GWML#22 – J.R.R. Tolkien “The Lord of the Rings” – Great Works in Western Literature with Joseph Pearce

“In brief, however, the power of Tolkien lies in the way that he succeeds, through myth, in making the unseen hand of providence felt by the reader. In his mythical creations or sub-creations, as he would call them, he shows how the unseen hand of God is felt far more forcefully in myth than it is ever felt in fiction. Paradoxically, fiction works with facts, albeit invented facts, whereas myth works with truth, albeit truth dressed in fancy disguises. Furthermore, since facts are physical and truth is metaphysical, myth, being metaphysical, is spiritual.”

–Joseph Pearce. “J.R.R. Tolkien: Truth and Myth.” Lay Witness (September 2001)  

Joseph Pearce is currently the Writer-in-Residence and Visiting Fellow at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, New Hampshire. He is also Visiting Scholar at Mount Royal Academy in Sunapee, New Hampshire. He is also Visiting Scholar at Mount Royal Academy in Sunapee, New Hampshire. He is co-editor of the Saint Austin Review (or StAR), an international review of Christian culture, literature, and ideas published in England (Family Publications) and the United States (Sapientia Press). He is also the author of many books, including literary biographies of Solzhenitsyn, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, and Oscar Wilde.

 

IP#136 Vivian Dudro – Gertrude von le Forte’s “The Song at the Scaffold” on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

IP#281 Vivian Dudro - Meriol Trevor's "Shadows and Images" on Inside the Pages 1
Vivian Dudro

“The Song at the Scaffold” by Gertrude von le Forte’s is one of the finest novellas ever written!   Vivian Dudro, writer and editor at Ignatius Press engages in a wonderful conversation about the work of German author Gertrude von le Forte who was a writer of novels, poems, and essays.  A convert to Catholicism in 1926, most of von le Forte’s work came after her conversion. In 1952 she won the Gottfried-Keller Prize, an esteemed Swiss literary award.

Set during the French Revolution, this classic novella is based on the true story of the Carmelite nuns of Compiègne, who offered their lives for the preservation of the Church in France. The Song at the Scaffold was the original inspiration for the opera Dialogues of the Carmelites written by Francis Poulenc, which premiered in 1957. The opera was based on a libretto with this same title written by Georges Bernanos.

Gertrude von le Forte
Gertrude von le Forte

As Vivian points out in our discussion, von le Forte’s work is as relevant today as it was in the last century. In the course of our conversation, we discuss the influence of the Carmelite tradition and it’s influence on Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross) and Bl. John Paul II, as well the role of redemptive suffering in the life of the Christian.

A novella in it’s truest sense, this book contains as much meaning as any tome made up 10x the pages.  A NOT TO BE MISSED READ.

You can find it at Ignatius.com

One of the great Christian classics of all time. —Michael O’Brien, Author, Father Elijah

A poignant reminder that, for the Christian, fearlessness lies on the far side of Gethsemane and the Cross. —George Weigel, Author, Witness to Hope

IP#285 Rod Dreher – How Dante Can Save Your Life on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor


Rod-Dreher

Dreher’s approach helps make Dante’s work accessible.  While never claiming to be a literary scholar, he offers plenty of excellent academic commentary on the legendary 12th-century poem.  But more importantly, he helps us to see how Dante can aid us in the treacherous journey from “the head to the heart.”  For Dreher, The Divine Comedy is “a fantasy about a lost man who finds his way back to life after walking through the pits of hell, climbing up the mountains of purgatory, and ascending to the heights of heaven. But it’s really a story about real life and the incredible journey of our lives, yours and mine.”

After hearing our discussion with Rod Dreher and reading this wonderful book, you to may find yourself seeking out the wisdom found in the spiritual treasure chest known as Dante’s “Divine Comedy.”

How-DanteYou can find the book here

From the book description:

Inspiring, revelatory, and packed with penetrating spiritual, moral, and psychological insights How Dante Can Save Your Life is a book for people, both religious and secular, who find themselves searching for meaning and healing. Dante told his patron that he wrote his poem to bring readers from misery to happiness. It worked for Rod Dreher. Dante saved Rod Dreher’s life—and in this book, Dreher shows you how Dante can save yours.

