Irving Babbitt

Irving Babbitt (August 2, 1865 – July 15, 1933) was a Harvard literary scholar and cultural thinker. Babbitt’s books include; Literature and the American College (1908); In The New Laokoon (1910); The Masters of Modern French Criticism (1912); Rousseau and Romanticism (1919) & Democracy and Leadership (1924).

Remembering Irving Babbitt

By |2019-06-26T09:58:45-06:00June 18th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, History, Humanism and Conservatism, Irving Babbitt, Senior Contributors|

Irving Babbitt’s humanism was not radically intricate or convoluted: It was a reflection of nature and, at least to the wise, of common sense. No one could—in his wildest dreams—dismiss the humanism of Babbitt as a mere fad or a marginal movement; all thinking people engaged the ideas, whether they found them palatable or [...]

Measuring the Influence of Russell Kirk and Other Conservative Authors

By |2019-10-08T17:40:40-06:00May 12th, 2019|Categories: Christopher Dawson, Conservatism, Culture, Eric Voegelin, Irving Babbitt, Robert Nisbet, Russell Kirk|

By using Google’s Ngram Viewer, we find that Russell Kirk’s reputation hit its highpoint in 1964, and then began a painful decline that remained unabated until his death in 1994. What does Ngram tell us about other conservative authors, like Robert Nisbet, Leo Strauss, Eric Voegelin, and Christopher Dawson? While I would never consider [...]

An Emblematic American: The Critical Legacy of Irving Babbitt

By |2019-07-09T14:21:58-06:00August 31st, 2018|Categories: Books, Christian Humanism, Conservatism, Featured, George A. Panichas, Irving Babbitt|

Irving Babbitt was in no way a dogmatic, ossified traditionalist. He was a creative traditionalist: He encouraged renewed expressions of imaginative vision, and he was open to the possibility of a deepening and an expansion of humane knowledge... The Critical Legacy of Irving Babbitt by George A. Panichas (235 pages, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 1999) I [...]

The Conservatism of Robert Nisbet

By |2019-09-03T18:31:58-06:00January 7th, 2018|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christopher Dawson, Conservatism, Culture, Edmund Burke, History, Imagination, Irving Babbitt, Religion, Robert Nisbet, Romano Guardini, Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot, Tradition|

Robert Nisbet, in direct contrast to Russell Kirk, argued that conservatism was purely a modern ideology. For Nisbet, the entire history of conservatism began as a reaction to the French Revolution… When it came to the history of conservatism, the grand sociologist and man of letters, Robert Nisbet, disagreed with the mighty founder of [...]

Irving Babbitt Against the Decaying Republic

By |2019-04-07T10:50:11-06:00October 2nd, 2017|Categories: American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Culture, Featured, History, Irving Babbitt, Western Civilization|

Seeing himself and his allies on the losing side of the war against the modern spirit, Irving Babbitt made a fierce call to arms, advocating the need for a “remnant” to preserve all that is good, true, and beautiful… In his own day and age, Irving Babbitt’s (1865-1933) many opponents—from Ernest Hemingway to H.L. [...]

Irving Babbitt’s Higher Will

By |2019-06-24T16:36:46-06:00September 18th, 2017|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Conservatism, Featured, Irving Babbitt, Paul Elmer More, Religion, T.S. Eliot|

Irving Babbitt believed that man defined himself not by his rights, but by his duties, and particularly how willing he was to restrain his darker impulses and sacrifice himself for another… Famously, when Paul Elmer More and Irving Babbitt were debating one another while on a walk, the former, exasperated, asked: “Good God, man. [...]

Irving Babbitt: An Act of Reparation

By |2019-06-06T10:43:28-06:00August 14th, 2017|Categories: Conservatism, Featured, George A. Panichas, Irving Babbitt, Leadership|Tags: |

Irving Babbitt wrestled with those fundamental life questions that relate to the fate of man in the modern world. What he chose to say about this world of increasing material organization continues to make Babbitt’s work and thought disturbing and unpalatable… Irving Babbitt (1865-1933) never wavered in what he viewed as being his commanding [...]

Irving Babbitt & Cultural Renewal

By |2017-09-19T12:51:22-06:00September 18th, 2016|Categories: Culture, Edmund Burke, Irving Babbitt, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Modernity, Poetry, Timeless Essays|

Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join James Seaton as he discusses the importance of Irving Babbitt’s imaginative conservatism. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher It is tempting to think of Irving Babbitt as a voice crying in the wilderness, a lonely prophet attempting the impossible task of reversing [...]

Can a Conservative Embrace Romanticism?

By |2019-07-18T15:02:58-06:00August 30th, 2016|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Christopher Dawson, Edmund Burke, Irving Babbitt, Senior Contributors, T.S. Eliot, The Imaginative Conservative|

Undoubtedly trying to shock many of his readers—most of whom understandably associated him with radicalism in poetry and the Bloomsbury group in London—T.S. Eliot exclaimed rather baldly in the late 1920s, “I am an Anglo-Catholic in religion, a classicist in literature and a royalist in politics.” […]

What Happened to Excellence?

By |2019-04-07T16:12:48-06:00August 29th, 2016|Categories: Character, Culture, Eric Voegelin, Featured, George A. Panichas, Great Books, Irving Babbitt, Modernity, Virtue|

Excellence, which can be defined as the state of excelling and of surpassing merit, is now increasingly one of the lost words of the English language. And increasingly the special qualities that this word de­notes are banned in a nation which im­poses diversity and political correctitude. Today, it is dangerously incriminating for one to [...]

What Is the Moral Imagination?

By |2016-04-12T15:20:12-06:00April 11th, 2016|Categories: Edmund Burke, Eva Brann, Imagination, Irving Babbitt, Moral Imagination, Russell Kirk|

Like many of you, I am sure, my first encounter with the term “the moral imagination” came through reading Russell Kirk. In an attempt to make better sense of what, for me, was a problematic concept, I followed Kirk back to his admitted predecessors on this matter, Irving Babbitt and Edmund Burke. I must confess [...]

Restoring the Meaning of Conservatism

By |2019-06-06T18:33:15-06:00December 28th, 2015|Categories: Conservatism, Essential, Featured, George A. Panichas, Irving Babbitt, Permanent Things, Richard Weaver, Russell Kirk, Timeless Essays|

Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to explore the true meaning of conservatism and how we should restore it. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll get knocked down by anything.” —Anonymous It is now more than half a century since the publication [...]

Irving Babbitt: Against Romanticism

By |2019-07-23T14:06:01-06:00August 28th, 2015|Categories: Books, Irving Babbitt, Jean-Jacques Rousseau|Tags: |

Rousseau and Romanticism by Irving Babbitt (Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1991) This reprint of the best-known work by Irving Babbitt (1865–1933) is a sturdy addition to Transaction’s Library of Conservative Thought. When it was initially published in 1919, it was recognized by discerning readers as the landmark it has since become. The New York Evening [...]

What Was Irving Babbitt’s Philosophy of Man?

By |2016-07-14T23:47:19-06:00July 15th, 2015|Categories: Christian Humanism, Christianity, Claes Ryn, Irving Babbitt, Jean-Jacques Rousseau|Tags: |

No intellectual task could be more urgent today than refuting the pseudo-scientific distinction between ”facts” and “values” and restoring to the humanities and social sciences a sense of transcendent moral purpose.[1] In this effort we would be well-advised to reconsider the work of a great American whose ideas have yet to be fully comprehended [...]