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  • Review of Mad Men: The Death and Redemption of American Democracy

    April 23, 2018

    Mad Men:  The Death and Redemption of American Democracy. Sara MacDonald and Andrew Moore. Lexington Books, 2016.   It’s been a decade since Mad Men premiered on television, with its alluring and disturbing portrait of America in the 1960s.  This prestige drama and its mysterious protagonist, Don Draper, captured…

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  • Justice as Friendship: A Theory of Law

    April 22, 2018

    Justice as Friendship: A Theory of Law. Seow Hon Tan. Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2015.   The field of study delineated by the theory of law is among the most relevant of philosophic disciplines given the proliferation of both legislative judicial review and quasi-judicial administrative tribunals, but is…

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  • Sojourns in the Western Twilight: Essays in Honor of Tom Darby

    April 21, 2018

    Sojourns in the Western Twilight: Essays in Honor of Tom Darby. Robert C. Sibley and Janice Freamo, eds.  Eastern Townships, Québec: Fermentation Press, 2016.   Sojourns in the Western Twilight: Essays in Honor of Tom Darby is, as co-editors Robert C. Sibley and Janice Freamo state in the Introduction,…

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  • Thinking About the Politics of Multiculturalism

    April 20, 2018

    Citizen and Multiculturalism in Western Liberal Democracies. David Edward Tabachnick and Leah Bradshaw, eds.,  Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2017.   Multiculturalism is among the ambivalences of our time. The word refers to the fact of ethnic, linguistic, and religious diversity in political communities. In this sense, it is a…

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  • Fate and Freedom in the Novels of David Adams Richards

    April 19, 2018

    Fate and Freedom in the Novels of David Adams Richards. Sara MacDonald and Barry Craig.  Lexington Books, 2017.   David Adams Richards is a Canadian novelist and member of the Canadian Senate (nominated by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and appointed in 2017).  Born in 1950 in Newcastle, New Brunswick,…

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  • Rediscovering the Center: A Meditation

    April 18, 2018

    I finished my last article in this very VoegelinView claiming that only with a conscious acceptance and participation in the real, mankind (especially the Western part of it), could return to a state of spiritual healthy. With the wisdom of hindsight, I now wish to continue that enquiry. The…

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  • Browning's Monstrous Duke: The Metaxy, Quantum Mechanics and the Process to Destruction of the Phaulos in My Last Duchess

    April 17, 2018

    In his poem My Last Duchess, first published in 1842, Robert Browning creates one of the rarest types of character in literature: the phaulos. Understood in the sense of being the opposite of the spoudaios described by Aristotle, who is the person perceived as a moral exemplar, the phaulos…

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  • The Second Realities of Madame Bovary

    April 16, 2018

    The extraordinary pearl of the tortured genius of Gustave Flaubert—the novel, Madame Bovary—exemplifies the kind of captivating puzzle that attracts attention well beyond the world of literary criticism.  In the early twentieth century, for example, it inspired Jules de Gaultier’s philosophy of “Bovarysm,” a psychological complex distilled from the…

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Making Sense of the Alt-Right.  George Hawley.  New York: Columbia University Press, 2017.
In a 1969 interview with Playboy magazine, the Canadian philosopher of media Marshall McLuhan offered some piercing observations on the “television-conditioned young” who search for an identity in a fractious world.  “From Tokyo to Paris to Columbia, youth mindlessly acts out its identity quest in the theater of…

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A. James McAdams

Vanguard of the Revolution: The Global Idea of the Communist Party. A. James McAdams. Princeton University Press, 2017.
James McAdams has provided a compendious but readable account of communist parties from 1848 until now when he claims communist parties have died or withered away. McAdams, in my opinion rightly, does not consider the dynastic authoritarianism of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and…

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March 1917: The Red Wheel. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2017.
 
Historians like Eric Hobsbawn had argued that the Russian Revolution was the seminal event of the twentieth century: “for “a mere thirty to forty years after Lenin’s arrival at the Finland Station in Petrograd, one third of humanity found itself living under regimes directly derived from…

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March 1917: The Red Wheel, Node III, Book 1. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2017.
The Bolshevik coup d’état of October 25 (November 7 according to the Western calendar), 1917, is known the whole world over as the Russian Revolution. It is nearly universally considered to be either a liberating event or a catastrophic one, but one…

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“Personally, I require a ceiling, although a high one. Yes, I like ceilings, and the high better than the low. In literature I think there are low-ceiling masterpieces—Crime and Punishment, for instance—and high-ceiling masterpieces, Remembrance of Things Past.” —Artur Sammler, in Saul Bellow’s Mr. Sammler’s Planet (1969), 151.
 
No one doubts that Crime and Punishment has a prominent place in the pantheon…

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Giving the Devil His Due: Demonic Authority in the Fiction of Flannery O’Connor and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Jessica Hooten Wilson. Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2017.
 
Giving the Devil His Due is a self-published book that grew out of Professor Wilson’s dissertation written under the guidance of the O’Connor scholar, Ralph Wood, at Baylor University.
It is clearly a wonderful idea to put O’Connor…

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Walker Percy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and the Search for Influence. Jessica Hooten Wilson. Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2017.
 
When suffering from tuberculosis and confined to a sanatorium, Percy read Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground which led him to question whether science could answer life’s existential questions. This experience eventually led to Percy’s conversion to Catholicism and career as a novelist.…

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The Invention of Humanity: Equality and Cultural Difference in World History. Siep Stuurman. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2017.
 
This book is a history of the idea of humanity across world history. Stuurman analyzes the idea of humanity into two other concepts, equality and cultural difference, and he offers discussions of wide range of thinkers, some well-known to a general academic…

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Thomas Paine is perhaps best known for his effective pamphleteering during the American Revolution, especially in “Common Sense” and “Crisis.” But his major book-length works, “The Rights of Man” and “The Age of Reason”, which articulated his views on political rights and religion, were less well received by many.  The Age of Reason, in particular,  earned him considerable enmity in…

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The Incarnation of the Poetic Word: Theological Essays on Poetry and Philosophy. Michael Martin. Kettering OH: Angelico Press, 2017.
 
In these theological and philosophical essays on poetry and philosophy, as Martin describes them in his subtitle, we are presented with what amounts to a pioneering work in the burgeoning field of agapeic (literary) criticism.
What is this “new” area, precisely? Martin explains:
"My…

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