The Classical Mind Newsletter for July 24, 2023
Distraction, Nobody Likes a Remake?, The Sister Karamazov, The Survival of the Written Word, Procession in a Crypt
We are recording the draft for Season 2 Tonight. The video will be released ASAP for paid subscribers. Everyone else will have to wait until the next newsletter to find out what we’re reading next season!
The season finale on The Brothers Karamazov will be recorded next week.
Guest of the showis doing an event called “Imagination, Imaginaries, and the Christian Mind” on August 31 at 8p EST. She is now on Substack so check out her publication.
What’s significant about an axe? On the topic, Shira Telushkin draws a parallel between the book of Deuteronomy (see 19:5 specifically) and Walden by Henry David Thoreau over at Plough. Specifically, the connection resides in the fact that, if one ignores the axe, the blade can fly off the handle as the wedge rots or wears away. For Telushkin, this becomes a springboard to explore the concept of distraction, specifically when it becomes a “sin” and when it is less than a sin. She engages with two books, Thoreau’s Axe: Distraction and Discipline in American Culture by Caleb Smith and The Wandering Mind: What Medieval Monks Tell Us about Distraction by Jamie Kriener.
As an aside, Telushkin goes on an excurses discussing Smith’s mention of “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” by Walter Benjamin. This is a challenging read but it’s thoughtful and worth revisiting every so often!
Nobody Likes a Remake?
“There is no new thing under the sun” the author of Ecclesiastes tells us. This is especially true in storytelling: all stories enter into a larger conversation that involves retelling and repurposing what has come before. At the Washington Examiner, Micah Mattix (who writes on
Substack at) asks whether recent iterations of the Hamlet story provide us with deeper insights into human nature or whether these insights are superficial. This is a question of general interest to me as so many “new” movies have been either remakes of previous films or bringing older intellectual properties to the screen instead of original stories. Why do you think this shift in storytelling has become so pervasive?
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