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. 24, No. 9, May

David Smith: A Centennial Celebration
On March 9 of this year, David Smith would have turned one hundred, which explains this spring's cluster of Smith and Smith-related exhibitions held more or less simultaneously. Of these, "David Smith: A Centennial," the retrospective at the Guggenheim...
D. H. Lawrence in Decline
In the introduction to her 1958 selection of D. H. Lawrence's letters, Diana Trilling complained that "so much a poet, he yet insists that we read him as a preacher." This undeniable fact made a full appreciation of Lawrence's imaginative writing rather...
Fifty Years of "Quadrant"
In Sydney in 1956, in the depths of the Cold War, the publisher Richard Krygier, a Polish-Jewish refugee and one-time representative of the Polish Socialist Party in exile in Australia, and the editor James McAuley, a poet, brought out the first edition...
Judas Makes a Comeback
Last month, a man once so hated, especially in the historically Christian countries of Europe and the Americas, that he was widely regarded as the most evil man ever to have lived experienced something of a rehabilitation in the popular media, who...
Mark Van Doren & American Classicism
Above the columns of Butler Library at Columbia, inscribed in the stone frieze, you read permanent testimony that some writers are especially important: Homer, Virgil, Shakespeare, Plato, Aristotle, Milton, Dante, Cervantes, Goethe, Spinoza. The names...
Muriel Spark, RIP
It was on Easter Saturday that we heard the sad news that the Scottish poet and novelist Muriel Spark had died, age 88, in Florence (her adopted home many years). We thought, "How suitable that it should have been on Good Friday." As a Catholic convert,...
Shade's Shadow
Samuel Johnson and Vladimir Nabokov seem diametrically opposed. The quintessential Englishman, the epitome of the eighteenth-century "Age of Johnson," favored lofty, abstractions, moralistic content and elaborate Latinate style. Modern readers often...
The Enigmatic R.S. Thomas
For reasons both complex and uninteresting, I found myself living for a time in North Wales: near Bangor, to be precise. Bangor is a university town, situated on the Menai Straits, the narrow stretch of water that separates the mainland from Anglesey...
The Ever-Present Human Hint of Yellow
Glancing over the metaphorical shelves, one is forced to admit a certain trade deficit. Most interesting novels today seem to have been for sale in the U.K. first. Of course, generalizations are dangerous--generalizations based on national stereotypes...
The New York Fairs
Remember Doctor T. J. Eckleburg? Think back to high-school English. Eckleburg is the defunct optometrist who stares down from his billboard on the protagonists of The Great Gatsby. "Standing behind him Michaelis saw with shock that he was looking at...
William Sloane Coffin, RIP
Only a few days before Muriel Spark died, we read that the Rev. William Sloane Coffin, too, had gone to his reward. What a character in a novel by Muriel Spark that icon of Left-liberal sentimentality might have been! Coffin's heyday was in the 1970s,...