Monday, May 29, 2017

Hamletizing

Hamlet's dilemmas, so profound at one level, are so utterly mundane at another. If Hamlet embodies Western Man (and he does), can we really say that the West is a fundamentally Christian culture?

Friday, May 26, 2017

As I Read Faulkner


Image result for faulkner as i lay dying book"Both books are autocommentaries on the subject of death. In the former I found the fear of death, a fear manifested by the constant nonchalant provocation of death. The latter book features the acceptance of death as the fundamental fate of the human person. I prefer the latter comportment. Reminding ourselves of death is always useful, even if doing so does not always lead to salvation. The recollection of death restores the correct hierarchy between things in order of importance. It invites pondering life from the proper perspective. It makes banal truths fresh again."
-Henryk Krzeczkowski On 2 unnamed books by Hemingway & Faulkner

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Face Book contra The Great Book

Amongst the more obtuse things Gombrowicz wrote in his diaries, few are as unjust as his opinion that the author of Quo Vadis was a "first rate second rate writer."

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Bacchanalia avec Daudet

Many years ago, before the dawn of Google Translate, I spent a long calm summer with an English-French dictionary and André Malreux's La Tentation de l'Occident. It was an exercise in futility, I remember almost nothing brilliant and can only say that Malraux kept alive my dying French.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Krzeczkowski's Faulkner

Henryk Krzeczkowski's thoughts on Faulkner and other Anglo-American authors are Spartan insofar as he seperates the Men from the Boys.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Is Universalism a Weakness in Shakespeare?

Poor Shakespeare. He suffers what so often is the fate of all great writers: the reputations of centuries of relative mediocrities have been built on explaining his greatness to us. Thus a prejudice has come into effect that only an illiterate or an enemy of culture would dare question the value of Shakespeare, presumably defying a tradition incorrectly considered Shakespearian when it is in reality the tradition of Shakespeare "experts."

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Blundering into Dishonour


There is a great strain of self-awareness in national literature which unfortunately poses little danger of penetrating the national psyche. Evelyn Waugh's writing is a prime example.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Conrad, politics, Dostoyevsky

"Mr. Kurtz, he dead."
- Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

"Smerdyakov hanged himself an hour ago"
-Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov XI/9 The Devil Ivan Fyodorovich's Nightmare

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Ignatiun Spirituality and the Error of Intellectualization


Image result for pope francis ignatiusReflecting with Father Józef Augustyn SJ on the subject of St. Ignatius's Spiritual Exercises, one quickly realizes what it is that the modern world cannot understand about Pope Francis's approach to Western European civilization. Western rationalism, so firmly encrusted in Catholic dogma that it remains the basis of anti-Catholic dogma, is aimed at the intellect, but not at the spirit.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Polish dilemmas in Conrad's Nostromo

Image result for dabrowski marching from italy"He also had his aspirations, he aspired to carry her away out of these deadly futilities of pronunciamientos and reforms."

- The Isabels, Chapter 5
Conrad's Nostromo

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Interestingly Inconsequential: Alphonse Daudet

"Inevitably they marchent à la morte - and they are very near the truth of our common destiny: their fate is poignant, it is intensely interesting and of not the slightest consequence."
- Joseph Conrad on Alphonse Daudet
Notes on Life & Letters (1921)

Education & The Christian in the hierarchy of beings

"Thinking which has not trembled in the face of the eternal mystery of existence, that essentially endless sea of truth, has never conceptualized itself, let alone its object." - Balthasar, Theologik II.A.2

Intimacy in the Theologics of Hans Urs Von Balthasar

Besides the obvious inclination towards spying the love of a man and a woman in these theological reflections, I could not help but think of Icons.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

A Box of Poetry

One of the inevitable consequences of surveying a random mix of classical ancient and modern poetry (a happy accident it was my good fortune to partake of) is the opportunity such practice affords to juxtapose a wide variety of poetic forms and content at the level of impressions rather than analysis.