My latest “Masterpiece” column in the Wall Street Journal is on “Doctor Faustus,” by Christopher Marlowe:
The central event of “Doctor Faustus” is well known: a deal with the devil. In this first “Faustian bargain,” the title character sells his soul in exchange for living his next 24 years “in all voluptuousness.” This is the opposite of deferred gratification. It’s deferred damnation, and Marlowe’s play about power, knowledge and fate fueled a narrative tradition that runs through Milton’s Satan and Goethe’s “Faust” to “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis and “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by the Charlie Daniels Band.
Here’s my Wall Street Journal article on professors and parents:
On Saturday I’ll do something that only a handful of professors in the country may do: meet the parents.
It’s Parents Weekend at Hillsdale College, a small liberal-arts school in southern Michigan. All morning, in a series of 10-minute sessions, my colleagues and I will visit with the mothers and fathers of our students. Think of it like speed dating, except that I’ll hand out syllabi rather than phone numbers, though I’ll hand out those as well, in case parents ever want to call me. I’ll also describe my courses and explain what I hope to achieve.
Finally, we’ll get around to the real purpose of these meetings and talk about their children. On just about every other campus in America, that’s against the law.