Things John Milbank Likes About The United States

  1. The way Americans will usually risk seeming naive in order to discover more and make more connections. The English generally do not.
  2. The settler capacity of Americans to form endless instant new communities.
  3. The more genuine participatory democracy that can exist at small town and street levels.
  4. A prevailing sense that being ethical (or at least appearing so) is not incompatible with sophistication.
  5. The continued despite everything sense that Republican Virtue is linked to a passion for education.
  6. American higher education—though it goes wrong at doctoral level with too much coursework stifling creativity. But it is much more rounded and truly liberal than the British version.
  7. Jazz.
  8. Baseball though I don’t much understand it. But it is a true cousin sport to cricket.
  9. The Appalachians. They are an incredible landscape: wild yet comfortable all at once.
  10. The early skyscrapers of Chicago with their strong civic and guild sensibility.
  11. The way New York is like a futuristic gothic castle.
  12. The Hispanic-tinged fringes and sublime desert landscapes, especially The Big Bend National Park.
  13. The strange lost uneasy border plantation lushness of the Rio Grande Valley.
  14. The sense of the cryptic and haunted in Brockden Brown, Melville, Poe and C.S. Peirce.
  15. The flowingly sparse and enigmatic fictions of Paul Auster.
  16. American book design at its best. Restrained yet lavish.
  17. The older austerely beautiful of towns like Staunton Virginia.
  18. Blueberry muffins if they are warm and good.
  19. East coast crab cakes and chowder.
  20. Modern American poetry which is so often more ambitious than modern British.
  21. The Jewish legacy in mass entertainment.
  22. Old hardware stores where one can incongruously drink milk shakes through straws amidst high-piled sublimated utilities. The apparently meaningless juxtaposition works to give an esoteric sense, as in Ashbery’s poetry.
  23. Rattling wooden bridges over obscure creeks.
  24. The lost but just about still echoed fifties suburban glamour and democratised grandeur.
  25. Even the sinister, unfinished, ramshackle, twilight sway of the inadequate telegraphies.
  26. The melancholy of decks and verandahs.
  27. The hermetic, occult architecture of Boston.

New Books, 11/13/18

The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age of Automation.

Robert Alter’s book on bible translation.

Robert Alter’s three-volume translation of the Hebrew bible.

The American dictionary wars.

Japanese Tales of Lafcadio Hearn.

Turkey’s destruction of its Christian minorities.

Empress Catherine & Diderot.

Bhaskar Sunkara’s The Socialist Manifesto.

David Potter’s new book on the early Roman empire.

A new interpretation of Hegel’s Phenomenology.

A new translation of Weber’s Economy and Society.

Culture in Nazi Germany.

A Critical Edition of the History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks), Short Course.

The Yi River Commentary on the Book of Changes.


New Books, 11/9/18

The Vatican’s political battle for the Catholic soul of twentieth-century Europe.

Carlos Eire’s biography of the Life of St. Teresa of Avila.

A Marxist appraisal of Alasdair MacIntyre.

The third volume of Sidney Blumenthal’s Lincoln biography.

Pious Imperialism: Spanish Rule and the Cult of Saints in Mexico City.

Teilhard’s “struggle” with evolution.

Fr. Miscamble’s biography of Fr. Hesburgh.

The Counter-Reformation in France.

English Catholics abroad in Counter-Reformation Europe.

The Pope: Francis, Benedict, and the Decision That Shook the World. (SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING ANTHONY HOPKINS AND JONATHAN PRYCE.)

A biography of Luis de Molina.

Citizens and Believers: Religion and Politics in Revolutionary Jalisco, 1900–1930.