Victor Hugo and the French Aesthetic

I have long admired, even loved, the French but I don’t think I ever quite understood why until I read Victor Hugo. Their commitment to liberty inspired two revolutions – America’s and their own – that created the best of the world we live in today. They are more responsible than anyone for the evolutionContinue reading “Victor Hugo and the French Aesthetic”

James Baldwin and the Art of Empathy

We live in an age of short attention spans and sound bytes, which would seem to suggest shallow imaginations but it might signify something very different: an increased ability to absorb more information in less time. One example of this optimistic interpretation is the fact that we are living in a golden age of poetry.Continue reading “James Baldwin and the Art of Empathy”

If Beale Street Could Talk

Yesterday morning there was a man in the lobby of my office building talking into his phone at an obscene volume. As we rode up in the elevator together – four or five of us – it became obvious that he was not like the rest of us and did not want to be. HeContinue reading “If Beale Street Could Talk”

The Call of the Wild

 Jack London is a writer best known for his stories of sled dogs during the Klondike Gold Rush. He writes with a unique and forcerful voice; so what if it’s a dog’s? One of the great sins in the theology of modern literary criticism, right up there with sentimentality, is anthropomorphism. I kind of likeContinue reading “The Call of the Wild”