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Burns in Glory

The Oxford Edition of the Works of Robert Burns, Volume I: Commonplace Books, Tour Journals, and Miscellaneous Proseedited by nigel n. leaskoxford, 512 pages, $200 Robert Burns, “Rabbie” to those who love him, sired thirty-six children with eighteen mistresses before dying of exhaustion at age . . . . Continue Reading »

A Tale of Two Cities—And of Two Churches

You will recall the lapidary opening of Dickens’s famous novel of London and Paris in the period of the French Revolution. Headed ‘Book I—Recalled to Life: Chapter I: The Period” it begins: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. . . .” For reasons that will quickly become . . . . Continue Reading »

Why Scotland and Ireland Went Different Ways

In St. Andrews on Thursday, September 18, I voted in the Scottish referendum and the following morning flew to Ireland to give a lecture in the International Centre for Newman Studies at University College Dublin. The subject was Religion, Science and Philosophy, but it was hardly possible not to begin with a few remarks about the previous day’s “No” to Scottish Independence vote (55.3 percent). Whatever the significance for those in Scotland, and whatever the interest across the world, for many politicians and commentators in Ireland this was a surprise and a disappointment. Continue Reading »

Scotland on the Eve of the Referendum

On September 18, over four million Scottish residents will have the opportunity to answer the question, “Should Scotland be an Independent Country?” If the majority vote yes, this will initiate a process leading to independence

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