Connotation

We were recently contacted by Ben Irvine, a writer and the editor of The Journal of Modern Wisdom, who notified us that Dalrymple has contributed to the journal’s first two volumes (available for order on their website). Mr. Irvine helpfully sent along a couple of copies, and we are very impressed with the publication.

First, the journal itself is physically beautiful. If anyone thinks there is no reason for actual print publications any more, this journal should convince them otherwise. It is beautifully illustrated in ink and watercolor by Brazilian artist Thais Beltrame, and as with my two favorite publications The New Criterion and City Journal, one feels more enlightened just holding it in one’s hands.

The thirteen essays inside the first volume are clear and profound, touching on various aspects of the truly good life. Dalrymple’s piece is on the growing popularity of connotation over denotation:

The penumbra of emotional and ethical associations of a word come to be more important than the examination of reality itself. This is because it is easier and more pleasurable to manipulate words than to change, or even to recognise, reality.

His illustration of this principle at work in the British educational bureaucracy is not to be missed.

This journal seems like a fitting home for Dalrymple’s work, as the writers here demonstrate that finding modern wisdom starts with questioning the conventional kind.

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