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The love life of JS Mill The father of liberalism caused quite the scandal

He needed the love of a good woman. (Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images)

He needed the love of a good woman. (Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images)


May 5, 2023   7 mins

In our age, Victorians don’t stand a chance. Even the most enlightened of them appear to us either as quaint traditionalists (at best) or unforgivable reactionaries (at worst) — snobs, bigots and misogynists, one and all. There is, however, one prominent exception: John Stuart Mill. But for a few quirks, on the 150th anniversary of his death this week, he appears to be a man of our time. And that is in large part thanks to his partner, Harriet Taylor: it was she who made a feminist, even something of a socialist, of him. Better still, she made a human of him.

For Mill, in the tradition of nominative determinism, was once a machine. His precocity is now the stuff of legend: essays on Rome combining historiographical mastery with a recondite vocabulary at age six; trilingual fluency in English, Latin, and Greek by age 12. But it came at a cost. Mill was essentially a lab rat, an educational experiment gone awry. Home-schooled — some may say groomed — by his martinet father, he swallowed whole the utilitarian creed of James Mill: the greatest happiness for the greatest number. But he himself remained a stranger to happiness.

In the younger Mill’s Autobiography, he recalled his father’s “asperities of temper… I thus grew up in the absence of love and in the presence of fear; and many and indelible are the effects of this bringing-up in the stunting of my moral growth.” Public speaking was an insurmountable challenge. He had no self-confidence. Carlyle recorded Mill’s “incapability of laughing”. Aged 17, he followed mechanically in his father’s footsteps, taking up an East India Company job that he held for 35 years. His worldview, likewise, was a carbon copy of his father’s: disdain for unearned privilege in general and the monarchy in particular; respect for the inherent goodness of the middle classes, whose historical role it was to educate the working classes out of their revolting ways; and belief in the superiority of private property over public ownership. All of this he uncritically absorbed and fiercely defended — that is, until he met Harriet Taylor in 1830.

By all accounts, it was a remarkable encounter. Reporting on what transpired, Jane Carlyle observed “that a young Mrs Taylor, tho’ encumbered with a husband and children, had ogled John Mill so successfully that he was desperately in love”. Accustomed to ceaseless cerebration but little else, Mill had been unacquainted with deep emotions. To be sure, he had had crushes before. The Oxford historian Jose Harris writes of the “adolescent tendresse” he had felt for “the dashing Sarah Austin”, translator and wife of the legal philosopher. Mill had later fallen for the musician Eliza Flower. All the same, as one of his friends had it, on the subject “of women, he was a child”.

It was, foremost, an intellectual relationship. Indeed, there is nothing in Mill’s Autobiography to satisfy prurient curiosity. Harriet was drawn less to what Caroline Fox, a mutual friend, described as his “exquisitely chiselled countenance” than his dazzling mind. Her husband John, in Carlyle’s words “an innocent, dull good man”, knew his limitations and was, by the standards of his time, an astonishingly liberal character. Between the married Harriet and Mill, dinner invitations, and later assignations in France, ensued; her husband considerately absented himself, to give the couple the privacy they needed. The affair remained unconsummated. “A Seelenfreundin to both men,” Mill’s biographer Richard Reeves suggests, Harriet stayed “faithful to both men by having sex with neither”. Mill and his mistress — later wife, on John’s passing — were what we would probably call sapiosexuals.

It is possible, Harriet’s biographer Jo Ellen Jacobs surmises, that she had syphilis, which would explain why her second was a childless marriage, though it could well have been the upshot of Mill’s anti-natalism. He posited an inverse relationship between sexual and intellectual appetite, blaming working-class fecundity on their being thick as mince. Mill may have died a virgin. At any rate, none of this prevented the scandal that unfolded upon his marriage, prompting the newlyweds to withdraw completely from society. It was just as well. Isolation breeds intellectual independence, and the Mills’ folie à deux was most certainly a fecund one, intellectually speaking.

