Dalrymple has written a new set of short stories called Saving the Planet and Other Stories, and it is available at all Amazon sites. The book includes eight stories that reflect various aspects of contemporary society and culture, including frustration with modern officialdom but also both the tragedy and delight of everyday interpersonal conflict — all in quintessential Dalrymple style. It is his fourth collection of short stories.
Dalrymple’s book The Examined Life, first published in 2011, was a fictional satire that made fun of the modern focus on health and safety, a focus that often seems to place health above all other considerations. With the spread of COVID-19, the book now seems more relevant than ever, and as a result, it has been republished in a new edition. It is available globally on all Amazon sites, e.g. here in the UK and here in the US.
Dalrymple has said that satire is nowadays prophecy, and although he did not predict a global pandemic, it does seem that the outlook satirized in The Examined Life has spread along with the virus.
‘Why are you wearing that mask?’ asked one of the security guards.
‘Germs, of course,’ I said. ‘They’re ubiquitous.’
‘You what?’ he said.
‘Ubiquitous – they’re everywhere.’
‘They are for us, too,’ he said, ‘and we’re not wearing masks.’
Exactly the same argument as the doctor uses when I raise the subject with him.
‘It was of no consolation to the victims of pneumonic plague during the Black Death that there were millions of other victims, was it?’ I said.
‘The Black Death?’ said one of the security guards to the other. ‘What’s he going on about?’
Dalrymple has just completed his 44th book (if my count is accurate), and it is now available globally on all Amazon sites (e.g. here in the UK and here in the US). Around the World in the Cinemas of Paris contains his reflections — critical, historical, cultural and philosophical — on 33 international films that he saw when he had some free time in Paris, the greatest city in the world for such films. Many of these films are set in countries that Dalrymple visited personally and therefore triggered his memories of his experiences there. Particularly in this era of COVID-19, the book may remind readers of a simpler time, when we could happily visit a cinema without wearing a mask or worrying about contracting the virus. Hopefully, that time will return soon.
Theodore Dalrymple has just written a new book of short stories, and it is now available on Amazon. Embargo and Other Stories is Dalrymple’s third collection of short stories, following The Proper Procedure and Grief. The stories in Embargo are based on Dalrymple’s real world travels to the remote corners of the world and illuminate the eternal human condition across the extremes of experience.
While newer readers might marvel at the writer’s vivid imagination, his longtime readers will recognize some of these travels from books like Coups and Cocaine and Fool or Physician, and it’s fascinating to see Dalrymple rework his travel experiences into fictional stories. Few writers have such sources of inspiration.
Dalrymple graciously dedicated the book to the memory of my brother, Clint Conatser, who created this website with me in 2008.
Readers can expect no shortage of future Dalrymple material, as he has several other books in progress.
We just received a nice email from Rebecca Bynum, publisher of New English Review, informing us that on August 1st she will release a book of short stories by Dalrymple. The Proper Procedure and Other Stories is 168 pages of 10 stories. Amazon link here.
This will be Dalrymple’s second work of fiction, after So Little Done, the first-person manifesto of a serial killer. No doubt many of us who admire his work have hoped to see more fiction from him, so this is an exciting development. He has often mentioned his deep admiration of Anton Chekhov, perhaps the master of the short story genre, and it will be interesting to see him follow in the footsteps of one of his great writer-heroes.
Dalrymple is quoted in the announcement thusly: “Some truth can be told only in the form of fiction. That is why I chose to write these stories.”
New English Review has published a new collection of Dalrymple’s columns, Out Into The Beautiful World. The Amazon page here includes glowing praise from some prominent figures. Myron Magnet compares Dalrymple to Montaigne, Conrad Black calls him “one of the most elegant and erudite contemporary writers in the English language”, and John O’Sullivan says, “Theodore Dalrymple has done something that all the severe literary critics had decreed impossible. He has revived the essay.”
Dalrymple’s own introductory words from the Amazon page are:
When I was a young man I thought that metaphysics was the most exciting (and important) thing in the world. I wish now that I had not wasted so much time on the imponderable questions of metaphysics but had used it to more worthwhile effect. Rather than study philosophy, I should have studied insects.
In the little essays that follow, I have no grand theory to prove, no single message to convey. Small things and slight occurrences have caught my attention and caused me to reflect a little. I hope only to please the reader.
I have been reading and re-reading Dalrymple’s latest book, Admirable Evasions: How Psychology Undermines Morality, since its publication. I think it’s my personal favorite of all of his books.
