by James Bowman
“The law supposes that your wife acts under your direction.”
When at the end of Oliver Twist, Mr. Bumble the Beadle is informed of what was formerly known as the Principle of Coverture under English Common Law, he replied in words that have echoed down the years since his own time: “If the law supposes that,” said the Beadle, “the law is a ass — a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is that his eye may be opened by experience — by experience.” The Principle of Coverture was abolished in England by the Married Women’s Property Act of 1882 and by various states in the US beginning in the 1830s. Interestingly, Virginia considered and rejected legislation to the same effect in the 1840s and only got around to getting rid of coverture after the Civil War. Some of my fellow Virginians may be wishing they’d left things as they were.
Do you remember this bit from the Constitution of the United States? [The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; . . . That’s so-called “Treaty Clause” from Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution. […]
Patricia Kopatchinskaja, via The New York Times
The resident orchestra may be the “main event” at the Mostly Mozart Festival, but the series of “Little Night Music” concerts in the Kaplan Penthouse is a hidden gem. Intimate, café-style seating, a spectacular view, complimentary wine for those who are so inclined: These are among the most relaxing and enjoyable concert experiences that New York has to offer. And occasionally, as happened last Thursday, the weather helps out with a few well-timed flashes of lightning for dramatic effect.
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Connoisseurs of obtuse moral idiocy have long cherished The New York Times. Is there any other contemporary organ of opinion that so reliably combines the odor of sanctimoniousness with a seamless adherence to “progressive” left-leaning orthodoxy? It’s not just the positions espoused by our former paper of record: it’s the combination of those echt correct […]
Marbling from an 1880 French book, via The Paris Review
Links from the past week:
The Enemies, and Friends, of the Humanities
Daniel Barenboim; photo by Karl Schoendorfer/REX, via the Daily Telegraph
There was a Wagner concert in the Great Festival Hall at the Salzburg Festival last night. Daniel Barenboim led the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and a cast of veteran singers in the Prelude, Act II, and Liebestod (“Love-Death”) from Tristan und Isolde. The festival gave this concert an intriguing name: “The Tristan und Isolde Project.” But people have been performing exactly this program from time immemorial. It’s what you do when you want to give a Tristan concert.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901). Divan Japonais. 1893. Lithograph
MOMA has mounted three major exhibitions of Toulouse-Lautrec’s work in the past, each separated by twenty or thirty years. Their most recent exhibition—“The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and Posters”—arrives just on schedule, following 1985’s “Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.”
Thirty years feels like the right amount of time to wait for a reappraisal; any longer would be risky. Toulouse-Lautrec needs defending as probably no other canonized artist of modern times does. His work has been so shamelessly vulgarized, imitations of his prints so often hung on the bathroom walls of overpriced French restaurants, that one is predisposed to look askance at his work and his reputation.
As Scott Johnson over at Powerline has noted, the Sixties seems to be making a comeback on the world stage. Consider Barack Obama’s pathetic response to the violence and racial posturing in Ferguson. “It was,” Johnson writes, “a statement full of the reigning leftist clichés, even retrieving the “anger” of “looting” and “carrying guns” from […]
Piotr Beczala; photo via Salzburger Festspiele / Marco Borrelli / Lelli
Piotr Beczala has for years been an opera star, and on Sunday night he had his turn upon the recital stage here at the Salzburg Festival. Beczala is a Polish tenor whose name is pronounced “Beck-SHAH-wah.” He owns a beautiful voice, and has a key ingredient for a singer, or a musician, or a person, for that matter: likability.
( AHR-mah wih-ROOM-kweh)
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