Category: meta stuff

An Ascent with Xenophon

I first heard of Xenophon and Anabasis while at college, in Bl. John Henry Newman’s great book The Idea of a University. In this particular essay, Newman gives an illustration of a poor applicant for university studies by giving a dialogue between a student and a tutor. This student does indeed stumble through the interview, able to give a basic summary of events in Anabasis but unable to answer questions about the etymology of the title and its significance, basic Greek grammar, and other such things. What struck me, though, was that Newman assumed that even a poor student will have read Anabasis, among other works from the Classical world, and have some basic knowledge of Greek and Latin. Indeed, in the printed essay, Newman does not even transliterate Greek words; he merely assumes that anyone reading would know the Greek alphabet.

Yet, here I was, a year or two into university studies, and I was clearly far less competent than even this student Newman describes as “below par.” I knew no Greek at all, and the name of “Xenophon” was merely a foreign sound to me, though I was at least aware of the other authors Newman mentions in the passage.

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New at Thermidor: Hesiod

I have a new article over at Thermidor Magazine, in which I discuss not only Hesiod’s works, but his days, as well. More specifically, I give an overview of his epic poem The Works and Days, with a few words on Theogeny as well. If you can’t get enough of the Classics, I also wrote about Poetics, by Aristotle, over there a couple months ago, and I will likely have a follow-up of sorts in the near future.

In addition, I have a post drafted and ready continuing my series on Plato’s dialogues, this time covering Socrates’ Defense, more commonly called The Apology. If you’re new to this blog, I began with an introduction to the series with a short discussion of three dialogues, then covered Meno, and most recently, Euthyphro.…

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Link: The Stupid Objections to Reaction

As a general policy, I firmly believe that it’s best to focus on an opponent’s strongest arguments and their best representatives, not their weakest and dumbest. However, there are a handful of arguments, or rather, non-arguments, leveled against the Right on a regular basis that are particularly stupid and pernicious. So, even though they’re low-hanging fruit, I decided to write up a brief rebuttal of them, which I’ve posted to the main site, On the Origin of Fire… It’s called, straightforwardly, “The Stupid Objections to Reaction.”

One reason for posting it as a static page is that it’ll stay in one place, and I can fairly easily go back and update it over time. I’d like for it to be as useful as possible, so constructive criticism and suggestions are welcome; you can leave them either in the comments section below, or contact me via Twitter.…

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New at Thermidor: A Review of Lone Crusader

I have a new post over at Thermidor Magazine, this time a review of Samuel Stevens’ novel Lone Crusader. You should, of course, focus on reading old books, but this is a new book that actually is worth reading, so check it out.

Excluding graphic novels, I’ve now reviewed twenty-one books written by living authors. Most of those, though, are in non-fiction. In literature, I’ve previously written about five. One of these is The Sea, by John Banville, which was good, though I don’t remember it very well, so apparently it’s not particularly memorable. More famous is Kafka on the Shore, by Murakami Haruki, which had some good moments but overall is badly overrated.

The best of this group is, rather surprisingly, Welcome to the N.H.K., by Takimoto Tatsuhiko. Unfortunately, it’s also the hardest to find, but if you can find a copy at a decent price I’d recommend it to almost anyone.

The other two are light novel series that I’d recommend, but only to those who already know what a “light novel” is. One is the Haruhi series (vols. 1-7Dissociation) by Tanigawa Nagaru, good but at this point looks like it’ll remain forever unfinished; the other is Spice & Wolf, by Hasekura Isuna, also enjoyable but I wish it had been authored by a better writer.

This is my second consecutive post at Thermidor, but I have two drafts just about ready for Everything. One is a continuation of my series on Plato’s Dialogues, the other is a review of the animated adaptation of The Hobbit. Yes, it will be better than the animated version of The Lord of the Rings, I’m happy to say.…

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New at Thermidor: The Poetics

I have a new post over at Thermidor Magazine, a review of the Poetics, by Aristotle. It’s not really necessary to explain his explanation on what the different literary genres are and how they work, so I also discuss why it’s worthwhile to spend time thinking seriously about literature. In a way it’s a follow-up to last year’s “Why Do You Not Study the Odes?

