Saints Go Marching InIssue: July-Aug 2011
CONSIDER THE following capsule versions of diametrically opposing views about what it is reasonable for human beings to expect from historical change—or the lack thereof. The first is the work of an Irishman, the mid-twentieth-century poet Ewart Milne, who, having spent the Spanish Civil War delivering medical aid to the Republic, knew something about the subject. “History,” he wrote in “Thinking of Artolas,” “is a cruel country.” Milne’s is surely the traditional view, espoused by most people in most periods. In contrast, the second is unmistakably contemporary, progressive (one might even say revolutionary).