Author Archives: Matt

A Castaway’s Spiritual Odyssey

“Those people cannot enjoy comfortably what God has given them because they see and covet what He has not given them. All of our discontents for what we want appear to me to spring from want of thankfulness for what … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Religion

The Gothic Mystery of Maud Ruthyn

Some books play hard to get, but they are worth the effort. It took me three or four tries to get through the entirety of Moby Dick. Another long-term investment was J. S. LeFanu’s Uncle Silas.  The mid-Victorian prose is … Continue reading

Posted in Literature

Revenge of Conscience

I am borrowing the title of this post from a book by Dr. J. Budziszeswki.* This is not a review of that excellent work, though it contemplates similar themes. Recently I watched Scarlet Street, a 1945 film noir starring Edward … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy

Kant’s Categorical Imperative to the Rescue?

At the top of my reading pile is a Wall Street Journal op-ed in which Prof. Paula Marantz Cohen argues for Kant’s Categorical Imperative in “easing the civility crisis.” The first imperative of the German Enlightenment philosopher “suggests that how … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy

A Liberal Confession

The self-examination in question is that of historian David Wooten, an avowed liberal, writing in History Today. The article, “What’s Wrong with Liberalism,” offers what I think is a fair assessment of the ambitions, and pitfalls, of modern liberalism going … Continue reading

Posted in History, Philosophy, Politics

Old Resolutions are Best

“Lay down from this moment a certain character and pattern of behaviour for yourself, which you are to preserve both when you’re alone and when you’re with others.”—Epictetus (Handbook, 33) The famous Stoic writer sets forth the traditional program of … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Stoicism

A Necessary Luxury

“Books, indeed, were his sole luxuries….”—Edgar Allan Poe, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” A colleague recently told me that her job is the most important thing in her life. I think I scandalized her when I said that the … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Literature

Mystery for the Holidays

“I had called upon my friend Sherlock Holmes upon the second morning after Christmas, with the intention of wishing him the compliments of the season. He was lounging upon the sofa in a purple dressing-gown, a pipe-rack within his reach … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Literature

Weinbaum’s Tour of the Solar System

The holidays are always a great time to pick up some light reading. In this post I want to pay tribute to the short-lived but brilliant career of science fiction writer Stanley Weinbaum (1902-35). I was first introduced to Weinbaum’s … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction

Imlac’s Political Advice

The advice in question comes not from my blogging alter-ego, but from the original Imlac of Samuel Johnson’s novel Rasselas. As the elderly sage says to the young prince in the story: “no form of government has been yet discovered, … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Philosophy, Politics, Samuel Johnson