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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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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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Convergences

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

WHEN Harold and I brought out the first pilot issue of Image exactly four years ago, we knew that we had undertaken a quixotic task. The “culture wars” were then at their height. The relationship between art and religion was front page news—but only because Senator Jesse Helms and the Rev. Donald Wildmon were trading…

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A Personal World

By Harold Fickett Essay

WHEN I think about the collective enterprises into which I invest my time Image continues to be the most gratifying. It lies closest to my heart. It’s personal. Likewise, the contacts Greg and I have with our writers, profiled artists, and financial benefactors bring freshets of grace into the day-to-day. The generosity of these people,…

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Patron Saints

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

I ONCE heard a story about the late Walker Percy that seems to illustrate the plight of so many struggling artists down through the ages. Percy graduated from medical school in the 1940s but soon came down with tuberculosis and had to spend a couple years in a sanatorium. During that time he underwent a profound…

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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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The Voice of This Calling

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

The Voice of This Calling Art and Vocation FOUR days after I turned three, my sister was born. I was young enough to be confused and anxious about what was going on. My mother had grown large and then abruptly disappeared from our apartment, where I was left with a sitter. This all took place…

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