Category Archives: Thoughtful Essays

“A Very Mean Rank”: William Shakespeare, Brian Grazer, and Biographies that are Too Good to be True

As background to my year of reading Shakespeare (one play a month), I am reading Peter Ackroyd’s biography of Shakespeare. As in all of Akroyd’s historical writing, it is accessible, thoughtful, and remarkably quick-moving for a long book. He writes … Continue reading

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Bethlehem as the Hingepoint of History: C.S. Lewis’ Christmas Revolution Poem

It is difficult to see this poem in the Christmases that most of us are subjected to. I think that’s why C.S. Lewis became a bit of a Christmas curmudgeon in his latter days. But in the midst of his … Continue reading

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“A Sense of the Season”: C.S. Lewis’ Birthday Pivot and the Cambridge Inaugural Address

In the autumn of 1954 at the age of 56, C.S. Lewis was at the height of his academic career. After nearly two decades of research and writing English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, Excluding Drama, this magnum opus intensified … Continue reading

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Coleridge’s “Christabel,” Keats’ “La Belle Dame sans Merci,” and Early English Vampire Poems

I am preparing for my next discussion in “Folkloric Transformations: Vampires and Big Bad Wolves” at Signum University, and we have assigned Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s turn-of-the-century poem, “Christabel” (1797-1800). This 677-line poem comes out of Coleridge’s attempts to re-stage English … Continue reading

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“The Lady and Our Lady: Galadriel as a ‘Reflexion’ of Mary,” A Signum Thesis Theatre on Tolkien and Catholicism by Mickey Corso (Full Video)

Recently, Signum University MA student Mickey Corso presented his thesis “The Lady and Our Lady: Galadriel as a ‘Reflexion’ of Mary” to the public, which we were able to record for posterity. You can see the abstract and full discussion … Continue reading

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“C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien: Friendship, True Myth, And Platonism,” a Paper by Justin Keena

There is doubtless a significant amount of interest in the friendship of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis–both in the more formal setting of the Inklings and in their own literary and personal paths. I’ve written here and here about how … Continue reading

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Dance, Long, Leap, Speak, Conquer, Break: The Heart in C.S. Lewis’ Till We Have Faces

A friend of mine recently sent me a digital liturgy she had made for her church’s Zoom Vespers. As I typically haunt churches that look and feel more like small British rock revival concert, I am a bit of a … Continue reading

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Superinfection, COVID-19, and C.S. Lewis’ Till We Have Faces

I am sure I am not the only person who is looking back into history to help me think about the current moment of social unrest. In fact, I know I’m not. For example, I am following an engaging series … Continue reading

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The Grand Miracle, Or Easter in Everyday Life with C.S. Lewis (75th Anniversary)

On this Holy week near the close of WWII, C.S. Lewis preached a sermon called “The Grand Miracle” at St. Jude on the Hill Church in London. The talk was published two weeks later in The Guardian–following the last episode … Continue reading

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The Living Lie, But Dead Men Tell the Truth: The Screwtape Letters and Ivan Ilych

In Leo Tolstoy’s brilliant novella, The Death of Ivan Ilych (1886), there is a curious pun in the English translation I use (Aylmer Maude): “The dead man lay, as dead men always lie” (96). As the title suggests, The Death of Ivan … Continue reading

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