Category: Free Content


BookLog II

I finished rereading The Man in the High Castle.  I found the character development and plotting a bit muddled and, while I had remembered a subtle metaphysic that would justify and make interesting the alternate time track, it was not worked out in the book, though, judging from Dick’s other books, he had developed a coherent theory in his mind.  My verdict:  Enjoyable, far from a waste of time, but needed a second or third revision. We’re continuing our rather spotty reading of Gibbon, but it is as great a pleasure as the previous times, perhaps even more because reading Gibbon’s...


Crescent City: Colors and Complexions by Joshua Doggrell

In 21st-Century America, there are precious few mediums through which the issue of race can be addressed with even a modicum of rationality.  One of the few means still available is the thorough, well-researched work produced by historians. Perhaps the only reason this avenue is still available to us at all is because those whom you would expect to participate in protests over its content do not usually spend the required time for reading books or truly studying history. 


Poem, An Unsweet Nothing from the Earl of Rochester

Rochester was a Restoration rake, suicidal in his excesses, and excessive in his cynicism.  Much of his thought consists of the fag-ends of the French literature he picked up during the nightmare years of the regicidal commonwealth.  His deathbed conversion has done little to improve his general reputation, but I am tempted to compare him with other poets of despairing disbelief, Baudelaire and Lou Reed.  John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, might have said of himself, one of Lou Reed’s lines: “Some kinds of love are mistaken for vision.”  Please don’t go looking for the source of the line, because decent people should be offended.


Cicero and Shakespeare Sets Now Available

While I still hope to pen some reflections on this past summer’s Shakespeare Symposium, today’s post is purely practical in nature: announcing the sale of the complete set of those talks which many of you had the pleasure of hearing in person this year, but also the Cicero set of 2018. Charter Members have access to all of these recordings (Cicero here and Shakespeare here) as part of their membership, but everyone else has to pay, though the prices we are offering are quite reasonable! Each Cicero lecture is available for $6 each, or you can get all 11 for...


Globalism Begins at Home, Conclusion

There is no secret plot or conspiracy to undermine our national sovereignty, unless by conspiracy we mean the collective will of the political class.  The Bushes and the Clintons would be rightly outraged if they heard rumors of such suspicions.  Opposing globalization today is like criticizing affirmative action, challenging women’s rights, or pointing out that homosexuals are a serious drain on our finite medical resources.


 High Summer Holds the Earth

Whether it is merely a temporary aberration, a ray of hope, or purely a method of getting new music (that might actually be performed) published, a number of composers over the last decades have returned to some semblance of tonality and melody. Few things divert my mind and heart from the ugliness of current politics and popular culture better than the beauty of creation during high summer or excellent music. These two poems, on summery themes, and the musical settings of them I have selected may momentarily lift you from the drudgery.  Gwyneth Walker is a Vermont composer who resides...


Maurice Barrès and the Recovery of National Identity, II

In his novel Les déracinés (1897), Barrès chronicled the adventures of a group of boys at his own lycée in Nancy.  Their philosophy teacher, brilliant and ruthless, instills in them vast, almost Napoleonic ambitions to put their talents into the service of the ongoing revolutionary liberal tradition.  This is a late reflection of the tradition of Romantic heroism that usually ends disastrously in fiction.  Remember Julien Sorel?  Raskolnikov?   What happens to the boys in Paris is the subject of the novel.  Some become dissolute; others are reduced to poverty; but all begin to collaborate on a journal of the...