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The Beauty Dialogues, Part 2

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The following is a response to Morgan Meis’s letter posted yesterday. Dear Morgan: Thanks for throwing down this particular gauntlet. Yes, we adopted Dostoevsky’s phrase from The Idiot, where one of the characters attributes the saying “beauty will save the world” to the eponymous hero of the novel, Prince Myshkin. I’m well aware that any…

The Beauty Dialogues, Part 1

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Today Morgan Meis continues his periodic exchanges with Image founder Gregory Wolfe.  Dear Greg, When we first started our conversation (see posts here, here and here for background), I thought we were having a debate about the declining relevance of religious intellectuals in today’s public realm. But that’s not what it was really about. At…

Souvenirs from the Waste Land: An Interview with Alastair John Gordon, Part 2

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Continued from yesterday.  Alastair John Gordon’s newest exhibit, “Souvenirs from the Waste Land,” draws on the postcard collection of Howard and Roberta Ahmanson, philanthropists and art collectors in L.A. Their collection includes mementos from their travels, scenes of architectural interest, and reproductions of works of art—over 18,500 postcards in all. I spoke with Gordon by…

Souvenirs from the Waste Land: An Interview with Alastair John Gordon, Part 1

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  Historically, modern art has prized originality and authenticity. But alongside this tradition runs another set of practices: replication and tactics of illusion. The Romans made copies of Greek sculptures; Northern Europeans in the seventeenth century practiced an illusionistic approach to still life painting called quodlibet, or “what you will”; American pop art reproduced images…

Poetry Friday: “Grief Daybook: A Love Supreme”

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a woman sits in a room lit by a single lamp, the rest of the room is shrouded in shadows. she has her hand up and is holding a cup, her face is turned away and bathed in shadows. on the wall sits images and postcards, and a desk is full of books and small papers.

It’s fairly common for a poem to be inspired by (or be in conversation with) a famous painting. Less often, though, do we find poems engaging with a musical work. Yet that’s just what happens in Carol Davis’s poem “Grief Daybook: A Love Supreme.” Fans of the brilliant jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane will…

Distorted Reality and FX’s Taboo

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It’s been said that human beings warp everything that they touch as a consequence of original sin. Like Midas, whatever we come in contact with, we distort, however slightly, either through some degree of ignoble intention or some incapacity to effectuate what is pure. In other words, even our best achievements are tainted by motives…

Photos, Love, and Karyotypes

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image of human karyotypes in purple color

I recently found remnants from college and grad school genetics classes: karyotypes—sheets of paper with photos of chromosomes clumsily glued to their forty-six places. My professors would usually hand us an envelope filled with tiny chromosome photos on Friday to be assembled over the weekend. I sat in the sun on Saturday afternoons, poring over…

An Interview with George Saunders, Part 2

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Beloved fiction writer George Saunders just published his first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, an unconventional work of historical fiction about the moment when Abraham Lincoln was embroiled in the Civil War and lost his son Willie to typhoid fever. I recently spoke to George Saunders on the phone from his home in California about…

An Interview with George Saunders, Part 1

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Photo of George Saunders in b&w looking at the camera. He has a gentle expression on his face, but his eye contact is direct. His hair is balding a bit with a tuft on top of his head. He's wearing dark, thick rimmed rectangular glasses, a dark jacket, and a pattern shirt underneath.

Beloved fiction writer George Saunders has long been known for his daring short stories, collected most recently in 2013’s Story Prize-winning Tenth of December, and his keen interest in moral introspection, highlighted by his much-shared commencement speech for 2013 Syracuse University graduates about the importance of kindness. Saunders just published his first novel, Lincoln in…

Poetry Friday: “Ghazal: Woman at the Well”

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I’ve always found the ghazal form intriguing. Its couplets, all discrete, are linked by  a phrase repeated in each couplet’s second line. The changes rung on this repeated phrase are where much of a ghazal’s action takes place. In “Ghazal: Woman at the Well,” Carolyne Wright takes “the woman at the well” as her repeated phrase—the…

Image’s Daily Blog

For the humanists of the Renaissance, literature mattered because it was concrete and experiential—it grounded ideas in people’s lives. Their name for this kind of writing was bonae litterae, a phrase we’ve borrowed as the title for our blog. Every weekday, one of the gifted writers on our blogging team will offer a personal essay that makes a fresh connection between the world of faith and the world of daily life, spanning the gap between theology and experience and giving language a human shape.

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