Ironically for a child prodigy, Mill’s damascene conversion came rather late in life. Harriet and her partner developed a “collaborative self”. True, the title pages of Principles of Political Economy, On Liberty, and The Subjection of Women carry Mill’s name, but they were very much co-authored enterprises. Her influence is all over these works. Gone were Mill’s Ricardian reassurances about the importance of private property. In its place came the recognition — no surprise to both renters and landlords in Britain today — that “the laws of property have heaped impediments upon some to give advantage to others; they have purposely fostered inequalities and prevented all from starting fair in the race”.

Successive editions of the Principles grew increasingly radical, feeding off both Mill’s mesmerised infatuation with Harriet and morbid fascination with French politics. During the July Revolution of 1830, Mill could be found in Paris singing the Marseillaise at the opera. And during the Spring of 1848, when anti-monarchical sentiment swept Europe, he lamented that England remained eirenic. Robespierre was “the greatest man that ever lived”. The extermination of all those who earned north of £500 a year (he himself earned £600) would be no great loss to humanity.

And so the technocrat embraced populism. That the Commons was “composed of millionaires” did not worry him in the 1830s: what mattered was “not by whom we are governed, but how”. By the 1860s, Harriet’s influence ascendant, his tune had changed: “There can be no parliamentary reform worthy of the name so long as a seat in Parliament is only attainable by rich men.” In the interim, Mill had succumbed to what he would later call his beloved’s “heretical” opinions on the “probable futurity of the labouring classes”. In the wake of the Paris Commune, he called for a cap on inheritance, by which time he had already declared himself in favour of a freeze on rail fares, cooperatives, and greater trade union power — albeit only to “heal the feud between capitalists and labourers”. Gardens and baths could be nationalised, he argued.

Harriet “made me move forward more boldly”, he wrote in his Autobiography, but he stopped short of demanding full-blown statism. John Stuart Mill, Socialist, to quote a recent title, is pushing it. Take his view on democracy. Railing against majoritarian tyranny, Mill betrayed the same technocratic fantasies that plague Remoaner centrists today — ruled by Gina Miller and the perfectly smug Jolyon Maugham. In Considerations on Representative Government, in many senses his weakest effort, Mill makes the case for an enlightened epistocracy: only those who pass a literacy and numeracy test would be eligible to vote. The experts know better. Elsewhere, he wistfully hoped for the day when “the uninstructed” shall show “deference and submission to the authority of the instructed”. Here as well, we see Harriet’s hand. In the 1850s, Mill wrote that he and Harriet were “much less democrats than I had been, because so long as education continues to be so wretchedly imperfect, we dreaded the ignorance and especially the selfishness and brutality of the mass”.

Then there were Mill’s attacks on the polar opposites of the class system, both parasitic: the rentier aristocracy and the lumpenproletariat. The latter, in particular, were singled out for criticism; they were “often very much to blame for bringing themselves into a position in which they require relief”. Worse, they could do with birth control — administered with force: Mill was not averse to using state power to forbid marriages “unless the parties can show that they have the means of supporting a family”, not to mention making welfare cheques contingent on family planning. This was, of course, for their own good. It was because the lower orders bred like rabbits that real wages had been sent plummeting. Harriet had her own reasons for extolling the benefits of smaller families: more children meant more domestic drudgery for women.

Harriet’s guiding hand was more palpably registered in On Liberty. Many of its key ideas, Jo Ellen Jacobs tells us, can be directly traced to her early writings. Today, Mill’s liberalism has become a shorthand for individualism. But as the Oxford philosopher Alan Ryan reminds us, this is a mischaracterisation. On Liberty combines both a “positive” and a “negative” idea of liberty, but it is only the latter it is known for. This is the gospel of toleration: live and let live (so long as it doesn’t harm others). Verging perilously close to the autobiographical, practically telling on his own dangerous liaison, Mill castigates the American intolerance for Mormon polygamy. Prostitution and gambling, too, ought to be tolerated, he argued. But his relationship with Harriet was equally to be felt in Mill’s “positive” conception of liberty. Here is the communitarian, as opposed to individualist, strain in his thinking. Mill expected the bourgeoisie to show leadership, working for the greater social good on the behalf of the working class that looked up to it.

