Plunder the Egyptians

In an introductory essay for Homer's epic poem The Iliad, Douglas Wilson makes a fine point about the promises and perils of a Christian who appropriates pagan literature: By God's common grace, the ancient pagans were able to produce literature of unbelievable beauty. That beauty can and should be appreciated. Once understood and appreciated, it may be safely …

Jane Austen’s inscrutability

In his essay for The New Yorker, "How to Misread Jane Austen," Louis Menand, a professor of English at Harvard University and literary critic, writes: “What would Jane Austen say?” is a fun game to play, but the truth is that we have no idea. For a writer of her renown, the biographical record is unusually thin. …

Plague literature

Never once did I think I would read plague literature under the foolish assumption that such things do not occur in the modern world, which Albert Camus satirizes in his novel The Plague. Here is the exchange between two doctors who are confronting a new and deadly form of bacillus in the port town of Oran, Algeria: …

Three or four things that Americans will be known for

Years ago I watched Ken Burns' masterful documentary miniseries Jazz (2001), and now I am watching it again, this time listening to the music featured in the episodes. The essayist Gerald Early told the filmmaker that "when they study our civilization two thousand years from now, there will only be three things that Americans will be …