Tag Archives: Lee Trepanier

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In a period of less than five years, Philip Roth has published four short novels in rapid succession: Everyman (2006), Indignation (2008), The Humbling (2009), and Nemesis (2010).[1] Roth himself claims that these are his last novels – “To tell you the truth, I’m done” – and plans to spend his remaining years rereading “all of my books beginning with…

This book looks at the political thought of one of the giants of American literature: Philip Roth. Roth’s depiction of American life may initially appear provincial, American-Jewish life in Newark, New Jersey, but his portrayal of his hometown can be seen as a microcosm of America itself: its political aspirations, its political failures, and its political self-reflection about what it…

In the first half of the nineteenth-century, the question of history – its origins, its continuing burden, and the possibility of transcending it – preoccupied American thinkers, writers, and political leaders. Specifically, the controversy of slavery explicitly raised the question of history to the forefront of the national debate, with the United States’ declaration that all men were created equal…

In a chapter in The Conservative Mind titled “Transitional Conservatism: New England Sketches,” Russell Kirk cited John Quincy Adams, Orestes Brownson, and Nathaniel Hawthorne as figures in whom the “conservative instinct struggled for successful expression” in a period of rapid innovation that was sweeping aside the ancestral institutions of nineteenth-century America.1 Confronted with mass democracy, industrialism, and Transcendentalism, these New…

Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice has been interpreted in numerous ways that range from focusing on the roles of women and marriage to examining questions of justice and mercy to exploring the appropriate relationship between Christian and Jews.[1] While most critics have paid particular attention to the character Shylock and the themes associated with him, I will look at the…

Both deontological and classical liberalism have been criticized by communitarian thinkers who contend that liberalism is rooted in an incoherent conception of the self because it fails to take into account the communal aspect of our self-conception, thereby making the liberal doctrine of acquisitive individualism inadequate as a foundation of civic virtue for a community of free and equal citizens.[1]…

In the past several essays, I have reviewed some of the twentieth and twentieth-first century great thinkers as teachers: Eric Voegelin, Ellis Sandoz, Gerhart Niemeyer, John H. Hallowell, Leo Strauss, Harvey Mansfield, and Stanley Rosen. Although these thinkers disagreed with one another in their scholarship from time to time, they all were committed to teaching the true, the beautiful, and…

In the past couple of essays, I have looked at Leo Strauss and Harvey Mansfield as teachers in a climate of positivism, relativism, and academic mediocrity. In this essay, I will explore Stanley Rosen, as described by Nalin Ranasinghe in Teaching in an Age of Ideology. What we will discover is that Rosen shares many of the traits that are…

In my last essay, I wrote about Leo Strauss’ defense of liberal education as a possible antidote to the narrowness of specialization of knowledge and the moral aimlessness of positivist ideology. One way to teach liberal education is to have students read the great thinkers of one’s tradition. In his chapter on Harvey Mansfield in Teaching in an Age of…