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It operates as a refuge for a civilizing element in short supply in contemporary America: honest criticism
- The Wall Street Journal


May 2011

Illustration from Parsifal

by Richie Hofmann

for J. D. McClatchy

While resting in the dim-lit inner study,
I pulled a book down from the shelf—a dusty

old retelling of the opera, its once scarlet
cover crumbled now, faded to a claret’s

brittle blood-purple. With care, I spread
a page, as one draws back the drapes,

not wanting to be seen. Inside, a youth, golden-
haired, marches undaunted toward his longed-

for future, the margin’s blank. Beyond it, the treasure
he seeks. Walking at his back, two austerer

figures: a woman, who grips one dangling tress
of his tawny pelt as her lowered head rests

against his shoulder; and an old man, his beard
meager on a face pinched by hunger for bread,

who carries on his spindly shoulders the past
and in satchels at his side. He taps

the garland of fine-penciled earth with his tapered
staff, as if to stir the souls of those who predat ...

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 Richie Hofmann is a doctoral student at Emory University.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 29 May 2011, on page 30

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