Wendell Berry’s “What Are People For?”

By |2018-08-30T21:13:19-05:00August 30th, 2018|

As one reads What Are People For?, an important underlying and unifying theme—the struggle to avoid abstraction—emerges, a theme which reveals perhaps Wendell Berry’s greatest concern about modern life... What Are People For? by Wendell Berry (224 pages, North Point Press, 1990) “We should love life,” Dostoyevski once said, “more than the idea of life.” It is [...]

M.E. Bradford: The Agrarian Aquinas

By |2018-07-04T13:30:07-05:00July 3rd, 2018|

M.E. Bradford did not write a lot about the agrarian life per se. His interest was in defending the South in which the agrarian way was taken for granted… M.E. Bradford I have called M.E. Bradford the Agrarian Aquinas. He did not write a Summa, but his work as a whole enriched and [...]

The Attack on Memory

By |2018-06-21T22:06:42-05:00June 21st, 2018|

History is the “remembered past,” remembered according to values and virtues that are the inheritance of a particular people. The story as told gives meaning to the “facts,” and the story must be told to be remembered… “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I [...]

M.E. Bradford’s Revolutionary “A Better Guide Than Reason”

By |2019-04-18T12:22:19-05:00April 30th, 2018|

No one who reads and digests A Better Guide Than Reason can fail to be revolutionized. We had thought that the great Southern political tradition—that of Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, John C. Calhoun, and the agrarians—was dead. Not so… A Better Guide Than Reason: Studies in the American Revolution by M.E. Bradford (241 pages, Sherwood Sugden & [...]

The Agrarianism of Richard Weaver: Beginnings & Completions

By |2018-08-25T01:08:06-05:00December 9th, 2017|

Richard Weaver claimed his homeland was the “last nonmaterialistic civilization in the western world.” Modernity to him meant at bottom institutionalizing most of the Seven Deadly Sins… Though his worth and stature were early established among them, while yet living Richard M. Weaver was something of a puzzle for his friends within the American [...]

Up From Liberalism

By |2019-01-22T12:17:24-05:00November 13th, 2017|

Liberalism is the refuge favored by intellectual cowardice, because the essence of the liberal’s position is that he has no position… There is a saying by William Butler Yeats that a man begins to understand the world by studying the cobwebs in his own corner. My experience has brought home to me the wisdom [...]

Wendell Berry on the Environment, the Economy, & the Imagination

By |2017-11-12T22:14:34-05:00November 12th, 2017|

The power of imagination is to see things whole, to see things clearly, to see things with sanctity, to see things with love… Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Alan Cornett as he discusses Wendell Berry’s thoughts on environmentalism and climate change, wealth and the economy, hope [...]

“Stranger”

By |2017-10-29T12:29:13-05:00October 29th, 2017|

This is the village where the funeral Stilted its dusty march over deep ruts Up the hillside covered with queen’s lace To the patch of weeds known finally to all. […]

The Cultivation of Complexity: Reading Wendell Berry

By |2018-11-19T20:36:46-05:00July 13th, 2017|

Wendell Berry’s poetry sings with the love of a man for his home, enticing the reader to embrace his vision of local agrarian economy as sufficient for the good life… “From knowledge of the forest comes/at last knowledge of forestry:/what, without permanent damage,/can be spared and carefully removed,/leaving the whole forest whole. This learning/’takes [...]

What Can the Southern Tradition Teach Us?

By |2017-04-25T21:56:15-05:00April 25th, 2017|

Looking at the whole of the South’s promise and achieve­ment, I would be unwilling to say that it offers a foundation, or, because of some accidents of history, even an example. The most that it offers is a challenge… History is a liberal art and one profits by studying the whole of it, including [...]

Was There Something Unique to the Southerner?

By |2016-08-12T13:38:59-05:00July 23rd, 2016|

Science Some of the would-be defenders were the New Humanists of Allen Tate’s era. He criticized Paul Elmer More, Irving Babbitt, and Norman Foerster for their facile attempts to undo the de-humanizing effects of modern natural science. Generally speaking, they held that religion could be used to elevate society beyond the useful. Tate understood [...]

Industrialism & the Fate of the Arts

By |2016-08-05T07:48:58-05:00July 20th, 2016|

The making of an industrialized society will extinguish the meaning of the arts, as humanity has known them in the past, by changing the conditions of life that have given art a meaning. For they have been produced in societies which were for the most part stable, religious, and agrarian; where the goodness of life [...]

Was Allen Tate a Revolutionist?

By |2017-12-10T08:51:33-05:00July 16th, 2016|

Allen Tate’s contribution to I’ll Take My Stand poses a challenge. He concludes his “Remarks on Southern Religion” by stating that the way the Southerner can “take hold of his tradition” is by violence. In a group of essays that has eschewed a direct, political solution to the damaging cultural effects of industrialism, Tate [...]

Do Not Be Ashamed

By |2016-07-07T16:25:38-05:00July 10th, 2016|

You will be walking some night in the comfortable dark of your yard and suddenly a great light will shine round about you, and behind you will be a wall you never saw before. It will be clear to you suddenly that you were about to escape, and that you are guilty: you misread [...]