SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Victoria Seed

February 17, 2021
Welcome back to the Literary Helpdesk where this week–and always–we are dust unto dust. This is the day the Church puts on ashes to make the beginning of our great season of penitence. Traditionally, this sign of penitence is heralded with the proclamation: Memento, homo, quia pulvis est, et in pulverem reverteris. (Remember, O man,
February 08, 2021
Welcome back to the Literary Helpdesk where this time we are mulling issues of authenticity.  For my far-flung readers, some context: the UK is in a second full lockdown. Unlike Lockdown-Lite in November, schools are closed, “non-essential” shops are closed. Ditto pubs and restaurants. Stay-at-home orders are in place. No travel, no non-essential journeys anywhere.
January 22, 2021
Welcome back to the Literary Helpdesk, where this week we have been rather distracted by the rather sudden switch to homeschooling, or, er “remote learning,” as it is now known, here in England.  I say distracted. Perhaps blindsided is a better word? Bludgeoned over the head? Confined against my will? For those outside the UK,
December 27, 2020
Welcome back to the Literary Helpdesk, and Merry Christmas. Christmas literature, film and poetry are regrettably replete with trite tropes and maudlin sentiment. I don’t mean this as a ‘Bah humbug!’ to the great Solemnity, but rather as the lament of one who loves Christmas and its ceremonials: its music, food and drink, decorations, parties,
December 22, 2020
The chaos is a part of the joy.
November 21, 2020
Readers are advised that this essay contains disturbing details of horrific crimes. Welcome back to the Literary Helpdesk. In an ordinary week I would begin this column by saying that we are contemplating the image of Mary Magdalene, because we are, but I have other things on my mind as well, and they are what
November 17, 2020
Welcome back to the Literary Helpdesk, where this week we are wondering about People Like That. You know the kind of people I mean. People Like That. People who think that way, and do those things, and behave like that. They probably vote like that, too. Ugh. People. They give me headaches. Fortunately, for all
October 30, 2020
Welcome back to the Literary Helpdesk, where this week we are righteously indignant and spilling ink on our editor’s dime, and I’m promised he buys by the barrel.  Last week, on the same day the Literary Helpdesk published, Chapter House featured a piece by another regular columnist, Niall Gooch, with the hook The need for
October 22, 2020
Welcome back to the Literary Helpdesk, where we are meditating upon patience (which is far easier than acquiring it, believe you me!). You might think that reading books like War and Peace or Moby Dick necessarily takes patience. It takes a long time to read them after all. The thing is, how long something takes
October 14, 2020
Welcome back to the Literary Helpdesk where this week we are disenchanted with dystopia. Reading this in 2020 you might think this is commentary on current events: plague, politics, polarisations, and so forth. But actually I mean all the stories — in print and film — that make an idol of bleakness. (My husband has
October 01, 2020
“What is pornography?” is the nutshell version of one major question Victoria Seed this week on the Literary Helpdesk. Another: “What’s so bad about it?” The answers may be clear and the conclusions inevitable, but the way by which we approach the questions and reach the answers is not a matter of critical — hence,
September 17, 2020
The changed – and changing – rhythms of life in ‘ronatide can be jarring. They can also lead to poetry. Welcome back to the Literary Helpdesk, where we are out of sorts. I’ve had a cold and it didn’t get me out of doing anything. This was especially aggravating because, to quote Mary from Persuasion:
February 17, 2021
During the pandemic the air can feel as small and dry as the Eliot finds it at the outset of Ash Wednesday, and the will easily contracts, succumbing to a sort of lassitude that is neither care nor stillness.
February 08, 2021
Constructing a film out of a story as beloved of readers as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, or indeed Pride and Prejudice or Brideshead Revisited, is a delicate art. Very often, the result is a phenomenal disappointment. We will all have myriad examples to prove this. Not all films are worthy of their titles. 
January 14, 2021
Lisa Montgomery’s execution was not justice. It did not make the world better, restore it to order, or net off the debt of sin.
November 01, 2020
Victoria Seed says the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales are right to demand the government account for the suppression of public worship.
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