Must We Reclaim Lydia Bennett?

Come with me if you want to live... autonomously

Greta Christina thinks Lydia Bennett has been given short shrift.  Although Lizzie Bennett has a certain amount of fire and spunk within the constraints of her life in Pride and Prejudice, Greta admires Lydia for daring to transgress completely and act autonomously, come what may.She is a woman who thinks of her body, and her life, as hers. She’s a woman who — in defiance of the powerful social pressures of 19th century England — decides that who she marries, and when, and when they do or do … [Read more...]

Of Metals and (God-)Men [Pope Francis Bookclub]

bronze casting

In 2014, I’m reading and blogging through Pope Francis/Cardinal Bergoglio’s Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus.  Every Monday, I’ll be writing about the next meditation in the book, so you’re welcome to peruse them all and/or read along.Just a small note from this week's chapter.  In this selection, Pope Francis contrasts the dream of Nebuchadnezzar in the Book of Daniel with the vision of God granted to John in Revelation.  Francis writes: The burnished bronze fee … [Read more...]

A Poisonous Portrait of Partnership


In a coda to my series on Lewis, Sondheim, and friendship, I'm back at The American Conservative today to respond to a feature from The Atlantic on polyamory.  Here's a teaser, and you can read the full post at AmCon.  Marital Completionism: A Bad Model for Thruples and Couples Alike Why assume you need to make compromises to achieve connubial bliss?In an article for The Atlantic, Olga Khazan profiles several polyamorous couplesand wonders whether more families should consider open … [Read more...]

Sondheim Symposium on Friendship [Sequence Index]

friend cake

In the summer of 2014, I reprised my successful Sondheim Symposium birthday party of two years prior.  In 2012, we watched Company and Passion and argued about romantic love.  This year, we paired Merrily We Roll Along (Sondheim's musical that tracks the collapse of a friendship) with the "Philia/Friendship" chapter from C.S. Lewis's The Four Loves.  (For extra credit, party attendees could also read Spiritual Friendship by Aelred of Rievaulx).We ate thematically appropriate cake (see abo … [Read more...]

Three Models for Intentional Communities of Friends


This post is one in a series on friendship, explored through the lenses of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along and C.S. Lewis’s The Four Loves.To close out this week's series on friendship, I'd like to recommend three articles on people building intentional communities that make it easier to bring friends to the center of our lives -- a space conventionally reserved for family and lovers.  Looking for a Housemate, Not a Mate, in Later Life - The New York Times Ms. Kilken … [Read more...]

7QT: A Heroic Nurse, Ingenious Organs, and Popstar!Nietzsche

philip pullman

--- 1 --- I wanted to make sure that if you read only one of my links this week, you saw the story about the nurse at Guantanamo Bay who is refusing to participate in forcefeeding the hunger striking prisoners. Word of the refusal reached the outside world last week in a call from prisoner Abu Wael Dhiab to attorney Cori Crider of the London-based legal defense group Reprieve. Dhiab, a hunger striker, described how a nurse in the Navy medical corps abruptly refused to “force-feed us” sometime b … [Read more...]

Missing Facets of a Friendship

frank charlie

This post is one in a series on friendship, explored through the lenses of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along and C.S. Lewis’s The Four Loves.In Merrily We Roll Along, composer Frank loses his friendship with his writing partner, Charlie, but their mutual friend, Mary, manages to stay close to both of them for a while afterwards, before she and Frank have their final fight.  But, as Lewis would argue, Mary is impoverished by her friends' falling out, even though she continues to see bot … [Read more...]