More than shaping his views on equality and liberty, Harriet above all won Mill over to female suffrage. Indeed, his reputation as an apostle of gender equality in great measure rests on her interventions. Mill’s father, it should be remembered, had concluded in his Essay on Government that women’s interests were essentially the same as those of their fathers and husbands; extending the vote to them was essentially superfluous. The younger Mill’s progress, acutely shepherded by Harriet, led him to question the wisdom of this line of thought. He may have been an incorrigible bore — and Stefan Collini is on to something when he observes that a compendium of Mill’s wit would be “a slim one indeed” — but we owe one of the better ripostes to the votaries of the male franchise to him: excluding women was about as absurd as denying the vote to redheads.

Mill also made an early foray into the pronoun wars, replacing “his” with “their” in the third edition of the Principles, at Harriet’s instigation. In The Subjection of Women, he challenged the institution of marriage, for depriving women of the rights to property, inheritance, and divorce. In 1867, Mill introduced the first bill proposing suffrage for women in the Commons. He died in Avignon five years later, leaving half his estate to promote women’s education.

Mill may have started his intellectual journey as a utilitarian, but he ended it, more than anything else, as a utopian. And it was that restless font of reform, Harriet Taylor, who was responsible for this. Her brilliance and ebullience were, undoubtedly, very infectious. But I wonder if they might have got carried away, putting so much store in Progress. British society evidently was less Millian than they imagined. They felt sure, for example, that Britain was to be “republicanised … before we die”. There is some irony, then, that the 150th anniversary of Mill’s death will find the country not only not republicanised but in the mad throes of coronation hysteria.


Pratinav Anil is the author of two bleak assessments of 20th-century Indian history. He teaches at St Edmund Hall, Oxford.

pratinavanil

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Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago

To be perfectly honest, having digested the various articles offered by Unherd on Mill’s 150th anniversary, i’ve come to the conclusion that his works are hugely overblown, and whilst they may have seemed revolutionary at the time have no more relevance to the complexities of the 21st century than the principles of steam power.

I feel rather sorry for the poor chap, truth be told; but not quite as sorry as for those who still labour to explain his relevance to today. We can look upon his influence on yesteryear, as we might appreciate the development of steam.locomotives (and i do) but in any other respect, i really couldn’t give a flying scotsman.

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve Murray
j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Listen/read to someone as eminent as Jonathan Haidht who majors on JS Mills relevance to today. ‘All Minus One’ for a much better perspective and Haidht using to counter cancel culture in his academic institution.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Haidht is yet another of these New York ‘Cassandras’ who so bedevil this planet at present.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Haidht is yet another of these New York ‘Cassandras’ who so bedevil this planet at present.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Or indeed a ‘Mallard.’

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I don’t know why you’d trust a series of articles, often using Mill as little more than a point of departure for their flights of politicized rhetoric, to tell you much of anything about the source material.
Perhaps UnHerd’s most polemical writers can go through the whole Western Canon and help us to dismiss from afar all the thinkers who were insufficiently prescient about the complexities of today.
Some of Mill’s work remains relevant and worth reflecting on, some doesn’t. That’s true of Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, David Hume, Edmund Burke, George Orwell, GB Shaw, and GK Chesterton too. “Vintage” authors are not chucked out because some consider them quaint and insignificant, or because some of their work doesn’t hold up.
Do you imagine his Mill’s far-flung influence and enduring reputation is some concocted romanticism–a desperate, irrelevant labor? Many people, not all of them specialists and weirdos, are still reading his often insightful work. The fact that he was a strange fellow who had to be in-some-measure humanized by his wife shouldn’t make him a mere laughing stock. And the fact that he can’t log on to refute his detractors doesn’t negate his legacy or importance.

