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Posts tagged "James Gould Cozzens"

When I Was an Adult I Read Books, to Remain a Child

When I Was an Adult I Read Books, to Remain a Child

The following piece was recently shared with Mockingbird. The “librarian,” whose name is not Paul Zahl (seriously!), has given us permission to post it here.

Note from the librarian: This reading diary, penned by LeVar Burton, was recently discovered in the archives of a theological library. The manuscript, handwritten on napkins and folded away inside an old volume of George Herbert’s poetry, suggests that Burton found gold at the end of the (Reading) Rainbow.

[Books are] a children’s game which God has given me in order that the time till his appearing should not be long for me.”

~ Johann Georg Hamann


William Hale…

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PZ's Podcast 98-99.5: Reflections in a Golden Eye, A Night at the Bardo and Got to Have a Hundred

PZ’s Podcast 98-99.5: Reflections in a Golden Eye, A Night at the Bardo and Got to Have a Hundred

Episode 98: Reflections in a Golden Eye

This is a little “onesy” and posits your current media/avocational/move-television/music-iPod interest as a sort of “true north” of your life, of what’s really going on inside you, and therefore outside you.

What I mean is, the books you like, the TV show you can’t miss, the music you just have to download: those are indicators of what you’re currently looking for — in life, for life, from life.

Two odd and devastating sentences from 20th Century literature tell this story. One is from The Genius and the Goddess (1955) by Aldous Huxley, and the other is…

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PZ's Podcast 95-97: Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Strack-Billerbeck, and Surprise (Symphony)

PZ’s Podcast 95-97: Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Strack-Billerbeck, and Surprise (Symphony)

Episode 95: Bedknobs and Broomsticks

But this cast is really about causes and activisms.

The problem with attaching your personal cry for reparation and “just desserts” to larger symbolic passions and concerns is that when you’ve finally righted the wrong, and leveled the playing field, you can still find yourself unsatisfied. “Yes, we won. (Thank God.) Then why do I feel so bad?” The reason may be that you short-circuited the inward healing you needed in favor of a conceptual healing you didn’t.

John Sturges, the director of The Magnificent Seven, said that the problem with filming the novel By Love Possessed was…

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PZ's Podcast 90-94: The Rest of Your Life, Sequels, G-d (Robinson Crusoe on Mars), Falsification and My New Program

PZ’s Podcast 90-94: The Rest of Your Life, Sequels, G-d (Robinson Crusoe on Mars), Falsification and My New Program

Episode 90: “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?”

The song’s not actually that great. But the title!

This talk concerns your profession, and tries to say what I wish someone had said to me: I wish someone had said this to me when I was 21 and flailing around looking for something to do. I wish someone had said it to me when I was 41 and looking for something better to do. And I wish someone would say it to me when I’m 64 and still flailing around.

The original thought here comes from a paragraph towards the end…

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PZ's Podcast: Canned Heat and Under Satan's Sun

PZ’s Podcast: Canned Heat and Under Satan’s Sun

EPISODE 77: Canned Heat

I’m reaching here, for a useful and accurate definition of the human being. I found one, an interesting one, in the middle of a 1939 novel entitled After Many a Summer Dies the Swan.

That one-sentence definition, tied in my own mind to a recent study of Fritz Lang’s movie from 1929 entitled Woman in the Moon, proved fruitful — fruitful in understanding our old devil Ego, and why ‘he’/’she’ works the way ‘he’/’she’ does.

As They sang once, before a giant forum of human history, “I’m going up the country, baby don’t you want to go.”

Will you come…

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PZ's Podcast: One Message or Two?, Altars by the Roadside, The Inward Voice (Pts. 1 & 2)

PZ’s Podcast: One Message or Two?, Altars by the Roadside, The Inward Voice (Pts. 1 & 2)

Since last we checked in, not two but four episodes of PZ’s podcast have been published! To download/listen, simply click on the title of each.

Episode 65: One Message or Two?

I seem to keep getting the question, ‘What is your message for non-disillusioned people?’

