It’s Not a J. K. Rowling Novel

The title of this post says what you need to know about this play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, bearing the ascription, “based on an original new story by J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne; a new play by Jack Thorne.” Here are my complaints, as they come to me: The characters are […]

The World Is Whispering

This poem comes at the moving conclusion of Andrew Peterson’s fourth and final book in the Wingfeather Saga, The Warden and the Wolf King: The world is whispering–listen child!– The world is telling a tale. When the seafoam froths in the water wild Or the fendril flies in the gale, When the sky is mad with the […]

Reading a Chiasm Helically

In his brilliant and thought provoking book, Deep Exegesis, Peter Leithart writes (167): “In a book happily back in print, John Breck argues that chiasms are not ‘balanced structures, but instead are dynamic literary devices. He suggests that chiasms should be read ‘helically,’ moving not just from A to B to C to B’ and so […]

What Rowling Said about Dumbledore

I’m sure you’ve heard what J. K. Rowling said about Albus Dumbledore: “I always thought of Dumbledore as gay.” Dumbledore is a hero, one of the good guys through all seven novels. Unlike the way he is portrayed in the movies, Dumbledore is neither bumbling nor weak. He is commanding, authoritative, strong, sure, and only […]

Beowulf as Christian Apologetic

Douglas Wilson has translated Beowulf, and a few years back he wrote an essay for Touchstone on it: “The Anglo-Saxon Evangel: The Beowulf Poet Was a Shrewd Christian Apologist.” Though a heroic poem about pagans that never mentions Christ, Beowulf is the opposite of syncretistic compromise. It is written to highlight the treachery as a way of life that […]

Lepanto by G. K. Chesterton

Savor the power of the language in this stanza from G. K. Chesterton’s tribute to the Battle of Lepanto: Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard, Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred, Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall, The last knight of Europe takes weapons […]

How to Read through Shakespeare in a Year

Have you ever read The Complete Works of Shakespeare? Seeing the film Lincoln inspired me to set an informal goal of reading all Shakespeare’s plays and poetry this year, and then I came across this quote in Another Sort of Learning: Not too long ago, I heard a tape of the memorial service held at Stanford […]

Mere Christianity’s Arguments in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

A few years back I read The Chronicles of Narnia aloud to my oldest two sons (we read them in the right order). The third-born is now 5 years old, and it’s his turn. The older boys are listening in, and we’re doing our best to keep them from revealing story-spoilers. I’m also trying to […]

My Take on Dumbledore’s Orientation has posted my thoughts on “What Rowling Said about Dumbledore.” Here’s the postscript: I haven’t read Jerram Barrs’ book yet, but I just saw on Justin Taylor’s blog that Barrs has an appendix in his forthcoming Echoes of Eden entitled “The Outing of Dumbledore.” I’ve been thinking about what Rowling said about Dumbledore since […]

J. K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy

What’s with Rowling’s new book? Is it an “adult” novel? I saw one report where, rejecting some connotations of the word “adult,” Rowling said she preferred to say the novel is for grown-ups. That’s right. This is not a book that titillates. This is not a book that seduces people, luring them to fantasize about […]

On the Eve of the Release of Rowling’s Next Book

I’ve been thinking for a while about what J. K. Rowling teaches us in the Harry Potter stories through her depiction of Remus Lupin, the werewolf who is a good guy. I finally got around to writing up my reflections, and they’re now posted over at Here’s the opening: I love the Harry Potter […]

The Life We Long for: On Cormac McCarthy’s The Road

“She would of been a good woman,” The Misfit said, “if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.” These words, near the end of Flanner O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” bounced around in my head as I made my way through Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road. […]

Do You “Get” Flannery O’Connor? She Writes Like a Biblical Author

Flannery O’Connor’s novel Wise Blood left me scratching my head. I think that was part of her technique, honestly. The “meaning” of her stories isn’t right there on the surface as it is in a Dickens novel. Her works really have to be pondered, and you’re best off pondering from the perspective of the biblical […]

Jane Austen and Jeremiah 20:7

The Lord provided for me on Saturday morning. I was preparing to preach Jeremiah 19–20, and I was really stuck on Jeremiah 20:7, which reads in the ESV, “O LORD, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed . . .” Some scholars say that Jeremiah […]

Camus’s Translator on Translation

I have posted before on Dostoevsky’s translator, and I was pleased to read the “Translator’s Note” to Albert Camus’s The Stranger. Matthew Ward is the translator, and it seems to me that his comments weigh against “dynamic equivalence” in favor of a more literal rendering. Ward is actually critiquing the earlier more dynamic translation of […]