Other conversations with Rod Dreher: IP#316 Rod Dreher  The Benedict Option on Inside the Pages

IP#150 Vivian Dudro – Jose Luis Olaizola’s “Fire of Love” on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

IP#281 Vivian Dudro - Meriol Trevor's "Shadows and Images" on Inside the Pages 1
Vivian Dudro

What a delight to be joined once again by Vivian Dudro to discuss the work of Spanish novelist Jose Luis Olaizola and his book “Fire of Love: A Historical Novel on the Life St. John of the Cross”!  Olaizola is an award-winning Spanish writer, who is known for his acclaimed works on great historical figures such as El Cid, Hernan Cortes, Bartolome de las Casas, and Patricio Escobar.  In this book, he richly offers the life of the great Spanish mystical doctor of the Church, St. John of the Cross.

Jose Luis Olaizola
Jose Luis Olaizola

Fire-of-love-195x300

You can find the book here

This historical novel paints a striking portrait of one of the most revered saints in history, in a landscape that makes the life and times of John of the Cross relevant to our own age. Here is an extraordinary adventure that explores the thorny challenges that every soul must face: avoiding the trappings of this world that lead to darkness, and embracing the radiance of the fire of Divine Love. Having performed the life of this great saint as an actor, I found Jose Luis Olaizola’s portrayal very true to the passion and dramatic intensity of this great mystic. Fire of Love rekindled in me the fire ignited by Saint John of the Cross in his poetic plea, ‘Love Him intensely, as He deserves to be loved.’ May all who read this literary work examine their own souls profoundly, in order to have the greatest of all adventures – finding God Himself. —Leonardo Defilippis, Film Actor & Director, John of the Cross

IP#316 Rod Dreher – The Benedict Option on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

We could not be more enthusiastic about bringing forward any book this year than we are with Rod Dreher’s ” The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation”!  Relying on the wisdom of St. Benedict of Nursia, Rod suggests that the answer to the moral chaos that has affected our culture is to embrace the principles of order, hospitality, stability, and prayer.  These core attributes can become solid foundations of all Chris­tians—Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox—and can transform our lives, families and the culture that surrounds us. “Neither false optimism nor fatalistic despair will do” as so well stated in the book description “Only faith, hope, and love, embodied in a renewed church, can sustain believers in the dark age that have overtaken us. These are the days for building strong arks for the long journey across a sea of night.”  Highly recommended!

 

You can find the book here

“A terrific book: provocative in its content, shrewd in its insights, vivid and engaging in its style. The strength of The Benedict Option is not just its analysis of our culture’s developing problems but its outline of practical ways Christians can survive and thrive in a dramatically different America. This is an invaluable tool for understanding our times and acting as faithful believers.”
—Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia

 

IP#163 Vivian Dudro – Evelyn Waugh’s “Edmund Campion” on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

IP#281 Vivian Dudro - Meriol Trevor's "Shadows and Images" on Inside the Pages 1
Vivian Dudro

I love the writing of Evelyn Waugh…his prose are some of the best of our time, if not of all time.  And when that talent is used to pen a biography of the heroic English martyr, Edmund Campion, a tremendous blessing has been given to all who glean it’s pages.  What a story…what a life.  We are joined once again by the wonderful Vivian Dudro to discuss this incredible work, as well as the life and times of this great saint.

edmundcampion-bookYou can find the book here

From the description:

evelyn-waugh
Evelyn Waugh

Evelyn Waugh presented his biography of St. Edmund Campion, the Elizabethan poet, scholar, and gentleman who became the haunted, trapped and murdered priest as “a simple, perfectly true story of heroism and holiness.”

 

But it is written with a novelist’s eye for the telling incident and with all the elegance and feeling of a master of English prose. From the years ofsuccess as an Oxford scholar, to entry into the newly founded Society of Jesus and a professorship in Prague, Campion’s life was an inexorable progress towards the doomed mission to England. There followed pursuit, betrayal, a spirited defense of loyalty to the Queen, and a horrifying martyr’s death at Tyburn.edmund-campion-220x300

IP#137 Vivian Dudro – Sigrid Undset’s “Ida Elisabeth” on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

IP#281 Vivian Dudro - Meriol Trevor's "Shadows and Images" on Inside the Pages 1

Vivian Dudro joins us once again to discuss Sigrid Undset, her life and her times, and some other works of this important author.

To say that Sigrid Undset is compelling would be an understatement. Catholic convert, Nobel Prize-winning Norwegian novelist , her works invoke the poignancy of the fall and the hope that is found in the act of redemptive suffering. “Ida Elisabeth” is a tremendous work. Great literature helps us practice the virtues. We may never encounter the situations the characters do, but watching how they navigate through the emotions and morals of the moments, help us to exercise our own virtues and responses to the underlying sin that propels the characters forward…and helps us to avoid recognize in some way the traps laid before us.