In the following excerpt he follows a long discussion of what he calls “the doctrine of the Real Me” with the specific example of a man who recently murdered four people in the name of Islam.
The article’s headline was “The Multiple Lives of Mehdi Nemmouche.” It started:
Who knows the real Mehdi Nemmouche? Suspected of being the person responsible for the killing of four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels on 24 May, he has several lives, without anyone knowing how exactly they are connected.
To help us understand and uncover the real Mehdi Nemmouche, now 29 years old, one of his childhood friends was quoted as saying that he was “a quiet boy, discreet, not at all aggressive, and who never had any problems with anybody.” Another school friend said, “He was a good pupil, he never had any fights, had friends, dressed normally in jeans and sneakers…” But for the criminal justice system he was a young man with a “solid history of delinquency,” with no fewer than seven convictions in ten years, many of them for robbery with violence. He spent five years between 2007 and 2012 in prison, in which he was “radicalized,” that is to say, he was given (and adopted) an ideological justification for his psychopathic behavior.
So who is the real Mehdi Nemmouche, the quiet, well-behaved boy or the delinquent young man who shot four people with callous and prideful indifference? Continue reading
He spoke at the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday. The video is here. The action doesn’t start until the 21:30 mark. (Update: the video has now been edited.)
On Thursday he visited the Wall Street Journal and recorded two short video interviews. In this one he addresses Islamic extremism, and here he discusses his book’s thesis that psychology has been a generally useless attempt to avoid the reality that “the permanent condition of mankind is dissatisfaction”. (H/t Michael G.)
On Thursday evening the New Criterion hosted a launch party in New York City for the book, and your humble correspondents (along with Skeptical Doctor reader Adam) enjoyed seeing the good doctor once again. He spoke for a few minutes, humorously sharing the titles of the psychology-inspired self-help books he noticed in the bookstore of DC’s Union Station.
Other attendees included his old City Journal editor Myron Magnet, Roger Kimball and James Panero.
Dalrymple has a new book out, and we missed this review of it from three weeks ago on National Review Online. In Admirable Evasions: How Psychology Undermines Morality he makes his case against psychology for its practice of medicalizing, and thus excusing, destructive behavior. Reviewer Spencer Case, a philosophy student, argues that Dalrymple inaccurately defines the reductionism practised by a minority of psychiatrists who consider only physical causes as an overarching trend.
We’ll continue to share info about and reviews of the book as we find them.
Once again, we are behind the curve in our efforts to keep up with Dalrymple. New English Review has put together another collection of his essays for that website, and it is now available for purchase (ahem, has been for some time). From their press release:
New English Review Press is pleased to announce the publication of our fourteenth book, Threats of Pain and Ruin by Theodore Dalrymple.
Sparklingly funny, unflinchingly realistic, and profoundly wise, these brilliant meditations on our postmodern predicament by the Montaigne of our age impart urbane pleasure and enlightenment on every page.
—Myron Magnet, author of The Founders at Home: The Building of America, 1735-1817
No one else writes so engagingly and so candidly about the world as it is, not as the politically correct would have it be.
— Dr. Charles Murray author of Coming Apart and The Bell Curve
Dr. Dalrymple’s eye alights on a topic; his mind dissects it; his imagination embroiders it; his judgment delivers an appropriate verdict, usually condemnation; and his sensibility ensures that all these activities are conceived, argued, and expressed wittily or sadly but always beautifully.
— John O’Sullivan author of The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister
Another brilliant collection from our age’s answer to Dr. Johnson and George Orwell. A feast of wit, insight, admonition, and plain old common sense.
— Roger Kimball, author of The Rape of the Masters: How Political Correctness Sabotages Art
The summary from TD:
What is written without pain, said Doctor Johnson, is rarely read with pleasure. Rarely perhaps, but not, I hope, never: for the little essays in this book were written, I must confess, without much angst. In part this was because, in writing them, I had no thesis to prove, no axe to grind, except that the world is both infinitely interesting and amusing, and provides us with an inexhaustible source of material for philosophical reflection.
Many of the subjects treated of in this book were found by serendipity or came to me in flashes – it would be immodest to call them of inspiration – of previously unsuspected connection and interest. I can only hope that they entertain the reader as they have entertained me. At least they will do no harm, in compliance with the first principle of medical ethics.
— Theodore Dalrymple