What the Editors Are Reading

In its issue for December 20, 2018, the New York Review of Books published an essay by Mark Lilla, a professor at Columbia University, titled “Two Roads for the New French Right.”  The piece caught the attention of many American conservatives—I personally received a number of emails drawing my attention to it, all by people who had found the article highly relevant to the intellectual and political right in America, and to Chronicles in particular.  The New York Review, since its founding in the early 1960’s during a prolonged strike at the New York Times that left publishers starved of publicity for their books and readers of appraisals of them, has been notoriously left-wing; since the election of Donald Trump to the White House, it has become nearly as obsessed with the President as the Times is.

Professor Lilla himself is a doctrinaire liberal whose most fervent social commitment is to abortion on demand.  Yet what Lilla wrote strongly confirmed my sense that the French intellectual right, comprising writers and political intellectuals of all ages, is far in advance of its counterparts in the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Western Europe generally.  Its breadth, sophistication, and influence is manifested by the book lists of significant French publishers such as Grasset, Gallimard, and Albin Michel, and journals like Le...

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