Welcome to the Ink Desk

Enjoy the ponderings of the Star's contributors and add your own thoughts. As this section develops, we hope it may become a medium for an exchange of ideas among those who are working towards the cultural revival.

  • April 23rd, 2015Shakespeare’s Sonnet 108by Daniel J. Heisey

    Scholars seem to agree that the only sonnet by William Shakespeare with a religious theme is Sonnet 146.  It is the only poem by Shakespeare in the original Oxford Book of Christian Verse (1940), as well as in The New Oxford Book of Christian Verse (1981).  R. S. Thomas included it in The Penguin Book of Religious Verse (1963), and he appears to be the odd man out by also including Sonnet 129.  Likewise, C. S. Lewis, in his volume of The Oxford History of English Literature (1954), observed that Sonnet 146 “is concerned with the tension between the temporal and the eternal and would be appropriate in the mouth of any Christian at any moment.”  However, the same could be said of Sonnet 108.

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  • April 20th, 2015The Wisdom and Wickedness of Womenby Joseph Pearce

    So does the hand that rocks the cradle rule the world? Do well-behaved women make history? All is revealed in my latest article for the Imaginative Conservative:

    http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2015/04/the-wisdom-and-wickedness-of-women.html

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  • April 20th, 2015Strauss, Voegelin and Conservatismby Joseph Pearce

    I am hugely impressed with the erudition of this article by David Corey in the Imaginative Conservatism. It’s sheds light on an area of political philosophy which has been overshadowed by the fogs of ideology.

    http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2015/04/eric-voegelin-leo-strauss-and-american-conservatism.html

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  • April 19th, 2015Book Review: “Romantic Catholics: France’s Postrevolutionary Generation in Search of a Modern Faith”by Stephanie Mann

    After the French Revolution, and through the restoration and fall of both the empires and the monarchy, both constitutional and absolute, Catholicism in France required restoration and revival. Carol E. Harrison offers an overview of a group of lay and clerical Catholic revivalists who wanted to present Catholicism’s answer to the revolutionary turmoil of their era. As the book’s blurb announces, these Romantic Catholics rejected “both the atomizing force of revolutionary liberalism and the increasing intransigence of the church hierarchy”. They sought to demonstrate that the Church should work with the new world order while remaining true to Catholic doctrine and discipline. In her Introduction, Harrison notes the contrast between these Romantic Catholics and the historian Jules Michelet, who both rejected the liberal exultation of the individual and the Catholic Church, because he saw it in opposition to the French national spirit. Michelet, she notes, feared the influence of devout wives on their republican husbands—religious faith transcended national genius and must be avoided. » Continue Reading
  • April 15th, 2015Perils of Ironyby Daniel J. Heisey

    “What a miserable little snob Henry James is,” wrote Theodore Roosevelt to a friend in June of 1894. Roosevelt had just read James’ short story “The Death of the Lion” in the April issue of a new periodical called The Yellow Book. “His polished, pointless, uninteresting stories,” Roosevelt continued, “about the upper social classes of England make one blush to think that he was once an American.” As an antidote, Roosevelt read something by an Englishman then living in Vermont: “I turned to a story of [Rudyard] Kipling’s with the feeling of getting into fresh, healthy, out-of-doors life.”

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  • April 15th, 2015Perils of Ironyby Daniel J. Heisey

    “What a miserable little snob Henry James is,” wrote Theodore Roosevelt to a friend in June of 1894. Roosevelt had just read James’ short story “The Death of the Lion” in the April issue of a new periodical called The Yellow Book. “His polished, pointless, uninteresting stories,” Roosevelt continued, “about the upper social classes of England make one blush to think that he was once an American.” As an antidote, Roosevelt read something by an Englishman then living in Vermont: “I turned to a story of [Rudyard] Kipling’s with the feeling of getting into fresh, healthy, out-of-doors life.”

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  • April 15th, 2015How Close was C. S. Lewis to “Crossing the Tiber”?by Joseph Pearce

    I’ve received a letter from a Catholic seminarian, requesting my opinion of an article by Eric Seddon in Mythlore which included a somewhat shrill attack on a position that I had allegedly taken in my book, C. S. Lewis and the Catholic Church. Here’s my response:

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  • April 15th, 2015Does Darwin Love Me?by Joseph Pearce

    Well, does he? All will be revealed ...

    http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2015/04/does-darwin-love-me.html

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  • April 14th, 2015The Next Issueby Joseph Pearce

    The next issue of the St. Austin Review is winging its way to the printers!

    The theme of this issue is “Revolution versus Revelation: France & the Faith”.

