Worldly Wisdom Blog

This blog welcomes the intellectually curious and imaginatively adventurous. It derives in part from the book Worldly Wisdom: Great Books and the Meanings of Life but goes beyond the purposes of that book. It explores the meanings of life in classic writings not represented in Worldly Wisdom and also includes occasional reflections on culture and politics, along with tales of travel, fiction and non-fiction.

A Bon Vivant’s Dream

You might think of April in Paris, as the song of that name says, adorned with “chestnuts in blossom” and bursting with the “charm of spring.” But the reality is often closer to T.S. Eliot’s ...

On Parole in Aspen

Aspen had been a rough and tumble town once, roiling with grizzled silver miners digging their way to imagined riches. And some had succeeded. Fifteen thousand people lived there by the 1890s. It had ...

A Stranger to Power: On Church and State in America

When you visit the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on a school day in May you can barely reach the exhibits illustrating America’s constitutional and political history from its origins down to the lately shed ...

Ciela

It was after midnight when he slouched into the hotel on CopacabanaBeach. The long day of meetings in São Paulo had labored on through dinner. He’d vowed to take the half-hour flight to Rio afterwards, ...

Hemingway’s Ghost

The book flapped shut, and Burton Sharp let it drop over on his stomach as he lay in bed beside his sleeping wife, Sylvia. His head sank back into the pillow. He switched off the ...

The Dancer With The Fish-shaped Eyes

It was five years ago that I had first come to Madras. And I had liked it. Yes, it had the same air of restrained chaos that typifies Indian cities. Its streets and sidewalks teemed ...

RAFFLES

Stuart Murphy swung his car onto the highway, joining the daily throng into the city. Horns honked. Fumes swirled. Traffic crawled. He peered emptily through the windshield. “The world is too much with us,” he sighed; ...

TANGO

My bottle of cheap vino tinto cast a wispy, ragged shadow over graffiti scratched into my tiny wooden table at the Cafe Dorengo deep within the old San Telmo section of Buenos Aires. Shelves of ...

Hadrian’s Moon

The morning had come early that day. And the night had run late, carried along by convivial voices resounding over the cobblestones and echoing off antique walls in the piazza outside our hotel. Our piazza ...

Tristram Shandy and the Humanity of Laughter

Everybody likes to laugh. It feels good, and it can turn darkness into light. “Humor is the great thing, the saving thing,” said Mark Twain. “The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments ...

Liberals Don’t Get It: It’s Human Nature

Liberals often don’t seem to get it. The current brouhaha over the contraception provision in the new health care law proves it again. Liberals propose what they judge to be reasonable policies for serving the ...

Contact

If you would like to contact James Sloan Allen, you may email use the form below