Louis De Freycinet’s Epic Circumnavigation Of The Globe

Those who perform great deeds are guided by inner lights whose intensity never wanes.  Perhaps the most significant French maritime expedition of the nineteenth century was that of naval commander Louis Claude de Saulces de Freycinet (1779—1841).  Its chief aim, according to novelist Jules Verne, was  “to survey the shape of the land in the southern hemisphere, and to make observations in terrestrial magnetism, without, at the same time, omitting to give attention to all natural phenomena, and to the manners, customs, and languages of indigenous races.”  In an epic voyage that lasted over three years, he and the crew of the corvette Uranie covered a vast portion of the earth’s surface; and he was the first explorer to chart the precise contours of the Australian continent.

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The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life And Turbulent Times Of Joseph P. Kennedy (Book Review)

David Nasaw’s The Patriarch is a comprehensive account of the life and times of the founder of the Kennedy family dynasty, Joseph P. Kennedy.  In many ways he remains the least understood Kennedy; his name has been subject to rumor, surrounded by myth, and maligned in whispers.  Even during his life he remained a divisive, controversial figure:  at once irascible, overbearing, frustratingly obdurate, and cunning, as well as loyal, devoted, conscientious, and steadfast.

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Hercules On Oeta: Immortality Through Virtue

As I have gotten older I find that reading plays brings more enjoyment than it did in earlier years.  Tragedies especially:  the unformed mind has not yet been sufficiently battered by the winds and waves of fortune against the rocks, and is equipped with a merciful immunity to the pathos of existence.  And yet, as the years roll on, beards and barnacles begin to replace the smooth, supple surfaces of youth; scars and aches accumulate; and the omnipresence of tragedy dawns on the maturing mind with a startling rapidity.  The mind then calls for a tonic:  it requires the writer to make sense of all this chaos, all this pain, and all this suffering.  The struggle must be dignified with a sense of universal justice, and an ethic of enduring goodness.  So the tragedian steps forward, and with his stylus attempts to perform this task.

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Al-Minara: The Pharos Lighthouse Of Alexandria

One of the more fascinating of the seven wonders of the ancient world was the Pharos Lighthouse in Alexandria, Egypt.  I have lately been reading the history of the Arab conquest of Egypt in the seventh century, and have become more acquainted with some of the monument’s unique characteristics, and the legends that have surrounded it.

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You Don’t Need Anyone’s Permission To Succeed (Podcast)

In this podcast we discuss the subject of having the faith and confidence to follow your creative muse, without looking for the approval or endorsement of others. The herd is always going to try to enforce conformity. Do your homework, do your research, and learn your subject: but at the critical jumping-off moment, you need to keep your own counsel and not let anyone undermine your instinct.

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