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Celebrating Harvey Mansfield


Harvey Mansfield, the great Harvard political philosophy professor, has produced not only many wonderful books through the years (though for my money his very first is awfully hard to beat, if you can find it), but also many wonderful students. A few years ago two of these students, Bill Kristol and Mark Blitz, gathered essays on some of Mansfield’s favorite subjects by more than twenty of his other students into a volume of appreciation; what the Germans call a festschrift. Now two more, Sharon Krause and Mary Ann McGrail, have gathered yet another twenty into a sequel. With essays by some of America’s best political theorists and thinkers on subjects ranging from the meaning of the gentleman to the nature of friendship to the sources of Hamlet and the thought of Xenophon, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Montesquieu, Burke, and many others, it’s an extremely impressive and interesting tribute. I’m a little surprised the Germans don’t have a special word for a second festschrift, but if you’re a political theory type, the word for this one is excellent.