J Bryant
JB
J Bryant
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I’ve enjoyed all the articles about Mill this week, but I have no idea which view of his true meaning and motivations is (are?) correct. I’d have to become a serious student of the man, his writings and his period in history to figure that out.
The reality, I suspect, is the world changes due to forces beyond the control of human beings (technology being the major catalyst), the old political/social system no longer works and a new one is needed. Perhaps a welfare state becomes sclerotic, such as the UK in the 70s, and a renewed emphasis on personal responsibility, ambition, and a market-driven economy is required.
The economic and social facts drive the change, but politicians require a justifying ideology, so they rummage history for a thinker who provided a coherent analysis to support the desired change, and find Mill or Marx or whoever. And those thinkers are lauded for their foresight and wisdom until the world changes again, and then they’re toppled like so many statues and a new hero takes their place, for now.

Steve Murray
LL
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Thanks for replying to AJ Mac; your response mirrors what i’d have written.

Just to add, there’s been nothing in any of the articles which might’ve induced me to undertake a proper study of Mill, although Paddy Taylor (Comments) quoted a good Mill passage about taking note of the arguments of those who disagree with oneself, which is perfectly sensible but hardly groundbreaking.

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve Murray
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I agree with all of that. I just don’t think it invalidates Mill or makes him redundant. I’m not a serious student of his work but I’ve read his autobiography and maybe 200 more pages of his work. While not every page is a vibrant, living marvel, much of it remains instructive, and provides instances of worthwhile challenge.
To those with time and nascent inclination to try, I’d recommend the Introductory and Thought and Discussion sections that begin On Liberty, as well as passages (skim it, see what you find) from The Subjection of Women, co-written with his wife Harriet.
Of course everyone is permitted to ignore or refuse to read any book or author, which I’ve done with many historical bigwigs, wrongly or not. Here’s one humdinger of a sentence from On Liberty that seems to have present-day relevance:

The disposition of mankind, whether as rulers or fellow citizens, to impose their own opinions and inclinations as a rule of conduct on others, is so energetically supported by some of the best and by some of the worst feeling incident to human nature, that it is hardly ever kept under restraint by anything; and as the power is not declining, but growing, unless a strong barrier of moral conviction can be raised against the mischief, we must expect, in the present circumstances of the world, to see it increase.

This is not a unique insight, but I think it is well-expressed and worth remembering. His particular contribution is singular and forceful, even though much of what was innovative of it is now taken granted, and much of what he wrote had been said by others before him, in one way or another. Or in Mill’s words:

Those to whom nothing which I am about to say will be new, may therefore, I hope excuse me, if on a subject [liberty] which for three centuries has been so often discussed, I venture one discussion more.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Thanks for replying to AJ Mac; your response mirrors what i’d have written.

Just to add, there’s been nothing in any of the articles which might’ve induced me to undertake a proper study of Mill, although Paddy Taylor (Comments) quoted a good Mill passage about taking note of the arguments of those who disagree with oneself, which is perfectly sensible but hardly groundbreaking.

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve Murray
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I agree with all of that. I just don’t think it invalidates Mill or makes him redundant. I’m not a serious student of his work but I’ve read his autobiography and maybe 200 more pages of his work. While not every page is a vibrant, living marvel, much of it remains instructive, and provides instances of worthwhile challenge.
To those with time and nascent inclination to try, I’d recommend the Introductory and Thought and Discussion sections that begin On Liberty, as well as passages (skim it, see what you find) from The Subjection of Women, co-written with his wife Harriet.
Of course everyone is permitted to ignore or refuse to read any book or author, which I’ve done with many historical bigwigs, wrongly or not. Here’s one humdinger of a sentence from On Liberty that seems to have present-day relevance:

The disposition of mankind, whether as rulers or fellow citizens, to impose their own opinions and inclinations as a rule of conduct on others, is so energetically supported by some of the best and by some of the worst feeling incident to human nature, that it is hardly ever kept under restraint by anything; and as the power is not declining, but growing, unless a strong barrier of moral conviction can be raised against the mischief, we must expect, in the present circumstances of the world, to see it increase.

