800 percent and rising

The campaign for the 2020 edition of the Junior Classics continues to go from strength to strength. To explain why it is important, consider the following preface from Volume 4 of the 1918 edition, “Heroes and Heroines of Chivalry”, which was excised from the 1958 edition for reasons that will be obvious to anyone who is conversant with the concept of social justice convergence and the long-running cultural war against Christianity and the West. And it probably will not surprise you to know that all three of the stories referenced in this preface were also removed from the 1958 edition.

The preface and all four stories will, of course, appear in the 2020 edition.

The word chivalry is taken from the French cheval, a horse. A knight was a young man, the son of a good family, who was allowed to wear arms. In the story “How the Child of the Sea was made Knight,” we are told how a boy of twelve became a page to the queen, and in the opening pages of the story “The Adventures of Sir Gareth,” we get a glimpse of a young man growing up at the court of King Arthur. It was not an easy life, that of a boy who wished to become a knight, but it made a man of him. He was taken at an early age, sometimes when only seven years old, to the castle of the king or knight he was to serve. He first became a page or valet, and, under the instruction of a governor, was taught to carve and wait on the table, to hunt and fish, and was drilled in wrestling and riding on horseback. Most pages were taught to dance, and if a boy had talent he was taught to play the harp so he could accompany his voice when singing to the ladies.

By the time a boy was fourteen he was ready to become an esquire. He was then taught to get on and off a horse with his heavy armor on, to wield the battle axe, and practise tilting with a spear. His service to the ladies had now reached the point where he picked out a lady to serve loyally. His endeavor was to please her in all things, in order that he might be known as her knight, and wear her glove or scarf as a badge or favor when he entered the lists of a joust or tournament.

To become a knight was almost as solemn an affair as it was to become a priest. Before the day of the ceremony he fasted, spent the night in prayer, confessed his sins, and received the Holy Sacrament. When morning came he went, clothed in white, to the church or hall, with a knight’s sword suspended from his neck. This the priest blessed and returned to him. Upon receiving back the sword he went and knelt before the presiding knight and took the oath of knighthood. The friends who accompanied him now came forward and handed him the spurs, the coat of mail, the armlet and gauntlet, and having put these on he girded on his sword. The presiding knight now bade him kneel, and, touching him three times on the shoulder with the flat of his sword, he pronounced the words that received him into the company of worthy knights: “In the name of God, of St. Michael, and St. George, I make thee a knight; be valiant, courteous, and loyal!” After this he received his helmet, his shield, and his spear, and the ceremony was completed.

The knight’s real work, and greatest joy, was fighting for some one who needed his help. Tournaments and jousts gave them chances to show off their skill in public. We must remember that there were no big open-air theatres in those days, such as the Greeks had, no public races or trials of strength such as the Greeks held in the stadiums, nor were there chariot races or fighting gladiators such as the Romans had at an earlier day. Tournaments or jousts were the big public entertainments, and you will find a famous description of one by Sir Walter Scott in Ivanhoe, in the volume “Stories that Never Grow Old,” the tournament of Ashby-de-la-Zouche. In it you will find a clear description of how the field of contest was laid out, of the magnificent pavilions decorated with flags, and the galleries spread with carpets and tapestries for the ladies.

The same qualities that made a manful fighter then, make one now: to speak the truth, to perform a promise to the utmost, to reverence all women, to be constant in love, to despise luxury, to be simple and modest and gentle in heart, to help the weak and take no unfair advantage of an inferior. This was the ideal of the age, and chivalry is the word that expresses that ideal. In all our reading we shall perhaps find no more glowing example of it as something real, than in the speech of Sir Jean de Vienne, governor of the besieged town of Calais who, when called upon by King Edward III of England to surrender unconditionally, replied:—

“We are but a small number of knights and squires, who have loyally served our lord and master as you would have done, and have suffered much ill and disquiet, but we will endure far more than any man has done in such a post, before we consent that the smallest boy in the town shall fare worse than ourselves.”

And this story you can find in the volume “Tales of Courage and Heroism,” entitled “The Noble Burghers of Calais.”


A world without books

Is a world that can be revised at will and knowledge can be erased by those who would rule over you:

The vast treasure trove of information contained on Google, our modern Library of Alexandria, torched by Julius Caesar’s soldiers in 48 BC, is vulnerable not only to some catastrophic event, like an asteroid strike or, potentially worse, a cloistered pimply hacker, but to the manipulations and contraventions of those who seek to rewrite world history.

The greatest threat to man is the ennui and apathy that comes with the belief that there is no great threat. And what threat could be greater than that of the leather-bound, typeface word – painstakingly and somewhat redundantly in the age of laptops and smartphones – imprinted onto the palpable, creamy pages of parchment known as books, falling into the black hole of oblivion?

