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The imagination invests the world with that richness and resonance which makes it an attractive dwelling for the intellect. But the imagination is indispensable to action as well. For the real world is worth our exertion only when the visionary imagination sets the scene for action...
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We must come to grips with the actual expansiveness of the West and consider candidly its possible superiority—superiority, that is, in the scope it gives to individual human nature by the universality of its conceptions... I shall begin with...

The document entitled “To the Honorable the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, A Memorial and Remonstrance” is a jewel of republican rhetoric. Nor has this choice example of American eloquence gone without notice. And...
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My title is a question: "Do you know what an odyssey is?" I am asking each of you to ask yourself: "Do I know what an odyssey is?" In learning as in traveling and, of course,...
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You needn’t bring on yourself a dark night of the soul over your essay deadline, since you’ve already got what it takes to be an essayist, and certainly an essay-writer. Instead of agonizing, start early and savor the sweet freedom, the lovely leisure, to be fully at work, essaying...
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Mr. Ropoulos and I were talking in the St. John’s College Coffee Shop, and the subject of modernity came up. So he asked me to write a few pages for his issue of the Gadfly [ed., the St. John’s student...
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Dualisms: The Agons of the Modern World, by Ricardo J. Quinones (472 pages, University of Toronto Press, 2007) Dualisms stand at the very beginning of Western ways of viewing the world. Aristotle bears witness to...
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Homeric Moments: Clues to Delight in Reading the Odyssey and the Iliad (326 pages, Paul Dry Books, 2002) "Reading Homer's poems is one of the purest, most inexhaustible pleasures life has to offer—a secret somewhat too well kept...
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Modernity consists of perversions of notions drawn from Christianity; to be a modern means to be deeply enmeshed in them... The part of the title of this talk which I asked to have announced is "The Roots...
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The Raj Quartet is one of the longest, most successfully rendered works of nineteenth-century fiction written in the twentieth century. It has something War and Peace lacks: an evil presence of enormous pathos... The Raj Quartet by Paul Scott (1,032 pages, Everyman's Library, 2007)
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Applying imagination to politics can lead to political wish-fulfillment fantasies or to the enlivening of real communities from within... The topic "Politics and the Imagination" is at once larger and more restricted than "Politics and the Arts,"...
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It is for the soul’s health that we engage in inquiry; right action is the indirect, one might almost say, the unintended, consequence of thinking things through. Indeed, the old understanding of liberal education is that its very liberality consists in its being pursued for its own...
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There is a sickness, traditionally called melancholy, which is particularly at home in communities of learning such as ours. Its visible form can be seen in the engraving by Duerer called Melencolia Prima. Amidst the signs and symbols of...
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I'm uncertain of the joy of reading the Theban plays of Sophocles—the story is just too monstrous—but in accord with the awe. This translation conveys it... Sophocles: The Theban Plays, translated by David R. Slavitt (256 pages, Yale University Press, 2009)