This issue of the Arts of Liberty Bulletin features different pieces related to literature, and arises from a number of providential connections. I encountered Arnold Bennett’s 1907 Literary Taste and How to Form It through my collaboration with Lisa Vandamme’s Read With Me project. We led a series of conversations on the short, practical, challenging, inspiring guide which I found very fruitful. Here is a teaser: The makers of literature are those who have seen and felt the miraculous interestingness of the universe. A “chance-meeting” at last year’s National Symposium for Classical Education introduced me to Megan Lindsay, a Great Hearts’ drama and literature teacher who shared with me some of her secrets for opening the minds and hearts of her students to the power of Shakespeare (which I adapted for a very successful workshop at an elementary school in Kentucky). I celebrated Providence in the works of JRR Tolkien and the classical liberal arts revival in my talk at last year’s Circe Institute conference.
The new year has seen our work at the Boethius Institute continue to develop. Our Fellows in formation just completed a short course on logic by considering the ways in which it helps perfect our reasoning even in matters where we can’t attain the mathematical certainty, and encountering Aristotle’s description of the magical moment of intellectual insight that elevates us above the limited but powerful realm of sensory experience. We will now turn to look at classical rhetoric in theory and practice. Senior Fellow Erik Ellis discussed criteria for a canon of great books with colleagues in South America. Matthew Walz gave a talk on Benedict XVI’s concern for healing reason at the Circe Institute’s Forma Symposium. Jeffrey Lehman and I offered talks on the liberal arts and the history of Catholic education at the St. John Bosco Conference in Denver, and soon we will begin our modern mathematics sequence with our students at the Pascal Institute in the Netherlands.
Many more seeds are germinating to bear fruit in the summer and beyond. I look forward to reporting on them for our next Bulletin.