The Boy Genius by Anthony Esolen

Patriarchy: Fatherhood & the Restoration of Culture

The Boy Genius

Finding Him Again Through the Patriarchal Group
by Anthony Esolen

Lately I have made a hobby of going to a certain very fine and utterly unpolitical website, to see how great chess games were once played, and to learn about the lives and the habits of the game's most illustrious masters. That means I have come into contact with quite a few boy geniuses, as they used to be called. You may recognize their names: Bobby Fischer, Jose Raul Capablanca, Mikhail Tal, and my favorite among them, the nineteenth-century American lad, Paul Morphy.

One of the best players of his day said that losing to Paul Morphy for the first time was like your first experience of an electric shock. It has no relation to anything you have ever felt before, and it is not so much painful as utterly astonishing. That is because Morphy played the game as it had never been played. Nobody knew what he was doing. He sacrificed pieces with brave abandon. He placed them where you never expected them to be. He would allow you to put him within one move of checkmate as if it were ten. He beat his father once by driving Dad's king all the way across the board, and then delivering the checkmate by castling. He seemed to think that the main use of his pawns was to get them out of the way.

THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:


Anthony Esolen is the author of over thirty books, including Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church (Tan, with a CD), Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture (Regnery), and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord (Ignatius). He has also translated Dante’s Divine Comedy (Random House). He and his wife Debra publish a web magazine, Word and Song (anthonyesolen.substack.com), on poetry, hymnody, language, classic films, and music. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!

Online
Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.


more on fatherhood from the online archives

26.1—Jan/Feb 2013

Scarborough Needs Men

Manly Chastity, Hedonism & the Law of Non-contradiction by Anthony Esolen

32.1—January/February 2019

Is Patriarchy Inevitable?

Answers Secular & Religious by Allan C. Carlson

14.1—January/February 2001

Fatherhood Uprooted

A Sociologist Looks at Fatherlessness & Its Causes by David Blankenhorn


more from the online archives

29.2—March/April 2016

Family Phases

The History of Family Strength in America May Reveal Good News by Allan C. Carlson

32.4—July/August 2019

Sojourner Knight

on Single-Mindedness in Durer's Ritter, Tod, und Teufel by Anthony Costello

32.2—March/April 2019

The Aura of Science

Flight from the Absolute: Cynical Observations on the Postmodern West, Volume II by Paul Gosselin by Louis Markos

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone

00