Posts

On Literature that Invokes Cosmic Order

"Spenser [author of Faerie Queen ] is medieval because he invites us to join in the solemnities of the world's order; he is a Romantic because he traces the soul's Bildungsroman in the enchanted state of fairy land. What the soul journeys toward, what the poet sympathizes with, what he invites humble submission to, is just the cosmic order of Reality" (Saunders 33-34).  Saudners, Bret J. "The Obvious Central Appeal: C. S. Lewis on Great Texts and Great Teaching." Forma , 14, Summer 2020, 31-35. 

Heaven and Hell: Visions of the Afterlife in the Western Poetic Tradition

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I have spent several years compiling research on Dante's Inferno from Omnibus articles, Barron's Simplified Approach to Dante , The World of Dante , Danteworlds , and the footnotes in the back of my school's Oxford edition of the text. I have also done quite a bit of further topical research on individuals and ideas when I still wasn't sure that I completely understood the intricacy and complexity of Dante's Hell. I am glad to have spent so much time seeking to better understand. This pursuit has cultivated my desire to teach the text well - to be Virgil for my students as they descend into Dante's creation themselves. However, at a classical conference last year, I discovered Louis Markos' Heaven and Hell: Visions of the Afterlife in the Western Poetic Tradition . And, this text not only contains most of the information that I have previously gathered from so many separate sources, but has also offered explanations for contrapassi that I had not ye

On Perfect Composure in Moment of Crisis

“Over and over again, Gawain proves the worth of familiar values by facing the marvelous or unknown, and rendering it manageable for the rest of his society. But his preeminence does not simply consist in unhesitating courage or unparalleled ability. . . . It is Gawain’s courtesy - perfect composure in the moment of crisis - that endows him with heroic stature. Repeatedly, Gawain exhibits a willing restraint of available force . . ., which separates him from non-chivalrous opponents . . .. Each courteous conquest stages the general triumph of civility, ensuring that the rituals that organize social meaning prevail in spite of confusion or even threat to life. . . . Moreover, his courtesy makes his conquests all the more complete, for they entail not annihilation or brute suppression, but the ungrudging concession of Gawain’s superiority by some previously hostile or unknown Other . Gawain’s role in the romances works therefore to effect reconciliation or reappropriation, rather than d

On Symbolism and Reality

“In Peter [of Morrone’s] era people understood the world around them through allegory, symbolism, and parallels that might seem far-fetched to us today. Medieval people were continually seeking lines of connection between the natural and the divine. The outward appearances of things were believed to cloak deeper, spiritual realities” (Sweeney 77). Sweeney, Jon M. The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation . Image Books, Random House, Inc., 2012. I may earn an affiliate commission on the sales of some of the resources to which I have provided links. I only provide links to resources that I have determined to be beneficial to my understanding of the classics and beneficial to my ability to guide others through the classics.

On Origins and Originality

"The publication of [a full-color facsimile of the Leiden Aratea in 1974] is simply another stage in the history of copying the manuscript of the Aratea , which is a ninth-century copy of a fourth- or fifth-century codex, derived in all probability from an original in the court of imperial Rome, copying a manuscript from ancient Greece. Most modern published reproduction of the Aratea are now no longer taken directly from the precious manuscript in Leiden, but instead from the Swiss facsimile or from the on-line digitized version. Therefore, those, in their due turn, have become exemplars. The process [of copying manuscripts] is going on still. Owners of facsimiles often tell you that they possess a numbered 'original,' but the definition of originality has always been complex when dealing with medieval manuscripts" ( de Hamel  186-187).

On the Question of Natural Phenomenon v. Sign from God

Upon seeing Halley's Comet streak across the sky in 837, Louis the Pious called to his biographer, who was also an intimate member of the royal household, "to discuss whether it was a divine portent or a natural phenomenon, and the emperor concluded that there was effectively no difference" ( de Hamel 175).

On Disbelief in the Absolutism of Subject Delineation

"The medieval assumption was that God made everything in the universe for a purpose, and for the use of mankind. It was the duty of the Christian to study and decode that divine purpose. To know how the stars and planets were created in order to assist people in providing seasons and weather and navigation would have been a form of theology, or even a devotional exercise" ( de Hamel 173).