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. 20, No. 3, November

Another Painful Lesson. (London Journal)
You start thinking you can't be surprised anymore--not when it comes to left-wing opinion-makers, at least--but you end up being surprised nonetheless. Most of their reactions are predictable in broad outline; but reality has a way of going one better,...
Charles Peguy
A great philosophy is not that which passes final judgments, which takes a seat in final truth. It is that which introduces uneasiness, which opens the door to commotion. --Charles Peguy, "Note on M. Bergson" Truth's pedagogue, braving an entrenched...
Cranks & Cliches. (the Media)
"Language failed this week," wrote Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times as the dramatic first paragraph of her two-cents' worth about the terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It was itself an example of what she &scribed,...
Dwight Macdonald: Sunburned by Ideas
At a 1980 symposium at Skidmore College set in motion by a normally portentous essay by George Steiner about the death of culture in America, Dwight Macdonald, long established as a slashing critic of popular culture and politics, sitting on a panel...
Eilshemius Rediscovered Again. (Art)
For sheer peculiarity, the exhibition "Louis M. Eilshemius: An Independent Spirit" at the National Academy of Design, will probably set a standard for a long time to come. (1) Eilshemius is one of the oddest of American painters, a genuinely obscure,...
Gallery Chronicle. (Art)
A month ago in these pages I fretted over how contemporary audiences and artists might respond to the fervent seriousness embodied in Clyfford Still's paintings. Animated by irony, allusiveness, and free-floating cosmopolitanism, our governing sensibility,...
Gold-Standard Cycling. (Music)
In the October 2000 issue of The New Criterion, I reviewed the first two operas of the Seattle Opera's new Ring cycle. This year saw the completion of the tetralogy with three complete cycles, of which I saw the first (August 5-10). The positive qualities...
Notes & Comments: November 2001
A burst of clarity Did the Swedish Academy have a fit of conscience? A sudden access of common sense? A literary metanoia? Whatever happened, we were both pleased and astonished at the news that this year's Nobel Prize in literature was to be awarded...
On the Hysterical Playground. (Fiction Chronicle)
Why can't you ever write a plain sentence like "He finished his drink, left the pub and went home?" --Kingsley Amis to Martin Amis Some very good books have been written by misanthropes. One certainly can't accuse Dawn Powell of being keen on...
The Felicific Calculus of Modern Medicine: The Survival of Culture: III
In May of this year, one of Britain's most wanted criminals, a man called Ronald Biggs, returned to Britain after thirty years of exile in Brazil. Now aged seventy-one, he was arrested on arrival and taken straight to prison. Biggs was one of the men...
We Are Waging a Just War
The terrorist attack on the United States in September will have grave repercussions over the whole world for years to come. The purpose behind the attack was to separate America and its allies from everyone else, and the Muslim world in particular....