Algis Valiunas

Fellow

Algis Valiunas is a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a contributing editor to The New Atlantis, a journal about the ethical, political, and social implications of modern science technology.

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Algis Valiunas is a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a contributing editor to The New Atlantis, a journal about the ethical, political, and social implications of modern science technology.

A literary essayist, his writings have appeared in Commentary, the Weekly StandardNational ReviewFirst Things, the American Spectator, the New Criterion, and the Claremont Review of Books. They have also appeared in various collections, including most recently The Best Spiritual Writing, 2013 (Penguin, 2012). He is also the author of the book Churchill’s Military Histories: A Rhetorical Study (Encounter, 2002). He holds degrees from Dartmouth College; Trinity College, Cambridge; and the University of Chicago, where Saul Bellow was his doctoral dissertation adviser in the Committee on Social Thought.

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Nelson Algren: Chicago’s Bard of the Downtrodden

Algis Valiunas

Critics once compared the novelist Nelson Algren to Dostoyevsky and Dickens, but even at his best, he lacks Dickens’s warmth of soul and love for middle-class normality, and he does not possess the least trace of Dostoevsky’s intellect or spiritual magnificence.

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The American Art of Murder

Algis Valiunas

It would appear our vulnerabilities as a people are laid most bare in the tales we tell about murder, and the evolution of our best-drawn fictional murderers may have much to tell us about the direction in which American life is headed.

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Diderot and the Enlightenment Cult of Reason

Algis Valiunas

A praiseful new intellectual biography of the French philosophe Denis Diderot (1713–1784) offers hope that serious engagement with the past is still possible in the academy.

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Battle for a Continent

Algis Valiunas

Without candor and a sense of proportion, the whole truth about the encounter of civilization with barbarism in North America has degenerated into a Hollywood fantasy of unforgivable evildoing on the part of white invaders. A corrective to this woke narrative can be found in the writings of Francis Parkman, the supreme historian of that fateful encounter, which was really a world-historical collision.

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The Most Dangerous Possible German

Algis Valiunas

Ordinary men and women who would be utterly dumbfounded by the mathematical arcana of Werner Heisenberg’s signature matrix mechanics now deliberate the question of what kind of man he really was. And that question is an eminently fair one for ordinary people to ask.

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The Fellowship of the Cursed Poets

Algis Valiunas

Delmore Schwartz, Randall Jarrell, Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, and John Berryman, all of whom died more than 40 years ago, remain the most famous American poets born in the 20th century. They are known even more for their tortured, prematurely extinguished lives than for their poetry.

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Jonas Salk, the People’s Scientist

Algis Valiunas

Jonas Salk’s achievement, a triumph of character as well as of mind, ought never be forgotten. The least impressive intellect among the famous scientists of the twentieth century, he was — aside from Marie Curie — the most impressive human being.

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Waiting for Gounod

Algis Valiunas

The French composer Charles Gounod will have a lasting if limited place in the opera house because the lightning struck him once or maybe twice, and feeling of high voltage surged into melody of genius.

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The Weekly Standard / December 14, 2018

Glory Days

Algis Valiunas

Napoleon’s latest biographer manages to do justice both to Napoleon’s achievements without flattery and to his grave flaws without invocations of totalitarian oppression or genocidal mania.

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The Weekly Standard / November 15, 2018

Don Juan in Hell

Algis Valiunas

Lord Byron defined the species of Romanticism that had the most profound effect on artists and political firebrands of the era, not only in England but throughout Europe, and that has persisted into our own time.

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The Weekly Standard / May 24, 2018

The Tragic Sense

Algis Valiunas

Joseph Conrad remains the greatest English language novelist since Charles Dickens, and many of the best writers of the 20th century, including H.L. Mencken, Ernest Hemingway, and T.S. Eliot, paid homage to his excellence or came under his influence.

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Claremont Review of Books / May 22, 2018

Richard Feynman and the Pleasure Principle

Algis Valiunas

The modern world is sometimes called disenchanted, denuded of magic, because science has annihilated the invisible homeland of the spirits, where angels, demons, and God himself were believed to dwell. But Richard Feynman spoke unabashedly of the wonders and miracles to be found in nature as modern science describes it.

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