Conference Talk

The Ugly & the Good

Why We No Longer But Still Could Have Beautiful Things

When I was a young man of 24 years, in the middle of a brief and not entirely happy flirtation with what is called "liberalism," I remember thinking the most impertinent and self-important thought, as I stood in the gallery of the cupola of the cathedral in Florence, gazing out upon the tiled faces of its octagonal dome that towers more than 350 feet above the earth. The thought was not about scaffolding, or pulleys, or sledges heaped with tiles. Those are pertinent and practical things, and at that time . . .

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Anthony Esolen is a professor at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts in Warner, New Hampshire, and the author of many books, including Life Under Compulsion (ISI Books), Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church (Tan, with a CD), Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture (Regnery), and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord (Ignatius Press, 2019). He has also translated Dante's Divine Comedy (Random House). He is a senior editor of Touchstone.

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