Essays in Idleness


Month: April, 2014


There is, or there was, a small school desk by the window at the very top of the philosophy and theology stacks in the London Library. The structure itself — that part of the warren that is perhaps the world’s finest private subscription library — may be gone. I can’t quite tell from the Google […]

Last lines

How often — and especially when I was editor of a soi-disant “literary” magazine — have I read a nearly passable poem that was ruined by its last line. This exposed the rest of the composition. With practice, one could see it coming: the cumbersome set-up for the long-anticipated punch line, often itself flubbed. Vers […]

Libertine atheism

Several readers have noticed how little I’ve had to say about our current Pope, whether here or elsewhere. But you know me, always trying to avoid controversy. “If you can’t say something nice, say nothing.” Today, thanks to a correspondent in Virginia, getting at the latest Sandro Magister post before I could, I have something […]