In 2010, the world got a ‘canary in the coalmine’ moment with the announcement that Encyclopedia Britannica, after a 244-year-long run, would cease publication of its paper editions.

The Guardian’s obituary for the “dinosaur,” owned by Swiss banking magnate Jacqui Safra, deserves repeating.

“Its legacy winds back through centuries and across continents, past the birth of America to the waning days of the Enlightenment. It is a record of humanity’s achievements in war and peace, art and science, exploration and discovery. It has been taken to represent the sum of all human knowledge.

And now it’s going out of print.

For some readers the news will provoke malaise at the wayward course of this misguided age. Others will wonder, in the era of Wikipedia, what took the dinosaur so long to die.”

There are other harbingers of impending disaster that demand some handwringing, and not just for nerdy bibliophiles. Webster’s Dictionary, for example, aside from honoring “justice” (hint: think ‘social justice’ lunacy as opposed to sober-minded legal justice) as its word of the year for 2018, has shown a marked tendency for allowing the more questionable elements of modern culture to seep onto its pages like a coffee stain.

Fight for the West. Preserve human knowledge. Support the Junior Classics. Because this is a generational and existential project, and it’s just getting started. As evidence for the strong interest in this, the campaign is now at 700 percent of goal.

Books hold insight into a world that cannot be altered or destroyed from the distant data overlords hunkered down in Silicon Valley. Books are anchors in a storm-tossed sea of change, where it is nearly impossible to get a secure footing. Books provide harbor from the tyranny of men, hell-bent on destroying any vestige of the past so that their plans for some future dystopia will meet less resistance. Books, the ultimate source of wisdom and knowledge, handed down through the ages, remain the last bulwark against tyranny. Treasure your books and never turn them in; they’re our lifeline to a benevolent and decent future.


24 hours, 300 percent

The Junior Classics campaign is going extremely well, having hit 300 percent of goal in less than 24 hours. You can acquire a digital set, a hardcover set, or a deluxe leatherbound set by backing the campaign.

The 2020 edition is about 85 percent 1918 and 15 percent 1958. This is because the 1918 volumes are generally better, but a) one of the original volumes was half-comprised of Alice in Wonderland whereas the later volume had a better and broader selection of stories, and b) the stories contained in the 1918 Volume 9 Stories of Today are seriously outdated and mediocre in comparison with the relatively timeless stories contained in the 1958 Volume 9, Sport and Adventure.

If you want multiple sets, just run through the buying process as many times as you require. You will receive multiple backer numbers.

The digital editions are both EPUB and MOBI (Kindle) format.


The Junior Classics, 2020 edition

The purpose of The Junior Classics is to provide, in ten volumes containing about five thousand pages, a classified collection of tales, stories, and poems, both ancient and modern, suitable for boys and girls of from six to sixteen years of age. The boy or girl who becomes familiar with the charming tales and poems in this collection will have gained a knowledge of literature and history that will be of high value in other school and home work. Here are the real elements of imaginative narration, poetry, and ethics, which should enter into the education of every child.

This collection, carefully used by parents and teachers with due reference to individual tastes and needs, will help many children enjoy good literature. It will inspire them with a love of good reading, which is the best possible result of any elementary education. The child himself should be encouraged to make his own selections from this large and varied collection, the child’s enjoyment being the object in view. A real and lasting interest in literature or in scholarship is only to be developed through the individual’s enjoyment of his mental occupations.

CHARLES ELIOT
PRESIDENT EMERITUS OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY
1918

This is an essential action to help preserve the hard-worn knowledge of Western civilization. To back the campaign to revive the Junior Classics by REDACTED PRESS, please visit the crowdfunding campaign page.

All print editions will ship to the USA, Canada, Europe, and Australia. The shipping cost is included. The digital editions – EPUB and MOBI formats – are included with all of the print edition sets.


Leather-bound books

We’ve been looking into the possibility of making sets of leather-bound Junior Classics available, which raised the obvious question: are there any Castalia House books that people would like to be able to buy in a leather-bound edition? They wouldn’t be cheap, so we probably wouldn’t make more than four or five books available this way.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

UPDATE: Please note that I am only interested in hearing what books those individuals who have already expressed interest in deluxe leather-bound editions would be most interested in having produced. That’s why we’re looking into the various possibilities in the first place.

If that doesn’t describe you, that’s fine, but then this conversation doesn’t involve you.


The MILO CHRONICLES

In September 2016, University of Chicago history professor Rachel Fulton Brown forged an unlikely bond with free speech activist and firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos. Since then, Fulton Brown has celebrated the friendship in dozens of intellectually bracing essays. These Milo Chronicles explain the twists and turns of Yiannopoulos’s volatile professional life and recall ghastly encounters with social justice warriors that almost destroyed her career. In this collection, the pair emerge as united by their Catholic faith and a mutual resolve to subdue the vindictive progressive scolds who despise and defame them.

