That All Shall Be Saved

I’ve started reading David Bentley Hart’s “That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell and Universal Salvation.” It is a powerful and convincing call to abandon the doctrine of an eternal hell and to return to the belief, widespread in the earliest centuries of Christian history, that God’s punishments were not eternal and that God would … Continue reading That All Shall Be Saved

The Odyssey, books 11-24

Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey is unsentimental. Her language is poetic but straightforward, and never prettified. It’s unsparing about the violence and moral ambiguities in Homer’s poem, and not surprisingly, reading it is an emotional experience. This happens often in the space of one line, or just in single word of double meaning, as … Continue reading The Odyssey, books 11-24

The Old Beggar and the Sea

I cannot say anything about Homer’s “Odyssey” that hasn’t been said before, so I’m going to take a personal angle on this one. I’m going to try to describe why I loved “The Iliad” even in high school but have never gotten around to its sequel until now. To sum up, I think I loved … Continue reading The Old Beggar and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea

When I was 8 or 9, I remember finding an old movie playing on television one afternoon, about an old man and what looked to me like a swordfish. I came in only near the end and my goodness it left an impression, though I retained no clear memory of how the story ended. I … Continue reading The Old Man and the Sea

Pinocchio and Moby Dickens

My 10-year-old daughter and I recently read Carlo Collodi’s 1883 story, “The Adventures of Pinocchio.” Now, it turns out that the story is fairly dark, much more than the famous Disney movie of 1940. Parents may wish to be careful with this one, and a full plot description of Collodi’s story can be found on … Continue reading Pinocchio and Moby Dickens

Eponine and Sonya Alone

A few days ago I was making a list of the best sequences in the novel of “Les Misérables.” My list, which I’ll put below, was heavy on actions taken by Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert, and one item stood out: Eponine barring her father and his thugs from entering the house where Cosette and … Continue reading Eponine and Sonya Alone

Sisters of The Wretched

Roman Catholic nuns play a critical role in the novel of Les Misérables. Victor Hugo takes up several chapters in an interlude about their order. It is one of the famous “digressions” of his novel. Like the other digressions, it requires patience, but the effort is rewarded, and I find myself thinking about it long … Continue reading Sisters of The Wretched

Other Les Misérables films

I’ve been watching a lot of “Les Misérables” adaptations since finishing the novel. I’ve watched the usual suspects, and I’ll list them below (slight spoilers), but I have to start with one of the very best, only 10 minutes long, that I found entirely by chance. Click on the photo for Inspector’s Javert’s vlog, or … Continue reading Other Les Misérables films

Un film de Les Misérables

I’ve been reading Victor Hugo’s “Les Misérables”, which means reading a lot of chase scenes. It’s been a pleasant surprise, actually, in an otherwise sad, serious and seriously great book, to follow Jean Valjean across the face of France as Inspector Javert tries to reel him in. After a while it all started reminding me … Continue reading Un film de Les Misérables


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