Rod Dreher and The Nostalgia Option

By |2021-01-23T19:01:56-06:00January 23rd, 2021|Categories: Books, Conservatism, Culture, Dwight Longenecker, Politics, Senior Contributors|

As techno-totalitarianism really gets into gear, it is up to each one of us to root our lives, our homes, our schools, and our parishes in the eternal values of the Christian faith and classical learning—and we need to do so with imagination and realism, avoiding the temptation to become nostalgic dreamers. Live Not by [...]

Four Roads to Rome

By |2021-01-21T15:11:41-06:00January 21st, 2021|Categories: Books, Catholicism, Flannery O'Connor, Literature|

In “The Life You Save May Be Your Own,” Paul Elie weaves together the historically parallel stories of Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Walker Percy, and Flannery O’Connor. Truly these were four of the last century’s most remarkable Catholic writers. The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage, by Paul Elie (554 pages, [...]

The Astounding Transformation of Stonewall Jackson

By |2021-01-21T12:20:44-06:00January 21st, 2021|Categories: Books, Civil War, Quotation|

As an instructor at the Virginia Military Institute, Thomas Jonathan Jackson was a poor professor, given to memorizing his lectures and delivering them in a monotone voice to his classes, word-for-word. His students teased him behind his back and fired spitballs at each other during classes, with little fear of their wooden, seemingly hapless teacher. [...]

How Liberals Turned Freedom Into Tyranny

By |2021-01-17T11:23:58-06:00January 17th, 2021|Categories: Books, Freedom, John Horvat|

Ryszard Legutko’s “The Cunning of Freedom” pierces through the darkness of today’s shallow notions of freedom and exposes the dangers of continuing on the present course. The author indicates a metaphysical path whereby postmodern man might find that truth that will set him free. The Cunning of Freedom: Saving the Self in an Age of [...]

The Crisis of Liberalism

By |2021-01-17T01:04:36-06:00January 16th, 2021|Categories: Books, Conservatism, Liberalism|

Today’s Democratic party is not the party of Joe Biden’s youth or middle age. As author Fred Siegel correctly observes, it is a top-bottom coalition of the well-credentialed (but not well-educated) upper-middle class and beyond, plus those who work for, depend upon, or otherwise presume to shelter under the benevolent arm of government. The Crisis [...]

The Fine Art of the Essay

By |2021-01-13T15:01:11-06:00January 13th, 2021|Categories: Books, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors, Writing|

Joseph Epstein’s life and writing exemplify the ideal essay writer’s tendency to be a humane generalist rather than an academic specialist. Aiming at well-roundedness, the essayist also becomes freed from vogue words and jargon, a bad influence against which Mr. Epstein campaigns vigorously and wittily in “Gallimaufry: A Collection of Essays, Reviews, Bits.” Gallimaufry: A [...]

Garrison Keillor’s “That Time of Year”

By |2021-01-07T15:56:01-06:00January 9th, 2021|Categories: Books, Culture|

In "That Time of Year," Garrison Keillor engagingly tells his tale as a shy, awkward writer who found fame and fortune almost by accident as a radio personality. That fame and fortune might have ruined him, but it didn’t. Humor, it seems, has helped him more than once—and more than a little. That Time of [...]

The Best Book of 2020

By |2021-01-08T11:29:00-06:00January 8th, 2021|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, Senior Contributors, Thomas More|

We live in a world that desperately needs Thomas More’s wisdom. We need his understanding of God, his understanding of virtue, and his understanding of the complexities of the human person. “The Essential Works of Thomas More” is the best book of 2020 and is the book most needed in 2021. The Essential Works of [...]

The Magi and the Obstinacy of Belief

By |2021-01-05T16:22:22-06:00January 5th, 2021|Categories: Books, Christianity, Culture, Dwight Longenecker, History, Religion, Senior Contributors, Timeless Essays|

The refusal to consider the possibility that the Magi were historical figures and not mythical magicians reflects the bias of both modernists and conservative believers. For Saint Matthew’s Gospel to actually be true rocks both their boats. As the new year begins, The Imaginative Conservative looks back at some of its finest essays of the [...]

“A Primer on the Right” and 21st-Century Politics

By |2021-01-04T18:38:16-06:00January 4th, 2021|Categories: Books, Politics|

Robert Salyer’s “A Primer on the Right” lays out the implicit foundational principles for the modern Right and Left. Whether or not the reader agrees with his definition, it is surely in everyone’s interest that we think more seriously about the fundamental divides which mark 21st-century politics. A Primer on the Right: The Challenge of [...]

Tolkien and Lewis Under the Christmas Tree

By |2021-04-19T20:00:26-05:00December 14th, 2020|Categories: Books, C.S. Lewis, Christian Humanism, Christmas, Gifts for Imaginative Conservatives, J.R.R. Tolkien, Louis Markos, Senior Contributors|

With a seemingly (and thankfully) endless supply of books about J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis flowing out from every conceivable press, it is easy to overlook some hidden gems. To assist Imaginative Conservative readers with their Christmas book shopping, I have highlighted below some books about Lewis and/or Tolkien that have been published over the [...]

“Action vs. Contemplation”: Busy Americans & Lockdowns

By |2020-12-11T16:31:35-06:00December 11th, 2020|Categories: Books, Culture, Labor/Work, Leisure|

For those facing another virus lockdown, the book “Action versus Contemplation” helps reframe the mind by revisiting the classic and ongoing dialectic between the contemplative life and the active life. Action versus Contemplation: Why an Ancient Debate Still Matters, by Jennifer Summit and Blakey Vermeule (256 pages, University of Chicago Press, 2018) “Action versus contemplation” [...]

“Holly Jolly” & Christmas in Popular Culture

By |2020-12-07T15:51:14-06:00December 7th, 2020|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Christmas, Culture, Gifts for Imaginative Conservatives, Senior Contributors|

If you’re looking for a Christmas gift that fits in perfectly with the time of year, look no farther. In “Holly Jolly,” Mark Voger, the master of all things nostalgic, examines the rise of Christmas as a cultural artifact and phenomena, from the 1930s through the late 1980s. Holly Jolly: Celebrating Christmas in Pop Culture, [...]

Surprised by Jack

By |2020-11-28T21:35:13-06:00November 28th, 2020|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Character, Christianity, Literature, Senior Contributors, Timeless Essays|

C.S. Lewis’ writings are endlessly fascinating because the man himself was endlessly fascinating—to himself as well as to others. He saw life as a sort of drama and art, one in which the will shapes what Providence has so generously provided. One can readily and happily delve into C.S. Lewis’s autobiography of 1955, Surprised by [...]

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