SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Arts
October 03, 2019
Carl Curtis
Carnival Row (Amazon Prime drama series) opens with a prologue, as a tale of strange places, peoples and creatures must. It’s spoken by Vignette Stonemoss (Cara Delevingne): “For generations we thrived peacefully in a land called Tirnanoc. We are fawns, trolls, centaurs and the stewards of riches and secrets your people will never know. We
September 26, 2019
The Catholic Herald
Next time you are listening to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony or Mahler’s Second, imagine what it would have been like to be there for the first performance. Imagine the excitement of buying a ticket to hear a new Beethoven or Mahler symphony. Think of the impact that concert might have had on you, and then imagine
September 26, 2019
Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith
The BBC’s Inside the Vatican relies, we are told in its somewhat breathless publicity, on unprecedented access to the inner workings of the Vatican City State. But viewers hoping for a fly-on-the-wall documentary that would tell them something they did not already know, or which could not be gleaned from other readily available sources, would
September 19, 2019
Francis O’Gorman
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) is one of the most celebrated poets in English. And one of the most difficult to talk about in relation to belief. He was born into a Protestant Ascendency family. His grandfather had been the Church of Ireland rector of Drumcliff in County Sligo. And Yeats himself tells a familiar, almost
September 19, 2019
David V Barrett
William Blake lies in Bunhill Fields cemetery in London, a couple of hundred yards away from the Catholic Herald’s office. His grave was recently rediscovered, and a new memorial stone laid a year ago, bearing lines from his poem Jerusalem. Touchingly, there is always a vase of freshly cut flowers at his grave. The new
September 12, 2019
Peter Davison
In the early 1980s, I was lucky enough to sing evensong four times a week with the Chapel Choir of Jesus College, Cambridge. It was always a thrill whenever we performed the music of Herbert Howells (1892-1983). His ethereal harmonies seemed to float into the chapel’s high spaces with spine-tingling intensity, often supported by an
September 12, 2019
Deal Hudson
Audiobook publishing is booming. Last year publishers took in nearly a billion dollars, up 28 per cent from the previous one. The smartphone has made it easy to listen anywhere. But the accessibility of the audiobook accounts for only part of its dramatic growth. There’s a unique power in hearing a good book read well,
September 05, 2019
David Staines
Born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, to Gaelic-speaking parents from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Alistair MacLeod returned with his family to their roots in Inverness County, Cape Breton, when he was 10. Although he later obtained his doctorate at the University of Notre Dame with a dissertation on Thomas Hardy and eventually taught for more than
September 05, 2019
Carl Curtis
As Netflix Originals’ The Family tells it, the National Prayer Breakfast held annually in Washington, DC, is the brainchild of a decades-old organisation called The Family, which is really a cabal bent on destroying the constitutional separation of Church and state. And, declares Jeff Sharlet, author of the book from which the documentary series takes
August 29, 2019
Anthony Esolen
When Pope Honorius crowned the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) by proclaiming the new feast of Corpus Christi – a triduum of joy from the Thursday following Trinity Sunday to echo the triduum of Holy Week and Easter – the Catholic world responded with a burst of artistic creativity unmatched since the days of Ancient Greece.
August 29, 2019
Carl Curtis
Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation (BBC iPlayer/Amazon Prime/PBS) offers a somewhat unexpected picture of the 1969 rock festival. Its producers wisely chose not to present a bunch of rock acts – the film Woodstock (1970) does that – preferring to go behind the scenes and recount the difficulties in choosing a site and
August 22, 2019
Peter Davison
The composer Gerald Finzi (1901-56) was shy, modest and sensitive. Descended on his father’s side from Italian Jews, the Finzis were otherwise a typical middle-class English family until a series of childhood tragedies contributed to Gerald’s extreme introversion. He lost his father when he was eight, and his three elder brothers died before he had
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