Monday, February 25, 2008

Good gracious, I've been neglecting this blog. I've been having an utterly marvelous time... the Wilderness, Washington DC, The Latin Convention, The Stations of the Cross... And those were only some of the major events. Well here are some pics, in a very hap-hazard fashion, to give you some idea (all though you can't get a very full one) of what life has been like.

The Stations of the Cross, put on by a group of homeschool teens which I recently became involved with. It was awesome.
The view from our hotel room in DC. I was, to say the least, pleased.
What my dad and I did with the snowbanks on either side of our driveway
My cousins and I at Mt. Vernon, overlooking the incredible view of the Patomic. You can have no idea of how awesome it was from this picture. Mt. Vernon was really incredible, hopefully I'll get a chance to post more fully on it.
Our group at the March for Life. 'Twas a combonation of Rock for Life and Pro-Life Wisconsin as you can probably see from the signs.

Your humble servant enjoying the beauty of the Fransiscan Monastery in DC.
I do not at the moment have any particularly iconic pictures of The Wilderness or of the Latin Convention. If I get ahold of some I will try to post them.

One other reason for the major neglect here was ChesterTeens. Believe it or not, I've been posting on it!!! Discussions and things, what fun, go take a look.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Tolkien and Beowulf

Well, we're having a discussion of Beowulf on Sunday. Due to a brief mention of Tolkien's interest in this book in a DVD lecture on Beowulf, we have been hunting "high and low" for more references and our search has not been fruitless. Although I have to warn anyone planning on browsing the indexes of Tolkien: Man and Myth, Letters to Tolkien and Tolkien: A Celebration, they are very distracting. With references such as Alice in Wonderland, Chesterton and The Ballad of the White Horse, it is virtually impossible to focus on the topic in hand. Following some of these references I learned that although, when he was younger, Tolkien was a big fan of the Ballad, later on he became critical. I found this bit from a letter to his son Christopher in 1944, quite fascinating:

Priscilla... has been wading through the Ballad of the White Horse for the last many nights; and my efforts to explain the obscurer parts to her convince me that it is not as good as I thought. The ending is absurd. The brilliant smash and glitter of the words and phrases (when they come off, and are not mere loud colors) cannot disguise the fact that G.K.C. knew nothing whatever about the "North", heathen or Christian.

I also learned that drumroll please C.S. Lewis knew much of the Ballad of the White Horse by heart! And that (this I heard in a different place) Tolkien had memorized all of Beowulf in Old English!

And actually, believe it or not, I did follow the Beowulf references as well. On page 89 of Tolkien: A Celebration I found this:

Tolkien's remarks in his classic essay Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics are the best I have seen on the 'Germanic' vision, but he considered Beowulf's author to be a Christian who was looking back at a heathen heroic past, and his theme, 'man at war with the hostile world, and his inevitable overthrow in Time' is one 'no Christian need despise.'

So anyways... just a few interesting tidbits, after the discussion I may very well have more

Friday, February 08, 2008

Judith of France By Margaret Leighton

On the reccomendation of Algernon and his sister I recently read two books, the titles of which are Judith of France and Journey for a Princess. They were both very good, although I am still unable to decide which I like better, and I shall hereby attempt to write a post about them. Judith of France first, Journey for a Princess, hopefully to follow soon.

Judith of France was the great-granddaughter of Charlemagne the Great. However that magnificent king's line is no longer great. The sons of Charlemagne now wage petty wars between themselves, and it is for this reason, and for the pursuit of wealth and prestige, that Judith's father arranges a marriage for her. Heartlessly, he betrothes high-spirited, still teenaged Judith to the sixty year old king of England, Aethulwulf. Already weighed down with this news, Judith is told by the Archbishop of Reims that it is his belief that she is irrevocably doomed to follow in the footsteps of her grandmother, that is to cause strife and even war; "father against son, brother against brother". Frightened, confused and disheartened she brings the story to her tutor, bringing about one of my favorite scenes, where the latter tells her in much better words then mine that no man's future is set in stone, that choices can and must be made and that, with God's help, she can do what is right. Vastly relieved, she makes a vow never to be the cause of strife between family or friends. This vow leads her to many tough decisions and, which shape her story into an unusual, thought-provoking and satisfying tale.
WARNING: due to Judith's vow the story contains some slightly mature content.