If that sounds interesting, you may also want to take look at my recommended reading page, or “Is There a Hierarchy Among the Arts?” which also features Aristotle prominently.

This is the second article I’ve written at Thermidor, the first being “Chesterton and The Man Who Was Thursday.”…

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The Man Who Was Thursday, Thermidor Magazine, and Expanded Horizons

I have a new post, a review of G. K. Chesterton’s classic novel The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare, but in a first for me, it’s not posted here. You can find it over at Thermidor Magazine. In my previous post I think it came across that, though I like Chesterton, I’m not a big fan of his non-fiction. I’m more enthusiastic, though, about his novel.

In any case, Everything is Oll Korrect! is still and will always be my home base, as it were. I’ve even declined offers of posting elsewhere in the past because I like having all of my work in one place, but recently I’ve reconsidered that somewhat. In the past couple years I feel like I’ve expanded my web log’s purpose a bit beyond being simply a bibliophile’s journal. It’s still primarily that, but I also want, and to some extent have succeeded, in encouraging people to appreciate beauty and the arts. Occasional contributions at Thermidor, whose editor-in-chief has similar goals to my own, seems like a good way to further that cause.

Now, updates are a bit slow around here as it is, so dividing my work may slow it down even more. I’ll continue to announce it here at Everything when I do publish elsewhere, but I’ll also see if I can do something to pick up the pace of updates here. Perhaps reviewing more movies or other pieces of pop culture. We’ll see.

Finally, while you’re at Thermidor, be sure to take a look around; despite being a fairly new site, there are already several excellent articles to peruse. Here are a few of my favourites:

Enemies and Strangers,” by Nathan Duffy, on the friend/enemy distinction, immigration, and Christianity.

Up in Smoke,” by Jonathan, presenting a case against the legalisation of marijuana.

The Liberty of the Slaves,” by Doug Smythe, on the idealisation of liberty.

David Brooks: Pundit of the Last Men,” by P. T. Carlo, one of a few recent articles on the shallowness of American Conservatism.…

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2016: A Human Work

The first really successful year for Everything is Oll Korrect! was back in 2012, and going into 2013 I had a lot of momentum built up with the weekly posting schedule and generally improving post quality. I had high hopes, but that year turned out to be the Agincourt of web logging (from the French perspective), and in 2014 it really came tumbling down. So even though 2015 was Everything’s best year, I was only cautiously optimistic about how 2016 would turn out.

Well, post views are up significantly from last year, but more importantly, if I may give myself a pat on the back, post quality is up – and so is post length. Four of my five longest-ever articles were written this year, and in a highlight reel of Everything, 2016 would certainly be the best-represented single year.

I began the year planning on going back to a weekly schedule, but couldn’t keep that up and nixed that idea in late March. As fruitful as weekly posting was from late 2011 through early 2013, that was much easier to do when this was effectively an aniblog; I could knock out a volume of a graphic novel or a movie in an afternoon and have a short review ready to go in a day or two. Now that I’m mostly reviewing books of prose and some poetry, though, there’s no longer an easy way to whip up a post that’s worth sharing on short notice. I did, however, manage to post thirty articles this year.

