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. 8, April

A Nostalgia for Molotovs: "The New York Review"
From the beginning it was pointless to argue about the sincerity of Radical Chic. Unquestionably the basic impulse, "red diaper" or otherwise, was sincere. But, as in most human endeavors focused upon an ideal, there seemed to be some double-track...
Four Poems by Michelangelo
We may wonder how Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) came to poetry at all. Through his sculpture, we might say. He was fifteen when a carving of his caught the eye of Lorenzo de' Medici, who was so impressed that he took the boy into his own home....
Manet & Monet at the Musee d'Orsay
The eighth arrondissement, wedged between the Seine and the Parc Monceau, traversed by the Champs-Elysees, is chic. Anchored by the Arc de Triomphe at the Etoile at one end and the place de la Concorde at the other, it embraces, as well, a substantial...
Monsieur Proust's Masterwork
What do we come away with when we read not merely a masterpiece but a masterwork of literature? The distinction between the two, masterpiece and masterwork, I take to be in favor of the latter, for a masterwork is not necessarily perfect of its kind,...
More Smirk Than Smirke: Colin Wilson's New British Library
It is a truism that the destruction of London wrought by the Luftwaffe has been exceeded in the decades since World War II by the destruction wrought by developers and planning authorities. Among other things, London has been consecrated to the automobile....
Nonpartisan Review
Journalism, like epic poetry, is essentially the artful management of cliche, and the art of spin, as the Clinton operation realizes, lies in constantly coming up with new (and, of course, self-serving) cliches with which to feed the journalistic beast....
Notes & Comments: April 1998
Democratic despotism, I Perhaps the most prescient and melancholy chapter in Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America is "What Sort of Despotism Democratic Nations Have to Fear," which appears in the second volume of that great work. If despotism...
Paul Johnson's America
Henry James describes, in one of his short stories, a writer of unabated success, and remarks that "it was not given her not to please." In the case of the English historian Paul Johnson, it is not given him to write dull or opaque sentences, even...
Robert Delaunay at the Guggenheim
"Been there, done that" may or may not be the adage that best summarizes the climate of cultural life in the waning days of the 1990s. It does, however, capture the ennui felt by many who concern themselves with the world of contemporary art. As hackneyed...
The Better James Baldwin
Anyone familiar with the fiction and nonfiction of James Baldwin is aware that the formative influence upon his life and career was his stepfather. Baldwin was an illegitimate child; when he was three years old his mother married David Baldwin, a Southerner...