Scapegoats

Virtually every reasonably well integrated community requires a scapegoat who is in some sense an outsider; without his services, the miseries and accidents of life would have to be blamed on a member of that community, with sadly disruptive consequences. In Europe, and more especially in Central Europe, that role …

The Actor Saint

It is nearly fifty years since we last had a serious biography of Thomas More. That was R.W. Chambers’s exercise of pious naiveté, still loudly praised by More worshipers, the work of a man of letters with a limited sense of history and less experience as a biographer. Since 1935 …

Happy Families

Once upon a time, a man could bury his wife, and she her husband, in quiet confidence that that was the end of it. If the marriage lacked perfection, if it pulsated with sexual bliss, no one would ever hear any more about it. Once upon a time a conscientious …

The Myth of More

Everybody, surely, knows Thomas More—gentle friend to all right-thinking people and enemy to all wickedness, the fairest of judges, modest, witty, done to death by tyrants. A saint, in fact, and so formally declared by the papacy in 1935. That figure, familiar from the stage and the movies (not to …