 

sigrid-undsetida-elisabethYou can find the book here

“Undset is a realist in the truest sense of the word. She sees the real world in which people face the bitter consequences of selfish choices and in which suffering is unavoidable and yet potentially redemptive. In her acclaimed historical fiction, Undset shows us that the acceptance of suffering is the beginning of wisdom and also, paradoxically, the path to peace and lasting joy.”
– Joseph Pearce, Author, The Quest for Shakespeare

IP#127 Dale Ahlquist – In Defense of Sanity on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

ahlquist

How can you possibly pick the best of G. K. Chesterton’s essays?  Thank goodness for Dale Ahlquist, Joseph Pearce, Aidan Mackey!  Leading authorities on all things G. K. they’ve done it for us…and what a feast!  From cheese to Jane Austen, barbarians to “what is right with the world,” G. K. covers it all.  And the beauty is that it is still as relevant today as it was in his day…that’s the mark of genius, or more accurately, authentic wisdom and grace.  It is always a joy to talk with Dale Ahlquist!  He is the “good son” of G. K.  Have fun with the listen and then read “In Defense of Sanity: The Best Essays of G.K. Chesterton.”

in-defense-of-sanity-196x300You can find the book here

From the book description:

The variety of topics are astounding: barbarians, architects, mystics, ghosts, fireworks, rain, juries, gargoyles and much more. Plus a look at Shakespeare, Dickens, Jane Austen, George MacDonald, T.S. Eliot, and the Bible. All in that inimitable, formidable but always quotable style of GKC. Even more astounding than the variety is the continuity of Chesterton’s thought that ties everything together. A veritable feast for the mind and heart.

While some of the essays in this volume may be familiar, many of them are collected here for the first time, making their first appearance in over a century.

IP#302 Mike Aquilina – The World of Ben Hur on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

Mike Aquilina - Fathers of the Church and so much more... 5Thank you Mike Aquilina for complying an incredible book which explores “The World of Ben Hur”!  One of the most popular Christian novels of all-time, “Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ” was penned by Lew Wallace and has served as the basis for plays, television productions, and several film adaptations for over 100 years. The 1959 production starring Charlton Heston still holds up as one of the finest cinematic masterpieces of all time!  Mike not only covers the background of the book, the compelling conversion of its author, and it’s place in our cultural experience, but he also offers us the historical facts of the era and the Christian experience.  As always, Mike’s writing is compelling, thoughtful and inspiring.  A fantastic addition to the Mike Aquilina library of books!

9781622823178You can find the book here

From the book description:

As you strip away centuries of accumulated tradition and look at Jesus of Nazareth with fresh eyes, you’ll also share with Ben-Hur the exciting, confusing, and life-changing experience of meeting Jesus for the first time. Armed with new wisdom and keen insights into the fascinating history of the Roman Empire, you’ll never watch Ben-Hur the same way again.

“Mike Aquilina has done a masterful job placing us in the life and times of Judah Ben-Hur and Jesus Christ. This is a must-read for any fan of Ben-Hur.”
Scott Hahn

IP#302 Mike Aquilina – The World of Ben Hur on Inside the Pages from Discerning Hearts on Vimeo.

IP#20 Anthony Burke Smith – The Look of Catholics on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

Anthony-Burke-Smith-2

“The Look of Catholics: Portrayals in Popular Culture from the Great Depression to the Cold War” is a fascinating work by Anthony Burke Smith.  In film, radio, print Catholics contributed significantly to the American Imagination during some of the truly toughest years our nation has faced.  It is really interesting how the country turned to the virtuous communal nature of the Catholic identity to lift itself during this time.  From Leo McCarey’s Oscar-winning “Go My Way” to Archbishop Fulton Sheen to Henry Luce (publisher of Life magazine), Anthony covers a vast array of areas in this study.  I loved it, and I bet so will you!

 

You can find Anthony’s book at Amazon.com41KXLYk5qbL._SX343_BO1,204,203,200_

“Smith’s ambitious and exemplary work demonstrates decisively for all time that Catholics were not only integral players in the formation of modern American popular culture but that the role of Catholicism itself in the national popular culture was a major issue in the production of that same culture. . . . A wonderfully exciting book that will be widely hailed as a landmark achievement confirm the author’s stature as the leading scholar of Catholic popular culture, and be consulted by scholars and their students for decades to come.” –James T. Fisher