John Lukacs has passed away at age 95

Here is a Washington Post obituary.  Yes, he did write a bestselling tribute to Churchill, but more importantly he was one of the last representatives of a particular central European notion of history and culture.  I much prefer the Times of Israel obituary.  Here is WikipediaThe Last European War and Budapest 1900: A Historical Portrait of a City and its Culture are two of my favorite books by him.


Very sad. A great scholar, and real conservative.

good reading
what is this word matutinal??

in the morning

The obit on the Times of Israel site is syndicated from AP.

Thus demonstrating the discerning taste that makes Prof. Cowen such a towering figure.

I had the great pleasure of being a student of Dr Lukacs, as did my father before me. None of the obituaries mention that he also taught for nearly 35 years at LaSalle College in Philadelphia, I had the good fortune to be in a small seminar class in 1984 that was his last at LaSalle. After the last session he took us all to a nearby German restaurant, a meal I will never forget. RIP.

I, too, was a student of John Lukacs at LaSalle, in the 1960s. Of all my professors, he is the one I remember most. He would often tell his students, “it is not what happens that counts, it is what people thinks happened.” That phrase stuck with me to this day and served me well in my career in government and politics. I loved listening to him in class. A good and wise man, who could have taught at many well known universities, instead chose the serenity of two small Catholic colleges, May he Rest In Peace.

The Times of Israel obit seems to be identical to the one I saw in WaPo this morning.

Per John's comment above, syndicated by AP. The LA times ha sthe same and the author does seem to be from the Times of Israel.

"a particular central European notion of history and culture"

Can you link to a primer on this subject?

You might enjoy a book of travel writing - a young man travelling up the Rhine and down the Danube on his way from London to Istanbul, pre-war.

Patrick Leigh Fermor: "A Time of Gifts" followed by "Between the Woods and the Water".

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn was another exponent of the 'notion of history and culture' which Professor Cowen accurately referenced, many of his well-written articles are available on legacy NRO for free

They see the towering whisper of a ladder extend westward from the Atlantic, tall as a mountain, and between the steps, a rope with tooth wrack serpents up—the canary current cements a batch of cirrus cloud for walking sticks, inks the sunlight for diameter, while pigeons—like the scales of a fish, fill the hereafter.

Yeah that is more faux-Hart Crane than I would like, but it is pretty good.

Have you memorized the background scrolls in Mr Peebles pet store?
Is that where you got the canaries and pigeons and fish with distinctive scales from?

I mean you got all that from somewhere.

Interestingly, gorilla is one of the less than one thousand words that are pronounced the same in Vietnamese and English.

"in case you do not speak English, hereafter is a 50s-type word which probably peaked, non-ironically, in the 40s, and Mr Peebles was the proprietor of a petshop in which Magilla Gorilla - a very likeable hominid who unjustly, through no fault of his own, apparently spent his hours in a petshop window, dressed in "humorous" clothing - was unappreciated by Mr Peebles, who, in turn, was voiced by a character actor whose character seemed appropriately selfish. Sort of the opposite of self-recommending, so there's that".

The wish to pray is a prayer in itself, and you have not lived if you have not passionately prayed that the Mr Peebleses of the world might some day express, finally, with human humility, that which we all should feel when we encounter the infinite love of Jehovah, whose great jealousy and anger, unknown to Harold Bloom, were just expressions of the disappointment of someone who wants the best for those he loves, not (as poor Bloom said) expressions of anything less than such great and powerful capability for good.

Also, why did Yogi Bear so rarely succeed at enjoying his humble desire in life, the desire to enjoy a picnic basket in peace every once in a while?

Ranger Smith has much to feel sad about in his dotage.

Lukacs spent a lot of time writing about Chester County in Pennsylvania.

He was good on lots of things, and not so good on others.

Wikipedia says he was Christian, specifically Roman Catholic, I hope Wikipedia was right.

Memento etiam Domine famulorum famularumque nostrorum qui nos praecesserunt in somno fidei - ipsis, et omnibus in Christo quiescentibus, locum refrigerii, lucis, et pacis, ut indulgeas, deprecamur, per Iesum Christum, Dominum Nostrum.

Yes, a, but he did have a Jewish mother.

From the heraldic point of view, Eve was Jewish, so we all had a Jewish mother.


