‘Watership Down’ and the Crisis of Liberalism
When a newspaper columnist wants to write about a novel, the rule is that you’re supposed to have a “hook,” an excuse, a timely reason to bring up the book in question. Maybe an anniversary-of-publication, maybe an authorial death, maybe a Nobel Prize. I have none of those for this column, but I think my hook is better: I’m writing about “Watership Down” because I’m reading Richard Adams’s 1972 novel to my daughters, and in that reading I’ve decided that the book has real relevance to the crisis of the liberal order in the Western world.
Comes the reply: You mean the book about the … rabbits?
Yes, I do, and that frequency of that reply is another reason for this column.
Ross Douthat discusses the political relevance of Watership Down today, explores the virtues and fears of its heroes, and finds the optimism of the book’s message.
You can read the full article on the New York Times website.