The University Bookman


On Letters and Essays

A column by James V. Schall, S.J.

On the Human Art of Cooking Summer 2017
Fr. Schall reflects on cooking, and eating, inspired by a new family cookbook assembled by Anne Husted Burleigh.
De Animali Ambulante Winter 2017
Father Schall enjoys Alexandra Horowitz’s book on walking and paying attention to what you encounter.
The Road to ‘Reunion’ Examined Fall 2016
Father Schall reviews a satirical essay from Ronald Knox on the union of world religions.
On Play and Seriousness Spring 2016
Father Schall reflects on what play reveals about the human condition in conversation with Homo Ludens, the classic book by Johan Huizinga.
On What Is Not Found in English Departments Fall 2015
Father Schall reflects on state of the university English department after reading an essay by Joseph Epstein.
‘Et tu, Brute?’ Summer 2015
Father Schall reflects on the death of Caesar and the speech of Mark Antony.
‘Spoken with Sufficient Seriousness’ Summer 2015
Father Schall reflects on the letters and essays of Blaise Pascal, the “infinite spaces,” and the light of truth.
On Cocktail Time Spring 2015
Father Schall reflects on the Wodehouse novel Cocktail Time and the surprising utility of the word “loopy.”
On Merriment Winter 2015
Father Schall reflects on an essay by Dr. Johnson on pleasure, joy, and humor.
On Looking for What We Have Been Given Winter 2015
Father Schall reflects on the witty and revealing journal entries of Flannery O'Connor on prayer.
“The World’s Last Night” Fall 2014
Father Schall reflects on a provocative essay by C. S. Lewis on the End and suggests that a true apocalyptic actually rescues the dignity of each human being.
On Incomprehensibles Spring 2014
Father Schall reflects on Pascal’s Pensées and the point of his inescapable incomprehensibles.
On Having Faces Winter 2014
Father Schall reflects on Lewis’s novel and the mystery—and adventure—of knowing and being known.
On W. C. Fields’s Tombstone Fall 2013
Father Schall reflects on a chapter about the great W. C. Fields and the mysterious nature of humor.
Intellectual Courage and the Bitter Truth Fall 2013
Father Schall looks at an essay from Gerhart Niemeyer on the 1978 commencement addresses of Solzhenitsyn and Buckley.
On General Wolfe’s Preference Spring 2013
Father Schall looks at Will Cuppy, the question of relations between things and self-evident facts.
On Avoiding ‘Prosperous Wickedness’ Spring 2013
Father Schall reflects on a Rambler essay from 1750.
On Quotations Winter 2013
Father Schall reflects on the art of the quotation: We usually do not quote just to be quoting.
The Real Charm of Oxford Fall 2012
Father Schall reflects on letters of the English Dominican Bede Jarrett.
Our Rascally World Summer 2012
Father Schall reflects on a letter from the great satirist Jonathan Swift to the poet Alexander Pope.
On the Depths of Villainy Spring 2012
On Being a Basel Professor Winter 2012
‘The Greatest Fool That Ever Lived’ Fall 2011
In this bonus column, Father Schall reflects on the nature of philosophy, Stoicism, and the Incarnational view of life.
On Instruction in Cheerful Forms Fall 2011
In this column, Father Schall reflects on a sermon that John Donne preached to London’s lawyers on a proper understanding of gratitude and suffering.
Old Roads and Montesquieu’s Library Summer 2011
Father Schall’s students send him postcards from their travels. Here he reflects on places that several of them have recently been.
Memories of Johnson Spring 2011
Father Schall reflects on a collection of the writings and sayings—and conversations of Samuel Johnson. He suggests that “truth ultimately exists in conversation, not in books.”
On What Knowledge Pertains To Winter 2011
Father Schall returns to Plato’s Republic for a discussion of the connection of knowledge, philosophy, and action—and a train of thought that points beyond ourselves. We did not cause the beauty and the very existence of what is. . . .
The Long Twilight Volume 47, Number 3–4 (Fall 2010)
2010 does not seem to bear the same enthusiasm about the future as existed even forty years ago.
Safer in Minnesota Volume 47, Number 1 (Winter 2010)
A Patron Saint of Teachers Volume 46, Number 4 (Winter 2008)
On the Fixing of Our Gaze Volume 46, Number 3 (Fall 2008)
What Everybody Can Enjoy Volume 46, Number 2 (Summer 2008)
The Infinite Anguish of Free Souls Volume 45, Number 3 (Fall 2007)
Returning to the Real Volume 45, Number 1 (Winter 2007)
Are Fish Good for the Brain? Volume 42, Number 4 (Winter 2003)
Many a Touching Story Volume 44, Number 2 (Winter 2006)
Old China Volume 44, Number 3 (Summer 2006)
Mr. Shakespeare’s Plays Volume 44, Number 4 (Fall 2006)
The Bach Moment Volume 44, Number 1 (Fall 2005)

A spirit of innovation is generally the result of a selfish temper and confined views. People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.

Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France


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Bookman Contributors Elsewhere

John Lukacs —the great contemporary historian has pieces in both Chronicles (on being surrounded by books) and First Things (on a displaced pianist).

Joseph Bottom on fraud, American-style.

Andrew Bacevich on the end of endism.

Helen Andrews on the moon landing and the 1970s. Helen (a 2017 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow) wrote one of our most popular pieces, a consideration of the anti-suffragettes.


We are pleased to announce the release of The University Bookman on Edmund Burke, now available for Kindle. Collecting 21 reviews, essays, and interviews from the Bookman on the life and thought of Edmund Burke, this book is only $2.99, and purchases support our ongoing work to provide an imaginative defense of the Permanent Things. (3 Mar 2015)

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