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.

New Books, 10/27/18

Venice as the Polity of Mercy: Guilds, Confraternities and the Social Order, c. 1250-c.1650.

The Restless Kings: Henry II, His Sons and the Wars for the Plantagenet Crown.

The Promise and Peril of Credit: What a Forgotten Legend about Jews and Finance Tells Us about the Making of European Commercial Society.

A new book from Aidan Nichols, OP.

A biography of Diderot.

Hercules and the King of Portugal: Icons of Masculinity and Nation in Calderón’s Spain.

Dark Matter Credit: The Development of Peer-to-Peer Lending and Banking in France.

Debating the Sacraments: Print and Authority in the Early Reformation.

Orthodox Radicals: Baptist Identity in the English Revolution.

The Greek of the Pentateuch: Grinfield Lectures On The Septuagint 2011-2012.


New Books, 10/26/18

The Novel of Ferrara: six of Giorgio Bassani’s novels, Within the Walls, The Gold-Rimmed Spectacles, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, Behind the Door, The Heron, and The Smell of Hay.

Ray Dalio’s new book on Big Debt Crises.

John Julius Norwich’s edited collection from beyond the grave: great writers on great cities.

David Cannadine’s history of Britain in the 19th century, in paperback. Also forthcoming is his edited collection on Winston Churchill as an artist.

An expensive academic biography of José Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder of the Falange Española.

America’s Sherlock Holmes: The Legacy of William Burns.

Richard Davenport-Hines’s big new book, Enemies Within: Communists, the Cambridge Spies and the Making of Modern Britain.

Jünger’s wartime Paris journals.

The complete oral history of Monty Python.

Four young people who escaped the Maoist revolution.

A new edition of Walter Benjamin’s Illuminations and Reflections.

How Aristotle Can Save Your Life!

Another posthumous Le Guin book.

The Candidate: Fear and Loathing on the [Canadian] Campaign Trail.

Henry VIII and the men who made him.

Isaiah Berlin’s personal impressions of eminent people.

Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children.


New Books, 10/11/18

Peter Hitchens has finally written his book against World War II.

Roger Scruton writes fiction.

A life of Li Bai (Li Po).

Essays by Jonathan Franzen.

Roosevelt and Hoover in their clash over the New Deal.

Two I forgot in my last roundup: Jeffrey Burson’s new book on the long-neglected Catholic theologian, historian, and contributor to Diderot’s Encyclopédie, Abbé Claude Yvon, and Remi Brague’s “medieval wisdom for a modern age”.

Understanding capitalist economics and Catholic social teaching.

A biography of William Hardin Burnley, the largest slave owner in Trinidad during the nineteenth century.

A study of Léon Bloy.

The wartime letters of Ulysses S. Grant to his wife.

A critical edition of Ezra Pound’s Cathay.

A biography of Anna Komnene.

In search of lost masterpieces.

A brief history of Naperville, Illinois.

A study of Evelyn Waugh’s work.

H. W. Brands’s book on the rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster.

Stephen Fry’s book Heroesretelling Greek myths.

The collected and unpublished writings of Mark Fisher.

Early essays from Robert Louis Stevenson.

The Hebraic Myth in late-nineteenth-century American literature.

Selected letters of Lionel Trilling.

The complete text of Derrida’s Préjugés.

Civil war barons: tycoons, entrepreneurs, inventors, and visionaries.

A new biography of Anthony Powell.

A second installment in Zachary Leaders’s biography of Saul Bellow.

Robert Graves, also biographed.

Edith Wharton in France.

Wesley Yang’s debut, The Souls of Yellow Folk.

The legacy of Alexander the Great throughout the ages.

A new contribution to the field of critical Holmes studies: the “Gestalt shift” in Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories.

Eight essays from Wendell Berry.

Volume 1 of Stuart Hall’s “essential essays”; volume 2.

Rudyard Kipling’s uncollected prose fictions.

André Bazin: Selected Writings 1943-1958.

John Cleese, professor-at-large.

New Books, 10/1/18

Miracle of Amsterdam: Biography of a Contested Devotion

The Framers’ Intentions: The Myth of the Nonpartisan Constitution

Unstoppable Irish: Songs and Integration of the New York Irish, 1783–1883

The Other Pascals: The Philosophy of Jacqueline Pascal, Gilberte Pascal Périer, and Marguerite Périer

From the Cast-iron Shore: In Lifelong Pursuit of Liberal Learning

Mercenaries and Missionaries: Capitalism and Catholicism in the Global South

Reading and Rebellion in Catholic Germany, 1770-1914

The Cruelest of All Mothers: Marie de l’Incarnation, Motherhood, and Christian Tradition

The FBI and the Catholic Church, 1935-1962