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Necessary Images

By Scott Teems Essay

not beautiful photography, not beautiful images, but necessary images…                                                                 —Robert Bresson FOR YEARS I’VE WRESTLED with this seemingly straightforward declaration from the notebook of revered French film director Robert Bresson (a small book, but a bounty of inspiration). I’ve wanted to believe in his “necessary images” and therefore aspire to create them. To use…

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Inventing the Kingdom

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

WHEN The Kingdom landed on my desk with a thud, I could tell that it would pose a challenge—that it would be a book I had to contend with. In addition to being a substantial tome, it comes with the cultural imprimatur conveyed by its publisher, the venerable Farrar, Straus and Giroux, whose backlist includes…

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Listening to Silence

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

I ARRIVED AT THE ADVANCED screening of Martin Scorsese’s new film, Silence, in the worst possible frame of mind. I was running late, and I was starving. My only option for getting food in time was a fancy burger joint near the multiplex. After ordering a mega-burger and fries, I fidgeted at the table, waiting…

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The Patron Saint of Losers

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

ONE OF THE STRANGER CONVERSATIONS I’ve ever had took place during my senior year of college. I was attending a conference, and during one of the coffee breaks I was talking with a scholar who had taken a shine to me. He asked if I was considering doing a PhD, and if so, in what…

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Some Questions about Politics and the Imagination

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

Q WOULD YOU MIND if I asked you some questions about the current political situation, given the upcoming presidential election and turmoil in Europe? A. I do mind, as a matter of fact. I have nothing to say about such matters. They’re far too complex. Not to mention depressing. And crazy-making. Besides, I left politics behind…

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Imagination vs. Fancy

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

IN past editorial statements, we have pointed out the resurgence of religious ideas and experiences in contemporary art and literature. We have argued that this phenomenon is part of an important cultural shift. Moreover, we have celebrated this movement as a hopeful sign, one of the primary justifications for the existence of Image. But many…

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The Stock of Available Reality

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

A FEW months ago I received a letter which praised Image for “adding to the stock of available reality.” As I read that phrase, I felt a strange elation—not because it was intended as praise, but because it distilled a great deal of wisdom into very few words. Since the words were set off in…

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Please Touch

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

HAVING grown up in what I would call a rather Waspy milieu in New York’s Upper East Side, my youthful aesthetic sensibility was, to some extent, predetermined. My mother took me to see the classics of art history at the Metropolitan, but she also took me to the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim. I was surrounded by…

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Intruding Upon the Timeless

By Gregory Wolfe and Harold Fickett Essay

St. Thomas called art “reason in making.” This is a very cold and very beautiful definition, and if it is unpopular today, this is because reason has lost ground among us. As grace and nature have been separated, so imagination and reason have been separated, and this always means an end to art. The artist…

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What Makes Tradition Great?

By Harold Fickett Essay

Thomas Merton said that the “oldest thing is the newest thing,” by which he meant that anything alive—including the arts—finds its source in the eternal.  The critic George Steiner has made this argument with eloquence and depth in his recent Real Presences: he specifies the “greatness” of the Great Tradition as God’s immanence. We believe…

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