On Being Civilized: A Few Lines Amid the Breakage
Civilization, being such an all-encompassing thing, is hard to define. Some use history. Others use archaeology. Some study civilization directly. But there is another way to confront the question, which is simply to articulate what a healthy civilization looks like. Tracy Lee Simmons (Memoria College Professor) approaches the question of what civilization is by allowing us to look over the shoulder of a civilized man as he thinks and writes about civilized things.
Simmons begins with the basic meditation on the nature of civilization. He examines several “signposts” that indicate when we are living civilized lives in a more or less civilized society. Through book reviews and other literary essays on biographies, history, language, literature, and culture, Simmons provides insightful and beautiful essays that remind us of an illustration of the good life—and through it, an intimation of the Good itself.
Featuring a foreword from Joseph Pearce and an introduction from Martin Cothran, On Being Civilized from Memoria College Press is a fantastic addition to any library. Also, check out Simmons’ Climbing Parnassus, in which he presents a defense of the formative power of classical language. This makes for a bracing reminder of the genuine aims of a truly classical education.