Over at Archipelago today

I’m posting about Charlotte Mason at the Archipelago blog today.

Charlotte Mason is permissive
I recently finished reading Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

One of the ideas that struck me the most was Cain’s assessment of cultural extroverted expectations. Raise your hand if you (or your children) were ever told by a teacher that you (or your children) needed to “speak up more in class.” Raise both hands if you were told this by almost (to punctuate it currently) Every. Single. Teacher. Even if you thought you were “speaking up in class.” Raise both hands and a foot if, on top of that, you were frequently told to “stop reading, go and play with the other children.”

Full post here.

The Plutarch Project is now available–and a special deal

The Plutarch Project, Volume One is now available for order on  There are still a couple of things that need to be synched up (it takes a couple of days), but it is there.

If you can’t decide between the print and e-versions, you might want to wait until everything’s come together.  With Kindle’s Price Match deal, the e-book will (always) be 99 cents when you buy the print edition. (I know, it doesn’t show that yet. Patience!)



The past wants only to be remembered

Again from Wolfe’s Beauty Will Save the World:

“The end of remembering is not specific knowledge of facts, but a constant awareness of human frailty and propensity to evil. Without memory, men are unhinged, prey to the passions and abstract schemes which assume that human nature is malleable.'”

A Plutarchish quote

In Beauty Will Save the World, Gregory Wolfe includes a quote from Stephen J. Tonsor, from an essay called “Myth, History and the Problem of Desacralized Time.” There’s a bit I especially like for its relevance to the study of Plutarch’s Lives:

“We think in terms not of scientific formulations and predictions but of alternatives, the baffling interplay of fate and freedom, of great and surprising actions and means and disappointing motives. The creative and innovating action, the power of love and self-sacrifice, and the tragedy of misspent lives and wasted opportunities are the great concern of historical study.”

A liberal education–is dangerous

On the top of my reading pile this week is Gregory Wolfe’s book Beauty Will Save the World. It’s on the top not only because it’s worthwhile, but because I get only three weeks with it before it returns to its home, mysteriously referred to only as E.P.L.

In the chapter “Christian Humanism: A Faith for All Seasons,” Wolfe quotes the scholar Erasmus:

“‘I absolutely dissent,’ Erasmus wrote, ‘from those people who don’t want the holy scriptures to be read in translation by the unlearned–as if, forsooth, Christ taught such complex doctrine that hardly anyone outside a handful of theologians could understand it, or as if the chief strength of the Christian religion lay in people’s ignorance of it.”

Erasmus may be talking about the Bible, but the same can be said of Plutarch. Or of Charlotte Mason’s books.

Last night we watched a first-season episode of Downton Abbey, where Lord Grantham was bemoaning the fact that his chauffeur had such extreme (and dangerous) political views. When Lord G. hired the man, a couple of episodes back, he invited him to make use of the law and history books in his library. I guess Lord G. didn’t really expect a chauffeur to understand them…or use them.

(Also in last night’s episode, the young ladies were told by their grandmother that they had no right to an opinion until they were married, and then their husbands would tell them what their opinions should be.)

Music is meant to be played; stories are meant to be told; and if education is a life, it’s meant for anyone willing to listen. Like the banquet in the parable, some who “earned” their way in didn’t care to come; the door needs to stay open for the rest.