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. 17, No. 6, February

Coarseness & Crudeness & Correctness
During the French Revolution the aphorist Chamfort remarked that if you wanted to make sure that you were not going to encounter something more disgusting in the course of the day, you had to start off by swallowing a toad. In Britain right now, his...
Five Painters
The retrospective of paintings by Jackson Pollock at the Museum of Modern Art was organized as an effort to define a figure whose place in twentieth-century art has long been formidable. In its scale and presentation, the MOMA show milks both Pollock...
History Potomac Style
Though a pity, it is wonderfully appropriate that the American journalistic culture is almost never looked into except by journalists, for narcissism is its salient characteristic. Indeed, for anyone without the journalist's penchant for self-congratulation,...
Jackson Pollock & the New York School, II
Somewhere deep in every American heart lies a rebellion against the old parenthood of Europe. --D. H. Lawrence, 1923. Until well into the 1940s, Jackson Pollock's painting remained locked in a struggle to master and overcome the influences of...
Liberals & Totalitarianism
A liberal is, by definition, one whose aim is the furtherance of ever greater political liberty, freedom of thought, and social justice. A number of those who thought of themselves as, and were thought of as, liberals became apologists for Stalinist...
Meaningless Enchainments
Dance is always called the ephemeral art, and it's never more ephemeral than the moment you sit down to write about it. Critics go to the theater armed with all kinds of paper. Some have those long, skinny, nifty reporters notebooks (the beat goes...
Notes & Comments: February 1999
Only the life of the mind The University of Chicago, founded in 1892 by John D. Rockefeller, long had the reputation of being one of the most serious undergraduate colleges in the country. Students who applied to Chicago knew about its socially...
The Art of the Baule People
It is comforting to remember, given the depressing results of postmodernism's refusal to make distinctions between the detritus of popular culture and anything else, that part of what made Modernist art modern--and radical--in the first place was its...
The Magic of Contradictions: Willa Cather's Lost Lady
First published in 1923, when Willa Cather was almost fifty years old, A Lost Lady occupies a special place in her rich and varied body of work. Though it never gained the wide popular appeal of My Antonia or Death Comes for the Archbishop, which became...