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. 26, No. 2, October

All the World's a Stage
One might define music as sound that communicates emotion without language--sound, in fact, that defies and challenges language, expressing ideas that are simply not encompassed in linguistic possibility. How difficult, then, it must be to write a play...
A Public Blogging
When I published a book about honor last year, I was invited by friends and associates of another man who had written on the same subject to join an organization that was called something like the League Against Humiliating Punishments. I decided not...
At Last! the Hamilton Institute
Whatever happens at Dartmouth, we should be grateful for the controversy the debate stimulated. It is not often that arcane disputes about college governance spark heated commentary on the editorial pages of major newspapers and at prominent internet...
Danish Lessons
At the request of the State Department, I spent a few days in Denmark this spring to give a few lectures on anti-Americanism, more precisely, on "Anti-Americanism since the end of the cold war and the rise of global terror." My credentials for this undertaking...
Dartmouth & the Brezhnev Doctrine
Disturbances on the periphery can betoken trouble at the center. Bucolic Hanover, New Hampshire, may seem like a remote outpost. But what just happened at Dartmouth College has serious implications for efforts to reform institutions of higher education...
"Edward Hopper"
"Edward Hopper" The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. September 16, 2007-January 21, 2008 Edward Hopper's paintings suffer from the same popular misconception that plagues the poems of Robert Frost: we feel that we know them. Hopper, like Frost,...
"Fakes and Forgeries: The Art of Deception"
"Fakes and Forgeries: The Art of Deception" Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut. May 12, 2007-September 9, 2007 At a time when works of art routinely change hands for sums which, not long ago, might have represented the total book value of large industrial...
Gallery Chronicle
Market forces are not supposed to influence the judgment of art. But the explosion in prices of post-war and contemporary art is everyone's concern. Behind the numbers, the question is not one of profits to be made or lost, but what has become of our...
Mozart's Linnaeus
In 1801, some ten years after Mozart's death, The Magic Flute was performed in Paris as Les Mysteres d'Isis (The Mysteries of Isis). It bore little resemblance to the Flute we know today: it was spiced up with arrangements of arias and ensemble pieces...
Notes on Color Field Painting
In 1964, Clement Greenberg was invited by the Los Angeles County Museum to organize an exhibition featuring a group of vital, mostly young artists who had issued a challenge to the entrenched norms of gestural Abstract Expressionism. Greenberg collaborated...
The Cure for Bernard Shaw
The first writer whose prose style I ever admired was Bernard Shaw. I was between eleven and twelve years old at the time, and did not arrive at my judgment independently. I was under the influence of my English teacher, the first intellectual I had...
The Sensation of Liberty
Letters published in the New York Review of Books usually take the form of invective ("In his woefully inadequate essay on Incan virgin sacrifice ..."), not tribute. So it was a rare occurrence indeed to behold Robert Conquest's amicable missive to this...
Trollope & the Law
For the general public, criminal defense exercises all the tabloid fascination of the louche; defending a genuinely guilty client carries the extra frisson of a brush with Old Nick himself. Seated at a dinner party or with a drink in hand, the question...