The Moral Imagination & Imaginative Conservatism

By |2019-07-19T14:32:07-05:00July 17th, 2019|Categories: Books, E.B., Edmund Burke, Eva Brann, Imagination, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Jane Austen, Moral Imagination, St. John's College|

Moral imagination runs not incidentally but necessarily in tandem with a certain aspect of conservatism, what I think of as imaginative conservatism… The Moral Imagination: From Edmund Burke to Lionel Trilling, by Gertrude Himmelfarb (259 pages, Ivan R. Dee, 2006) The Moral Imagination is a very engaging collection of a dozen essays on a dozen [...]

Reflections on Imaginative Conservatism

By |2019-07-11T10:58:46-05:00July 9th, 2019|Categories: Conservatism, E.B., Eva Brann, Imagination, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, St. John's College, The Imaginative Conservative|

My first and last care is not politics but education. Education seems to me inherently conservative, being the transmission, and thus the saving, of a tradition’s treasures of fiction and thought. But education is also inherently imaginative. Author’s Note: I wish to dedicate this essay to a writer of books whose greatness is at [...]

The Declaration of Independence: Translucent Poetry

By |2019-07-03T21:24:51-05:00July 3rd, 2019|Categories: American Founding, Constitution, Declaration of Independence, E.B., Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, James Madison, Samuel Adams, St. John's College, Thomas Jefferson|

The Declaration of Independence, intended as an expression of the common opinion, is truly a text of "right opinion," a benign practical text which also has a peculiarly sound relation to the realm of thought. Section I:  The Legacy of the Declaration When American schoolchildren first discover that they have a place in the world they [...]

“Death in Venice”: The Problem of Romantic Reaction

By |2019-07-03T09:43:30-05:00June 24th, 2019|Categories: Books, E.B., Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Literature, Modernity, St. John's College|

We live in a state of decadence, of falling away, the more so for no longer naming it as such, and Mann’s way of laying the past to rest seems to me vastly better than the hatred of it accompanied by ignorance which characterizes the brutal branch of the phenomenon of decadence. For the [...]

Telling Lies

By |2019-06-21T12:34:08-05:00June 17th, 2019|Categories: Aristotle, E.B., Eva Brann, Friedrich Nietzsche, Homer, Iliad, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Odyssey, Plato, St. John's College|

We should learn to cultivate the unwillingness to tolerate the unwitting, untold lie in the soul, and the wit and wisdom to transmute the unavoidable lying of any utterance into the telling lies that reveal truth… The first lecture of the school year is, by an old tradition, dedicated to the freshmen among us. Whether [...]

The Dispassionate Study of the Passions

By |2019-06-14T17:02:37-05:00June 10th, 2019|Categories: Apology, E.B., Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Philosophy, Plato, Socrates, St. John's College|

Ancient pathos, passion, was an affect emanating from an object; the object elicited the responsive affect, from the outside in. Modern emotion comes from inside out; it emphasizes expression; subject prevails over object. It is the Romantic worm eating its way out of the Enlightened apple... Plato’s dialogue Gorgias ends with a long speech culminating [...]

Hegel & Spirit: The Logic of Desire

By |2019-05-27T22:40:14-05:00May 27th, 2019|Categories: Books, E.B., Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Literature, Peter Kalkavage, St. John's College|

Peter Kalkavage’s “Logic of Desire” is a full-scale narrative, a readable yet faithful retelling of “Phenomenology of Spirit” by Hegel. It is in a class of its own for its engaging, distinctly American-flavored accessibility. Peter Kalkavage, The Logic of Desire: An Introduction to Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, Paul Dry books Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit is [...]

Reflections on Imaginative Conservatism

By |2019-07-10T10:46:39-05:00May 21st, 2019|Categories: Conservatism, E.B., Eva Brann, Featured, Imagination, St. John's College, The Imaginative Conservative, Timeless Essays|

Pine by Albrecht Durer (Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Dr. Eva Brann as she examines imagination, conservatism, time and eternity. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher) I wish to dedicate this essay to a writer of books whose greatness is at once utterly at home in America [...]

Dreams Belong to the Now: Time to Commence

By |2019-05-20T14:47:46-05:00May 20th, 2019|Categories: E.B., Education, Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Liberal Learning, St. John's College|

All over the country this spring graduating seniors are being told that the future is before them, that they are the future. This is heady but dangerous talk. The future is not a place or a being. You can’t get there from here or be there except through a series of fulfilled nows. This [...]

Graduation Day: Do You Want to Change the World?

By |2019-05-14T00:45:01-05:00May 13th, 2019|Categories: E.B., Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Liberal Learning, St. John's College|

Across the nation commencement speakers bid the graduates, “Go forth and change the world” or “make a difference.” But should you want to change the world? Parents and Relatives, Fellow Tutors and Mr. President, Board Members and, above all, Santa Fe Seniors and Graduate Institute students! Some of you will remember that radio-telephone distress [...]

Plato’s “Timaeus”: A Unique Universe of Discourse

By |2019-05-06T12:41:15-05:00May 6th, 2019|Categories: Books, Classics, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Liberal Learning, Philosophy, Plato, St. John's College|

Plato’s Timaeus is less a dialogue than a short tale of antiquity by Critias followed by an account of the cosmos by Timaeus, in which, the question is asked: Why is the greatest philosophical work on the cosmos framed by politics? Before reviewing Peter Kalkavage’s Focus Press translation of the Timaeus, I must, in [...]

The Wonders of the “Odyssey”

By |2019-04-22T13:49:44-05:00April 22nd, 2019|Categories: Classics, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, Homer, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Odyssey, St. John's College|

The “Odyssey” is a wondrous poem. Joe Sachs’ Afterword to his translation is a thought-inducing meditation on wonder, on Homer’s imaginatively and artfully conceived wonders and on Homer’s people, who are—above all, Odysseus—open to wondering and to its ensuing wisdom… the Odyssey by Homer, translated by Joe Sachs (Paul Dry Books: Philadelphia 2014) Joe Sachs’ [...]

“Paradise Lost”: Hidden Meanings?

By |2019-04-15T17:24:41-05:00April 15th, 2019|Categories: E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, John Milton, Liberal Learning, St. John's College, Wisdom|

I keep having the sense that something is going on that runs right counter to the overt text of John Milton’s Paradise Lost. There seems to be a separate, opposed meaning. Should it be called a hidden agenda, a subtext? Milton’s Paradise Lost is a poem of such panoramic grandeur and such human acuteness [...]