Essay / Literature

The Monastic and Intellectual Ethos of Gerard Manley Hopkins

Gerard Manley Hopkins was born on July 28, 1844 in Stratford, England into what we could consider a middle-class family. Perhaps not surprising given the shape of his poetry, Hopkins had a sensitive nature compared with his father’s demanding nature. As one of nine children,

Essay / Literature

The Gates of Linden Hills

A pilgrim and his poet-guide, side by side, gaze up at the gates and read the weather-beaten inscription: I am the way out of the city of woeI am the way to a prosperous peopleI am the way from eternal sorrow If you know your

Essay / Literature

Iliad: Why the Lattimore Translation

The curriculum of Torrey Honors College starts out with Homer’s Iliad. This means the book has a special place in the life of our program: students we have admitted into the program but haven’t met in person yet mostly read it in advance over the

Essay / Art

Jesse Hamm, Cartoonist’s Cartoonist

Comics artist Jesse Hamm has died. Jesse worked in comic books at all levels: from the self-published days of photocopied zines, up through small presses and indie/alternative publishers, to Marvel & DC. Click through to the obituary at comics.com for a list of his most

Essay / Education

Four Great African American Books

Here are four books that Torrey Honors officially recommends, and by “officially” I mean that we have built them into the heart of our great books program. So we will be cycling through them every year with students, because they are proven masterpieces that bear

Essay / Education

Redefining Freedom on the Frontier

If Western civilization as we know it were to collapse, I think I will last a week, month, or maybe even a year longer, simply for having read the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Pa and Ma are simply amazing. I’ve learned

Essay / Education

Following and Sight: Lewis’ Retelling of “The Bacchae”

“‘Till We Have Faces” is not the only myth Lewis retold. In fact, he loved retelling myths. And while you may have noted the conspicuous presence of Bacchus at the end of Prince Caspian and the amazing feast that follows, you may not have caught some of

Essay / Literature

A Wrinkle in Time Among the Great Books

Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was published in 1962. A few years ago, several Torrey professors had a panel discussion about this strange book that had stayed in print for 50 years, finding new audiences all the time. Now that the Ava DuVernay-directed Disney

Essay / Education

The Ideal in Pride and Prejudice (Common Room)

Check out this conversation on a Jane Austen novel: it’s a chat among two philosophers and an Old Testament prof, so it gets philosophical and theological (Aristotle and Proverbs are both invoked). But it’s also powerfully good reflection on a book that all three participants

Essay / Literature

A Few Writing Tips

Some tips on writing that I posted on a friend’s blog back in 2010, but which have gone missing from the internet since then. Lightly revised and updated, they still represent my best advice about the craft of writing. 1. Read for craft. Once you’ve

Essay / Education

How to Read TWO Books (Erasmus Addlepate)

File this under “weird books I have encountered.” Erasmus Addlepate’s 1940 How to Read Two Books: It’s obviously a spoof of Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book. You can tell from Addlepate’s supposed other books like How to Get Up int he Morning that

Essay / Education

How to Use a Book Instead of Receiving It

In his 1961 book An Experiment in Criticism, C.S. Lewis describes the difference between reading a book to encounter what is in it, and using a book for other reasons. There are lots of other reasons to use a book, some petty and some profound,