D.H. Lawrence: the Good and the Bad

Author D.H. Lawrence (1885—1930) is best known for his worst novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover. But he also wrote some genuinely fine works of fiction, including the short story, “Tickets, Please”.

“Lost in the Cosmos” by Walker Percy

This is the sort of book that a person could hold onto indefinitely, delve into repeatedly, and emerge with an arsenal of life- and sanity-saving insights.

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Three fateful choices were made for the modern world during the 1800s; and those choices can be represented by three exceptionally brilliant writers: Marx, Nietzsche, and Dostoyevsky. 

Rare Earth by Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee

Their non-fiction book challenges the common assumption that the universe teems with complex life-forms (intelligent or otherwise). 

Two by Camus

Albert Camus (1913—1960) was one of the most distinguished writers of the twentieth century.  Almost everything he wrote is worth reading, but two works stand out for me: The Stranger and “The Adulterous Woman”. 

Gerard Manley Hopkins—Poems

Gerard Manley Hopkins was born in Essex in 1844 and died in 1889. Since the publication of his work in 1918, he has been recognized as one of the greatest poets of the nineteenth century.

The Wisdom of the Desert by Thomas Merton

Merton himself was an interesting man.  He was a twentieth century Roman Catholic monk whose writings became very popular even among nonreligious readers. 

Edgar Allan Poe: Stories and Poems

Poe shared with Nathaniel Hawthorne a distinctively American vision of darkness.  And yet this vision was rendered artfully, not in a merely negative or pessimistic manner.

“Helena” by Evelyn Waugh

Published in 1950, it concerns the titular empress and saint, who lived during the 200s and 300s A.D. and was the mother of Constantine the Great. 

“Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton

But for me, Wharton’s rendering of this material transcends any of its shortcomings.  Even the depressing elements attain a grim beauty (Ethan’s search for Mattie after their failed suicide is a heartbreaking example).

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