June 24, 2014
by Russell Kirk
“In some ages, what Thoreau says is true: most men lead lives of quiet desperation. They endeavor to evade answering the question ‘What is the purpose of human existence?’ As children, they entertain vague expectations of some future happy condition and achievement; but commonly those hopes are dashed or much diminished once they flap or tumble out of the parental nest. After that, they may live as birds do, from day to day, until they starve or are caught by a cat. Nevertheless, many men and women are haunted by such nagging questions as ‘What is this all about?’ or ‘Is life worth living?’”
In this Epilogue to his remarkable third-person autobiography, Russell Kirk looks back on a long life of literary conflict and reflects on just what it might all be about.
November 9, 2013
For decades now, mainstream educators have been encouraging their pupils to use their imaginations – even as the literary fare they’ve been offering has increasingly had the opposite effect. Russell Kirk brings his characteristic perspicacity to bear on the question of literature and the “moral imagination” in a classic essay that has only grown more relevant since it first appeared in 1981.
October 26, 2013
Billboards confirm the truism that the human body sells – everything from stripteases to “Body Worlds”. The body also seems to be behind a faddish fascination with first-millennium sects. But what does ancient Gnosticism have in common with gentlemen’s clubs? More, it turns out, than one might at first suspect.
March 3, 2013
Violet has many ‘husbands’, none of whom she has given herself to: “I married none of them”, she says, “they married me.” It is the end of an age and the beginning of the end of an aesthetic sensibility that she and her live-in brood of bachelors furiously try to preserve. But what will come of love that always seeks the ideal, that tries never to be consummated in a particular time or place?
January 8, 2013
The Clarion Review is proud to present the third and final installment of this novella by writer and philosopher Roger Scruton.
Zoë’s dreams of meeting her destiny on the streets of London are running aground fast. To whom will she turn? To Dr Leacock, the predatory postmodern professor who’s always too ready to help? To Michael, the mysterious art student, who surely pours his angst into something worth living for? Back to her mother, whom she disgraced by her flight, and whom she still resents? Zoë takes her stand; will the world turn with her?
December 29, 2012
Carrie Frederick Frost
Family is on everyone’s mind during Christmastide, whether it be the Holy Family of the Christmas story or our own families. But rarely is this topic approached theologically or as a virtue. Read Carrie Frederick Frost’s reflection on the under-appreciated virtue of familial responsibility and its great exemplar in the novel Kristin Lavransdatter.
December 21, 2012
When we last saw Zoë, she had run away from home one morning, leaving her mother in tears. Now that her long-planned tirade against the family’s Cypriot traditionalism is behind her, however, Zoë seems to have no clear idea of what she will do or where she will go when she leaves work later the same day. Or, rather, she has too many ideas…
November 13, 2012
The first installment of the novella A Dove Descending about a Greek girl who falls from too great a height. She lives in London with her pious mother, her recently-deceased father’s continuing presence, and the lure of the modern life that books and a progressive professor have offered her. Now she must choose between the ancient culture she was born into and the freedoms offered by England.
November 12, 2012
A review of Alain de Botton’s Religion for Atheists.
Not long ago Starbucks sandwich boards advised us to “Take comfort in ritual”—in this case the diurnal rites of lattés and Frappucinos. It’s clear enough that the Giant of Joe benefits from regular patronage, but less clear is why recommending ritual might not be off-putting to a clientele whose apple of wisdom is to “think different.” Ritual is religious (or is thought to be) and is therefore considered wholly personal. Most Westerners tend to regard its presence in public space with suspicion.
July 20, 2010
Ours is a time of entitlements, massive debt, and focus groups. Politicians court the public, tax, and redistribute. Yet it was not always thus. The nineteenth century has long been considered the heyday of small government and fiscal responsibility, especially pertaining Britain. And justifiably so. For this, William Ewart Gladstone deserves more credit than anyone else.
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