Postings centered on my list of Fundamental books will begin soon, but not quite yet; insert excuse here. For now, I’ll refer the faithful reader to two academic articles I’ve recently come across (though they’re from a few months back). They’re on the longer side and demand a bit of concentration, but they do reward the effort, if you care about the topics. Neither deals directly with books on my fundamentals list, but both tangentially approach my core interests; perhaps a way of putting it is that I would encourage thinking about both of them alongside Moby-Dick. (A good way to define “fundamental,” in the sense of “fundamentals list,” might be “worth not just thinking about, but also thinking alongside.”)
1) “The Iconographic Fiction and Christian Humanism of Flannery O’Connor,” an article in Anamnesis, a traditionalist interdisciplinary academic journal. Offers, among other things, a good close reading of her short story “Parker’s Back.” Compare Parker’s tattoo-lust with Queequeg and Ishmael’s tattoos; both embody, literally, the modern desire for the lost coherence of ancient religion.
2) “The Hollowness of Radical Bioethics,” an article in The New Atlantis (“a journal of science and technology”) by my classmate John Sexton. Offers, in the form of a book review, a charitable critique of inadequate criticisms of radical bioethics, including what I’ve often discussed here, the “transhumanism” movement. I’m reminded again of how whenever one hears “transhumanism,” one should immediately think “Ahab’s peg leg.” Also makes intriguing mention of a so-called “Darwinian conservatism”; what might that turn out to be? Calling Darwin a conservative is almost as strange as calling Melville one–but perhaps neither is entirely wrong.