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Episode 202: The Literary Life of Jenn Rogers

This week’s episode of The Literary Life we bring you a special interview with Jenn Rogers! Angelina Stanford and Cindy Rollins talk with Jenn about her own literary life and how she learned the things she is now passing on to others through The House of Humane Letters. Jenn shares how languages and literature were a part of her life from a young age as a child of missionaries in the Dominican Republic and homeschooled in a Charlotte Mason style. She also shares how surprising challenges ended up opening a door for her family to use AmblesideOnline and other resources, using their imaginations and creativity in getting a great education.

The House of Humane Letters is currently having their Christmas sale until December 31, 2023. Everything is now 20% OFF, so hop on over and get the classes at their best prices now. In addition to the sale, you can also sign up for Atlee Northmore’s webinar “A Medieval Romance in a Galaxy Far, Far Away: How to Read Star Wars.”

Cindy is also offering at 20% OFF discount throughout the holidays. Use coupon code “advent2023” on until January 2024.

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Commonplace Quotes:

But if literature teaches us anything at all, it is this, that we have an eternal element free from care and fear which can survey the things in life we call evil with serenity, that is, not without appreciating their quality but without any disturbance of our spiritual equilibrium. Not in the same way, but in some such way, we shall all doubtless survey our own story when we know it, and a great deal more of the Whole Story.

J. R. R. Tolkien, from The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien

This final argument is an indication of how monastic writers like Ælfric sought to understand the cycle of the seasons. They wanted to read and interpret the natural world, to learn to recognize the meaning God had planted in it. They saw time and seasons, from the very first day of the world, as carefully arranged by God with method and purpose, so they believed it would be possible to organize the calendar, not according to the randomness of custom and inherited tradition, but in a way that reflected that divine plan.

Eleanor Parker, from Winters in the World

It is both the glory and the shame of poetry that its medium is not its private property, that a poet cannot invent his words and that words are products, not of nature, but of a human society which uses them for a thousand different purposes. In modern societies where language is continually being debased and reduced to nonspeech, the poet is in constant danger of having his ear corrupted, a danger to which the painter and the composer, whose media are their private property, are not exposed. On the other hand, he is more protected than they from another modern peril, that of solipsist subjectivity; however esoteric a poem may be, the fact that all its words have meanings which can be looked up in a dictionary makes it testify to the existence of other people Even the language of Finnegan’s Wake was not created by Joyce ex nihilo; a purely private verbal world is not possible.

W. H. Auden, from The Dyer’s Hand

Cliche Came Out of Its Cage

by C. S. Lewis

You said 'The world is going back to Paganism'. 
Oh bright Vision! I saw our dynasty in the bar of the House 
Spill from their tumblers a libation to the Erinyes, 
And Leavis with Lord Russell wreathed in flowers, heralded with flutes, 
Leading white bulls to the cathedral of the solemn Muses 
To pay where due the glory of their latest theorem. 
Hestia's fire in every flat, rekindled, burned before 
The Lardergods. Unmarried daughters with obedient hands 
Tended it By the hearth the white-armd venerable mother 
Domum servabat, lanam faciebat. At the hour 
Of sacrifice their brothers came, silent, corrected, grave 
Before their elders; on their downy cheeks easily the blush 
Arose (it is the mark of freemen's children) as they trooped, 
Gleaming with oil, demurely home from the palaestra or the dance. 
Walk carefully, do not wake the envy of the happy gods, 
Shun Hubris. The middle of the road, the middle sort of men, 
Are best. Aidos surpasses gold. Reverence for the aged 
Is wholesome as seasonable rain, and for a man to die 
Defending the city in battle is a harmonious thing. 
Thus with magistral hand the Puritan Sophrosune 
Cooled and schooled and tempered our uneasy motions; 
Heathendom came again, the circumspection and the holy fears ... 
You said it. Did you mean it? Oh inordinate liar, stop. 

Or did you mean another kind of heathenry? 
Think, then, that under heaven-roof the little disc of the earth, 
Fortified Midgard, lies encircled by the ravening Worm. 
Over its icy bastions faces of giant and troll 
Look in, ready to invade it. The Wolf, admittedly, is bound; 
But the bond will break, the Beast run free. The weary gods, 
Scarred with old wounds the one-eyed Odin, Tyr who has lost a hand, 
Will limp to their stations for the Last defence. Make it your hope 
To be counted worthy on that day to stand beside them; 
For the end of man is to partake of their defeat and die 
His second, final death in good company. The stupid, strong 
Unteachable monsters are certain to be victorious at last, 
And every man of decent blood is on the losing side. 
Take as your model the tall women with yellow hair in plaits 
Who walked back into burning houses to die with men, 
Or him who as the death spear entered into his vitals 
Made critical comments on its workmanship and aim. 
Are these the Pagans you spoke of? Know your betters and crouch, dogs; 
You that have Vichy water in your veins and worship the event 
Your goddess History (whom your fathers called the strumpet Fortune).

Books Mentioned:

The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume 3 by C. S. Lewis

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

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