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  • April 10th, 2015A Modern Parableby Dena Hunt

    (with apologies to St. Luke)

    9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a “Liberal” and the other a “Conservative”. 11 The Liberal stood and prayed thus with himself, `God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, pro-lifers, home-schoolers, anti-immigration bigots or like this anti-gay marriage guy here, who is probably a racist, too. 12 I promote the inclusion of all, save him, of course, for he is intolerant. 13 But the ‘intolerant’ conservative, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, `God, be merciful to me a sinner, guilty of politically incorrect thoughts!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who does not tolerate the intolerant is himself intolerant.” » Continue Reading

  • April 7th, 2015A.D.by Dena Hunt

    Well, I watched the premiere of the miniseries A.D. last night on NBC, and, mistaking the scheduled start time, I also watched “Dateline,” and hour-long show about the show, before the premiere started. (I believe “Dateline” is usually more varied, but this particular episode was devoted to the series, as an interview with A.D.’s producers, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, who also produced the miniseries The Bible and its spinoff Son of God last year.) A film based on Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly’s book Killing Jesus was also on last night on another channel, and since I don’t have a DVR, I had to choose between the two. I don’t know whether I chose wisely. Promotions made much of the O’Reilly film’s main character being played by a Muslim. Oh, my.

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  • April 3rd, 2015Holiness and Hashtagsby Kevin O'Brien

    George Takei and a cat
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  • April 3rd, 2015A Blast from My Pastby Joseph Pearce

    I was both moved and mortified to receive this e-mail in my in-box this morning. It was as though a ghost from my past had come to haunt me:

      I can’t quite remember how (after all these years) I stumbled upon you a few weeks back. It could have been one search (Google) that led to another and led to another but I was intrigued to learn that you are now a Catholic writer of some renown! A man of God no less.

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  • April 3rd, 2015Catholic Literature Conference in New Englandby Joseph Pearce

    I will be one of four speakers at the second annual Catholic Literature Conference in Concord, New Hampshire on Saturday, April 11th. The other speakers are the incomparable Thomas Howard, the indomitable Anthony Esolen, and the indubitably sagacious Duane Bruce. Come and hear Pearce on Shakespeare, Howard on Waugh, Esolen on Mauriac, and Bruce on O’Connor. For further details see here:

    http://www.christthekingnh.org/catholic-literature-conference.html » Continue Reading

  • April 2nd, 2015Monarchy, Democracy and Plutocracyby Joseph Pearce

    Are monarch and democracy compatible? And are either compatible with plutocracy? These questions are addressed in my latest piece for the Imaginative Conservative, which has caused quite a considerable debate and discussion. Learn more:

    http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2015/03/monarchy-democracy-and-plutocracy.html » Continue Reading

  • April 2nd, 2015The Catholicism of Macbethby Joseph Pearce

    I’ve received an enquiry about the presence of Catholicism in Macbeth from a parent whose daughters are reading it for school. I thought that my response might interest visitors to the Ink Desk

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  • March 31st, 2015Saint Gilbert?by Joseph Pearce

    Here’s a great article on the great GKC. You will not, and probably should not, agree with everything but nonetheless it is a well written article on the arguments for Chesterton’s sanctity. 

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/04/a-most-unlikely-saint/386243/.

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  • March 31st, 2015The Catholicism of The Lord of the Rings: Responding to a Skepticby Joseph Pearce

    Last night I gave a talk on The Lord of the Rings at Christendom College in Virginia. Here's my response to a very eloquent young man who remains skeptical about the Catholic dimension in Tolkien's classic. » Continue Reading
  • March 31st, 2015Mr. Stewart Goes on Radioby Daniel J. Heisey

    Joe Queenan, writing “In Praise of Libraries” in the March, 2015, issue of The Rotarian, described public libraries as places of adventure and serendipity, where through books someone can discover new people, places, and things. Some libraries, though, also take one into unexpected areas by means of old movies, and sometimes even through old-time radio shows.
    In several rooms adjoining the public library in Indiana, Pennsylvania, is the Jimmy Stewart Museum, preserving the memory of that small town’s most famous son. One can get to the museum either from the library or from the street, and the museum brims with Stewart’s movie posters and memorabilia, as well as family photographs and artifacts. Also on display are his uniforms from his twenty-seven years as an officer, ultimately a general, in the United States Air Force. » Continue Reading
  • March 25th, 2015A Really Bad Article on The Merchant of Veniceby Joseph Pearce

    Although I often like Sean Fitzpatrick’s literary articles, this is pure unadulterated drivel:

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