You may be on to something in relation to older, disillusioned types — for people who’ve hit major road-blocks. But what about people who are building their lives, people who are shaping their identities and selves? Do you really expect them to respond to appeals that they should give it all up, stop, and take a taste…

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PZ's Desert Island Discs (But This Time It's Books!)

PZ’s Desert Island Discs (But This Time It’s Books!)

I’m just now beginning to emerge from two years of living in the desert, the howling waste of inwardness that is caused by the box canyon of life.

I’m coming out of it.

In addition to the New Testament, ten books, in particular, have proven sustaining to me in the wilderness. If you read Mockingbird, many of them will be familiar to you. But I wanted to list them here, in one place, for the readers and supporters of Mockingbird, in hopes of their being useful to you. “For you the living, this Mash was meant, too.”

Each work, and three of them…

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PZ's Podcast: "Unknown, And Yet Well Known" (II Cor 6:9)

PZ’s Podcast: “Unknown, And Yet Well Known” (II Cor 6:9)


Why this endless Easter Parade of unknown authors? Why this ‘Great Trek’ through ranks of old writers whom no one’s ever heard of today?

Well, there’s a reason for it. Here’s the reason: Popular philosophers and writers in every age touch a chord with the culture that surrounds them. They tap into something pre-existing in the world, sometimes close to term but not yet born, which comes alive at their word. David Foster Wallace could be an example of this, and maybe Jonathan Franzen. It’s as if these inspired people have dog-whistles to the ‘dog world’ of humans, which seems…

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PZ's Podcast Double-Feature, Part Two: Here or Nowhere

PZ’s Podcast Double-Feature, Part Two: Here or Nowhere


Stoicism, anyone?

Well, I think there’s something to it, in the light of selfishness and sorrow, which is to say that stoicism — which is just a term, from Classical Antiquity — acknowledges the tenacious changelessness of the human world, and poses the question,

What can we do?

Given the impasses of temperament and the impasse of the social order — things aren’t changing, from millennium to millennium — what’s a person to do? If there is nothing we can do, then what ought we to do?

There’s a memorable expression of stoicism in the long inner dialogue within the…

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Six Best Books on Clergy (That Are Also Sympathetic to Them)

Six Best Books on Clergy (That Are Also Sympathetic to Them)

Another year-end list from PZ:

1) Father Sergius by Leo Tolstoy. This is the grand-daddy of them all, in my opinion. Father Sergius begins his ministry, within the Russian Orthodox Church, with all the right ingredients: a broken disappointed heart, an excellent education, and an appealing personality. He then becomes a saint! (But for all the wrong pelagian reasons) Later, he trips himself up, very badly, and flees his calling. Even later, however, most unusually, he finds it again.

I taught this once and first-time readers fell tumbled over into the snow. We all exist in this book, which is actually a…

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For Advent: Fulke Greville's Chorus Sacerdotum

For Advent: Fulke Greville’s Chorus Sacerdotum

Here is an inspired text for Advent ‘meditation’ from Fulke Greville, who became the Earl of Warwick, and lived from 1554 to 1628.  He regarded the chief point in his life as having been the bosom friend of Sir Philip Sidney.  Almost no one knew about Greville’s poems, some of the them distinctly ‘Calvinist’, until after he died.  I am a great admirer of them.  Only recently did I find out that James Gould Cozzens was also a fan.  

Line six of the following passage, from Fulke Greville’s ‘closet’ or ‘Senecan’ play “Mustapha” (i.e.,…

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Announcing PZ's PODCAST!

Announcing PZ’s PODCAST!

We are proud to announce another very cool new resource, our first foray into podcasting: “PZ’s Podcast”! A weekly transmission from the world of, you guessed it, Paul Zahl. To subscribe (and listen to the first three installments), click here.  But first, a word of, um, introduction from the man himself:

This will be a series of talks, most of them about 35 minutes in length, which try to bridge the gap between Old Ancient Teaching (the phrase is from an epic religious poem entitled “Mexico City Blues”) and popular culture.

“PZ’s Podcast” is the voice of a lost Space-Child, who, it…

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