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. 4, December

"Alternating Currents"
1. Reading in the dark Imagine, if you will, a hotel room fronting Niagara Falls. Helen Keller has been brought here by her teacher, Annie Sullivan, to meet their good friend Dr. Bell, inventor of the telephone, who has long worked...
A Streetcar Named Desire
Derailed in San Francisco Experience tells us that great plays don't always make great operas. Indeed, precisely the inverse seems to hold true: first-rate operas are often born of second-rate source material. The melodramas of Belasco and Sardou,...
A Thoroughly Modern Monet
When I first heard about plans for a show examining the work of Claude Monet in the twentieth century, I wondered why it was being done. Hadn't we seen an awful lot of Monet in the last few years? Special exhibitions, that is--not just the many examples...
Letters
Emotions of Virtue To the Editors: This past summer Roger Kimball devoted an installment of his series, "Reflections on a Cultural Revolution" to Eldridge Cleaver (June 1998). At the end of the article I was surprised to discover some critical...
Liberalism & Imperialism
To propose that Great Britain should voluntarily give up all authority over her colonies, and leave them to elect their own magistrates, to enact their own laws, and to make peace and war as they might think proper, would be to propose such a measure...
Mourning Becomes Electra
Mourning Becomes Electra, by Marvin David Levy, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote that there are no second acts for American lives. While that observation remains contestable, the resurrection this fall of Marvin...
Notes & Comments: December 1998
James W. Tuttleton, 1934-1998 The death of James Tuttleton last month was an incalculable loss to The New Criterion. It was, first of all, a deep personal loss: Jim was a close friend of the editors, and his wise counsel and stately, companionable...
The Gingrich Story
Before agreeing on the Friday after the elections to step down as Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich attempted, with what has lately become typical ineptitude, to blame the media for the Republicans' ill-success in getting congressmen and senators...
The Ironic Tiger
I can hardly recall a conversation in Dublin this past summer when no one mentioned the "Celtic Tiger" the irritating catch phrase commonly used to describe the runaway Irish economy. This boom or bubble is transforming the country, in particular the...
The Scholar of Scandal
In 1813 Lord Byron, discussing the elderly Richard Brinsley Sheridan with some friends, gave his opinion that Whatever Sheridan has done or chooses to do has been, par exellence, the best of its kind. He has written the best comedy (School for...
The St. Petersburg Philharmonic
The St. Petersburg Philharmonic, conducted by Yuri Temirkanov, at Carnegie Hall. The St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra gave three concerts at Carnegie Hall on successive evenings in early October under the leadership of Yuri Temirkanov, now...
Tolstoy's Prophesy: "What Is Art?" Today
As the nineteenth century was packing its bags in early 1898, Leo Tolstoy published the most outlandish book ever written on one of that century's favorite subjects: art. Approaching his seventieth birthday, Tolstoy distilled in What Is Art? the moralistic...
Van Gogh's Van Goghs
The short and tragic life of Vincent van Gogh (1853-90) forms the basis of one of the most pervasive myths in the history of art. The story of the impoverished artist who lives in obscurity is an archetypal one. What magnifies its power--and poignancy...