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european diarist

Georg Brandes, Good European

By Morten Høi Jensen

From his beginnings as a swashbuckling literary provocateur in 1870s Copenhagen, whose conservative provincialism he outraged with his liberalism, cosmopolitanism, and Jewishness, Brandes’s reputation swelled over several decades of relentless literary and political activism in the service of liberal and progressive ideals.

Morten Høi Jensen

Saul Bellow and the Moronic Inferno

By Morten Høi Jensen

One of the central conflicts of Bellow’s novels is the apparent incommensurability of Old World thinking with the demonic pace of American society. The country’s big cities become a sort of battleground of Big Ideas. Bellow once wrote movingly of his discovery of the classics of European literature and philosophy as a young man darting about the streets of Depression-era Chicago.

Thomas Mann in America

By Morten Høi Jensen

Wary of the youthful temptations of novelty, Mann argued eloquently for a political-spiritual renaissance, a rekindling of faith in the long project of democracy. He reminded his audience that it was “your American statesmen and poets such as Lincoln and Whitman who proclaimed to the world democratic thought and feeling, and the democratic way of life, in imperishable words.”

President Donald Trump EuropeNow

Trump Against Europe

By Morten Høi Jensen

It would take many rigorous and carefully administered lessons in world history to cover the vast and chilling tundra of President Trump’s ignorance. European history might not be a bad place to start, however, especially if you believe, as President Trump does, that the European Union was created in order to “beat the United States when it comes to trade,” or that it is merely “a vehicle for Germany.”

Praise the Mutilated World

By Morten Høi Jensen

The experience of the people of Lvov is an important rejoinder to the resurgent ethnic nationalism now tightening its grip on Europe—with its nostalgia for some illusory cultural and ethnic homogeneity, for a lost golden age that never existed and to which it would not be desirable to return if it did.