New Criterion

A magazine that publishes articles, notes and comment on cultural life in America. Publishes contributions from poets, authors, public policy scholars, humanities lecturers, and critics. Includes poetry, arts criticism, and commentary. Departments in thea

Articles from Vol. 26, No. 7, March

At the Forest's Edge
In his essay, The Empire of the Ugly, the great Belgian Sinologist and literary essayist Simon Leys recounts the story of how, writing one day in a cafe, a small incident gave him an insight into the real nature of philistinism. A radio was playing in...
Read preview Overview
"Constructive Accommodation"?
What is it with Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury? This is the self-described "Druid" and "hairy leftie" who, when he was Archbishop of Wales, held up the cartoon characters Homer and Marge Simpson as worthy exceptions to the entertainment industry's...
Read preview Overview
Euphemism Alert
In "Portrait of an Age" G. M. Young's classic overview of early Victorian England, there are a few melancholy pages devoted to the devastating Irish potato famine of the mid-1840s. Young notes in an aside that Sir Robert Peel, the Prime Minister, followed...
Read preview Overview
Late Titian in Vienna
When I was in graduate school, a story about a mid-nineteenth-century teacher at the Ecole des Beaux-arts often circulated during breaks from marathon library sessions. "The history of art is easy," this pillar of the Academy is supposed to have told...
Read preview Overview
Revisionism at the Met
In 1923, Picasso observed: "To me there is no pastor future in art. If a work of art cannot live always in the present, it must not be considered at all. The art of the Greeks, of the Egyptians, of the great painters who lived in other times, is not...
Read preview Overview
Rock-Star Status
Now, only a couple of months down the road, it's a little hard to remember how, towards the end of last year, Hillary and Bill Clinton were being described as having "passed some point where they're no longer just politicians. They're rock stars." I...
Read preview Overview
Shed No Tears
Professor Charles Taylor's heart aches for the Crow--the Crow Indians of the Yellowstone river valley, that is, whose warriors are now mere ghosts, and whose culture of incessant killing and scalping and murder and rapine has been irrevocably lost. "Tragically...
Read preview Overview
Trial & Error
What are the necessary plot ingredients of grand opera? Passion, betrayal, tragedy, doomed love, violence. By those standards, the shriekfests on television's Jerry Springer Show would seem to be tailor-made for operatic treatment. At least that's what...
Read preview Overview