|Anthony M. Esolen|
|Alma mater||Princeton University
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
|Title||Professor of English|
Anthony M. Esolen is a writer, social commentator, translator of classical poetry, and professor of English Renaissance and classical literature. He has taught at Furman University and Providence College, and is scheduled to join the faculty of Thomas More College of Liberal Arts as fellow and writer in residence in 2017.
Esolen has translated into English Dante's Divine Comedy, Lucretius' On the Nature of Things, and Torquato Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered. In addition to multiple books, he is the author of over five hundred articles in such publications as The Modern Age, The Catholic World Report, Chronicles, The Claremont Review of Books, The Public Discourse, First Things, Crisis Magazine, The Catholic Thing, and Touchstone, for which he serves as a senior editor. He is a regular contributor to Magnificat, and has written regularly for a host of other online publications.
Esolen is a Catholic, and his writings generally contain an identifiable conservative or traditionalist perspective. Dissatisfaction over some of the views that he expressed contributed to his decision to leave Providence College.
Early life and career
Anthony Esolen graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1981. He pursued graduate work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he earned his M.A. in 1981 and a Ph.D. in Renaissance literature in 1987. His dissertation, "A Rhetoric of Spenserian Irony," and was directed by S.K. Heninger. He taught at Furman University from 1988 to 1990.
Esolen earned a reputation as a conservative Catholic author, and grew increasingly dissatisfied with the liberal direction of Providence College, a Catholic University run by the Dominican Order. In September 2016, an article by Esolen was published in Crisis Magazine entitled: "My College Succumbed to the Totalitarian Diversity Cult." In the essay, Esolen argued that Western insistence on "diversity" as one of its core values was destructive to authentic cultures and was inherently contradictory to the Christian faith. He stated that people can only "be truly at one" when they are united by faith in God. He also said:
Is not that same call for diversity, when Catholics are doing the calling, a surrender of the Church to a political movement which is, for all its talk, a push for homogeneity, so that all the world will look not like the many-cultured Church, but rather like the monotone non-culture of western cities that have lost their faith in the transcendent and unifying God?
The publication of this essay, the title of which Esolen claimed he did not choose, was followed by a protest march by Providence students. Faculty members of the school wrote a petition in which they charged that Esolen's writings contained repeated "racist, xenophobic, misogynist, homophobic and religiously chauvinist statements." The Rev. Brian Shanley, O.P., President of Providence College, publically distanced himself from Esolen's statements by claiming "that he speaks only for himself." Meanwhile, Robert P. George, a conservative Catholic professor at Esolen's alma mater, Princeton, defended him. He argued that students and faculty members who disagree with him "should respond in the currency of academic discourse—reasons, evidence, arguments—not by attempting to isolate, stigmatize, and marginalize him for stating dissenting opinions." On May 4, 2017, it was announced that he will join the faculty at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in New Hampshire beginning the fall of 2017. On this occasion, he criticized the Providence College administration for becoming too "secular."
Esolen's translation of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy was published by Modern Library. His translation of the Inferno appeared in 2002, the Purgatory in 2003, and the Paradise in 2005. In his translations, Esolen chose not to attempt a "preservation of Dante's rhyme in any systematic form". In lieu of Dante's famous terza rima, Esolen's Inferno depends on the use of blank verse. Esolen writes that the use of blank verse allows him to retain both the "meaning [and the] music" of Dante's original. The works also feature, alongside the English translation, the original Italian text. Esolen notes that this text "is based on the editions of Giorgio Petrocchi (1965) and Umberto Bosco and Giovanni Reggio" (1979)". Finally, the translations include Esolen's extensive and pointed notes and commentary on the text, as well as illustrations by Gustave Doré.
Esolen has published translations of other classical texts, including Torquato Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered (reviewed in Translation and Literature, Sixteenth-Century Journal, and International Journal of the Classical Tradition) and Lucretius' De Rerum Natura (both by Johns Hopkins University Press).
In 2011, Esolen published an essay in First Things in which he criticized what he saw as the "bumping boxcar language" of the New American Bible. Esolen attacked the NAB translations for "[P]refer[ing] the general to the specific, the abstract to the concrete, the vague to the exact." He went on to list several examples of Biblical passages in which he claimed that the true meaning or visceral nature of the words had been eroded.
The following works were translated into English by Esolen:
- Lucretius, Titus; Esolen, Anthony M. (1995). On the Nature of Things: De rerum natura. Johns Hopkins Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-5055-4.
- Alighieri, Dante; Esolen, Anthony M. (2003). "Inferno (Modern Library Classics)". Modern Library. ISBN 978-0-8129-7006-7.
- Alighieri, Dante; Esolen, Anthony M. (2004). Purgatory (Modern Library Classics). Modern Library. ISBN 978-0-8129-7125-5.
- Alighieri, Dante; Esolen, Anthony M. (2007). Paradise (Modern Library Classics). Modern Library. ISBN 978-0-8129-7726-4.
- Tasso, Torquato; Esolen, Anthony M. (2000). Jerusalem Delivered (Gerusalemme liberata). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-6322-6.
- Ironies of Faith: The Laughter at the Heart of Christian Literature. Intercollegiate Studies Institute. 15 June 2007. ISBN 978-1-933859-21-7.
- The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization. The Politically Incorrect Guide. Regnery Publishing. 2008. ISBN 978-1-59698-059-4.
- The Beauty of the Word: A Running Commentary on the Roman Missal. Ignatius Press. 2010. ISBN 978-1-936260-40-9.
- Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child. Intercollegiate Studies Institute. 5 November 2010. ISBN 978-1-935191-88-9.
- Reflections on the Christian Life. Sophia Institute Press. 20 February 2012. ISBN 978-1-933184-85-2
- Defending Marriage: Twelve Arguments for Sanity. 28 May 2014. ISBN 978-1-61890-604-5
- Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching. Sophia Institute Press. 20 October 2014. ISBN 978-1-933184-85-2
- Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child. Intercollegiate Studies Institute 18 May 2015. ISBN 978-1-61017-094-9
- Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church. TAN Books December 7, 2016. ISBN 978-1-61890-702-8
- Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing. 2017. ISBN 978-1-62157-514-6. OCLC 938991884.
- Smith, Peter Jesserer (May 5, 2017). "Anthony Esolen accepts post at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
- McFadden-Westwood, Lore (September 2, 2014). "Senior Editor of Touchstone Magazine to Deliver 2014 Ruggiero Lecture". The Salesian Center. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
- "Anthony Esolen". Providence College. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- Fraga, Brian (December 15, 2016). "The Esolen Affair: Esteemed Providence College Professor Attacked Over 'Diversity'". National Catholic Register. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
- Esolen, Anthony M. (September 26, 2016). "My College Succumbed to the Totalitarian Diversity Cult". Crisis Magazine. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
- George, Robert P. "I have always thought highly of Providence College". Tumblr. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- "Anthony Esolen". Department of English. Providence College. Archived from the original on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
- "Anthony Esolen". Publications – Books. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
- "How Dark Were the Dark Ages?". YouTube. Prager University. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
- Esolen, Anthony M. (June 2011). "A Bumping Boxcar Language". First Things. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
- "Anthony M. Esolen". Goodreads. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
- Anthony Esolen (2014-02-13). "Sophia Institute: Reflections on the Christian Life". Shop.sophiainstitute.com. Retrieved 2015-01-28.