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The Redemption of Hester Prynne

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

BECAUSE IT HAS BEEN A STAPLE of the high school classroom, it is nearly impossible to approach The Scarlet Letter with the sort of wonder and respect it deserves. Somber and at times melodramatic, The Scarlet Letter is an altogether quieter book than, say, Moby Dick, which can make it feel tame by comparison. But…

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The Liturgy of the Stars

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

GROWING UP AS I DID amidst the dazzling lights of New York City, it is strange that even as a small child I was madly in love with the stars. The city’s glare effectively canceled out the night sky, admitting only the rare glimpse of the brightest heavenly orbs. Beyond the moon and Venus, you’d…

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To the Wonder

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

Terrence Malick (2012) THE FILMS OF TARENCE MALICK, or at least his most recent ones, are perhaps more admired than loved. I’ve struggled through the longueurs of late Malick, but at the same time I’m aware that my brain has been conditioned by Hollywood conventions. Malick takes running leaps off the high dive and sometimes…

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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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A Conversation with Michael Gruber

By Gregory Wolfe Interview

A former marine biologist, cook, speechwriter, and White House policy advisor, Michael Gruber is a New York Times–bestselling writer who work infuses genre fiction with philosophical and supernatural themes. His books include the Jimmy Paz trilogy (Tropic of Night, Valley of Bones, and Night of the Jaguar) and thrillers about Shakespeare (The Book of Air…

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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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