(I need a How to Stop Writing 'How to' Posts but if I knew, I'd stop this.)
Sunday’s quenching read included the neat trick of gathering the pollen of Christian scholars’ work for free. I downloaded the introduction to “Moby-Dick” and “Romeo and Juliet” from the Ignatius Press classics series. It’s nirvana to read a Catholic perspective on great works of art such as the aforementioned. It opened up Romeo & Juliet in a surprisingly new way. I’d long been attuned the modern, romantic spin that Romeo & Juliet’s love was beautiful and pure and that it was their families that wrecked it. But the redoubtable Joseph Pearce points out the pains Shakespeare went to in describing a Romeo whose definition of “love” was tragically immature and whose love for Juliet was no different than the feeble type demonstrated towards Rosalind. Which should be obvious of course - how do you “love” someone you’ve just met? I've breathed too much of the noble savage myth.
Moby-Dick’s introduction was less satisfying but still interesting. Melville was ahead of his time, the introduction reports, with some of it modern and even post-modern. Melville was trapped between belief and unbelief and wanted to either do one or the other.
Finally, all of this Christian perspective on art led me back to Lucy Beckett's The Light of Christ, which I'd actually bought. Read her chapter on St. Augustine’s “City of God”.