The After Dinner Scholar
Courtly Love, Knightly Friendship, and the Once and Future King with Dr. Tiffany Schubert

Courtly Love, Knightly Friendship, and the Once and Future King with Dr. Tiffany Schubert

August 13, 2019

To judge by the piles of books, reels of movie film, games, prequels, and sequels, it’s safe to say that the stories of Camelot, the Round Table, and King Arthur hold a special place in our imaginations.

The stories surrounding Arthur have it all: love and romance; marriage and adultery; noble and good deeds, dishonorable and evil deeds; friendship and betrayal; lively feasts and deadly battles; magical swords and malicious witchcraft; heroes and villains; valiant, true, and brave knights and vile scoundrels. Camelot! It all started so well and ended so badly.

This summer, high school students attending Wyoming Catholic College’s two-week long PEAK program studied the Arthurian stories with this week's guest, Dr. Tiffany Schubert.

Friendship in an Age of Romance by Dr. Tiffany Schubert

Friendship in an Age of Romance by Dr. Tiffany Schubert

July 30, 2019

“I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;” lamented King David, “very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.” (2 Samuel 1:26)

Understanding the kind of friendship that existed between David and Jonathan is difficult in our culture. In large measure this is because we tend to believe that the height of love is romantic love. The notion that Jonathan’s love to David passed the love of women thus sounds at least suspect.

But the idea that romantic love is the greatest love was not part of the culture of ancient Israel. It was not part of the culture of ancient Greece—the world of Achilles and Patroklos. It was not part of the culture of Europe until… well, Dr. Tiffany Schubert can explain. At the 2019 Wyoming School of Catholic Thought, Dr. Schubert began her discussion of the poetry of friendship by describing how the exaltation of the romantic through the poetic tradition has become a detriment to us as we try to form deep, committed friendships.

“Unexpected Friendship: The Murderer and the Harlot” by Dr. Virginia Arbery

“Unexpected Friendship: The Murderer and the Harlot” by Dr. Virginia Arbery

July 23, 2019

“On an exceptionally hot evening early in July a young man came out of the garret in which he lodged in S. Place and walked slowly, as though in hesitation, towards K. bridge.

“He had successfully avoided meeting his landlady on the staircase. His garret was under the roof of a high, five-storied house and was more like a cupboard than a room. The landlady who provided him with garret, dinners, and attendance, lived on the floor below, and every time he went out he was obliged to pass her kitchen, the door of which invariably stood open. And each time he passed, the young man had a sick, frightened feeling, which made him scowl and feel ashamed. He was hopelessly in debt to his landlady, and was afraid of meeting her.”

Thus begins Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment. "He" in this case is Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, a college drop-out living in abject poverty in 19th century St. Petersburg, Russia. Consumed with misery, anger, and a strange sense of self-importance, Raskolnikov will in the course of the novel commit a double murder plunging him even deeper into despair.

Along the way, he meets Sonia Marmeladov. She is the child of a hopeless drunk who, in order to support her father, his second wife, and his step-children, sells the only thing she possesses: herself in prostitution.

How the friendship between harlot and the murderer becomes the source of redemption is the topic of the novel and was the topic Dr. Virginia Arbery addressed at the 2019 Wyoming School of Catholic Thought. This is what she had to say.

“Friendship between Women: Jane and Elizabeth Bennet” by  Dr. Tiffany Schubert

“Friendship between Women: Jane and Elizabeth Bennet” by Dr. Tiffany Schubert

July 2, 2019

“‘My dear Jane,’ exclaimed Elizabeth, ‘you are too good. Your sweetness and disinterestedness are really angelic; I do not know what to say to you. I feel as if I had never done you justice, or loved you as you deserve.’”

“Miss Bennet eagerly disclaimed all extraordinary merit, and threw back the praise on her sister’s warm affection.”

One of the exemplary friendships we studied at this year’s Wyoming School of Catholic Thought was the friendship between Elizabeth Bennet and her sister Jane in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

What characterized this friendship between women? Why is their relationship so appealing? And what can we learn from it to inform our own friendships.

Wyoming Catholic College Teaching Fellow Dr. Tiffany Schubert has been a Jane Austen fan and scholar for many years. Here is her presentation delivered this past June 10.

