Podcast: Yuval Levin on the Victorian Values of Gertrude Himmelfarb

The intellectual and editor of National Affairs joins us to discuss Himmelfarb and the moral and political virtues she deemed necessary for a healthy democratic society.

The artist George W. Joy’s The Bayswater Omnibus, 1895. Wikipedia.

The artist George W. Joy’s The Bayswater Omnibus, 1895. Wikipedia.

Observation
Jan. 9 2020
About the authors

A weekly podcast, produced in partnership with the Tikvah Fund, offering up the best thinking on Jewish thought and culture.

Yuval Levin is the founding editor of National Affairs and Hertog Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC. He has been awarded a 2013 Bradley Prize for distinguished contributions in the fields of scholarship, journalism, and public service.


This Week’s Guest: Yuval Levin

 

When Gertrude Himmelfarb passed away on December 30, 2019, a great Jewish voice was lost. An eminent historian of Victorian England, Himmelfarb—or, as she was known to her friends, Bea Kristol—identified and defended the moral and political virtues she deemed necessary for a healthy democratic society. She was interested in how the Victorians consciously built up England’s moral capital and civic confidence when these were in short supply. Drawing from meticulous historical research, she brought her conclusions to bear on the United States, arguing that, with their model in mind, Americans too can accomplish what the Victorians did. She also connected Victorian morality with the moral tenets of Judaism, and wrote numerous other works on Jewish topics, especially on the novelist George Eliot’s ideas about Jews and Judaism.

To discuss the legacy of this great historian and theorist of American remoralization, we are joined on this week’s podcast by Yuval Levin, editor-in-chief of National Affairs and director of social, cultural, and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble, as well as “We Are Your Friends” by Mocha Music.

Background

 

For more on the Tikvah Podcast at Mosaic, which appears roughly every Thursday, check out its inaugural post here.

If you have thoughts about the podcast that you’d like to share, ideas for future guests and topics, or any other form of feedback, just send an email to editors@mosaicmagazine.com.

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More about: Gertrude Himmelfarb, History & Ideas