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About James Matthew Wilson
James Matthew Wilson is a poet and critic of contemporary poetry, whose work appears regularly in such magazines and journals as First Things, The Wall Street Journal, The Hudson Review, Modern Age, The New Criterion, Dappled Things, Measure, The Weekly Standard, Front Porch Republic, The Raintown Review, National Review, and The American Conservative.
Wilson is Associate Professor of Humanities and Augustinian Traditions at Villanova University. An award-winning scholar of philosophical-theology and literature, he has authored dozens of essays, articles, and reviews on all manner of subjects secular and divine, and especially on those where we see the two in their intrinsic relation, as truth, goodness, beauty, and being disclose themselves in art and culture, in the political and intellectual life, in our quest for self knowledge and the contemplation of God. His scholarly work especially focuses on the meeting of aesthetic and ontological form, where the craftsmanship of art-work discloses the truth about being.
He has published ten books, including The Vision of the Soul: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in the Western Tradition (CUA, 2017); the major critical study, The Fortunes of Poetry in an Age of Unmaking (Wiseblood, 2015); a collection of poems, Some Permanent Things, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded (Wiseblood, 2018); and a monograph, The Catholic Imagination in Modern American Poetry (Wiseblood, 2014). Wilson is the Poetry Editor of Modern Age magazine, and also serves on the boards of several learned journals and societies. His most recent book is The Strangeness of the Good (Angelico, 2020).
Twice, Wilson has been awarded the Lionel Basney Award by the Conference for Christianity and Literature; he has been a runner up for both the Foley Prize for Poetry by America magazine and the Jacques Maritain Essay Prize by Dappled Things magazine. The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture awarded him the 2017 Hiett Prize in the Humanities, the largest award of its kind.
Wilson also serves as poetry editor of Modern Age magazine, Poet-in-Residence of the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Liturgy, and as Director of the Colosseum Institute.
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Ours is an age full of desires but impoverished in its understanding of where those desires lead—an age that asserts mastery over the world but also claims to find the world as a whole absurd or unintelligible. In The Vision of the Soul, James Matthew Wilson seeks to conserve the great insights of the western tradition by giving us a new account of them responsive to modern discontents. The western- or Christian Platonist–tradition, he argues, tells us that man is an intellectual animal, born to pursue the good, to know the true, and to contemplate all things in beauty.
By turns a study in fundamental ontology, aesthetics, and political philosophy, Wilson’s book invites its readers to a renewal of the West’s intellectual tradition.
“Conservatism needs a new prophet. James Matthew Wilson is the man for the job, and The Vision of the Soul is his calling card . . . A new classic. For it we give thanks to God, and to Plato.” —Covenant
“James Wilson’s important book returns to a conservatism in the tradition of Burke, Eliot, and Russell Kirk. . . . He wants us to focus on beauty and its place in Western culture. The book is a strong defense of that culture, but not an unthinking one.” —Crisis Magazine
“A stirring and timely account and defense of the West’s traditional way of understanding the universe and our place in it.” —Matthew M. Robare, The Kirk Center