either sympathy or practice, John Milton (1608-74) took up the Protestant cause with revolutionary zeal. Following the victory of Cromwell’s Puritan army in the English Civil War, he supported and defended the execution of King Charles I. Then, in 1660, [...]

A look at the classic Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes.

The Tempest has unfortunately suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous abuse by modern critics, particularly critical race theorists.

Following hot on the heels of Macbeth and being first performed in late 1606 or early 1607, Antony and Cleopatra might be coupled with Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s earlier tragedy about erotic recklessness, written eleven years earlier. If, however, Romeo and Juliet might be forgiven for the follies of their head-weak and heart-strong youth, no [...]

Macbeth in a Nutshell

Apart from The Comedy of Errors, Macbeth, a tragedy of errors, is the shortest of Shakespeare’s plays. At only 2,107 lines it is barely half the length of Hamlet, with which it is often compared. The date of its composition is not certain, but several clues within the text suggest strongly that it was first [...]

King Lear interweaves the story of Lear and his daughters with the parallel story of Gloucester and his sons in such a way that we cannot truly speak of plot and subplot but only of co-plots woven together with majestic skill. Lear is betrayed by the deception of his self-serving daughters Regan and Goneril; Gloucester [...]

Othello in a Nutshell

Othello is the first of a triumvirate of tragedies written by Shakespeare during a particularly dark period of English history. Taken together with Macbeth and King Lear, both of which were written shortly afterward, Othello exhibits the angst and anger felt by Catholics following the reintroduction of laws which made the practice of the Catholic [...]

If Shylock in The Merchant of Venice is a thinly-veiled Puritan (see the earlier article in this series), so is Malvolio in Twelfth Night. Maria, in act two of Twelfth Night, describes Malvolio explicitly as “a kind of puritan,” and the critic Leslie Hotson has argued that Malvolio was modeled on the Puritan William Knollys, [...]

Hamlet in a Nutshell

Shakespeare’s Hamlet is arguably the greatest play ever written. It is, however, also one of the most misread and misunderstood. One could write a book, or perhaps a whole shelf-full of books, on the way in which the play is misconstrued by critics, or the manner in which it is sacrificed to the latest literary [...]

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