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The Rise of the Middle Ages

Johan Huizinga’s The Waning of the Middle Ages, as it was once known, is a hundred years old and has just been awarded the accolade of a magnificent centenary edition in a superb, fresh English translation. This lavishly illustrated volume marvelously enhances the reader’s encounter with a . . . . Continue Reading »

Becket and His Critics

The late philosopher Roger Scruton once told a ­Guardian journalist that he thought he had been “too soft” over the course of his life. The interviewer was taken aback: Scruton was known as a scourge of political correctness and academic fashion. But as Scruton explained: “I’ve tended . . . . Continue Reading »

Peter Damian’s Counsel

Sometime during the second half of the year 1049, Peter Damian, prior of the hermitage of Fonte Avellana in what is now the Italian region of Marche near the Umbrian border, wrote a lengthy letter to newly installed Pope Leo IX. The letter concerned “the befouling cancer of sodomy,” which Peter . . . . Continue Reading »

Historical Ignorance, Moral Arrogance

My generation tends to think of itself as the first generation to be moral, tolerant, decent, and good. We abhor racism, sexism, nationalism, and homophobia, crimes we set at the center of past societies—all of them. We have avoided the bloody vices of slavery, torture, pillaging, religious . . . . Continue Reading »

An Integralist Manifesto

Before Church and State: A Study of Social Order in the Sacramental Kingdom of St. Louis IXby andrew willard jonesemmaus academic, 510 pages, $39.95 I f there is a specter haunting the imaginations of Christians in the public square today, perhaps it is the specter of the premodern integration of . . . . Continue Reading »

A Reality Novel

The Once and Future King by t. h. white penguin galaxy, 736 pages, $30 Terence Hanbury White died aboard ship in the port of Piraeus in 1964 on his way back from the United States, where he had been hoping to shore up his income with a lecture tour. His secretary found him alone in his cabin, and . . . . Continue Reading »

The New Middle Ages

The past is returning. Any return assumes a preceding departure. Perhaps, though, the past never left, and its absence will turn out to have been an illusion. Certain traits embedded in genes don’t manifest themselves for some time. That doesn’t mean they’ve disappeared, though; they’re . . . . Continue Reading »

A Monastic Vice for the Internet Age

The Italian author Umberto Eco belonged to a rare breed—a medievalist of encyclopedic erudition, a creative philosopher and a talented novelist. Prompted by his recent death, Eco’s first novel, The Name of the Rose, has resurfaced in bookstands everywhere. The novel is a murder mystery set . . . . Continue Reading »

Whatever Happened to Sacral Kingship?

In an average college course, the history of Western political theory typically follows a simple plot: A flowering of secular, republican rationality in Ancient Athens and Republican Rome foundered on a combination of Imperial overstretch and civil war.

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