SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Arts
August 21, 2020
David Crystal
Typo was originally a short form of typographer – that is, a printer. Its first known use is 1816, but by the end of the century it had come to have its present-day meaning: a typographical error. Of course it leaves open the question of whether an error is inadvertent or deliberate. I choose this
August 06, 2020
Konstantin von Eggert
Seventy-five, 1945, 1418 … To understand the concept of the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ one needs to know the meaning of these numbers. The cathedral, an imposing edifice in the town of Odintsovo near Moscow, was consecrated in June by Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church and is now the official church
July 22, 2020
Constance Watson
It is a treasured place for fiction lovers: the house in the village of Chawton, Hampshire, where Jane Austen lived for the last eight years of her life, from 1809 to 1817, and wrote some of her best-known novels. But last month the house, now a museum, was threatened with permanent closure due to the
July 10, 2020
Edward Feser
That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, and Universal Salvation By David Bentley Hart Yale University Press, 222pp, £20/$26 Eastern Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart denies that hell is everlasting. He does not merely claim that we have grounds for hope for the salvation of all. Nor does he hold that the unsaved will be
July 10, 2020
Elizabeth Lev
I was a single mum in Rome during the heyday of The West Wing, so I come to this a couple of decades and a few elections short, but my quarantine catch-up came as a shock. One of the smartest examples of TV writing I have ever seen, The West Wing has a captivating cast
July 10, 2020
Matthew Schmitz
Perry Mason HBO/Sky Atlantic Like most shows produced by HBO, Perry Mason wants to be taken seriously as prestige drama, not mere TV. So in the early minutes of the first episode, we hear characters gratuitously using the f-word and view a dead baby with its eyelids sewn open (a sight not made any less
June 30, 2020
Benjamin Ivry
Giuseppe Ungaretti admired Catholicism, but went in a very different direction
June 26, 2020
The Catholic Herald
The prominent Black Lives Matter activist, Shaun King, this week argued that depictions of a “white Jesus” should be taken down because they are a “gross form of white supremacy.” “I think the statues of the white European they claim is Jesus should also come down,” the 40-year-old tweeted, adding that the call extended to
June 12, 2020
Jacob Phillips
After Life Netflix It was hard not to feel some admiration for Ricky Gervais’s speech at the Golden Globes this year, when he took Hollywood celebrities to task for rank hypocrisy. On the woke posturing of the same A-Listers who work for ethically dubious corporations, Gervais commented: “If ISIS started a streaming service, you’d call
June 12, 2020
Sir James MacMillan
Beethoven’s symphonies have come to be seen as the pinnacle of artistic achievement in music. The distinguished art historian Alessandra Comini described Beethoven’s music as having “revelatory dimensions”. The composer himself described his work as a divine art, and he regarded his symphonies as not merely products of high craftsmanship, but expressions of a moral
June 12, 2020
Rowan Williams
David Jones, one of the foremost Catholic artists of the 20th century, might once have been regarded as an acquired taste; but things are changing fast. He is often hard work. His painting shifts from boldly modernistic renditions of landscapes – mostly Wales and suburban London – to ethereally delicate, almost transparent still life studies,
June 12, 2020
Marybeth Treston Hagan
AKA Jane Roe FX Norma McCorvey’s life was full of contradictions. She was best known as “Jane Roe”, the name given her in the “Roe v Wade” legal proceedings that led to the effective legalisation of abortion by the US Supreme Court in 1973. She then adamantly advocated for legal abortion in the late 1980s,
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