Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ignatius Critical Editions of the Classics of Literature

This is awesome news for Catholics who love literature!

Ignatius Press is working with Joseph Pearce to produce the Ignatius Critical Editions series. These are critical editions of the classics of literature that approach them from a traditional moral vantage point, rather than the modernist, feminist, deconstructionist view which dominates academia today. They even have corresponding study guides to help teach from these editions!

Here's what Ignatius Press says about the series:
The Ignatius Critical Editions represent a tradition-oriented alternative to popular textbook series such as the Norton Critical Editions or Oxford World Classics, and are designed to concentrate on traditional readings of the Classics of world literature. While many modern critical editions have succumbed to the fads of modernism and postmodernism, this series will concentrate on tradition-oriented criticism of these great works.

Edited by acclaimed literary biographer Joseph Pearce, the Ignatius Critical Editions will ensure that traditional moral readings of the works are given prominence, instead of the feminist or deconstructionist readings that often proliferate in other series of 'critical editions'. As such, they represent a genuine extension of consumer choice, enabling educators, students, and lovers of good literature to buy editions of classic literary works without having to 'buy into' the ideologies of secular fundamentalism.

The series is ideal for anyone wishing to understand the great works of Western civilization, enabling the modern reader to enjoy these classics in the company of some of the finest literature professors alive today.

There are half a dozen titles out already, with many more on the way. Here's what they have so far:

Here are the titles listed as "Coming Soon":

  • The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
  • Merchant of Venice - William Shakespeare
  • Macbeth - William Shakespeare
  • The Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Metaphysical Poets - Donne, Crashaw, Herbert, Marvell, etc.
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift
  • Romantic Poets - Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Byron, Shelley, etc.

Thank you Ignatius Press! It's time to take the world of literary interpretation back from those who have led it down a dark, dismal path for so long.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Beginning of Lent: A Call to Fast

On this Ash Wednesday, it is good to look over and reflect upon Pope Benedict's Message for Lent 2009.

In this message, Benedict reflects specifically on the practice of fasting: its place in Scripture, its place in the Church, and its place in our personal spiritual lives.

Pope Benedict brings up something profound that was new to me. He brings up the very first command of God to Adam in Genesis 2:16-17. God tells Adam that he can eat from any tree in the Garden of Eden except for the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God's first command, even before sin entered the world, was one of fasting. This spiritual practice has truly been part of human history from the very beginning. That is certainly something to ponder.

The rest of the message is also very good. I encourage you to read and reflect upon it. It's a good prayerful activity for Ash Wednesday!