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. 9, May

Art & Ethics at Yale
One of the chief lessons of contemporary "avant-garde" art, especially that which pullulates in an academic setting, is that the unutterably tedious can cohabit seamlessly with the repellent. That may seem counterintuitive. After all, wasn't the main...
Read preview Overview
Concert Note
Alfred Brendel, piano Carnegie Hall, New York. February 20, 2008 A renowned interpreter of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, the Austrian pianist Alfred Brendel played works by all three in what was billed as his last New York recital, part of a season...
Read preview Overview
Courbet at the Met
The pale, wide-eyed young man tearing at his hair has been everywhere since the juicy Gustave Courbet retrospective opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art at the end of February. (1) He lunges at us, full lips parted, eyes staring in horror, enormous...
Read preview Overview
Filippo in Florence
The recent meltdown of Salander O'Reilly Galleries in New York provided many lessons for the audience in the art world and beyond. Some of the lessons were moral, others financial. Even psychiatry played a part. James Panero detailed most of them in...
Read preview Overview
Friends & Neighbors
A couple of weeks ago I went to see a low-budget, concert-style production of the 1960s musical Half a Sixpence at an off-Broadway revival house. Half a Sixpence was a crowd-pleaser that had successful runs both in London and New York; having been taken...
Read preview Overview
Gallery Chronicle
Art is work, of course, but just how should the work of art-making be done? Dada, pop art, and minimalism placed the premium on conception. The labor that went into the planning and reception of art went hand in hand with the relative effortlessness...
Read preview Overview
Introduction: What Was a Liberal Education?
The real difficulty in modern education lies in the fact that, despite all the fashionable talk about a new conservatism, even that minimum of conservation and the conserving attitude without which education is simply not possible is in our time extraordinarily...
Read preview Overview
Ionesco & the Limits of Philosophy
Recently I read a short polemical book by a political philosopher in which he claimed that the works of Shakespeare, while entertaining and emotionally engaging, lacked intellectual content by comparison with the works of the great philosophers. If it...
Read preview Overview
Libel Tourism
Last month, The New Criterion and the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies hosted a conference in New York on "Free Speech in an Age of Jihad." Many who have commented on the event characterized it as a conference about "libel tourism,"...
Read preview Overview
Liberalism vs. Humanism
Writing forty years ago in The New Industrial State, John Kenneth Galbraith called on academics and intellectuals to seize the mantle of national leadership which at that time (he said) was in the hands of a bipartisan coalition of corporate managers,...
Read preview Overview
On the Sadness of Higher Education
The academic world that I first encountered was one of both intellectual beauty and profound flaws. I was taught at Princeton, in the early 1960s--in history and literature, above all--before the congeries that we term "the Sixties" began. Most of my...
Read preview Overview
Smear Tactics
As I walked down the street near my home in suburban Virginia recently, I saw a decrepit Volvo sporting a bumper-sticker palimpsest. The barely legible original layer must have been as ancient as the vehicle itself, and by now there was no bumper space...
Read preview Overview
The Age of Educational Romanticism
This is the story of educational romanticism in elementary and secondary schools--its rise, its etiology, and, we have reason to hope, its approaching demise. Educational romanticism consists of the belief that just about all children who are not doing...
Read preview Overview
The New Learning That Failed
Ten years ago John Heath and I wrote a lament for the decline of classical learning in the university--Who Killed Homer? The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom. We sounded three simple themes. First, that the study of Western...
Read preview Overview
The World We Have Lost: A Parable on the Academy
More than a half century ago, Willmoore Kendall, an unrepentant cold warrior and one of this country's most brilliantly original political theorists, spoke at Harvard about disturbing trends in academic culture. To those preaching that a college campus...
Read preview Overview