This week’s issue begins with the fantastic and closes with a great man of letters, who takes poetic license, literally, with a pivotal 16th century event. Some might describe much included below as escapist drivel, but as Tolkien wrote ‘Why should a man be scorned, if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls?”
Short Fiction & Excerpts:
- The Dark Muse by Karl Edward Wagner
- “Alpha Ralpha Boulevard” by Cordwainer Smith
- “The Lady Who Sailed the Soul” by Cordwainer Smith
- “Twenty-Ten” by Christian Moody
Essays, Commentary, and Criticism:
- Gospel Echoes in Fantastic Fiction – Part I and Part II by Travis Buchanan
- Religious Science Fiction? by Hal G.P. Colebatch
- Are Labels Useful? or Why I’m not sure about “Christian” Literature
- This Side of Sunday: Theological Fiction in Light of G.K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday (link opens PDF document)
- Learning to ‘Pack a Punch’ in 150 Pages – Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg reviews Philip Roth’s Nemesis
- The Imaginative Conservative on Mario Vargas Llosa’s Nobel Prize for Literature
- Literary Criticism Comes to the Movies – ” ‘Howl,’ the new movie about Allen Ginsberg starring James Franco, … is not only about literary criticism but is the performance of literary criticism, an extended ‘explication de texte.’ “
- Seeing Books as Commodities, with Hand-Scanners as Evidence – Buying books by the yard at a library book sale.
- Lars Walker’s Virtual Book Tour for West Oversea
The Writing Life:
- Outlining a Novel: One Lazy Writer’s Method by Lars Walker
- Wright’s Writing Corner: Good vs. Evil – Part 3: Character
From Ignatius Press blog “Insight Scoop:
Hilaire Belloc called “Lepanto” Chesterton’s greatest poem and the greatest poem of his generation. But not only have English classes neglected this masterpiece of rhyme and meter, History classes have neglected the story of the pivotal battle upon which the poem is based.
From “The Battle that Saved Western Civilization” by Christopher Check:
Americans know that in 1492 Christopher Columbus “sailed the ocean blue,” but how many know that in the same year the heroic Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella conquered the Moors in Grenada? Americans would also probably recognize 1588 as the year of the defeat of the Spanish Armada by Francis Drake and the rest of Queen Elizabeth’s pirates. It was a tragedy for the Catholic kingdom of Spain and a triumph for the Protestant British Empire, and the defeat determined the kind of history that would one day be taught in American schools: Protestant British history.
As a result, 1571, the year of the battle of Lepanto, the most important naval contest in human history, is not well known to Americans. October 7, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, celebrates the victory at Lepanto, the battle that saved the Christian West from defeat at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.
by G.K. Chesterton
White founts falling in the Courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard;
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips;
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross.
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.
Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred,
Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
That once went singing southward when all the world was young.
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Don John of Austria is going to the war,
Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,
Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
Love-light of Spain–hurrah!
Death-light of Africa!
Don John of Austria
Is riding to the sea.
Chesterton’s “Lepanto” continues