This is not a unique insight, but I think it is well-expressed and worth remembering. His particular contribution is singular and forceful, even though much of what was innovative of it is now taken granted, and much of what he wrote had been said by others before him, in one way or another. Or in Mill’s words:

Those to whom nothing which I am about to say will be new, may therefore, I hope excuse me, if on a subject [liberty] which for three centuries has been so often discussed, I venture one discussion more.

J Bryant
JB
J Bryant
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I’ve enjoyed all the articles about Mill this week, but I have no idea which view of his true meaning and motivations is (are?) correct. I’d have to become a serious student of the man, his writings and his period in history to figure that out.
The reality, I suspect, is the world changes due to forces beyond the control of human beings (technology being the major catalyst), the old political/social system no longer works and a new one is needed. Perhaps a welfare state becomes sclerotic, such as the UK in the 70s, and a renewed emphasis on personal responsibility, ambition, and a market-driven economy is required.
The economic and social facts drive the change, but politicians require a justifying ideology, so they rummage history for a thinker who provided a coherent analysis to support the desired change, and find Mill or Marx or whoever. And those thinkers are lauded for their foresight and wisdom until the world changes again, and then they’re toppled like so many statues and a new hero takes their place, for now.

Bret Larson
BL
Bret Larson
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Thats pretty humourous, steam power is still pretty important, the irony is fairly perfect.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Of course it’s important, but it won’t break the internet….

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Things that are groundbreaking can become commonplace. The source, context, and delivery are still valuable, and of interest to some. And as usual there’s a Pope couplet on the subject (not applicable to Mill in particular): “True wit is nature to advantage drest / What oft was thought but ne’er so well exprest”

AJ Mac
AM
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Things that are groundbreaking can become commonplace. The source, context, and delivery are still valuable, and of interest to some. And as usual there’s a Pope couplet on the subject (not applicable to Mill in particular): “True wit is nature to advantage drest / What oft was thought but ne’er so well exprest”

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Of course it’s important, but it won’t break the internet….

Ben Shipley
BS
Ben Shipley
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

You should really try reading Mill’s own writings. They’re in English and not that hard to understand. Unherd is providing you with the Cliff Notes here—not especially definitive and probably not intended that way. Mill had a huge impact on society. His personal life was curious, but not relevant to the import of his writings.

I’ve always thought we should eliminate inheritance altogether, rather than burdening the actual producers of social value with ridiculous taxes that get wasted on mediocre government.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Ben Shipley

Well said.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Ben Shipley

Well said.

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I imagine that some of us are pretty burnt-out by all the Mill hoopla in UnHerd this week.

That said, having read him (long ago) and been given a multi-faceted UnHerd refresher course (eg he is less democratic than Marx, he is as “progressive” as “Pocahontas” – aka Elizabeth Warren – and now somewhat p____y-whipped into being as progressive as Elizabeth Warren), I understand better why he is understood to be the representative “progressive”/Liberal just as Burke is the rep of conservatives [So Sprach Harvey Mansfield].

It really boils down to Mill’s desire to goof around with Mrs. Taylor (possibly Platonically) without being interrupted or looked down upon in the opinion of the common hoard.

The Free Speech stuff together with the chastisement of puritanical Americans for outlawing polygamy meant that the elite should be left alone to follow their impulses – just like today.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard Pearse

Fine comment.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard Pearse

Fine comment.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Listen/read to someone as eminent as Jonathan Haidht who majors on JS Mills relevance to today. ‘All Minus One’ for a much better perspective and Haidht using to counter cancel culture in his academic institution.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Or indeed a ‘Mallard.’

