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By Gregory Wolfe

AT the height of the recent sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, a writer friend of mine told me that the whole sorry situation had her in a “white rage.” I knew exactly what she meant: like most people who have lived through these interminable revelations, I have found myself speechless with fury against…

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Mending the Broken Estate

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

JAMES Wood is a literary critic to die for. Earnest, passionate, and erudite, Wood’s lucid, distinctive voice has cut a wide swathe through what often seem like the mutterings and tergiversations of contemporary literary discourse. Still in his thirties, this British expatriate is now the in-house critic at The New Republic and his first collection…

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The Painter of Lite™

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

LAST night, after the kids’ final day of school and a hard slog at work, our family sat down to watch Jurassic Park III, the kind of movie we call E.T. (“entertaining trash”). Like most Hollywood sequels the film is full of recycled scenes—mainly dinosaurs energetically masticating just about any piece of flesh that comes…

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Shaggy Dog Stories

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

BACK when this journal was nothing more than a mere proposal, I sought out a meeting with the distinguished church historian Martin Marty to enlist his support. Despite his frenetic schedule, he responded immediately, offering to meet me for a drink when next I came to Chicago. When we got together the conversation eventually turned…

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Strange Pilgrims

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

IN HIS his masterful book The Life You Save May Be Your Own (reviewed in this issue), Paul Elie has crafted a braided narrative about the lives and works of four twentieth-century American Catholic writers, all of whom have become canonical figures: Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Flannery O’Connor, and Walker Percy. The first sentence of…

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Follies Worldly and Divine

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

IN THE summer of 1509, as he lay sick in bed, Desiderius Erasmus decided to pass the time by producing a literary gift for his friend and fellow Christian humanist, Thomas More. Within a week, he completed the Encomium Moriae, which can be read as either the “praise of More” or the “praise of folly”…

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Secular Scriptures

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

ANY NEW book about the relationship between the Bible and literature enters a crowded field, one strewn with masterworks by the likes of Robert Alter, Frank Kermode, Northrop Frye, and Gabriel Josipovici. So the bar is set high. Nicholas Boyle’s Sacred and Secular Scriptures: A Catholic Approach to Literature (reviewed in this issue) clears that…

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Levity and Gravity: The Sculpture of David Robinson

By Gordon L. Fuglie Essay

Sculpture is not made to function, but to make us function   —Jean-Robert Ipoustéguy (1920–2006), __French figurative sculptor TEN YEARS HAD passed since I last saw David Robinson, the Vancouver-based Canadian sculptor. The occasion then was a studio visit to select three works for my exhibition A Broken Beauty: Figuration, Narrative, and Transcendence in North…

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Which I is I?

By Luke Hankins Book Review

Three Poetry Collections Idiot Psalms by Scott Cairns (Paraclete Press, 2014) Seam by Tarfia Faizullah (Southern Illinois University Press, 2013) F by Franz Wright (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013)   IN THE LONG HISTORY of the poetry of religious devotion, one often encounters a guileless representation of the self in its attempts to relate to the divine. The…

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Vanishing into the Work: The Franciscan Labors of James Munce

By Gordon Fuglie Essay

I think that I am primarily a storyteller. My function as a visual artist is to create a two-dimensional formal structure that will best contain the story being told. I am always trying to create a sense of space that has somehow been altered or transformed by an event. —James Munce THE LACONIC, SPARTAN PROSE above…

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