11-4 index

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A Common-Sense Journal of Literary and Cultural Analysis

11.4 (Fall 2011)


The previous issue of Praesidium (Fall 2010) may be viewed by clicking here.


John R. Harris, Ph.D.


Thomas F. Bertonneau, Ph.D.


Helen R. Andretta, Ph.D.

York College-CUNY


Michael H. Lythgoe

Lt. Col. USAF (Retd.)



Contents of This Issue

This issue has two “peculiarities” that render it unique.  One is that the translation of two medieval texts has somewhat fused the objectives of the “literary analysis” section with those of the “short story” section.  The latter therefore does not appear as such this time, since the two romances already occupy most of the issue.

Our contributors are also distinctly concerned in autumn 2011 with the accelerating degeneration of North America, Europe, and indeed the world on numerous economic, political, and cultural fronts.  That concern is unmistakable and irrepressible.  Our staff did not seek to fan any flame or recruit any claque: the note of dismay and alarm was quite spontaneous.

        Literary Analysis

        The Wasting-Sickness of Cú Chulainn and Marie de France’s Lay of Eliduc: Translation and Commentary       John R. Harris 

These two tales were written down virtually at the same moment of the twelfth century–one in Irish Gaelic and the other in Norman French.  The myth beneath them, however, is so ancient that one must look beyond the classical world to India for its first cousin in another literary tradition.  What the two medieval literati–one of them a nameless scribe, the other among the most celebrated story-tellers of her time–choose to do with that mythic core reveals much about the new shapes that the written word was bestowing upon tradition.


        Meditation in a Recession 

        Of Generals and Catacombs (poems)        Michael H. Lythgoe 

        The Polis vs. Progress

        Humanism and Rooted Diversity: Two Major Foci of Resistance to Late Modernity (essay)        Mark Wegierski

The entire world appears to be melting down culturally–but the West, in particular, is imploding in suicidal self-hatred, often manipulated by the powerful but sincerely embraced by many of the educated elite.  If cultural collapse is to be arrested to any degree, the best impulses of Western humanism must be revived.

        Faith & Cultural Meltdown

     To Spend or Not to Spend: A Battle of Religious Faiths (article)        Pancratistes

This commentary by an academic who prefers anonymity might well have been placed in the previous section; yet its thesis that the politics of progress is nothing less than a religious faith is no metaphor, as we seek to stress by locating the piece here.  The current political scene is indeed impossible to fathom unless we acknowledge the presence of genuine religious fervor, zeal, and even fanaticism among many of those who pass for being the most secular of our elected representatives.

        Vox Populi, Vox Dei (article)        Peter Singleton

In responding to the previous article, this author advises against attributing too much forethought and coherence to the “ruling elite”: much of their “worship” is no more than a desire to fit in with their chosen crowd..

        Home-School Corner

        Public-Sector Collapse and Communal Rebirth Through Home-Schooling (article)        Gianna DiRoberti 

If public education vanishes in the debris of our failing public sector, the consequences would not be altogether bad.  In fact, with regard to education, the result might well be a renaissance in real learning as long as local communities manage to hold together.