rors” of princes and courtiers.nThe upshot of this universal discussionnof sex is devastating. It is enoughnindeed to read the chapter heads in Sexnand Human Loving—“Gender Role,”n”Intimacy and CommunicationnSkills,” or “The Future of Sexuality”n—to eliminate all enjoyment fromnsex. (Let’s continue bearing in mindnthat the puritan purpose is to avoid sin,neven at the price of, especially at thenprice of, experiencing pleasure.) Butnthe (bitter) laugh comes really with then16 practical recommendations (pp.n452-461) designed to render any virilenmale impotent: “Always remembernthat good sex begins while your clothesnare still on”; “Take time to think aboutnyourself as a sexual being”; “Fantasy isnone of the best aphrodisiacs you cannfind”; “Keep some romance in yournlife”; and after all this refrigeration ofnsex in the name of sexology, this gem:n”Don’t make sex too serious.”nBut the whole book is so damnnserious that one can only pity its victims,nthe eager young — and oldn— couples who read it. Instead ofnstudying the text, they may of coursenconcentrate on the illustrations of sexualntechniques, repulsive in their “scientific”nexplicitness, but perhaps causingnarousal. That must have been thenpublisher’s idea, in view of increasednsales.nThomas Molnar is visiting professor ofnreligious studies at Yale University.nBabbitt in thenEightiesnby Stephen TannernIrving Babbitt in Our Times, editednby George A. Panichas and Claes G.nRyn, Washington, DC: The CatholicnUniversity of America Press; $27.95.nSix of this book’s 10 essays were presentednat a conference commemoratingnthe 50th anniversary of Irving Babbitt’sndeath. Held in Washington, DC,nat The Catholic University of Americanin November 1983, the conferencenbrought together scholars of variousndisciplines to address the general subjectnof “Irving Babbitt: Fifty YearsnLater.” Although some people mightnassume that Babbitt has nothing to donwith our time—that he was simplynone of those moralizing classicistsnfrom whom liberal minds liberatednthemselves during the first decades ofnthis century—the essays of this bookndemonstrate that he deserves muchnmore than antiquarian interest. Innfact, the primary impression is that hisnideas remain relevant and that hisnviews on modern life have a propheticnquality that only now can be fullynappreciated.nBabbitt’s enduring influence andncurrent relevance are Russell Kirk’snsubject in the opening essay. Admittingnthat Babbitt has influenced himn”more strongly than has any othernwriter of the twentieth century,” Kirknnotes aspects of lasting value in Babbitt’snthoughts. The subject of thisnbrief essay, incidentally, he elaboratesnat considerably greater length in hisnexcellent introduction to Babbitt’s Literaturenand the American College.nIn the essays that follow, GeorgenPanichas treats “Babbitt and Religion,”narguing that, “For the mostnpart. Babbitt has been denied full recognitionnas a religious man, as a mannof spiritual insight.” Claes Ryn, inn”Babbitt and the Problem of Reality,”nidentifies will and imagination as keynconcepts. Their interaction, as Babbittnunderstands it, coupled with certainnideas from Croce, yields a significantnnew theory of knowledge and displaysnBabbitt’s considerable stature as a philosopher.nThe inspiration for bringingnCroce to bear on Babbitt came to Rynnfrom one of his mentors, the late FolkenLeander, whose essay “Irving Babbittnand Benedetto Croce,” originally publishednin Sweden in 1954, is reprintednin this collection to make it availablento a wider audience.nJoseph Baldacchino treats “Babbittnand the Question Ideology,” arguingnthat although Babbitt resisted ideologynviewed as rationalistic systematizing, annonrationalistic and intuitively systematicnworld view is implicit in hisnwritings and can be seen as a positivensort of ideology. Peter J. Stanlis examinesnthe views of Babbitt, Burke, andnRousseau on the moral nature of man.nDavid Hoeveler examines “Babbittnand Contemporary ConservativenThought in America,” focusing onnIrving Kristol, Michael Novak, andnGeorge Wfll. And, finally, Richard B.nnnHovey considers the current relevancenof Babbitt’s 1908 critique of higherneducation. Literature and the AmericannCollege.nThis collection of essays is worthy ofnits subject and in itself demonstratesnthe quality of Babbitt’s continuing influence,nand it is a central documentnin a revival of interest in Babbitt duringnthe 80’s.nStephen Tanner is professor of Englishnat Brigham Young University.nCathoHc ChurchnUSAnby Joseph SchwartznThe American Catholic Experience:nA History from Colonial Times tonthe Present by Jay P. Dolan, NewnYork: Doubleday; $19.95.nThree histories of the CatholicnChurch in the United States havenbecome available within a two-yearnperiod—books by James Hennesey,nS.J., Martin Marty, and now Jay P.nDolan, the bitterest of the three. Morenremarkable than the mere number arenthe significant likenesses. Are they thenresult of the Zeitgeist or an attempt tonshape it? The specter of an AmericannCatholic Church hangs over them;npluralism is the new god. Social issuesnand democratic polity are given a centralnplace in the life of religion. Innreading such revisionist studies of thenpast, George Orwell’s maxim comes tonmind: “Who controls the past controlsnthe future.”nFor Dolan the turning point in thenhistory of Catholicism in the UnitednStates was the Second Vatican Council.nIn its documents he finds a justificationnfor Catholic pluralism. In hisnbelief that the Council sanctioned thenright to dissent, he asserts, “There arenvarious ways of being Catholic andnpeople are choosing the style that bestnsuits them.”nThe American heroes of the 18thnand I9th centuries are those whonwanted a “national AmericannChurch,” those who wanted to stepnboldly into the future and “fashion anchurch in tune with the republicannspirit of a new nation.”nJUNE 1987/33n