AJ Mac
AM
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I don’t know why you’d trust a series of articles, often using Mill as little more than a point of departure for their flights of politicized rhetoric, to tell you much of anything about the source material.
Perhaps UnHerd’s most polemical writers can go through the whole Western Canon and help us to dismiss from afar all the thinkers who were insufficiently prescient about the complexities of today.
Some of Mill’s work remains relevant and worth reflecting on, some doesn’t. That’s true of Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, David Hume, Edmund Burke, George Orwell, GB Shaw, and GK Chesterton too. “Vintage” authors are not chucked out because some consider them quaint and insignificant, or because some of their work doesn’t hold up.
Do you imagine his Mill’s far-flung influence and enduring reputation is some concocted romanticism–a desperate, irrelevant labor? Many people, not all of them specialists and weirdos, are still reading his often insightful work. The fact that he was a strange fellow who had to be in-some-measure humanized by his wife shouldn’t make him a mere laughing stock. And the fact that he can’t log on to refute his detractors doesn’t negate his legacy or importance.

Bret Larson
BL
Bret Larson
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Thats pretty humourous, steam power is still pretty important, the irony is fairly perfect.

Ben Shipley
BS
Ben Shipley
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

You should really try reading Mill’s own writings. They’re in English and not that hard to understand. Unherd is providing you with the Cliff Notes here—not especially definitive and probably not intended that way. Mill had a huge impact on society. His personal life was curious, but not relevant to the import of his writings.

I’ve always thought we should eliminate inheritance altogether, rather than burdening the actual producers of social value with ridiculous taxes that get wasted on mediocre government.

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I imagine that some of us are pretty burnt-out by all the Mill hoopla in UnHerd this week.

That said, having read him (long ago) and been given a multi-faceted UnHerd refresher course (eg he is less democratic than Marx, he is as “progressive” as “Pocahontas” – aka Elizabeth Warren – and now somewhat p____y-whipped into being as progressive as Elizabeth Warren), I understand better why he is understood to be the representative “progressive”/Liberal just as Burke is the rep of conservatives [So Sprach Harvey Mansfield].

It really boils down to Mill’s desire to goof around with Mrs. Taylor (possibly Platonically) without being interrupted or looked down upon in the opinion of the common hoard.

The Free Speech stuff together with the chastisement of puritanical Americans for outlawing polygamy meant that the elite should be left alone to follow their impulses – just like today.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago

To be perfectly honest, having digested the various articles offered by Unherd on Mill’s 150th anniversary, i’ve come to the conclusion that his works are hugely overblown, and whilst they may have seemed revolutionary at the time have no more relevance to the complexities of the 21st century than the principles of steam power.

I feel rather sorry for the poor chap, truth be told; but not quite as sorry as for those who still labour to explain his relevance to today. We can look upon his influence on yesteryear, as we might appreciate the development of steam.locomotives (and i do) but in any other respect, i really couldn’t give a flying scotsman.

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve Murray
Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
11 months ago

The only reason we are talking about JS Mill is that he wasn’t German or Dutch. If I remember, Nietzsche got some of his best jokes from Mill’s works.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
11 months ago

Nietzsche’s best jokes?? For example?

Ray Andrews
RA
Ray Andrews
11 months ago

Nietzsche’s best jokes?? For example?

Caradog Wiliams
CW
Caradog Wiliams
11 months ago

The only reason we are talking about JS Mill is that he wasn’t German or Dutch. If I remember, Nietzsche got some of his best jokes from Mill’s works.

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
11 months ago

Was it Mills who coined the phrase, ‘Happy wife. Happy life.’ ?

N T
NT
N T
11 months ago

why are we so obsessed with mill, now?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  N T

Because he remains influential and widely-read for an author of his “oldness” and lack of easy readability (partly due to the near-humorlessness that others have mentioned). But mainly because May 8th marks the 150th anniversary of his death.