Robert Grant's essays range widely across political philosophy, literature, and aesthetics, from Edmund Burke to Václav Havel, from Jane Austen to the fiction of the 1930's, from Shakespeare to Tolstoy, from Mozart to Rennie Mackintosh. Yet Grant is always knowledgeable, always clear and readable, always interesting. He is able to cover his range of subjects adequately, without ever lapsing into the obscurity of a polymath or the superficial dazzle of a new Renaissance man.
His most interesting essays concern the nature of conservatism. In the foreword to the book, Raymond Tallis writes:
In Grant's understanding of it. . . true conservatism is no more hostile to change than to ideas. Some change is inevitable, some positively necessary; but it must be properly informed, preserve continuity and respect tradition ("embodied practical knowledge"). Grant's conservatism is not a matter of party, nor confined to politics. It grows out of his perception of the interconnectedness of human concerns, and his respect for whatever has evolved peaceably and naturally out of our long-term dealings with each other. Such things, among them culture, elude a narrowly technological, rationalist prospective.
This is an excellent statement of what Grant stands for and why his essays will be a welcome addition to the libraries of conservative individuals and institutions in the English-speaking...