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. 25, No. 1, September

A Conversation with Philippe De Montebello
THE NEW CRITERION: You are coming up on your thirtieth anniversary as director of the Metropolitan Museum. Clearly, the museum world has changed dramatically during your tenure. What would you say is the most pronounced difference between when you...
Charles Kingsley: Divine Love, Divine Order
My mother, when vexed by some family misfortune, was wont to console herself by murmuring: "Men must work, and women must weep, and the sooner it's over, the sooner to sleep." It never occurred to me, until I was fully grown, to seek out the original...
Gentile's Gold
The year 2006, as with wines, was also a banner vintage in Italy for the visual arts. Florence alone was host to four small but significant exhibitions. Proceeding southward, the fortunate traveler would have found, in the refurbished stables of Rome's...
"Henri Rousseau: Jungles in Paris"
"Henri Rousseau: Jungles in Paris" National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. July 16, 2006-October 15, 2006 Henri Rousseau, whose enchanting yet untutored painting produced some of the most imaginative works of the early years of the twentieth...
Kids' Stuff?
Jaques de Boys, ruminating in Arden on the seven ages of man, describes second childishness as a melancholy affair--toothless, sightless, flavorless--with mere oblivion crowning (and, one hopes, softening) the humiliations of old age. But what if late...
Learning from Tools
If there's one word that sums up everything that's gone wrong since the War, it's Workshop.--Kingsley Amis, Jake's Thing (1978) The required reading list of an American high school student usually includes, along with works by Remarque, Knowles,...
Maverick Modernists
In today's superheated art market, art historical research is typically driven by a combination of intellectual curiosity and Mammon. It's difficult to say who toils more assiduously--aspiring Ph.Ds seeking dissertation topics, established scholars...
McKim, Mead & White's Architectural Citizenship
Ernest Hemingway once declared that "all modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn," a claim so provocative that Lionel Trilling based an essay on it. Was it indeed possible that Twain's picaresque adventure...
Rational Control, or, Life without Virtue
In the brand new building where I work, the lights go on and off, the shades go up and down, and the toilets flush, automatically, without your having to turn a switch or push a handle. Rational control has replaced individual virtue, which is subject...
Should He Have Spoken?
In 1968 the products of the postwar baby boom decided to seize the European future and to jettison the European past. In that same year Enoch Powell delivered to the Birmingham Conservatives the speech known forever after as "Rivers of Blood": a speech...
Summer Offerings
Eight-and-a-half hours is a very long time to occupy a theater seat; it requires courage and stamina on the part of the audience member and a certain bravura arrogance from the producer and director: whatever is asking so much from paying customers...
Sylvan Historian
The more one loves ballet, the more one loves Ashton. There he was in South America, a thirteen-year-old boy struck in the heart by Anna Pavlova's arrow, a flash of fire through a snow flurry of pirouettes. So many of us struck by the same arrow, not...
The Consequences of Richard Weaver
The past shows unvaryingly that when a people's freedom disappears, it goes not with a bang, but in silence amid the comfort of being cared for. That is the dire peril in the present trend toward statism. If freedom is not found accompanied by a willingness...
"The New Criterion" at 25
With this issue, The New Criterion embarks on its twenty-fifth anniversary season. Twenty-five years--a quarter century: yes, it is a long time, but how quickly the years have passed! A lot has changed since September 1982. Back then, there was still...
The New Juristocracy
From the Founding right up until the still-quaking bombshell of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, issued at the end of the Supreme Court's term in late June, the primary imperative of national government was to protect the security of the governed from hostile outsiders....
The New Old School
An actual "battle of styles," as for instance between realism and abstraction, is desirable only to those who thrive on a feeling of partisanship. Both directions are valid and useful--and freedom to produce them and enjoy them should be protected...
The Silly Season
In Britain, journalists call August "the silly season" because, with Parliament in recess and its members retired to their constituencies or the grouse moor, political stories tend to be trivial or comical, preferably both. But in America the silly...
Treasons of the Heart
The modern age is clogged with--or more descriptively, cursed by--political causes. Every such cause trumpets peaceful and progressive virtues but, in practice, each is a turbulence of violence. The worst of them--Communism, Nazism, Islamism--provide...
Waugh's Postcolonial Studies
Most Americans know of the British novelist Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966)--if they know him at all--from the television series based on his Brideshead Revisited, a country house fantasy which held public television viewers in the United States in deep thrall...
Written to Last
When some years ago I was the editor of an intellectual quarterly, I had in the hopper an essay by my friend Edward Shils on Karl Mannheim that, owing to its length, I could not run, as I had hoped to do, in what was to be our next issue. I called...