I am not sure what the "heraldic point of view" is, but that is certainly not the Biblical view. The Jews are one of the 12 tribes of Israel (Jacob before his name got changed) and did not emerge until long after Eve. Those tribes themselves did not constitute the full set of "Hebrews," who basically appeared with Abram-Abraham. The Hebrews in turn were a sub-group of the Semites, who did not become a separate group until after Noah. Eve was simply the mother of all humans of all groups. If the "heraldic viewpoint" argues differently, then it is simply stupid and ignorant, not worth of taking remotely seriously.

Thanks for reading.

I live in a world with people who are children of God, as do you of course.

As a child of God, albeit not a supremely talented one on most parameters--- and as a historian - albeit better at understanding history, including the life of our ancestress Eve, than most: but I am saying this as someone who knows being a great historian is not something I will ever be in this world --- but still I know what I know, and I can explain it this way, even with my meager talents.

God loves us all, and as humans we have a near infinite capability of understanding what the angels understand ---- and .... trust me .... we can understand better even than the angels because the angels were God's friends from the beginning but we, poor creatures, were the soldiers on the front line against evil. No obvious friendship with God for most of us! No we needed to do what was right without obvious friendship, and many of us did. It wasn't easy. I remember.

So, in this fallen world, if I want to remember Eve and all those long conversations I had with her, including all the interesting things she said that were better than Bible scholarship at being right ---- historically right ....

I remember ----

I remember Eve saying once of course I am Jewish.

Look feel free not to take what I say remotely seriously, but I have literally seen people WHILE they were looking at the face of God, and I saw how happy they were, and I guarantee you that you are not likely to find, in any given ballpark or at any given DMV, anybody who is going to tell you, as I am willing to tell you, that Eve is a friend of mine, and if she says she was Jewish, and if I remember saying to her --- as I do remember, more than most anyone (not you, I trust you) more than most anyone will ever know --- if I remember saying to her "may I repeat that next time I talk with my fellow geniuses of heraldry" (and I say that humbly, I would not be impressed with my accomplishments even if I were a chess grandmaster or a best-selling "mystery novelist" ) (Cor ad Cor Loquitur)
(but if I am a genius at anything I am a genius at heraldry) ....

if I tell you that I had known all that before I posted, and knew that someone reading what I wrote knew all that, and still wrote what I posted simply because I expected someone somewhere to trust me -----

if I tell you that and ask you to believe me, will you do me one small little trivial favor?

next time you think of me, writing as fast as I can after a hard day's work, explaining the world ....

please think I am not stupid or ignorant.
not because I want to be thought non-stupid or non-ignorant.
But because you seem like a good person, and I have enjoyed talking to you.
Cor ad cor loquitur

then again maybe you go to different ballparks and to different DMVs than I do ....

also ... and this is a serious request .... pray for the people who will say something mean on the internet tonight, and who will think they are "tough" and that they do not need to repent for the mean things they said.

Perhaps they picture themselves, in one of those moments where we idealize our images of ourselves, as a crabby Clint Eastwood type who is a "veteran of hard times", and don't realize how sad their self-deception is.

Maybe they think of themselves as contributing to the common good by "taking down" the "low-quality" trolls who disagree with them.

Maybe they are just mean-spirited old men (almost always men, but a few women too) who have nothing better to do with their evenings than log onto the internet for an hour or two and insult others in what they believe is a "witty" way.

I only say this because I really do not care about heraldry I care about people. And even the ones who take nasty shots at me are people I care about, God loves them too, and I feel sorry for them. Not in an arrogant way, but in the way you feel sorry for your dog with arthritis who snaps at you because you touched the dog in the wrong spot, innocently, and immediately after snapping at you the poor pain-ridden dog is deeply remorseful : of course the remorse of most internet trolls is far in the future, but I cannot think any less of them than I do of the remorseful dog who regrets snapping and lashing out in pain.

That's just me, I hope others feel the same way.
And tell me again that I have never had a conversation with Eve, who to tell the truth is not that much older than you or me.

younger than me actually ....

suffering is older than happiness.

But God loves us all, particularly those of us with a contrite and humble heart.

Poor Stephen Cooper!

relevance of Magilla Gorilla reference - Lukacs wrote book after book in defense of his idea of freedom (and he was generally, but not always, right, just like Magilla).

btw, the DIvinum Officium website has a typo in the prayer (part of the Canon of the Mass) which I slightly misquoted - their typo (inadvertent) has no relation to my misquotation (anything but inadvertent).

not really

well yeah of course.

(the typo was the omission of a comma)

An authentic conservative, like Peter Viereck and Erik Leddihn. I'm a millennial, and I hope to keep the tradition alive. Hayek, Rand, and Friedman don't hold a candle to Wilhelm Ropke and Catholic social teaching

Comments for this post are closed