Reading Room Archives
Johann Sebastian Bach is lopsided. He wrote both secular and religious vocal music, but much more of the latter survived. It’s unquestionable that his Christian beliefs inspired him to write some of the greatest music ever composed. Hearing only the Passions, the Masses, and the church cantatas, though, makes us think of him as a totally serious man who never smiled.
John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, 1st Baron Acton of Aldenham, 8th Baronet, more commonly known simply as Lord Acton. His writings and lectures as a liberal, Catholic historian were tremendously influential at the time and established a legacy that continues to this day.
John Wick: Chapter 4 is eagerly anticipated, as are two spinoff series: The Continental and Ballerina. To understand why, I sat down with Adam Smith to watch Chapters 1-3. While Smith once referred to himself as a beau in nothing but his books, he admired Wick's assassin chic and, even more, the films' exploration of resentment and justice. In fact, Smith observed that the films function in the same way as the eighteenth-century plays he discusses in his Theory of Moral Sentiments (TMS): to teach through sympathy.
What I Saw in America (1922). In an essay titled “The American Businessman”, Chesterton notes with surprise how passionate Americans appear about their professional work.
Origin of Species, I thought it might be fun to see what Goodrich's copies of Darwin looked like.
Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” and “Rights of Man” (the latter pamphlet a reply to a pamphlet by Edmund Burke). In advocacy of resistance to British measures by men like John Dickenson. And, yes, in The Federalist Papers by master pamphleteers like Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison who won ratification.
Daniel Defoe's masterpieces is Moll Flanders, published in 1722 with a long eighteenth-century title that seems to reveal everything but the protagonist's petticoat: The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, &c. Who was Born in Newgate, and during a life of continu'd Variety of Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own Brother) Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv'd Honest, and died a Penitent.
commonplace book”—a personal journal not intended for publication, but obviously not destroyed by him, and so we read today:
John Milton, considered by many to be the most important author in the English language. His deeply idiosyncratic personal, political, and artistic sensibilities mirrored the turbulent and revolutionary times in which he lived.