Where did you attend college? Notre Dame for undergrad. Indiana University for graduate school. How did you propose to your wife? I wrote out 95 reasons why she should marry me and posted them on the cathedral door in Helena, Montana because she was Lutheran. I took her there at about 20 minutes to midnight on February 12th of 1998. She said yes. If you were on a desert island, what three books would you bring? “The Lord of the Rings,” the Bible, and “City of God.” You’re on a desert island and get access to one website. What do you choose? The Imaginative Conservative. Would you rather climb Mount Everest or go to the bottom of the ocean in a submarine? Everest. Do you have any superstitions? I believe in ghosts.
— Read on hillsdalecollegian.com/2019/12/quick-hits-bradley-birzer-a-weekly-rapid-fire-interview/
When I was a kid, I loved, loved the Sears Wish Book. It was a catalog full of toys and games and pajamas and other stuff kids might want to put on their gift-request lists. I can still smell the ink on the paper of the Wish Book. I want that Star Wars toy and this video game and, no, I don’t want that pillow, c’mon mom, who wants a pillow for Christmas?
Clearly someone at Amazon has been thinking of the power of colorful print catalogs to promote products, because last month, we got an 89-page catalog from Amazon in our mailbox, titled “Play Together: Amazon’s Ultimate Wish List for Kids!”
— Read on sixcolors.com/post/2019/12/amazons-mystifying-paper-catalogs/
That spring, Williams and Lewis formally met one another, in person, and discovered an immediate kinship of ideas and personalities. Despite the geographical distance between them, the two continued to read each others’ works and correspond about them. Indeed, Lewis liked Williams’s 1937 novel, Descent into Hell, as much as he had Place of the Lion, if not more. “I think this is the best book you have given us yet,” he assured Williams. Again, a year later, in 1938, Lewis approved of Williams’s following book, He Came Down from Heaven, seeing in it timeless truths equal to those of “Plato, Augustine, or Pascal.” Playfully, Lewis teased Williams for his many successes. “Damn you, you go on getting steadily better ever since you first crossed my path: how do you do it? I begin to suspect that we are living in the ‘age of Williams’ and our friendship with you will be our only passport to fame. I’ve a good mind to punch your head when we next meet.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/12/living-same-spiritual-world-c-s-lewis-charles-williams-bradley-birzer.html
I’m very happy to announce–through the very good and gracious efforts of Joseph Pearce and Winston Elliott–this Stormfields blog will be heading to print immediately.
As of the January/February 2020 issue of the St. Austin Review, Stormfields will be a regular column.
I’ll still be posting here as well, of course, but I’m excited to branch out into other areas of publishing. I’m also, of course, excited to work with Joe, one of our single finest biographers and writers in the world today.
If you don’t yet, please consider subscribing to the St. Austin Review, one of the finest Catholic print magazines in existence.
My latest book, Beyond Tenebrae: Christian Humanism in the Twilight of the West, is now out from Angelico Press. The book is available for purchase at Angelico or at amazon.com.
Considering longish definitions of conservatism and humanism, the book claims that biography is the best way to approach understanding in our post-modern whirligig of a world.
Beyond Tenebrae: Christian Humanism in the Twilight of the West: Bradley J. Birzer: 9781621384977: Amazon.com: Books
Beyond Tenebrae: Christian Humanism in the Twilight of the West [Bradley J. Birzer] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Beyond Tenebrae is about Christian humanism in all its breadth and depth, and the persons and groups best embodying it (quite apart from any particular social or political stance) in the last century and a half. Modern readers who sense the greatness of the “Republic of Letters” that commenced with the wisdom of the ancient Greeks and has endured for over two millennia will benefit from being introduced to the great men and women presented in these pages
— Read on www.amazon.com/dp/1621384977/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1
Much to my regret, I never asked my grandfather about Aunt Cecelia, and my grandmother never knew her. The events of her life are now completely lost, outside of her tragic death which seems to have defined her very existence. I have visited Aunt Cecelia’s grave many times in my life; frankly, it’s one of my favorite spots in the known universe. She rests under a gravestone with her oval picture embedded in it. Though the porcelain containing the picture is cracked and chipped, the image intrigues me. Despite the distance from her to me, her eyes reveal much. She looks at me with penetrating intelligence and with more than a bit mischievousness. Aunt Cecelia has even visited me a time or two in my dreams, but she is always merely playful. She’s never spoken to me, even under the drug of Morpheus. Her grave faces east in the windswept and dramatic valley of Pfeifer, Kansas, under the shadow of the gothic church built stone by stone by my ancestors, Heilige Kreuz.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/11/all-beautiful-terrible-feast-saint-cecilia-timeless-bradley-birzer.html
It will be very interesting to see the first wave of products that use the new color e-paper. I would say Amazon or Kobo stand the best chance to be first to the market, simply because they have large engineering divisions and can afford to take the time to get a product right. How nice would it be to browse the Kindle or Kobo store and have all of the cover art in full and vibrant colors? The GoodReads experience on the Kindle would be superb, you would actually be able to see the avatar photos people use, instead of them just being in black and white. Non-fiction books would benefit from this, you would actually be able to see the insert photos, as they were intended.
— Read on goodereader.com/blog/e-paper/color-e-paper-is-being-tested-by-some-big-name-companies
One very late night or early morning in 1939, J.R.R. Tolkien awoke, a full story ready to burst from his already imaginatively feverish brain. Contrary to his normal hesitation and typical obsessive writing and rewriting, Tolkien’s short story, “Leaf by Niggle” emerged “virtually complete in my head. It took only a few hours to get down, and then copy out.” If Tolkien had ever toyed with the ideas found in the novel—in terms of setting, character, or plot—he had no recollection of them or of any of it. Like Athena emerging whole out of the head of Zeus, “Leaf by Niggle” simply appeared on paper that very late evening or early morning in 1939, just prior to the beginning of the Second World War. Sometime in 1940, he read the story—presumably to an approving audience—to the Inklings. Again, the story just emerged, and Tolkien never even edited it after his initial copying it down. It was, he remembered fondly, “the only thing I have ever done which cost me absolutely no pains at all.”
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/11/leaf-by-niggle-jrr-tolkien-bradley-birzer.html
It would be no exaggeration to claim that C.S. Lewis’s “Perelandra”—arguably the least read and least remembered part of his “Space Trilogy”—is nothing short of a masterpiece. In it, the author ably blends science fiction and theology, giving us a gripping thriller, steeped in thought, adventure, and myth… (essay by Bradley J. Birzer)
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/11/perelandra-preventing-fall-bradley-birzer.html
In his personal recollections of his mentor, hero, and friend, George Sayer remembered that J.R.R. Tolkien possessed the uncanny ability to match his facial expressions and speech patterns to and with the prevailing mood of any given conversation. “As I sat with him and the Lewis brothers in the pub, I remember being fascinated by the expressions on his face, the way they changed to suit what he was saying,” Sayer recollected. “Often he was smiling, genial, or wore a pixy look. A few seconds later he might burst into savage scathing criticism, looking fierce and menacing. Then he might soon again become genial.” It was not affectation, but sincere intensity. The very same might (and should) be claimed of his writing ability. When the mood calls for levity, Tolkien writes with levity. When the mood calls for depth, Tolkien writes with depth. When the mood calls for contemplation, Tolkien writes contemplatively. As a twentieth-century author, he was an absolute master at this.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/10/approaching-feathertop-anatomy-scene-bradley-birzer.html