How did you hear of Dalrymple?

One of the greatest writers living today

How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Gavin » 06 Aug 2011, 23:58

I thought it might be interesting to hear how people first discovered Dalrymple.

I first heard of him a few years ago. I'm pretty sure it was via an Amazon recommendation due to my other reading, which was authors such as Sam Harris and Christopher Caldwell. It's no surprise I followed the link, since it was Our Culture, What's Left of It, with its striking cover.

So that was the first Dalrymple book I read - quite late really. His qualities of erudition, articulacy, compassion, experience and realism were most welcome. In a sea of political correctness, Dalrymple spoke truths I saw with my own eyes. Liking this book so much, I wanted to find out more about the author. I found Clinton and Steve's Skeptical Doctor site, began commenting on the blog there and proceeded to read a good many Dalrymple articles online.

Books of his remaining for me to read are: Romancing Opiates, Mr Clarke's Modest Proposal and Litter.
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Elliott » 07 Aug 2011, 00:08

I first heard of Dalrymple while researching my degree thesis for art college. My thesis sang the praises of psychedelic drugs (which I had never taken, going to show the naivety etc. etc.) and so researching for it I stumbled upon Dalrymple's essay Don't Legalise Drugs.

At the time I was not ready to accept Dalrymple into my life, so to speak. I was still in thrall to liberal ideas, especially regarding drugs, so I viewed the essay with irritation. It annoyed me.

Why did it annoy me? Because I couldn't argue with it. Everything in it rang true, though I couldn't admit this.

The intelligence and wisdom of that essay, despite being so damned inconvenient, stayed with me. I didn't forget it. And years later when I was "ready", I sought Dalrymple out and, reading his essays, realised I'd come home.

Each essay was like a shot of nourishment that I'd needed for years.

Pretty soon, despite being penniless, I ordered Our Culture: What's Left of It and the rest is history. I consider that my life and mind have been improved by reading his work.
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Mike » 07 Aug 2011, 01:42

It was actually an excellent blogger, Michael Gilleland, who first turned me onto TD's writing. He used to alert his readers to any new TD essays that were available online.

I originally enjoyed reading TD's pieces simply because he is such a fine writer, but have gradually found myself agreeing with his arguments more and more as well.
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Jonathan » 07 Aug 2011, 07:35

It's not easy to remember.

I think I first read one of his essays on Islam - When Islam Breaks Down and/or Barbarians at the Gates of Paris. I then started buying all of his books which could still be purchased as new (starting with Life at the Bottom), then the older ones which had to be bought second-hand. I then read all his archived works which I could find online, and followed his new publications, until I eventually stumbled on the skepticaldoctor website, which I've been following ever since.
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Rachel » 07 Aug 2011, 16:05

I stumbled on Dalrymple by an Amazon recommendation for "Life At the Bottom".
I think I might have got the Amazon reccommendation after buying "The Welfare State We're In" which is an excellent book with similar sort of opinions.
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby T_R » 08 Aug 2011, 07:46

I heard him being interviewed late one night on (Australian) ABC youth radio. I think he was there as a freak attraction, i.e. a controversial, right-wing reactionary for the average listener to groan at. Nonetheless, the producer of this particular show deserves some credit because Dalrymple's politically incorrect ideas mean he would scarcely be allowed anywhere near mainstream television or radio in Australia. For this reason his views struck me as novel. I went online and read a few of his essays, after which I immediately bought his 3 latest books.

More recently I've been reading his Central and South American travel books, which I had to buy second hand from the other side of the world but which are well worth the effort.
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Simone » 08 Aug 2011, 10:33

I think I first heard Dalrymple's name mentioned on the Dennis Prager Show a few years ago.
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Constantine » 09 Aug 2011, 05:32

I can't recall exactly but I think it was either "Life" or "Our Culture" via an Amazon recommendation.
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Damo » 09 Aug 2011, 17:00

I used to subscribe to the National Review and that's where I first read an article by Mr Dalrymple. The article was about the liberal Intelligentsias (Guardian readers) and the British Monarchy.

It was a great article, unfortunately I can't seem to find the article online.
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Clinton » 09 Aug 2011, 22:15

I had heard of him on National Review Online for a couple of years before finally buying Life At The Bottom. I had always thought the idea of a prison doctor writing about his experiences, and the idea of someone's status in life being the result of their ideas, sounded fascinating. But it was a couple of years before I bought the book.

