Literary Tales Ep. 3: Greek Theogony and Theodicy

In this episode of Literary Tales, we examine the dialectical development of Greek theogony and theodicy from Hesiod and Homer down through Pseudo-Apollodorus with concluding remarks on this tradition's supersession by Virgil. In starting from Hesiod's Theogony and exploring the role of the gods, their birth and divine decrees, through Homer and the Bibliotheca, I … Continue reading Literary Tales Ep. 3: Greek Theogony and Theodicy

Virgil’s Use of Consciousness, Memory, and History in “The Aeneid”

The grandest image of Virgil’s Aeneid is the shield forged by the god Vulcan in the eighth book of Aeneas’ adventure to “Lavinian shores and Italian soil.” Virgil pays homage to Homer, his master and mentor, who also describes a grand image on a shield forged by the gods for Achilles. But where Achilles’ shield … Continue reading Virgil’s Use of Consciousness, Memory, and History in “The Aeneid”

Homer’s “Iliad”: From Strife to Love

Homer’s Iliad is the defining epic of Western literature. Its heroes live on in lure and our collective and individual consciousness. Most of Greek—and Roman literature—is indebted to the epic and its characters. Even modern English literature owes much to Homer’s monumental and heroic poem. Indeed, all Western literature owes to the wellspring of Homer. Even literary … Continue reading Homer’s “Iliad”: From Strife to Love

Catholicism and the Gothic Psyche, (2/3): Sex, Violence, and the Origins of the Sacred

Gothic horror often deals with sexuality, sexual torment, and graphic violence. One of the common polemical retorts against Catholicism is that it is obsessed with sexuality, sexual violence, and blood imagery. But how did Catholicism arrive at this nexus of the intersectionality of sex, violence, and the sacred? The Biblical account is unclear whether Adam … Continue reading Catholicism and the Gothic Psyche, (2/3): Sex, Violence, and the Origins of the Sacred

Catholicism and the Gothic Psyche (1/3): Depth, Depravity, and the Restlessness of Man

The image of the Gothic is something usually depicted as something dark, depressing, and horrifying. The Gothic was, for a time, nearly synonymous with Catholicism, especially in the Protestant world where Gothic was associated with darkness and superstition like Catholicism was depicted as being—and this was reinforced and propagated by British Gothic horror often being … Continue reading Catholicism and the Gothic Psyche (1/3): Depth, Depravity, and the Restlessness of Man

Reading “War and Peace”: The Tyranny of Historicism and Tolstoy’s Philosophical Reflections

Philosophy of History is a major sub-theme that runs through the work; it begins to appear more readily in the second half of the story and a dedicated second epilogue by Tolstoy is nothing more than reflections on the philosophy of history. War and Peace, therefore, is more than just a story, more than a … Continue reading Reading “War and Peace”: The Tyranny of Historicism and Tolstoy’s Philosophical Reflections

Reading “War and Peace”: Kutuzov and Napoleon

There are many “great men,” or historical figures, who appear throughout Tolstoy’s work. Many have single appearances, like the Austrian general Karl von Mack. Others appear repeatedly; their shadow sort of hanging over the principal characters. Two such great men stand out, and both are dialectically contrasted with each other: The French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, … Continue reading Reading “War and Peace”: Kutuzov and Napoleon

Reading “War and Peace”: Natasha and Helene

The two of the most prominent female characters in War and Peace are Natasha and Helene. The two women couldn’t be more starkly contrasted with each other. And in their stark contrasts, the two move toward different destinies like the two unfolding cities in St. Augustine’s masterpiece The City of God. Like Andrei and Pierre, … Continue reading Reading “War and Peace”: Natasha and Helene