Friendship Between Men in The Iliad and in Moby Dick by Dr. Glenn Arbery

Friendship Between Men in The Iliad and in Moby Dick by Dr. Glenn Arbery

June 25, 2019

When we came up with the theme for this year’s Wyoming School of Catholic Thought—“No Greater Gift: Friendship from The Iliad to Facebook”—we knew that we wanted Wyoming Catholic College president Dr. Glenn Arbery to discuss the friendship between Achilleus and Patrokolos in Homer’s epic.

What no one expected was that Dr. Arbery would pair the friendship between Achilleus and Patrokolos with the friendship Herman Melville described in Moby Dick, the strange friendship between Ishmael and Queequeg.

Here are Dr. Arbery’s comments.

T. S. Eliot and Life Beyond College with Dr. Glenn Arbery

T. S. Eliot and Life Beyond College with Dr. Glenn Arbery

May 14, 2019

In Wyoming Catholic College's humanities track, the last author our seniors read before graduation is poet T. S. Eliot.

While Geoffrey Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales extolled the loveliness of April when spring fills the earth with beauty and with great joy “people long to go on pilgrimages,” T. S. Eliot called April in our modern, secular age, “the cruelest month.” In his poem "The Waste Land," Eliot described the crowds of commuters with their backs turned to the glad pilgrim road to Canterbury as they slog into London for another work day.

Dr. Glenn Arbery, in addition to being our college president, has been teaching senior humanities. He is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.

The Grand Sweep of Western Civilization with Dr. Wilfred McClay

The Grand Sweep of Western Civilization with Dr. Wilfred McClay

April 16, 2019

The one-semester undergraduate course's reading list included Augustine's Confessions, The Brothers Karamazov, Moby Dick, four Shakespeare plays, nine operas, and even more requiring about 6,000 pages of reading.

It was a course designed and taught by poet W. H. Auden at the University of Michigan in 1941. While the course is no longer one semester and the syllabus has undergone some revisions, the spirit of Auden lives on at the University of Oklahoma.

One of the professors behind the course is Dr. Wilfred McClay, the university's G. T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty. Dr. McClay came to Wyoming Catholic College this past weekend to deliver a lecture and is our guest on this edition of The After Dinner Scholar.

Christian Fiction and the Rules of Subcreation with Mary Woods, Class of 2019

Christian Fiction and the Rules of Subcreation with Mary Woods, Class of 2019

March 12, 2019

In the fall semester, Wyoming Catholic College seniors write theses and then in the spring semester all classes are canceled for three days as they present their research in the form of a public orations—thirty minutes of lecture followed by thirty minutes of question from a faculty panel and from their peers in the audience.

This and the next edition of The After Dinner Scholar will feature interviews with senior about their theses and orations.

Mary Woods is an aspiring novelist who entitled her thesis and oration “Law, the Soil of Story: Christian Fiction and the Rules of Subcreation.” Mary is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.

Learning and the Dies Irae with Prof. Kyle Washut

Learning and the Dies Irae with Prof. Kyle Washut

February 19, 2019

The Dies Irae, a hymn from the 12th century, speaks about the second coming of Christ and the Judgment Day. In addition to that, the Latin text just happens correspond with the Latin Wyoming Catholic College sophomores are learning right now.

It is, in fact, a powerful and challenging combination of poetry, theology, spirituality, and Latin grammar.

Noticing all that, Prof. Kyle Washut and Prof. Eugene Hamilton integrated a bit of second year Latin with second year Trivium. Prof. Washut is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar

Hard Texts and Charitable Reading with Dr. Tiffany Schubert

Hard Texts and Charitable Reading with Dr. Tiffany Schubert

February 12, 2019

That nineteenth century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s point of view is incompatible with the vision, values, and mission of Wyoming Catholic College should come as no surprise to anyone. And the same can be said of thinkers such as Jean Jacque Rousseau, Sigmund Freud, Martin Heidegger, and Michel Foucault.

Yet Wyoming Catholic College students read all of them and more. And that makes sense since no one can understand our modern culture without confronting those thinkers.

Which brings up the question of how to read them—how to read any thinker with whom we disagree.

Dr. Tiffany Schubert has spent a long time thinking about how to read charitably, receiving even harsh and abrasive authors with kindness and sympathy.