The summer school on American agrarianism at The Rockford Institute over the past week was a great time. We were regaled by wonderful tales of the Fugitives and Mel Bradford by Dr. Tom Landess, who also discussed I’ll Take My Stand at some length in other talks, and delved into the Christian roots of Chesterton’s Distributism and the importance of imagination in training men’s vision with the guidance of Fr. Ian Boyd, editor of The Chesterton Review. Dr. James Patrick, Chancellor of Thomas More College, spoke on the agrarian ”English resistance,” of which the painter Ruskin was an important member, on Allen Tate and the real mind of the South, and on the ideals of the South as expressed in Scott and rejected in Twain. Dr. Fleming led us through the history and thought of the Greek, Roman and early American agrarians, Scott Richert gave a sympathetic critique of Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson and Rod Dreher and Aaron Wolf told us of the life and career of agrarian populist, William Jennings Bryan, noting in his conclusion many of the same objections about Populist policies that Caleb Stegall made in his much-talked-about (but normally poorly understood) article on a new populism. The entire week was really quite incomparable, and the gentlemen and ladies at the Institute were excellent and amiable hosts. For those who are able to attend next year, I strongly recommend it. I fully intend to write more on all of the sessions at the summer school, but I did want to put up a new post alerting you all to what should be coming in the next few weeks.
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