Author Archives: Matt

This is the Last

“Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.” — Marcus Aurelius Traditionally I have taken a break from blogging at the onset of Lent, and this moment provides a particular sense of closure. … Continue reading

Posted in Miscellaneous

Some Notes on Living

The time that I have not spent recently in blogging has been devoted to an online course on Communist Russia. Taking a momentary break, and picking through my accumulated notes from recent weeks’ reading, I thought this comment by Samuel … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Religion, Samuel Johnson, Stoicism

More Orwellian Reminiscences

I’m rummaging around in Orwell Remembered, a series of recollections about the famous English novelist. I remarked on the volume a couple of years ago and was tangentially prompted to pick it up again while sampling a friend’s bottle of … Continue reading

Posted in George Orwell, Literature

Off the Shelf Remarks

Paying a holiday visit to a used bookstore, I reluctantly passed up a couple of enticing volumes. It was, I decided, better to conserve my depleted funds and catch up on the already prodigious stack accumulating by my bedside. First … Continue reading

Posted in Literature

Just Jazz

It’s nice to comment on music again. I am prompted by a recent Wall Street Journal column “Elevating the Great American Songbook” by Terry Teachout. He poses the question often on my mind: Will jazz ever become popular again? I … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture

Tales From the Golden Age

Recently I’ve taken time out with books from the “Golden Age” of science fiction. The first two entries are from the Winston series of the 1950s-60s, aimed at younger readers. The stories are definitely more facile, but action packed—the sort … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction

Humanity, Ideology and Individual Destiny

“There may be community… of material possessions, but there can never be community of love or of esteem.”—Samuel Johnson, Rasselas Continuing my reading of French philosopher Raymond Aron, I came across some passages which confirm the age-old insight that humanity’s … Continue reading

Posted in Existentialism, Philosophy, Politics, Religion

From His Age to Ours: St. Bede the Historian

Relatively little is known about the Englishman St. Bede (672-735), traditionally referred to as the “Venerable Bede,” who lived in that misty period known as the Dark Ages. Even so, the genius of the Benedictine monk who labored at the … Continue reading

Posted in History, Religion

Adversity and Gratitude

“As no man can enjoy happiness without thinking that he enjoys it, the experience of calamity is necessary to a just sense of better fortune: for the good of our present state is merely comparative, and the evil which every … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Stoicism

The Pursuit of Intellectual Integrity

“To pursue examination with a mind free of contemporary or private preconceptions is extremely difficult.”—Moses Hadas A recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal highlights the continued challenges to intellectual freedom in higher education. In its November 17 column, … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Politics