Notebook

Milton vs the echo chamber

Milton would have been very active on Twitter. In 1644 – at the height of the English Civil War – he wrote Areopagitica: a polemic prose treatise

Portrait of man in a shawl

The Ettrick Shepherd stands watch

The pioneers of Enlightenment believed a new spirit of human sympathy could provide a lasting basis for political association – the Ettrick Shepherd James Hogg satirized that ethic in grand style.

First orders please

On Saturday, pubs re-opened in England. It was a day politicians had dubbed ‘super Saturday’, although much of the press hailed it ‘sardine Saturday’. A

Crowded city scene from the nineteenth century

Crowded out

In an era of social distancing, the city is stripped of its landscape of adventure and danger, its quality of ‘sheer life’.

Any old way you use it

What do Dolly Parton, U2, and Woodie Guthrie have in common? Respectively, each artist has had a song used on the American Presidential campaign trail:

The limits of scientism

The mantra ‘following the science’ has become a commonplace of the coronavirus vocabulary. And indeed, social distancing represents a virtually unparalleled opportunity for scientists to

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