They were popular and fiery field-preachers, but they had also retained an equally fiery anti-popery. Their millenarian tendencies and interpretation of the French Revolution as prefacing the downfall of the Antichrist finds rather strange echoes in Tone’s apparently rational writings. As with the equally sectarian millenarianism of the Catholic Defenders, one might wonder how such extremes would have been kept in check had the 1798 rebellion succeeded.
He was involved in the Gothic revival in, for example, stained glass. In textiles, he was both a weaver and a dyer –both the technical and the aesthetic aspects of his work are of interest. He was a businessman and manufacturer, and founded a successful company, Morris & Co. He combined his publishing and entrepreneurial expertise to become one of the most important private printers of the modern era. He was a noted translator.
Like his Oxford tutor Jowett’s, the real Hopkins’s sexual impulses were almost exclusively concerned with his own sex. His mid-1860s adolescent list of sins, recorded for confessional purposes to Canon Liddon and Dr Pusey, his High Church Oxford mentors, with fastidious self-disgust in that puritanical era, nowadays often looks comic (“folly about a sugar-plum”). He looks at “tempting pictures” in Once a Week, sections of the wrong kind of novel, suggestive words in a dictionary and medical diagrams.
The transferability of postmodern discourse, and its endless repetition over recent decades in academic essays, papers, dissertations, articles, talks and books, throws its usefulness into question in a way not intended by its adherents; it may also induce in the reader an impatience that cannot simply be ascribed to intellectual conservatism, the kind of impatience that would arise if every news programme or sports commentary had to be preceded by a fifteen-minute homily on the indefinability or impossibility of objective truth.
A union of solidarity will never work if some people retire at sixty-seven and others at fifty-five or sixty; if some duly pay their taxes and others do not; if some increase their competitiveness while others do not; if some save while others amass increasing debt. Recent events will either lead to a profound encroachment on member state sovereignty, or the actions taken will not work. In the latter case, the euro as a common currency will also cease to function.
My work meant that I travelled fairly frequently with Garret and Joan and he would often extend an invitation to dinner. These affairs were always convivial but also intellectually stimulating occasions. In private I found him to be extraordinarily humble about himself, often disclaiming any expertise about matters on which he was much better informed than the rest of us. He listened to the opinions and concerns of literally every person, no matter how lowly he or she might feel themselves to be.
Italians are famous for their campanilismo, a word which literally means “attachment to one’s own bell tower”, and is a lyrical way of describing provincialism or localism in a nation with hundreds of medieval towns and cities, each with its own highly developed urban culture and distinct local customs. They are also notorious for their lack of understanding and blatant stereotyping of each other.
When democracy arrived in full force in Paris in 1848, Tocqueville led the assault on its pretensions. No universal tendency was going to have its way there. It could go tend elsewhere. A good war would stop it; bring the artillery on to the streets and let the army behave as though it were in Algeria.
Yes, there has been a paucity of bold political leadership in Europe. However, in the almost four years since the onset of the international credit crunch, Ireland has managed only a number of baby-steps in the area of overdue structural reform and the citizens in Europe’s well-governed countries have been given no compelling reasons to believe we have fundamentally mended our past profligate ways.