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. 16, No. 9, May

An Early Dissident: Madame De Stael
There is a world elsewhere. --Coriolanus Act III, scene iii Exile is a terrible fate, a source of bitterness and grief since the time of the ancient Hebrews as they sat down by the waters of Babylon and wept. In our own tormented era, a great many...
An Ongoing Viability
The death knell for painting has been ringing long enough now to have been heard by generations of artists. To those who esteem high art (no scare quotes, please), it is a silly notion, more a feature of an art world geared toward novelty than a prognosis...
Bryn Terfel, at Symphony Center, Chicago
Of this century's most celebrated vocal artists, the singers who have best caught the imagination of the public, it seems, are those who have been able to bridge the world of popular song and the operatic stage with the greatest ease. Bringing the...
Dichterliebe
Dichterliebe and other songs, by Robert Schumann, sung by Ian Bostridge at Hertz Hall, Berkeley, California. Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, and Hugo Wolf together form German art song's Holy Trinity. To the degree that the general population knows...
Lionel Trilling in the Classroom
A wry anecdote circulated at Columbia University as the presidential election of 1952 approached. It was rumored that an Eisenhower-for-President meeting had been held on the campus and that only one faculty member had attended. All the rest were janitors,...
Notes & Comments: May 1998
The Dodo's revenge The Dodo suddenly called out, "The race is Over!" and they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, "But who has won?" This question the Dodo could not answer without a great deal of thought, and it stood for a long time...
Prud'hon at the Metropolitan
The good thing about revisionist art history, besides its providing desperate graduate students with topics for theses, is that it broadens our understanding of the past by adding subtlety to oversimplified conceptions. At best, revisionism allows...
Sorry about That
Among the many pleas for "civility" with which the media pullulates, one ought occasionally to insert a small caveat by way of mentioning the important purpose served by civility's supposed opposite, namely "partisanship" In fact it is perfectly possible...
The Project of Rejuvenilization
The adepts of the Free Spirit did not form a single church but rather a number of like-minded groups, each with its own particular practices, rites, and articles of beliefs; and the links between the various groups were often tenuous. But these people...
The Sense of Gertrude Stein
"You have a foolish notion that to be middle-class is to be vulgar, that to cherish the ideals of respectability and decency is to be commonplace and that to be the mother of children is to be low. You tell me that I am not middle class and that I...