Nicholas T. Parsons

Nicholas T. Parsons

NICHOLAS T. PARSONS is a freelance author, translator and editor based in Vienna. A graduate of New College, Oxford he spent two years in Italy teaching at the British Institute of Florence and as Reader in English at the University of Pisa before returning to the UK to work in publishing for ten years in the 1970s and early 1980s. In 1984 he settled in Central Europe with his Hungarian wife, the art historian Ilona Sármány, and has since published some 18 books on cultural topics, writing also as Louis James. These include the Blue Guide Austria and the Blue Guide Vienna as well as the first English guide to Hungary to be published following the “system change” of 1989. His essay-length Xenophobe’s Guide to the Austrians (Louis James) has been in print for 20 years. His more recent books are Worth the Detour: A History of the Guidebook from Pausanias to the Rough Guide; Vienna: A Cultural and Literary History and A New Devil’s Dictionary, which updates Ambrose Bierce’s satirical take on disingenuous language. In 2019 he published Civilisation and Its Malcontents: Essays on Our Times (Hungarian Review, 2019).

ICONOCLASM: THE STRUGGLE FOR OWNERSHIP OF SYMBOLIC HISTORY

Strictly speaking, iconoclasm refers to the destruction wrought on images by believers who think that members of their own faith have strayed from some ur-prohibition, for example the injunction against “graven images” of the Ten Commandments, or Islam’s prohibition of depictions of Mahomet and other visual taboos spelled out in

‘PROGRESSIVE POLITICS’: THE ALCHEMY OF A SLOGAN

The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him.The unreasonable man adapts conditions to himself. All progress depends on the unreasonable man. George Bernard Shaw A Conservative is a statesman enamoured of existing evils,as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. Ambrose Bierce, The

A FOOTNOTE TO THE BRITISH ELECTION OF MAY 7TH, 2015

British election result in parliamentary seats: Conservatives 331 (27 more than in 2010);Labour 232 (26 less than in 2010);Liberal Democrats 8 (49 less than in 2010);Scottish Nationalists 56 (50 more than in 2010);United Kingdom Independence Party -UKIP 1 (a loss of 1 seat from the two they had);22 others. On

(COM)PASSIONATE CONTRARIAN – THE POLEMICS OF PASCAL BRUCKNER

“Everywhere in the [French] middle classes ‘bourgeois bolshevism’ is thriving.There is no artist, no journalist, no actor who does not claim to be subversive, especially if he or she receives a government subsidy.”(Pascal Bruckner: The Tyranny of Guilt) “Thinkers from Gadamer to Derrida have contested the claims of the Enlightenment

POPULISM AND THE FAILURES OF DEMOCRACY

The people, says  Burke, should not be trusted as advisers on policy or even necessarily as true reckoners of their interests in the short run, but they are always the best judges of their own oppression – so much so that we ought to fear any power on earth that

CC: CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate is what you expect; weather is what you get.(Mark Twain) Climate change (CC) is not exactly a new phenomenon: the climate has been “changing” for four and a half billion years, “change” being what climate does. However it was officially discovered as an imminent threat to the planet and