The most popular of those posts was my article on Robert Lewis Dabney’s book A Defense of Virginia and the South. This was also the most ambitious of the year and the most difficult to write because it took me a while to decide how to approach a book so wildly politically incorrect. I decided to give a brief introduction and conclusion, but mostly let Dabney do most of the talking for himself as I go through chapter-by-chapter. At 5,556 words it’s also by far the longest I’ve ever written, over twice as many as the second-longest’s 2,180 words. That second-place finisher was also the third most-popular of the year, “Why Do You Not Study the Odes?” This was my call to everyone, but especially those on the Right, to focus on the beautiful and not get caught up in outrage porn and degeneracy. In my opinion, these two are my best posts of the year, though I slightly prefer “Odes” because it’s on a subject I’ve always cared a great deal about but haven’t addressed adequately before. I’d give a bronze to “Is There a Hierarchy Among the Arts?” This also addresses a topic I’ve touched on previously, but this is easily the best expression of it.…

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Recommended Reading Page

Those of you who follow me on twitter have likely already seen me talk about it, but I’ve added a page for books that I particularly recommend.

In short, I thought the Post Highlights and Review Index page had a shortcoming in that it doesn’t indicate which books I’ve reviewed are ones that I’d actually recommend. For the recommended reading list I broadened the scope a bit, so it covers the books that I’d recommend more-or-less universally to any educated person who asks.

So next time you’re looking for something to read and would like some suggestions, check it out.…

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A Change in Schedule

I consider myself an honest man, so by no means did I lie to you about publishing a post every week; it’s just that I wrote a cheque I couldn’t cash. I actually did have something last week that wasn’t posted, and that was because quality control stepped in – the post I had planned just wasn’t very good. As I said on twitter, my blogging policy is, “Do you want it done fast or do you want it done right?”

Anyway, it turns out that weekly updates on a book blog that you run alone isn’t really feasible if you’re going to read anything of any significant length, even if one occasionally strays off-topic. From here on out, I’ll just publish new posts as they’re ready, which theoretically should mean more time to polish each review and thus, posts will be fewer but better. I recommend subscribing to the blog’s RSS feed, though I also promote new posts on my twitter account.

There will be a new post tomorrow, on Shakespeare’s 3 Henry VI.

So, my apologies for the delays, but thanks for reading. If it makes you feel any better, here’s something beautiful to look at, a painting by James Tissot of a couple of weeaboos:

James_Tissot_-_Young_Ladies_Looking_at_Japanese_Objects

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A Preface to 2016

A man is more likely to pursue his goals seriously if he makes a public commitment, and since some of my goals for this year concern this blog I thought I’d go ahead and offer this “preface” for 2016.

First, I plan to publish a new post every week, as I did from late 2011 through early 2013. This weekly schedule was difficult at times, but the routine was satisfying for me and should also, I think, give you the readers something to look forward to more regularly. To start, this will likely be every Tuesday, though that will be subject to change depending on how my schedule changes during the year. If possible I’ll try to post multiple times in a week, so subscribing to the RSS feed may be a good idea if you just cannot stand the thought of missing out, but for now I’ll only guarantee that one Tuesday post (or your money back!).

This schedule will be a bit difficult, since I mostly review books which, of course, vary wildly in length, so I’ll start the year with a few short books that I can review and schedule out, and write up a couple of evergreen posts to fill any gaps that come up. Once I have a comfortable buffer, though, I plan on doing sticking to (mostly) syntopical reading.

The primary goal will be to finish the books I have on the War Between the States. I did one book last year, Trudeau’s biography of Robert E. Lee, but I’m currently working on Shelby Foote’s The Civil War: A Narrative, which will be followed by Jefferson Davis’s The Rise of the Confederate Government and its follow-up The Fall of the Confederate Government, Raphael Semmes’s Memoirs of a Service Afloat During the War Between the States, and a couple more biographies. Unfortunately, these are all very long, hence the concern with a “buffer” I just mentioned.

Second, I’ll be going through all of Shakespeare’s works, which I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. These will be scattered throughout the year, though, rather than one after another.

Beyond that, I would like to go through a number of Greek classics, as well as the many books by, and about, Ezra Pound that I own. There are also a lot of odds and ends, of course, that I’ll get to as time permits – mostly more books, but also whatever movies, games, and such that I think are worth writing about.

So, those are the goals. Blogging year 2016 will officially start next Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading.…

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