Merry Christmas, John, and one and all!
Just a couple of my current favorites, out of the hundreds we could all name:
Anything by Prof. Paul Gottfried, recent or not
( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-form/102-3455092-2436934 ).
Any of Lawrence Auster’s publications:
I like the original-spelling William Tyndale Bible translation of 1526 ( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0712346643/qid=1040844406/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-3455092-2436934?v=glance&s=books ) but of course it won’t be to everyone’s taste. Tyndale’s language, which is classified, I believe, as “early-modern English” (as is Shakespeare’s, though Tyndale was three generations earlier than the Bard of Avon; “modern English” did not begin, we are told, until roughly the generation of Dr. Johnson in the U.K. and the Founding Fathers here) is entirely fluent and accessible once one gets used to some of the older word-forms and the erratic spelling. This original edition, hastily completed while Tyndale was on the run, had to be printed in Germany (so was typeset by printers who didn’t understand English and couldn’t be checked at the time for mistakes or proofread by native speakers of English), whither Tyndale had gone seeking the protection of powerful Protestant princes along the Rhein, against arrest by the English. It’s only the New Testament, unfortunately. Tyndale was captured by the English and hanged, drawn, and quartered before he could finish the Old Testament (which he was feverishly working on while hiding in Germany at the time of his arrest), so only a few books of the Old Testament were completed — The Book of Jonah, I believe, and a few others. Here’s an example of how people talked at that time (from the introduction to the Bible linked above; note that Tyndale apparently went under three aliases: Mr. William Hitchens, Mr. William Tyndale, and Friar William Roy):
” … this common & vulgare translation of the new testament in to englishe, doon by M. William hichyns, other wais called M. W. tyndale & frear William roy, manifest lutheranes heretikes & apostates, as doth opynly apeir not only by their daily & continuall company & familiarite with Luther & his disciples, but mych mor by their comentares & annotations in Mathew & Marcum in the first print … ”
The King James Version (which, though out nearly a decade when the Mayflower set sail, was NOT the version the Pilgrim Fathers brought with them, I was surprised recently to learn — they preferred an earlier English-language version from the 1580s, I forget which one exactly) owes a great debt to the Tyndale version of almost a century before. The Tyndale version in turn owes a great debt to the Wycliffe version, dating from the time of Chaucer. Those English Bible translators all, while assiduously consulting the original Latin, Greek, and Hebrew texts when they were available, were each also guided by the earlier translations, so that from Wycliffe to the King James version there is much that stays the same or largely so.
Here, as an example, is Wycliffe from the mid-thirteen-hundreds (I update the spelling and one or two word forms, so that the basic similarity between Wycliffe and what was ultimately handed down to and retained by the King James translators is not lost amid erratic non-standard spelling and other differences which are only superficial):
Therefore when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, lo! astronomers came from the east to Jerusalem, and said, “Where is he, that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and we come to worship him.”
But King Herod heard, and was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
And he gathered together all the princes of priests, and scribes of the people, and inquired of them, where Christ should be born. And they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by a prophet, ‘And thou, Bethlehem, the land of Judea, art not the least among the princes of Judea; for of thee a duke shall go out, that shall govern my people of Israel.’ “
Then Herod called [cleped in the original — or, as Wycliffe spells it here, “clepide” — an obsolete word for “called,” and also for “named” — one sees it sometimes in old poems, such as let’s say, “He was yclept Roland,” meaning “His name was Roland” or “He was called Roland”] privily the astronomers, and learned busily of them the time of the star that appeared to them. And he sent them in to Bethlehem, and said, “Go ye, and ask ye busily of the child [meaning, of course, “inquire diligently about the child”], and when ye have found, tell ye it to me, that I also come, and worship him.”
And when they had heard the King, they went forth. And lo! the star, that they saw in the east, went before them, til it came, and stood above where the child was. And they saw the star, and joyed with a full great joy.
And they entered in to the house, and found the child with Mary, his mother; and they fell down, and worshipped him. And when they had opened their treasures, they offered to him gifts, gold, incense, and myrrh.
(St. Matthew 2, 1-11)
I will echo the recommendations of Paul Gottfried’s books, and of Forrest McDonald’s Novus Ordo Seclorum.
Some other recommendations:
G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy;
Richard M. Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences;
Thomas Fleming, The Politics of Human Nature;
Russell Kirk, Redeeming the Time;
Donald W. Livingston, Philosophical Melancholy and Delirium: Hume’s Pathology of Philosophy
Finally, if you can find a copy, I’ll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition, which includes essays by Donald Davidson, Allen Tate, Andrew Nelson Lytle, Frank Owsley, John Crowe Ransom, Robert Penn Warren and others.
Merry Christmas, everyone!