On Letters and Essays
- 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Father Schall reflects on the art of the quotation: We usually do not quote just to be quoting.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 poor man, if he has dignity, honesty, the respect of his neighbors, a realization of his duties, a love of the wisdom of his ancestors, and possibly some taste for knowledge or beauty, is rich in the unbought grace of life.
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