Over the past few weeks I’ve encountered an unusually high number of good online lectures and radio shows.
News from Lake Wobegon. Garrison Keillor’s weekly tale about the goings-on in his hometown, out there on the edge of the prairie, is now available as a podcast from A Prairie Home Companion. I used to listen regularly to Keillor’s show, but for some reason in the past few years I’ve stopped doing so. These stories have renewed my appreciation for him and his remarkable town, where “all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all of the children are above average”.
Anglo-Saxon Aloud. Michael D.C. Drout, a professor of English at Wheaton College, has launched an ambitious project to read the entire Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records, and make the readings available online. He is starting with the so-called Codex Junius, and is currently reading the Book of Genesis. The project should eventually take him into the world of Anglo-Saxon poetry, including Beowulf. It’s not very easy, of course, to understand what he is saying, but I expect that some of my friends will take an interest anyway.
A set of lectures on Dante’s Divine Comedy by Anthony Esolen are now available online. I read Esolen’s own translation of Dante last year, and he is an excellent guide. (I wrote some thoughts about the books at the time: I, II, III.) UPDATE: the source for the files seems to have disappeared. I will try to find another.
Robert P. George, professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University, delivered a set of lectures at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on a variety of contentious social issues. George is an articulate man, and his thoughts on these matters are well worth hearing.
Finally, a couple of archived broadcasts from the CBC. Michael Enright recently interviewed Fr. Richard John Neuhaus for The Sunday Edition. From one side the interview is fairly tiresome: Enright seems unable to do much more than recite the standard canon of criticism that exercises the liberal left – Magisterial authority, women’s ordination, priestly celibacy – but Neuhaus’ handling of it is a model for the rest of us: patient, articulate, and winsome. An older broadcast from the same program has Enright interviewing British philosopher Roger Scruton. Not only does Scruton have interesting, and thoughtful, things to say, but he has that English way of saying it. My favourite exchange? Enright: “Don’t you think that the fox hunt is cruel?” Scruton: “If the fox is caught by the hounds it is killed quickly, certainly much more quickly than your doctor will kill you.”