Category Archives: Art and Culture

Tributes and Excerpts

Roger Kimball, editor of The New Criterion, offers his tribute to the late Sir Roger Scruton, British author, scholar and consummate gentleman:  “I delighted in witnessing his polemical nimbleness—it could be devastating—but unlike many able debaters there was an essential gentleness … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, Philosophy, Roger Scruton, Theodore Dalrymple

As I Please: Orwellian Insights

The term “Orwellian” typically implies something ominous, especially in the realm of politics, thanks to the British writer’s monitory fantasies 1984 and Animal Farm. But here I use the adjective more loosely, referring to Orwell’s perceptive treatment of a wide … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, George Orwell, Literature, Politics

Villains, Victorians, and Westerns

In a recent essay for The New Criterion, Henrik Bering refers to his youthful initiation into nineteenth century English literature: “I was all set to become the perfect Victorian, ready to take on the duties of [British] empire, were it … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, Fiction, Literature

At the Conference with Dalrymple

“Once you have reached a certain age and experienced the majority of all that you will ever experience, almost everything reminds you of something else.”—Theodore Dalrymple I should immediately point out, for fear of being accused of false advertising, that … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, Literature, Theodore Dalrymple

Impromptu Philosophizing

At the moment I am cleaning out some recent notes and clippings. And it’s possible that such impromptu gleanings are of more interest than my studiously composed commentaries. Here’s a passage from my omnipresent volume of Boswell’s Life of Johnson: … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, Etienne Gilson, Literature, Philosophy

The Tragic Sense

In literature or drama the tragic situation is one in which the protagonist suffers some great hardship, occasionally as the result of personal shortcomings, but very often due to circumstances beyond the individual’s control. Tragedy is not possible where nobility … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, George Orwell, Literature, Philosophy, Roger Scruton

The Library as Fun House

I am paraphrasing Roger Kimball’s essay, “The museum as fun house,” that appeared some years ago in The New Criterion. The article cogently sums up what postmodernism has gotten wrong about art galleries. For my part I want to draw … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, Literature

Secondhand Meditations

In a recent essay Theodore Dalrymple chronicles the decline of cigarette smoking. Although a couple generations behind him, I saw plenty of ashtrays growing up. Some offices still permitted smoking while I worked summers as a college student. Although I … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, H. G. Wells, Literature, Philosophy, Politics, Theodore Dalrymple

More Off the Shelf Remarks

The following quote by William Hazlitt originally appeared in a delightful essay by Prof. E. J. Hutchison of Hillsdale College (“The Hedonism of Reading Good Books“). In praising the habit of making and maintaining the acquaintance of a venerable tome, … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, Literature

Sainte-Beuve’s Literary Portraits

The French writer Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve (1804-69) is deemed the founding father of modern literary criticism. He was a latter-day Plutarch. But unlike the prolific Greek biographer, most of his subjects were intellectual figures rather then generals or statesmen. Some … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, History, Literature