Overflowing with tenderness and righteous fury, Fulton Brown’s meticulous defenses of Yiannopoulos as a cultural icon—and devoted friend—are part handbook for prospective culture war combatants, and part moving testament to the intense spiritual and defensive alliance between one courageous academic and her incorrigible champion and campus fire-starter.

Milo Chronicles: Devotions 2016 – 2019 is 608 pages and is available for $34.99 in hardcover from Amazon and from Castalia Direct.


Winning the war

Nothing causes more headaches, backaches, and heartaches for gardeners than weeds: these many-petaled, many-seeded, and many-rooted fiends. Stealing sunlight, water, and nutrients, they may leave our gardens looking grim and growing poorly. The chemical army is losing. Resistant weeds are spreading. Soil health is suffering. Drift and overspray destroys thousands of adjoining farms, homesteads, and properties each growing season. It is a broken system with bitter results.

WINNING THE WAR ON WEEDS teaches you how to defeat every gardener’s worst enemy! Available at a discount for only $16.99 from Castalia Direct.

You might think we’re crazy to publish all these gardening books, but trust me, from the business perspective, they’re some of the most successful books we publish.


An Equation of Almost Infinite Complexity

An Equation of Almost Infinite Complexity is now available in audiobook+. If you’re potentially interested in this very funny and very Canadian satire, you can listen to a nearly two-hour free sample  at Unauthorized.

When the devil moves in next door to Cooper Smith Cooper’s house, Cooper doesn’t know what to make of him at first. But when the unexpectedly neighborly Mr. Scratch helps the unemployed actuary find a job at a local insurance company with the help of some inside information into the activities of Death, Cooper decides the old devil might not be so bad after all.The only problem, Cooper thinks, is how to conceal from his fellow actuaries his newfound ability to perfectly predict the time and place of people’s deaths.

And then, there is also the small matter of the screams of his recently deceased neighbor coming from Scratch’s basement furnace to consider.

The audiobook+ of An Equation of Almost Infinite Complexity is now available at Arkhaven Comics. Narrated brilliantly in true Canadian fashion by Ken Dickason, the audiobook+ is 14 hours 17 minutes long and includes the ebook in both EPUB and Kindle formats. The paperback is also available at Castalia Direct.

From Chapter Five: The Loves of Thisbe

Thisbe pulled the car into traffic. “Songs about lovin’ and livin’ and good-hearted women…” sang the countrified radio.

“Songs about chintzes and blintzes and sprained arms in splintses,” sang Julius. He turned the radio off and sang with a Nashville accent: “Get your tongue out of my mouth baby, I am kissing you goodbye.” He spoke: “You can’t improve on that one, really.” He went back to the radio song: “Songs about sneezes and cheeses and snot when it freezes…”

“Julius,” said Thisbe, mock-annoyed, shifting gears and passing a car on the right with a stomp on the accelerator.

“I’m just one rhyme short for you: ‘Songs about frisbees and Thisbes.’ I suppose I could add ‘how-did-you-miss-me-s’ or something like that.”

“‘Bar Mitzvies’?” Thisbe suggested.

“No one was ever elected Pope by offending the Jewish vote. To judge by the number of Holocaust movies, the world is now seventy-five percent Jewish.”

“Julius…” said in a warning.

“I know, I know. Even the nephew of the king must be careful.”

“You aren’t the nephew of the king.”

“True. I got my job on merit. I blackmailed a politician.” Julius was in a government ministry, a job which he claimed combined the best of banking (“hours: ten to three”), teaching (“we do nothing between June and September”) and prostitution (“that little thrill you get when the hand drops into your pants is actually us, reaching for your wallet”).

“Mm hmm.”

“Blackmail is just as much a job skill as dating the boss’s daughter or having large breasts. You get what you put in. That’s my motto.”

But Thisbe changed the subject. “It’s too bad you weren’t there for the service.”

“I can’t go to Scratch’s service. I’m an atheist.”

“Julius, it would be nice if I didn’t have to go alone to these things.”

“You weren’t alone. I came along after the service. Remember, I come from a family of atheists. In fact, a family of Catholic atheists. The kind who believe you have to be punished for your sins even if there is no God. My folks should actually be Unitarians, the church specifically designed for atheists with children. But I’ve progressed. I maintain an independent posture toward the World to Come. To the extent that I dabble, I believe that Allah is God and Mohammed is his prophet. In the meantime, I like German beer, country music, and the Montreal Expos, or, as we call them in English, the Washington Naturals. Women dig me.”

