A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 13, 2010
“There are no lost causes because there are no gained causes”

T.S. Eliot (1888-1965) wrote in 1929: “If we take the widest and wisest view of a Cause, there is no such thing as a Lost Cause because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause. We fight for lost causes because we know that our defeat and dismay may be the preface to our successors’ victory, though that victory itself will be temporary; we fight rather to keep something alive than in the expectation that anything will triumph.”

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) wrote the more-familiar form in 1931: “There are no lost causes, because there are no gained causes.”

The conservative writer Russell Kirk (1918-1994) used the saying in many of his writings. The saying means that there is the cause—it might temporarily win or lose, but it’s neither a “lost cause” nor a “gained cause.”


Wikipedia: T. S. Eliot
Thomas Stearns Eliot OM (September 26, 1888 – January 4, 1965) was an American-born English poet, playwright, and literary critic, arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century. The poem that made his name, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock—started in 1910 and published in Chicago in 1915—is regarded as a masterpiece of the modernist movement, and was followed by some of the best-known poems in the English language, including Gerontion (1920), The Waste Land (1922), The Hollow Men (1925), Ash Wednesday (1930), and Four Quartets (1945). He is also known for his seven plays, particularly Murder in the Cathedral (1935). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948.

Wikipedia: William Ralph Inge
William Ralph Inge (pronounced /ˈɪŋ/ “ing”; 6 June 1860 – 26 February 1954) was an English author, Anglican priest, professor of divinity at Cambridge, and Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, which provided the appellation by which he was widely known, “Dean Inge.”

Wikipedia: Russell Kirk
Russell Kirk (October 19, 1918 – April 29, 1994) was an American political theorist, moralist, historian, social critic, literary critic, and fiction author known for his influence on 20th century American conservatism. His 1953 book, The Conservative Mind, gave shape to the amorphous post-World War II conservative movement. It traced the development of conservative thought in the Anglo-American tradition, giving special importance to the ideas of Edmund Burke. Kirk was also considered the chief proponent of traditionalist conservatism.

Google Books
For Lancelot Andrewes:
Essays on style and order

By T. S. Eliot
Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran and Co.
1929
Pg. 78:
If we take the widest and wisest view of a Cause, there is no such thing as a Lost Cause because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause. We fight for lost causes because we know that our defeat and dismay may be the preface to our successors’ victory, though that victory itself will be temporary; we fight rather to keep something alive than in the expectation that anything will triumph.

Google Books
More lay thoughts of a dean
By William Ralph Inge
New York, NY: Putnam
1931
Pg. 201:
There are no lost causes, because there are no gained causes. Good and evil may be scotched, but never killed. There are tides in the spiritual life. We should not worry too much when the tide goes out. It is a sign of life.

Google Books
Rumbles Left and Right:
A book about troublesome people and ideas

By William F. Buckley
New York, NY: Putnam
1963
Pg. 11 (Introduction by Russell Kirk):
Yet, as Mr. T. S.  Eliot observes, there are no lost causes, because there are no gained causes. And the follies which Mr. Buckley scourges rise ghastly from their graves in every generation.

Google Books
The Conservative Mind:
From Burke to Elliot

By Russell Kirk
South Bend, IN: Gateway Editions
1978
Pg. 431:
As Eliot wrote in his essay on Francis Herbert Bradley, “If we take the widest and wisest view of a Cause, there is no such thing as a Lost Cause, because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause. We fight for lost causes because we know that our defeat and dismay may be the preface to our successors’ victory, though the victory itself will be temporary; we fight rather to keep something alive than in the expectation that it will triumph.”

Google Books
Aftermath:
The Clinton impeachment and the presidency in the age of political spectacle

By Leonard V. Kaplan
New York, NY: New York University Press
2001
Pg. 256:
Russell Kirk, who forgot more about American culture than Mr. Weyrich remembers, liked to say that “There are no lost causes because there are no gained causes.”

The University Bookman
Volume 46, Number 4 (Winter 2008)
Lost Causes and Gained Causes
Russell Kirk’s Legacy After 15 Years

By James E. Person Jr.
When conservative man of letters Russell Kirk (1918–1994) died nearly 15 years ago, he had been honored by Presidents and friends great and small, quoted by the learned, and lauded as the author of one of the seminal works in modern cultural history, The Conservative Mind.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Saturday, November 13, 2010 • Permalink