On Maria and the Death of Nikolai Bolkonsky in War and Peace

Throughout Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, the great Bolkonsky household is a home bereft of affection and the caresses of love for which perhaps every child and every parent longs. The father, Nikolai Bolkonsky, proud, intelligent, eccentric, and cynical, has tormented his daughter by his schedule, his demands, his scoffing at her faith and manners. But … Continue reading On Maria and the Death of Nikolai Bolkonsky in War and Peace

A Question of the Liberal Arts: Why is Song a Gift from the Gods?

from a talk given at New College Franklin in the Fall of 2013 Main Texts: Homer’s Odyssey, Book 8, lines 42-45, 62-94, 483-499, 521-534 Homer’s Iliad, Book VI, lines 440-465 My goal in giving this talk is to inspire wonder and excitement about the program of study here, to encourage intellectual enthusiasm. With this goal … Continue reading A Question of the Liberal Arts: Why is Song a Gift from the Gods?

It Never Fails

It never fails, if a boy should love a girl that he loses some sleep in the bargain. It never fails, when a young women first be a mother, that she be stricken now and again with fear and doubt, and sometime wonder many nights whether the child still breathes and should check on her. … Continue reading It Never Fails