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The New Criterion

The New Criterion is probably more consistently worth reading than any other magazine in English.
- The Times Literary Supplement



"Painting Tranquility," at Scandinavia House

by Franklin Einspruch

Posted: Jan 21, 2016 11:14 AM

Vilhelm Hammershøi, Amalienborg Palace Square, Copenhagen1896, Courtesy of the National Gallery of Denmark

Artists betray their amateurishness with promiscuous use of color more than any other lapse of taste. The reasoning goes: I love color, I shall use all available in great intensities. In practice it ends in disaster. One might as well express one’s love of sex by trying to have it with everybody.

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Ctrl-F enlightenment

by Walker Mimms

Posted: Jan 19, 2016 10:11 AM

I recently wrote about a book that puts too much faith in the growing digitization of English departments (exempli gratia). And I’ve just finished another book that gets it right. A curious new volume by Brad Pasanek at the University of Virginia purports to be a study of eighteenth-century writers and poetry but is really about its own radical methodology, which, for better and worse, is probably what most scholarship will look like a hundred years from now.[1]

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Good-bye national honor

by James Bowman

Posted: Jan 15, 2016 01:41 PM

Alan Rickman as Hamlet, via

                        Am I a coward?
Who calls me villain, breaks my pate across,
Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face,
Tweaks me by th’nose, gives me the lie i’th’throat
As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this?
Hah? ‘Swounds, I should take it; for it cannot be
But I am pigeon-livered and lack gall
To make oppression bitter, or ere this
I should ‘a’ fatted all the region kites
With this slave’s offal.

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Week in review

by Benjamin Riley

Posted: Jan 15, 2016 10:40 AM

Leonardo da Vinci, St. John the Baptist, 1513–16, Louvre Museum, Paris


Recent links of note:

An adult has finally intervened in the childish Cecil Rhodes debate
Douglas Murray, The Spectator
Last week we lamented the movement afoot at Oxford to wash away history by quite literally tearing down statues of Cecil Rhodes. As in Macbeth, the "remove Rhodes" gambit "is a tale/ Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury/ Signifying nothing." Despair not, however. As Douglas Murray tells it, a mature and dissenting voice has emerged in the personage of Chris Patten, Chancellor of Oxford University. His reply to the aggrieved? "Think about being educated elsewhere."

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A new friend, by Rimsky-Korsakov

by Jay Nordlinger

Posted: Jan 14, 2016 11:41 AM

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, via wikimedia commons

Last week, Eric Simpson and I did a podcast, discussing the upcoming music season. Or, I should say, the second half of the season—the 2015–16 classical-music season in New York. I think of a music season as like an academic year: divided into two semesters. In music, the second semester is longer than the first—considerably longer.

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Spring music preview with Eric Simpson and Jay Nordlinger

by Andrew Shea

Posted: Jan 12, 2016 03:10 PM

The New Criterion assistant editor Eric Simpson and music critic Jay Nordlinger sat down last week to discuss the upcoming highlights of New York's spring music calendar. Listen here via The New Criterion soundcloud page to hear their recommendations.

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Week in review

by Benjamin Riley

Posted: Jan 08, 2016 01:12 PM

François Fouquet (1787–1870), Model of the Tomb of Mausolus at Halicarnassus, early 19th century, plaster of Paris, height 25 cm (of glass case). Sir John Soane’s Museum, London

Recent links of note:

A short history of statue-toppling
Martin Gayford, The Spectator
The news has now reached our fair shores: Rhodes must fall. Not the island, of course. (In a way, that fell a long time ago.) No, the Rhodes in question is Cecil, that famous benefactor of scholarships. A movement has taken hold at Oxford to bring down Oriel College’s statue of that old colossus, owing to his crimes. The court of history has convicted him of “racism and imperialism,” and, like all historical figures, he is guilty mostly of not having been born in our contemporary times. So if Rhodes is to come down and endure a physical rustication (and let us be clear: he shouldn’t), at the very least we should understand the history of statue-toppling. Martin Gayford offers just that in The Spectator.

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The family Barber

by James Panero

Posted: Jan 07, 2016 11:19 AM


Last season at the Metropolitan it was “Il Barbiere di Siviglia.” This season, it was “Barber of Seville.” For the holidays, the Metropolitan Opera presented an abridged, English language, “family-friendly” adaptation of this 1816 warhorse of the bel canto repertoire. Does that mean it was a Reader’s Digest Rossini? Far from it. From Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts to the “Family Saturdays” now produced by the New York City Ballet, family friendliness must not always be the enemy of music. As the Met demonstrated a decade ago with its abridged “Magic Flute,” this season’s Barber revealed that even great opera can, sometimes, go in for a trim.

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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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March 29, 2016

Friends and Young Friends Event: The Climate Surprise

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