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The New Criterion

America’s leading review of the arts and intellectual life
- Harry Mount, the London Telegraph



In Case You Missed It

by Christine Emba

Posted: Jul 25, 2014 02:36 PM

Links of interest from the past week:

To Orchestrate a Renaissance
Andrew Balio, The Imaginative Conservative

Musical Gold
Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker

Shut Up, Please
Joe Queenan, The Weekly Standard

How Many Greek Legends Were Really True?
Armand d’Angour, BBC

Don't Send your Kid to the Ivy League
William Deresiewicz, The New Republic

From our pages:

From Super to Nuts
James Bowman

E-mail to friend

Dancing Dreams Come to Earth at Jacob's Pillow

by James Panero

Posted: Jul 25, 2014 11:52 AM


Jacob's Pillow, the legendary summer dance festival in Becket, Massachusetts founded in 1933, has had a stirring start to 2014, with dance that stands on its own two feet. On the second stage of the Doris Duke Theatre, Dorrance Dance tapped out a sold-out two-week run. Meanwhile on the main stage at the Ted Shawn Theatre, New York City Ballet principal dancer Daniel Ulbricht directed several teammates from his NYCB squad in the enigmatically titled "Ballet 2014."

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From Super to Nuts

by James Bowman

Posted: Jul 24, 2014 10:12 AM

Marvel Comics' new Thor

The other day Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post, had an interesting piece in the paper inspired by the new movie Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. In it, she asked why, much as she admired the film, it fell into a now-familiar pattern of “darkening” in movie adaptations  stories and characters that began life in comic books or the equivalent. “Dawn’s funereal tone,” she wrote, “seems to be the norm these days, especially for reboots of legacy franchises that, in their efforts not to succumb to sentimental nostalgia or trivialized camp, succumb to amped-up carnage and inflated self-seriousness instead.” Ms Hornaday suggests several reasons why this might be so, among them the fact that “they flatter the sensibilities of studios and the executives who greenlight these projects, reassuring them that their core competency—raiding their and others’ archives for valuable ‘pre-sold’ source material—can be one of gravitas and meaning, rather than simple repurposing of pop signifiers.”

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Don Quixote: Elegant high jinks

by Jay Nordlinger

Posted: Jul 23, 2014 11:41 AM

Don Quixote; Photo via Lincoln Center

Last night at the Koch Theater, we had Don Quixote from the Bolshoi Ballet.  This was an offering in the Lincoln Center Festival.  It turned out to be a fine offering.  Sparkling, even.

There are many Don Quixotes about.  There’s the tone poem by Strauss (with solo parts for cello and viola).  There’s the song cycle by Ravel.  There’s the opera by Massenet. 

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The Spiritual Home of the Hudson River School

by James Panero

Posted: Jul 22, 2014 05:00 PM

South Facade of the main house at Olana by Stan Ries 2009

South Facade of the main house at Olana. Photo: Stan Ries

The spiritual home of the Hudson River School is Olana, the homestead of Frederic Church, located on a 250-acre hilltop outside Hudson, New York. Thanks to the long-term efforts of the Olana Partnership, Church's theatrical house, designed by Church and Calvert Vaux in a colorful blend of Middle-Eastern styles, joins the grounds in a remarkable state of preservation. With sweeping views of the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains, Olana is best appreciated in summer, when it feels like you are walking inside a lush nineteen-century landscape.

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Dispatches from Tanglewood: No.1

by Eric C. Simpson

Posted: Jul 22, 2014 03:01 PM

Edward Gardner, leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra on 7.18.14; photo by Hilary Scott, viaBSO

I was wary going into the Boston Symphony Orchestra's Friday night concert at Tanglewood, which featured Edward Gardner as the conductor and the baritone Thomas Hampson as the guest artist. Hampson has lately not been sounding as secure as he once did, and Gardner led some uninspired and even shaky performances in New York this past year.

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In Case You Missed It

by Christine Emba

Posted: Jul 18, 2014 11:50 AM

Links of interest from the past week:

Books are alive
Ned Resnikoff, The Baffler

Carter Cleveland says art in the future will be for everyone
Carter Cleveland, Wall Street Journal

School for a scoundrel
Bettany Hughes, The New York Times

Wagner’s Anti-Semitism Still Matters
James Loeffler, The New Republic

Virginia Woolf's idea of privacy
Joshua Rothman, The New Yorker

From our pages:

To encroach upon a mockingbird
Jasmine Horsey

E-mail to friend

Don’t forget the music (Tchaikovsky didn’t)

by Jay Nordlinger

Posted: Jul 17, 2014 12:06 PM

Ruslan Skvorstsov and Maria Alexandrova of the Bolshoi Ballet; Source: Ian Gavan/Getty Images Europe 

This month, the Bolshoi is a guest of the Lincoln Center Festival. When I say “the Bolshoi,” I mean the opera and ballet companies, complete with orchestra and chorus. Last night, the appropriate forces performed Swan Lake at the Koch Theater.

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To Encroach Upon a Mockingbird

by Jasmine Horsey

Posted: Jul 16, 2014 03:37 PM

Harper Lee; Photo Credit: Katy Winn/Corbis, via

The release of The Mockingbird Next Door, a long-awaited biography of celebrated novelist Harper Lee, was clouded on July 14th when Lee issued the following statement: “Rest assured, as long as I am alive any book purporting to be with my cooperation is a falsehood.” Lee’s words came despite author Marja Mills’s assertion that the biography was written with the full support of Lee and her sister, Alice. 

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The New Criterion

About ArmaVirumque


( AHR-mah wih-ROOM-kweh)


In the Aeneid, the Roman poet Virgil sang of "arms and a man" (Arma virumque cano). Month in and month out, The New Criterion expounds with great clarity and wit on the art, culture, and political controversies of our times. With postings of reviews, essays, links, recs, and news, Armavirumque seeks to continue this mission in accordance with the timetable of the digital age.


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