The BackShop Journal

A Gallery of Thoughts on Arts, Culture and Orthodox Christian Spirituality

  • Proust in the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower

    One hundred years ago, the second volume of In Search of Lost Time, one of the greatest novels of all time, came out of print. It won Marcel Proust the Goncourt Prize the following year. For the next three years, until his untimely death at the age of 51, Proust feverishly worked on t...
  • Blaise Cendrars and the Power of Death

    "A thousand million people have devoted to me all their activity of a day, their strength, their talent, their knowledge, their intelligence, their habits, their feelings, their hearts. And now I have the knife in my hand. The Bonnot clasp-knife. "Long live humanity!" I feel a cold truth summed up b...
  • Voltaire and the Battle for Religious Tolerance

    François-Marie Arouet (1694-1778), better known by his nom de plume Voltare, was one of the intellectual driving forces that lead to the French Revolution (1789-1799). A writer, historian and philosopher of the French Enlightenment, he is famous for his attacks on the established Catholic Church and...
  • A Testament to the Variety of Cultures and a Carnival of Playful, Clever Irony

    "At long last! I can't believe my eyes - and in more than one way! I've stopped hoping a long time ago that I would once hold in my hand an artistic artifact which works for me on all major fronts. One with a powerful structure and crazy content that is both art and pop without being either art or p...
  • Let the Children Play!

    Erika Christakis, The Importance of Being Little. New York: Viking, 2016. 400 pages.
Featured Article
Nature in Montaigne and Emerson
In his book Representative Men, Ralph Waldo Emerson, a 19th-century American writer and philosopher, places Michel de Montaigne, a 16th-century French essayist, alongside Plato, Shakespeare and Goethe. In the title of the essay about him, Emerson calls him “The Skeptic.” Why didn’t he name Montaigne...
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