Does the internet degrade our ability to read?

There is some evidence that the way we read on the internet–skimming, surfing, hopping from link to link–is interfering with the ability to read complex, content-rich books that require reading slowly and thoughtfully.

Do you think?  Having just finished the 1500 page unabridged Les Miserables for free on my Kindle (an overwhelming experience that I’ll blog about later), I say not necessarily.  But still, I can see the danger.  I wonder what the eye-bite approach would do to Bible reading.

[Read more...]

JRR Tolkien’s Beowulf is coming!

J. R. R. Tolkien made a translation of Beowulf, which is going to be published May 22!

Tolkien, whose academic specialty at Oxford was Old English literature, wrote the best discussion of Beowulf–one that opened up the epic as a glorious work of literature and not just as a historical relic–with his essay “Beowulf:  The Monster and the Critics” (available in this collection).  So I cannot wait to read his translation.  After the jump, a preview from The Guardian. [Read more...]

The Annunciation and “Lord of the Rings”

More belated Annunciation thoughts.  From Isaac Augustine Morales, The Annunciation and the One Ring | Dominicana Blog:

In a seemingly insignificant detail in one of the appendices of his masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien notes that the destruction of the One Ring and the defeat of Sauron took place on March 25. What might have led Tolkien to date the destruction of the ring with such precision? Being a devout Catholic, Tolkien most likely was subtly weaving into his work an ancient Christian tradition regarding the Solemnity of the Annunciation, the feast the Church celebrates today. [Read more...]

J.R.R. Tolkien on Sex

In 1941, J. R. R. Tolkien did what most fathers tremble to do:  talk to his son about sex.  He did so in a letter filled with wisdom, insight, and a thoroughly Christian sensibility on what he called the devil’s “favorite subject.”  Suggestion to trembling fathers:  get The Letters of J. R.  R. Tolkien and show this particular  letter to your sons.  Al Mohler quotes from the letter and discusses what he had to say. [Read more...]

George Herbert on prayer

We blogged about Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, who wrote about how  she was converted from atheism in part through the poetry of George Herbert.  She is following that up with a series of articles in the London Guardian about specific Herbert poems.  That’s literary scholarship as it’s supposed to be–not a mere academic exercise but an exploration of literature for the purpose of illumination.

Read her take on Herbert’s poem “Prayer (1)”.  Read the poem at the link, and then read her discussion, linked and excerpted after the jump. [Read more...]

John Donne’s impact today

Mathew Block discusses that piece we blogged about in which a former atheist credits her conversion to the poetry of George Herbert, going on to tell about the impact that John Donne had on him and his classmates. [Read more...]


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