Friday, June 16, 2017

A Mirror Upon Our Vices: Shakespeare's Hamlet

Image result for hamletWhereas Julius Caesar is my favorite Shakespeare play on account of its' magnificent presentation of Western virtues, Hamlet is by far Shakespeare's most enduring presentation of Western vices. For what else is going on in Hamlet but the systematic renunciation of Christian morality in personal and state life and the simultaneous casual undertaking of war against Poland - the Christ of Europe?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Meditations on Cat's Years of Hope

Image result for lata nadziei cat mackiewicz"All revolutions are amoral and sadistic - the French, the Bolshevik, the Nazi revolution...Social movements are born from Christ's teaching to love thy neighbor, but all revolutions renounce Christ..."
- Stanisław Cat Mackiewicz,

Years of Hope, p.110 Germany, Aphorism II

"I am of the same opinion as those who proclaim that the moral rebirth of nations is only possible through a return to the teachings of Christ"
- Stanisław Cat Mackiewicz,
Years of Hope, p.110 Germany, Aphorism III

Sunday, June 11, 2017

What Kind of Man is Nostromo?

What do we make of a man like Nostromo at the end of Book II of Conrad's epic South American novel? Above all we must recognize that he is the necessary associate of all revolutions. Pride cometh before the Fall: Nostromo appears always just prior to the revolution devouring its children.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Petronius in Heaven?

Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.
- William Wordsworth
The World is Too Much With Us

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Case of Kryspus: A Time for All Things

Image result for kryspus quo vadisKryspus is one of the greatest characters in Sienkiewicz's Quo Vadis because if the purpose of well-constructed characters in literature is to deepen our understanding of the art of being human, then few fulfill this function as well as the fanatical Christian zealot.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

When Nero married Pythagoras: The Last Act in the Death of The West

Image result for nero i pythagorasI cannot help but return for a moment to the last political battle of the so-called "culture wars" in the United States; the debate over "gay marriage" as I re-read Quo Vadis and ponder Petronius's exclamation that Rome had reached bottom when the Emperor married his boy - the last event prior to Rome collapsing in flames. Is this where the West is today?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Best Book Ever Written about the West

Image result for vinicius and lygiaQuo Vadis is the best book ever written about the West. It represents what is best in the West, and in that sense it is an American book, whose author was generally inspired by the American frontier in some of his other works no less than by Greek and Roman history in this one. Yet it is also a book which shows us very plainly that the West is indeed infected with a terrible sickness - a sickness that we would like to think was contained in Nero's character and receded into the past with the adoption of Christianity by all of Europe.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Faulkner & Chłopski Rozum

Personal experience is a terrible burden on the conscience when it runs so contrary to what passes for gritty realism in modern literature. Faulkner's As I Lay Dying no doubt invites us to consider the relation between poverty and morality insofar as the Bundren family are concerned. In theory, it seems a logical presumption that poverty is related to a lack of education, which in turn makes moral invalids of people - yet in practice, this is simply not true.