Author Archives: Matt

An Instance of Fortitude

In his “Essay on Epitaphs,” Samuel Johnson recalls the lines inscribed on the tomb of the Greek Stoic teacher: “Epictetus, who lies here, was a slave and a cripple, poor as the beggar in the proverb, and the favourite of … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Samuel Johnson, Stoicism

Truth is Stranger than Science Fiction

Fiction may seem outlandish to us when it imagines exotic realms or daring adventures, yet few things in the universe are as mysterious as the human soul. We all enjoy works of pure escapism. That said, the most enduring stories … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, Fiction

A Mathematician’s Religion

One could say that the famous British mathematician A. N. Whitehead (1861-1947) was a true skeptic and no mere scoffing agnostic like so many of his peers. According to David J. Theroux, Whitehead argued in his book, Science and the … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Religion

Wherever Human Nature is to Be Found

“The Portuguese traveller, contrary to the general vein of his countrymen, has amused his reader with no romantic absurdities or incredible fictions; whatever he relates, whether true or not, is at least probable; and he who tells nothing exceeding the … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Philosophy, Samuel Johnson

The Soul’s Journey

The opening passage of the tenth chapter of Marcus Aurelius‘ Meditations contains two very interesting thoughts: one is that all lives are complete—no life can truly be said to be “unfinished”; secondly, every person experiences all that it is possible … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Stoicism

Muggeridge’s Memoirs

I realize that over the years I have dedicated very little space to Malcolm Muggeridge. This paucity is perhaps due to sheer irresolution when faced with the depth and volume of his insights. Where to begin? For the moment I … Continue reading

Posted in History, Politics

Hilaire Belloc: Contemporary Reviews

In the years before the internet supplanted old-fashioned book and microfiche research, I had the opportunity to look up some original reviews of works by Catholic writer Hilaire Belloc. Here are two of them. I hope that other fans of … Continue reading

Posted in Hilaire Belloc, Literature

A Page of Boswell

In one page of Boswell’s Life of Johnson (687 in the Oxford edition) perused at random I find two very interesting observations by Johnson during the course of a conversation with his biographer for March 16, 1776. The first deals … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Religion, Samuel Johnson

Crossing the Alps with Hannibal

According to Betty Radice, Penguin Classic’s founding editor, the Roman historian Livy “was an inspiration to the European scholars who welcomed the humanism of the classical world.” He was a masterful storyteller. In Book XXI he takes the reader across … Continue reading

Posted in History

Politics of Easy Virtue

“Everyone, it is true, wishes to do as he pleases and is attracted to those who agree with him.”—Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ It is easy to tolerate what we like. Where that quality really comes into play is … Continue reading

Posted in Politics