Category Archives: Republic of Letters

organic metaphors and the west

“The reason for this is simple and statement, massive and theoretical implication. The future does not lie in the present. Nor did the present, as we know it, ever lie in the past. What is at issue here is a whole, wide-ranging, encompassing habit of mind, one that has been deep in Western thought ever since the pre-Socratic Greeks made the momentous analogy between the biological organism and social structure, declaring that his growth isn’t in alienable attribute of organismic structure, so change — that is a ‘natural’ pattern of change needing only to be described by the sociologists as the lifecycle of growth is described by the biologist — is an inalienable part of the structure of whatever social system we may have in view at any given moment. We have all around us, today has in the days of the organism intoxicated Greeks, is the spell of the metaphor of growth. Closely associated is another metaphor: the metaphor of genealogy. This is of more interest to historians, and has been since the time of Thucydides, that it usually is to the growth fascinated sociologists and economists and political scientists. Here we are dealing with the imagined genealogical linkage of events, acts and personages in history.”

–Robert Nisbet, The Making of Modern Society, pp. 84-85.

the cure at 40

Curaetion. Well worth owning. Trust me!

As noted recently on Spirit of Cecilia, The Cure are on the verge of releasing three new albums. Robert Smith revealed this in an interview with a New Music Express affiliate. Exciting news. Indeed, somewhat astounding news, especially given that the band hasn’t released anything since 2008. When Smith goes into the studio, he clearly means to make the most of it.

Last year, though, Smith gave us a three-disk deluxe set of The Cure’s 1990 remix album, MIXED UP, unquestionably announcing that the band is VERY much alive and well. The music, especially, holds up well.

Just last week, The Cure released its massive eight disks (two blu ray, two DVD, and four CD) of live material, CURAETION, all recorded in in 2018 to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the band.

What’s astounding to me is that the band sounds as good as it’s ever sounded, and this is saying something special. After all, this is a band that has been audiophiliac from album 1. That forty years on they can still sound so amazing (crisp, intense, meaningful) really does speak volumes about the band.

I’ve been a hardcore fan since JAPANESE WHISPERS first appeared in 1983.

While I don’t mind (not in the least) the wackier, sillier, poppier side of The Cure (for example, “Friday I’m in Love”), I have always preferred the band’s darker side. DISINTEGRATION is still a top-ten album for me, whatever music genre we’re discussing. To me, DISINTEGRATION is every bit as prog-gy as CLOSE TO THE EDGE.

Regardless, I highly recommend CURAETION. You’ll have to choose between a variety of sets, but choose you must. Well worth it. I went whole hog and bought the 2 blu-ray set as well as the 2DVD/4CD set. And, yes, I’m a happy man.

It’s Saturday, and I’m in love again.

“Beowulf” and the Men of the Twilight ~ The Imaginative Conservative

J.R.R. Tolkien’s numerous—and now, thankfully, available—lectures on the medieval epic poem, Beowulf, pop as well as dazzle his audience in fascinating ways. No sentence is without insight, and no paragraph is without some unique revelation about Beowulf’s significance and relevance—to his world and to our own. The poem is not only perfectly coherent as a poem and as a story, but it was also written by “a single hand and mind.”[1] Drawing upon the work of his friend and fellow parishioner, Christopher Dawson, Tolkien thought the poet a member of the first generation of Christian converts, written at “the time of that great outburst of missionary enterprise which fired all England,” having at the end of the enterprise, the greatest of all Englishman, St. Boniface.[2]
— Read on

The Radical Equality of Christianity ~ The Imaginative Conservative

In our world of recriminating hatreds—in which we desire more to label those we don’t like as sexist, imperialist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, and, simultaneously, mark ourselves as victims—we often forget some important historical truths. Here’s one we conveniently ignore, dismiss, or mock: Nothing in the world has brought about more equality and justice than has the Christian religion.

To be sure, various paganisms—such as the Heraclitan Logos, Socratic ethics, and Stoic philosophy—had sought the universal as well. Each, however, hit understandable walls of resistance and fierce competition from non-egalitarian Gnostic systems.

Christianity, however, was the first to achieve a proper, just, and serious equality in any radical and meaningful way.
— Read on

The Noble Pagan ~ The Imaginative Conservative

Given its epic nature, the Beowulf poem also drew from other mythologies circulating in its own time: the Roman Aeneid; the Norse Volsunga; and the Germanic Niebelungleid. Even the pagans, after all, believed in evil and the eternal death of the damned. There was, in summary, a sort of fusion of many things.
— Read on

approaching our first birthday

Well, birthdays all around!

XTC as Dukes. Does it get much better? Yes, Steven Wilson as Porcupine Tree remixes.

Tomorrow, our wonderful poet-in-residence, Kevin McCormick, is turning 52. Just a good deck of cards.

On November 22, the website turns one. How great is this? Too great, to be sure.

Very recently, some excellent music has shown up in the Spirit of Cecilia mailbox. New Flower Kings, new Cure (well, new live Cure), new Elbow, new old Peter Gabriel, and new old Dukes of Stratosphear. Some new Bruce Soord, too. A blessing of riches. If all goes well, Glass Hammer’s remixed and renewed LEX REX should show up tomorrow.

Reviews forthcoming. . .

And, of course, expect great pieces from Tad, Erik, Mahesh, Richard, and Alex and others! All to the good.

The Cure Are Working on Three New Albums, Robert Smith Reveals

The Cure have new material on the way — a lot of it. According to leader Robert Smith, the band have not one but three new albums on the way, and the first may arrive before the year is out.

Speaking to Spanish publication Zocalo [via NME], Smith said, “Actually I have prepared three albums, two of them more advanced. The first will be the one that we will release very soon. I think that the first single, or the whole album, will come out this Christmas, or a little earlier. It has the title of Live from the Moon, and it will surely change its name.
— Read on