American literature

The Cross, the Crescent, or the Swastika?

If the past month has been chaotic in America, it has seen some bloody scenes here in Europe. On the morning of October 29, a 21-year old Tunisian national entered the Basilica of Notre Dame in Nice, France began knifing the three people he found there. He virtually severed the head of an elderly lady, [...]

Fatherless Sons in Flannery O’Connor’s “The Lame Shall Enter First”

As the city’s recreation director, Sheppard took an interest in the youth he encountered in his work, and also volunteered to counsel troubled boys at the reformatory, “receiving nothing for it but the satisfaction of knowing he was helping boys no one else cared about.” His idea of “help,” however, assumes the form of social [...]

Romance Porn: More Women are Addicted Than You Think

Every year, pornography tangles up millions of people in its sticky spider webs. It rolls them up like hapless flies, and sucks out their brains until they are pretty much the walking dead. Christians are not exempt. And we are finally starting to admit it and talk about it. But there is still something missing [...]

On Respecting Children When They Make Mistakes

Helping children navigate the road to virtue is a challenging task. Thousands of books, articles, videos, and programs present strategies for how to discipline children effectively. Many parents have found tremendous help this way, and the abundance of information available for struggling families can be a gift from God in difficult and complicated situations. Two [...]

Fideism: Bad in Literature As Well As Religion

Most of my work as an English professor at a small, religiously conservative teaching college in the Midwest consists of the duties called for in a generalist: freshman composition, American literature surveys, and genre-specific classes for our majors and minors. Occasionally I run a Christianity and Literature course which, at a college like mine, draws [...]

Trent’s Last Case by E. C. Bentley: First Among Mysteries?

London, 1936. Gilbert Keith Chesterton was dead, leaving the President’s Chair of the Detection Club vacant. Under deep mourning, the bereaved club members assembled to nominate a new president. Among those present were Fr. Ronald Knox, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and the late Mr. Chesterton’s friend of friends, Edmund Clerihew Bentley. The vote was [...]

The Human Condition in Cather’s My Antonia

Dr. Johnson remarked that a noble purpose of great literature “is to enable the readers better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.” Willa Cather’s My Antonia, a novel about immigrants travelling to the Midwest to farm the land as pioneers, provides great wisdom on the art of enduring life better. Portraying the universality [...]

Farmer Boy and the Value of Handing Down Stories

Almanzo Wilder cannot believe his eyes. “Whose sled is that, Father?” he asks, bewildered. “Is it—it isn’t for me?” Mother laughs and Father twinkles his eyes and asks, “Do you know any other nine-year-old that wants it?” It is Almanzo’s ninth birthday. In his family’s farmhouse in upstate New York, his parents have just sent [...]

Unmanly Men in Flannery O’Connor’s Short Stories

Many of O’Connor’s stories portray the ineptness of men to uphold traditional ideals of manhood. The men show no leadership, they do not protect or care for their family members, they lack all manner of chivalry, and they lose a sense of priority as they commit to careers and professions or social and political agendas [...]

Poe’s The Black Cat: The Perverseness Which Passeth Understanding

Even as nature falls asleep under the fiery spell of autumn, there awakens in the lords of nature a keen spiritual sensitivity that can be a type of perversity. Fall inspires fallen men with a fascination in tales of terror and supernatural horror, tales that dwell on dark mysteries that transcend the regular course of [...]

The House of Usher & the House of Poe: Celebrating 175 Years of Horror

Edgar Allan Poe. Enigmatic. Eccentric. Erratic. Melancholic. Alcoholic. Neurotic. But above all else, Fantastic. Throughout his 40 tormented years of life, Edgar Allan Poe was widely hailed as a genius for the black brilliance of his art. He is the undisputed master of the macabre and the father of the supernatural and psychological thriller. Conjured [...]

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