more than 95 theses


A journal, commonplace book, and Wunderkammer by
Alan Jacobs.

My blog on technologies of reading, writing, and knowledge is called Text Patterns; I am an occasional contributor to the Technology channel of The Atlantic; I'm a Contributing Editor for The New Atlantis. Also, I tweet.

My biography of the Book of Common Prayer has now been published by Princeton University Press, and I’ve created an associated tumblelog.

My critical edition of W. H. Auden’s long poem For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio is now available.

My next book will be about Christian humanism in a time of total war.

I invite you to a meditative encounter with my online project The Gospel of the Trees.

Please consider supporting this tumblelog by buying some of my books. I will thank you, my family will thank you, and the internet — surely — will thank you.

”Reverting to Type: a Reader’s Story”

The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction

The Age of Anxiety, by W. H. Auden — a critical edition. A PDF of my Introduction to the poem is available online.

Wayfaring: Essays Pleasant and Unpleasant

Original Sin: a Cultural History

Looking Before and After: Testimony and the Christian Life

The Narnian: the Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis

Shaming the Devil: Essays in Truthtelling

A Theology of Reading: the Hermeneutics of Love

A Visit to Vanity Fair: Moral Essays on the Present Age

What Became of Wystan: Change and Continuity in Auden’s Poetry

  • June 21, 2012 7:38 am


    The man who more than anyone else brought about the solution to the teen-age problem was Eric Liddell. It is rare indeed that a person has the good fortune to meet a saint, but he came as close to it as anyone I have ever known. Often in an evening of that last year I (headed for some pleasant rendezvous with my girl friend) would pass the game room and peer in to see what the missionaries had cooking for the teen-agers. As often as not Eric Liddell would be bent over a chessboard or a model boat, or directing some sort of square dance — absorbed, warm, and interested, pouring all of himself into this effort to capture the minds and imaginations of those pent-up youths… .

    In camp he was in his middle forties, lithe and springy of step and, above all, overflowing with good humor and love of life. He was aided by others, to be sure. But it was Eric’s enthusiasm and charm that carried the day with the whole effort. Shortly before the camp ended, he was stricken suddenly with a brain tumor and died the same day. The entire camp, especially its youth, was stunned for days, so great was the vacuum that Eric’s death had left.


    — Langdon Gilkey, from Shantung Compound, his memoir of his experience in the Weihsien Internment Camp during World War II. Were it not for the movie Chariots of Fire few people today would know the name of Eric Liddell, but in a strange way the film distorts his memory. He was a great athlete, but that was not his vocation. He is one of the few figures of the 20th century whom one can straightforwardly and unhesitatingly call a great, great saint. I could not possibly admire him more than I do.

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