Civilized Reader

The War of the Worlds and the Significance of Science Fiction

In 1938, the world was waiting for war. Germany had invaded Czechoslovakia. The United States was battling the Great Depression. The…

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The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux: Triumphant Tragedy

by Sean Fitzpatrick

All great literature is well written, but not all that is well written is great literature. In other words, there are…

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Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown: The American Nightmare

by Sean Fitzpatrick

The surrender to sin in America is a species of Satanism. Whether through seduction or submission, depravity is the mantra of…

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“Re: Vampires” by John H. Watson, M.D.

by Sean Fitzpatrick

NB: The circumstances surrounding my access to this manuscript are of such moment that their publication is impossible. Those involved…

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The Spectre Bridegroom and the Immortal Love for Ghost Stories

by Sean Fitzpatrick

It was a dark and stormy night… Besides “Once upon a time,” this storytelling opening has no equal. Is there any…

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On Mowgli and Tarzan: Savage Reading for Civilized Readers

by Sean Fitzpatrick

Despite the incorrigible march of civilization, there will always be an inborn appeal for feral fantasies. The howls of Romulus and…

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The Unsolved Mystery of Mr. Dickens

by Sean Fitzpatrick

June 9, 1870. Charles Dickens sat writing at his desk. He had been laboring more than was his custom on his…

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Squirrel Nutkin and the Art of Mischief

by Sean Fitzpatrick

Running up and down Yggdrasil, the Tree of trees of Nordic lore, goes Ratatösk the Squirrel. Up and down Yggdrasil Ratatösk…

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The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope: Escape From Cynicism

by Sean Fitzpatrick

Are you a prisoner of cynicism? In a godless world where men tend to hedge their bets on man before…

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Don Quixote and the Via Dolorosa

by Sean Fitzpatrick

Times there are when readers will find books spiritual that were written with no intention of being spiritual books. The subconscious…

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Trent’s Last Case by E. C. Bentley: First Among Mysteries?

by Sean Fitzpatrick

London, 1936. Gilbert Keith Chesterton was dead, leaving the President’s Chair of the Detection Club vacant. Under deep mourning, the…

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GKC’s The Napoleon of Notting Hill: How to Be a Catholic Lunatic

by Sean Fitzpatrick

America stands in need of a new revolution to free itself from the tyranny of bureaucracy and the ensuing slavery of…

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Orwell’s 1984: Are We There Yet?

by Sean Fitzpatrick

The second most terrifying thing about George Orwell’s 1984 is the supposition that it is possible to destroy humanity without destroying humankind….

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Dostoevsky and the Glory of Guilt

by Sean Fitzpatrick

There are only a very few authors whose works bear the power of changing the way the whole world is perceived…

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Nightfall: Péguy’s La Nuit and the Hope of Discontinuity

by Patrick Whalen

The French poet and philosopher Charles Péguy died in September, 1914 with a bullet through his head. He had anticipated the…

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Adam’s Curse: William Butler Yeats on Original Sin

by Patrick Whalen

We made a good run in Genesis… all of two and a half chapters before finding ourselves on the business end…

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The Merchant of Venice: Shakespearean Insincerity

by Sean Fitzpatrick

Insincerity in people is recognized as a problem, which is why Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is recognized as the “problem play.” The Merchant…

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“The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe: The Madness of Nevermore

by Sean Fitzpatrick

There is something of the madman in every man. There is something of the sadist in every sinner. Is there something…

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“To Build a Fire” by Jack London: Hanging Humanity by a Thread

by Sean Fitzpatrick

There is a peculiar characteristic about the ice-bound regions of the world that renders them absolutely fantastic, absolutely fascinating, and absolutely…

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: Uncommon Nonsense

by Emma Warner

Those who seek a profound meaning cloaked within the bizarre and absurd scenarios of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland are sure to be frustrated. …

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