SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
November 15, 2018
November 15, 2018
On visiting the Wren Library in Cambridge Charles Lamb had an unwelcome shock. Inspecting the manuscript for Milton’s Lycidas, he was “staggered” to discover that the drafts were “interlined, corrected as if their words were mortal, alterable, displaceable at pleasure!” Before that “evil hour” when he confronted the artist in his workshop, he had regarded
November 15, 2018
The End by Karl Ove Knausgaard, Harvill Secker, 1,153pp, £25/$49.95 The English translation of The End, the final volume of the celebrated Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard’s epic six-novel sequence My Struggle, confirms something Norwegian critics and readers have told us for some time but British and American critics have struggled to believe: the scope
November 15, 2018
The Smoke of Satan By Philip Lawler, Tan Books, 216pp, £13/$16.95 Philip Lawler sees the big picture. His new book, subtitled How Corrupt and Cowardly Bishops Betrayed Christ, His Church, and the Faithful … and What Can Be Done About It, is diagnostic. It is an essay that uncovers the roots of the crisis in
November 15, 2018
Inventing the American Tradition by Jack David Eller, Reaktion Books, 304pp, £25/$30 Where do traditions come from? Their origins are generally supposed to be lost in the mists of antiquity, but this is clearly not the case with America, a country less than 250 years old. While the framers of the constitution were deliberately setting out
November 15, 2018
It was with sadness that I learnt the news of the recent death of Abbot Aldhelm Cameron-Brown, at 89. I met him probably fewer than 20 times but he had a profound impact on my formation. Prinknash Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in the west of England, was where I would escape periodically from the hurly-burly
November 15, 2018
Cryptic across 1 Insignificant number lacking zip in old musical brought back featuring, in Sam, a naughty girl (6) 4 Egyptian city’s almost flat seen next to mine (6) 9 French resort, after confederate’s volte-face, to acknowledge NT princess (7) 10 Press a rebellious part of OT Iran (5) 11 Bethany’s home to Judah’s grandson
November 15, 2018
The launch of the American edition of the Catholic Herald brings to these shores our own version of a journal that has been making British Catholic history since 1888. Such well-known British names as Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene have written for it in the past; GK Chesterton loved the Herald so much that he
November 15, 2018
Can Pope Francis impose a moratorium on the use of “mystery” in Catholic discourse? Can he ban it from official and semi-official Catholic journalism and the chatter of priests and prelates until further notice? It would be a salutary move, because these days the term has lost its precise theological meaning and morphed into a sort
November 15, 2018
The paradox of modern mass tourism is that we all want to visit beautiful places that aren’t spoilt by tourism, and yet each of us is a tourist who contributes in some sense to the destruction of those places. This is a subject that the visionary French writer Michel Houellebecq (pronounced “Welbeck”) explored brilliantly and
November 15, 2018
Style and substance You hold in your hands the first US edition of the Catholic Herald. It was 130 years in the making, but we think you’ll agree that it was worth the wait. We started in London in 1888. Our editors belonged to the second generation of English Catholics eligible to sit in Parliament
November 15, 2018
When Stravinsky wrote his own sober if seductive Mass setting, he stressed the importance of using emotionally cold music to ensure nothing obscured its spiritual purpose; so what he would have made of the Requiem Mass by Alfred Bruneau, a French composer (1857-1934) of crazily overheated Romantic ambition, one dreads to think. But then he probably
November 15, 2018
For the soldiers in the trenches of the First World War, the comforts of faith were essential. Indeed, so bravely did the French priests serve – often enrolling as humble squaddies (poilus) – that even the anti-clerical French leader Georges Clemenceau thanked them profusely after the war, and relaxed his formerly aggressive brand of secularism.