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. 19, No. 8, April

A Century of Recorded Music
Timothy Day A Century of Recorded Music. Yale University Press, 306 pages, $35 A few years ago a friend played for me a tape copy of an Edison cylinder recorded by Johannes Brahms in Vienna in 1889. Edison's agent in the city, Theo Wangemann, announces...
Discovering la Rochefoucauld
I remember the day I discovered La Rochefoucauld; or rather, to put it the way round that is now de rigueur among historians of the Spanish conquest of America, the day La Rochefoucauld discovered me. I was twelve years old, and I had been sent to...
"Edvard Munch Paintings 1892-1917"
"Edvard Munch Paintings 1892-1917" at Mitchell-Innes & Nash Gallery, New York. February 7-March 10, 2001 The masterly Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863-1944), whose paintings were exhibited in a rare show in New York in March, never wavered...
Filling the Philharmonic's Podium
Orchestras, like people, lead lives, and the histories of orchestras inevitably become the histories of a series of lives. In the confined world of the American symphony orchestra, the lives of its putatively top members have therefore a resonance...
How Civilizations Fall
How do civilizations fall? Islamic thinkers had an image for it. Consider a civilization based upon a court in a thriving city--Baghdad, for example. Arts and the intellect flourish. But over several generations, as the great Islamic philosopher of...
"John Walker: Time and Tides"
"John Walker: Time and Tides," at Knoedler & Company, New York. January 18-March 3, 2001 An English-born resident of Boston, John Walker paints on the littorals of abstraction, informed by its history and aims, but not willing to forsake the...
"Jules Pascin: Important Works"
"Jules Pascin: Important Works" at Forum Gallery, New York. February 8-March 10, 2001 That someone would try to revive the reputation of Jules Pascin (1885-1930) is a welcome and not entirely surprising occurrence: both his subject matter and biography...
Letters
P.C. medicine To the Editors: When Anthony Daniels reviewed my book Mind the Gap: Hierarchies, Health and Human Evolution (February 2001), he got me badly wrong. Many of us started out with ideas rather like his, but research over the last twenty...
"Nell Blaine: The Abstract Work"
"Nell Blaine: The Abstract Work" at Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York. January 27-March 10, 2001 Like Walker, the American artist Nell Blaine (1922-1996) was also concerned with the interplay of abstraction and representation, although she eschewed...
Notes & Comments: April 2001
On "moral equivalence" ... The American Historical Review is widely considered the preeminent English-language journal for the discipline of history. The journal, a publication of the American Historical Association, is also conspicuously a captive...
Rome Away from Rome
Anyone fascinated by the Metropolitan Museum's recent exhibition of paintings by Evaristo Baschenis, the Northern Italian inventor of the still life of musical instruments, needs only the most minimal excuse to arrange a trip to London. The reason?...
The Perils of Designer Tribalism
A generalized tolerance will be best achieved if we leave undisturbed whatever it is which constitutes the special character of particular individuals and peoples, whilst at the same time we retain the conviction that the distinctive worth of anything...
The Shock of the Few
You'd think the media would get tired of it. It's more or less the same story every time some deranged youth takes a gun to school and starts shooting the place up--like Kipling's Kurrum Valley scamp "who knows no word of moods and tenses" But,...