She understood that all this was male bravado, perhaps not particularly well done. “Why Mohammed?” she said, following his irrelevancy despite herself.

“Well, first of all, Mohammedans become cross when you disagree with them. You say to a Moslem, ‘I beg to differ,’ and the next thing you know a pleasant young woman in a burkha comes to the door and detonates a nail bomb hidden in her purse. The suicide bomber is Islam’s one truly original contribution to world culture this last four hundred years.”

“Uh huh.” Thisbe was tired of this.

“But more importantly,” said Julius, sensing he was unappreciated, “A refinement on Pascal’s wager. Pascal says that since you know you’re going to die, there are really two possibilities: you die and it doesn’t matter what you did; or you die and it does. He says you should believe in God because you don’t lose much by wasting an hour a week being Christian, and if God does exist, you could gain Eternity. It’s always worth betting on a long shot if the upside is pretty snappy—eternal life, for instance. Like a lottery ticket that costs less than you’d notice spending and could win you a million spondulix. I mean, why not invest a few hours?”

“So why won’t you come to church with me then?”

“As I said: a refinement. I took Pascal one better. He’s right. You should do at least the minimum if you might get eternal life. But what kind of eternal life? That was my question. Christian eternal life is endless contemplation of the Godhead. So that’s pretty good. Better than a visit to the proctologist, for instance, although some of my gay friends might disagree. But at least better than waking up and finding yourself the cheeseburger course in an eternal Satanic McDonald’s, which is what my ancestors believed.”

“But you don’t believe it.”

“In what, proctologists? Of course I believe in them. I’ve got the stretch marks to prove it. But that’s not what we were talking about.”

“Jesus, Julius.”

“Yes, him I don’t believe in. Nor that eternal contemplation stuff. Why believe in eternal contemplation of anything? Islam takes Christianity one better. Instead of contemplating God, when an Islamic man gets to heaven, he gets–”

“You’ve got to be kidding.”

“Babes! By the truckload. Gallons of them. Talk about your world’s great religions. It’s sort of like Calvin’s doctrine of Total Depravity. But—a very optimistic kind of Total Depravity.”

“It’s chauvinistic. Do the women get truckloads of men?”

“If you’re betting on an afterlife, go big or stay home is my advice.”

“What about the women?”

“Oh, they’re all virgins.”

“No, the women who get to heaven.”

“What about them?”


How to be Straight

Milo Yiannopoulos is not straight, but that’s never stopped him from handing out excellent advice. And let’s face it, heterosexuals need it. Milo has spent his entire life advocating for the most brutally repressed minority on the planet—straight people. In this book, the Grand Marshal of the Boston Straight Pride Parade explains what straight people are getting wrong in 21st-century America and how to keep your pecker up in a world that seems increasingly hostile to heteros. One day, says Milo—if the injunctions in this book are followed—straight people will be able to openly express pride in themselves without fear of judgement or hate, just like everyone else.

In today’s America, few are brave enough to be openly heterosexual. For the rest of us, there’s HOW TO BE STRAIGHT.

Milo Yiannopoulos is an award-winning journalist, a New York Times-bestselling author, an international political celebrity, a free speech martyr, a comedian, an accomplished entrepreneur, a hair icon, a penitent and, to the annoyance of his many enemies, an exceedingly happy person. He is the most censored, most lied-about man in the world, banned from stepping foot on entire continents for his unapologetic commitment to free expression.

HOW TO BE STRAIGHT is available for $2.99 at Amazon and in EPUB/Kindle formats at Arkhaven. A paperback edition will be available soon. And while you’re at it, be sure you haven’t missed Milo’s other books:


The problem of Susan

An intelligent and surprisingly sensible take on a character from Narnia:

How do you solve a problem like Susan Pevensie?

Oh, Susan.  The most maligned and misinterpreted of Pevensies.  And, incidentally, my favorite character.  Let’s talk a moment about these misinterpretations, particularly the ones that have absorbed themselves into the popular consciousness despite how many times I yell about them on Twitter.

In a Time Magazine interview, J.K. Rowling described her debt to C.S. Lewis.

“I found myself thinking about the wardrobe route to Narnia when Harry is told he has to hurl himself at the barrier in King’s Cross Station—it dissolves and he’s on Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, and there’s the train to Hogwarts.”

However, she points out that there were aspects of the Narnian chronicles that bothered her.  She also points out that Susan Pevensie

“…is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lipstick. She’s become irreligious basically because she found sex. I have a real problem with that.”

On that note, Philip Pullman penned an angry Guardian article where he claimed that for Lewis, a girl’s achieving sexual maturity was

“so dreadful and so redolent of sin that he had to send her to Hell.”

It’s so unsurprising that Pullman proves to be as hapless a reader as he is a writer.