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BPC professor edits critical edition of landmark book
MOUNT VERNON—Brewton-Parker College’s chair of the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Lee Cheek, will publish his sixth book this summer.
The Limits of Pure Democracy, a scholarly edition of a classic study of politics and economics written by William Hurrell Mallock, will be available for purchase in August. It will be published by Transaction Publishers, an academic press with Rutgers University (N.J.).
The Limits of Pure Democracy was first published in 1918 at the end of World War I, “an exciting period of political thinking and activity,” said Dr. Cheek, who adds that Mallock’s criticism of the excesses of democracy and socialism provides insight relevant to today’s politics.
“The 1910s was a decade in which theories of socialism, pacifism and collectivism flowered,” said Dr. Cheek. “Publicists and playwrights from Sidney Webb to George Bernard Shaw expressed not just belief in ‘utopianism’ but a vigorous assault on the existing political and economic order. Less well known is how a group of Tory thinkers laid the foundations of a conservative counter-attack expressed with equal literary and intellectual brilliance. Foremost among them was W.H. Mallock. In The Limits of Pure Democracy, he argued that the pseudo-populist leaders of the political party system promise everything but deliver only the end of parties as such. As you can guess, this is a recurring problem in politics!”
The author, W. H. Mallock, was born into a privileged family at Cheriton Bishop in Devonshire, England. In 1869, following in his father’s footsteps, he entered Balliol College, Oxford, where he distinguished himself as a writer. In 1871, he won the Newdigate Prize for a poem he composed on the Isthmus of Suez. Mallock’s most famous work, The New Republic (1877), a satirical novel, was “Mallock’s first attempt to expunge the ‘disease’ of liberalism and religious skepticism from civil discourse,” said Dr. Cheek.
According to Dr.Cheek, “The publication of The New Republic provided Mallock with a literary reputation as a critic, and this work would remain his most popular novel, although many more novels would follow. The emphases of The New Republic, especially the problem of faith and the nature of truth, would form the first part of Mallock’s literary corpus. He would spend the second part of his career as a man of letters addressing the prevailing social and political issues of his age, and The Limits of Pure Democracy serves as his last major—and most important—political critique.”