When I did, I was blown away. There are many reasons I like Dalrymple, and I could (and often do, to friends) go on for quite a while detailing them. But primary among them is his writing style, and the juxtaposition of a description of underclass values with a timeless, almost old-world-England writing style is very powerful (probably more so for an American). I quickly and excitedly told my brother about him, and we were instantly hooked.
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Leo » 13 Aug 2011, 17:54

I follow the economics blog at http://www.mises.org, which a few weeks ago provided a link to a video of Dalrymple's talk at the 2011 conference of the Property and Freedom Society. This society was founded in 2006 by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, a libertarian philosopher, Austrian economist, and senior scholar at the Mises Institute. Dalrymple spoke about the mirage of "equal opportunity" and the role of this idea in the growth of the welfare state. I thoroughly enjoyed the speech, and have since then been devouring Dalrymple's essays and articles.

Here's a link to the speech: http://vimeo.com/24647976
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Christine » 31 Aug 2011, 02:48

I was familiar with some of his short pieces for the Spectator which I occasionally read at my college library when I was an undergraduate, but I found it pretty grim stuff. A few years later my best friend got married to a recent law school graduate who was a New Criterion fan like I was (TD wasn't writing yet for the New Criterion at the time), but also read City Journal. My friend would sometimes read aloud excerpts from TD's essays, and giggle about his Victorian pseudonym, but I was already intrigued. Then I came across his article on Virginia Woolf and the rest is history.
http://www.city-journal.org/html/12_3_oh_to_be.html

Before I read this essay, I always found her and the other Bloomsbury people rather annoying, but couldn't really articulate why to my English teachers nor did I want to read more about Woolf & Co. during my spare time. To have admitted such feelings at a women's college would be like declaring yourself an atheist at a convent.

A few years later I found a copy of "The Wilder Shores of Marx" at the Strand -- the one and only instance I've found an Anthony Daniels or Theodore Dalrymple book in a used bookshop -- and gave it to my friend for her birthday.
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Steve » 31 Aug 2011, 19:35

I thought this would be an appropriate topic for my first post on this excellent forum.

As best I can tell, I first read some of Dalrymple's essays in National Review magazine in the early 2000's, and while I remember finding them interesting, they did not cause me to take note of their author. In 2005, my brother Clint told me about a book he was reading, Life at the Bottom. He had heard of Dalrymple and the book through National Review and was so excited about the power of Dalrymple's intellect and experiences that he read me long passages from the book. Intrigued, I began reading the book myself and could not put it down.

Our Culture, What's Left Of It had just been released, so I read that and was even more impressed. I began reading everything by him I could find, including re-discovering and appreciating many of the essays I had already read in National Review, and my interest grew.

As Clint and I became more interested, we began buying copies of his books and giving them to family and friends. Equally struck by Dalrymple's life experiences and personality, we began telling people about him. Eventually, we thought it would be easier to create a website and blog and just direct people there. Since Dalrynple had no official web presence and his essays were scattered across many different publications, we thought the website and blog might be useful to his other admirers.

We have been running the site ever since. We have been delighted to speak to his fellow readers and are excited that Gavin has created this forum. I look forward to speaking with everyone here and on SkepticalDoctor.
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Gavin » 31 Aug 2011, 20:14

Hi Steve! Thanks for this excellent, informative first post, and for the work you have done and continue to do maintaining the premier resource Skeptical Doctor.
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Elliott » 01 Sep 2011, 01:25

Christine wrote:Then I came across his article on Virginia Woolf and the rest is history.
http://www.city-journal.org/html/12_3_oh_to_be.html

Before I read this essay, I always found her and the other Bloomsbury people rather annoying, but couldn't really articulate why to my English teachers nor did I want to read more about Woolf & Co. during my spare time.

After reading your post, I re-read that essay on Virginia Woolf. She truly comes across, at least through TD's description of her, as a dreadful woman - spoilt, selfish, pig-headed, short-sighted, even idiotic despite her obvious high intelligence (judging from her highly articulate quotations).

As you say, the Bloomsbury Group seem, in retrospect, precisely the kind of people we as a society have learned to deride: upper-class hedonists who haven't a clue about the real world and whose ideas amount to wishful thinking and self-indulgence.

Of course, even though we deride them, they still hold some sway (or think they do).

Regarding the Bloomsbury Group in particular, I wonder whether the reason we (as Dalrymple fans) find them so easy to dislike is that their country was literally on top of the world at the time, yet they showed only smug contempt for it. Surely they helped bring about the century of self-flagellation that Britain descended into after the Great War. I think a reasonable case could be made that they were the poisoned apple in Eden.
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