Against the Grain: The New Criterion on Art and Intellect at the End of the Twentieth Century

Overview

"As a critical periodical The New Criterion is probably more consistently worth reading than any other magazine in English."—Julian Symons, Times Literary Supplement. Since its founding in 1982, The New Criterion has emerged as the foremost voice of critical dissent in the culture wars now raging throughout American society. Against the Grain brings together more than forty of the magazine's most incisive essays, challenging radical orthodoxies on a wide range of controversial subjects, from the philosophy of Michel Foucault to the art of Anselm
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Overview

"As a critical periodical The New Criterion is probably more consistently worth reading than any other magazine in English."—Julian Symons, Times Literary Supplement. Since its founding in 1982, The New Criterion has emerged as the foremost voice of critical dissent in the culture wars now raging throughout American society. Against the Grain brings together more than forty of the magazine's most incisive essays, challenging radical orthodoxies on a wide range of controversial subjects, from the philosophy of Michel Foucault to the art of Anselm Kiefer to the rationale of multiculturalism. Samuel Lipman writes on the future of classical music, Hilton Kramer on the plight of today's art museum, Joseph Epstein on the poet C. P Cavafy, and Roger Kimball on the treason of the intellectuals, as well as John Simon on Vladimir Nabokov and Donald Lyons on Angels in America. The collection contains thoughtful reevaluations of Henry James, Jean Genet, Harold Laski, A. E. Housman, Willem de Kooning, and Frederick Douglass. Written with wit, clarity, and fierce independence, Against the Grain is a major contribution to sanity and common sense on the most contentious cultural issues of the day.
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Editorial Reviews

New York Times
This is an immensely literate collection...full of controversy and opinion. It is sure to provoke, instruct, amuse and raise hackles.
— Andrea Barnet
The Wall Street Journal - Paul Johnson
Upholds the highest civilized standards in our culture...no one who reads this volume can be in any doubt what the cultural war in the U.S. is all about, or who ought to win.
The New York Times - Andrea Barnet
This is an immensely literate collection...full of controversy and opinion. It is sure to provoke, instruct, amuse and raise hackles.
Virginia Quarterly Review
These insightful essays are perhaps the best examples of how discussing a timely subject can open up timeless vistas on a perennial problem.
Wall Street Journal
Upholds the highest civilized standards in our culture...no one who reads this volume can be in any doubt what the cultural war in the U.S. is all about, or who ought to win.
— Johnson, Paul
Paul Johnson
Upholds the highest civilized standards in our culture...no one who reads this volume can be in any doubt what the cultural war in the U.S. is all about, or who ought to win. Wall Street Journal
Virginia Quarterly Review
These insightful essays are perhaps the best examples of how discussing a timely subject can open up timeless vistas on a perennial problem.
Library Journal
This second collection of essays (1989-94), culled from the pages of the New Criterion (after The New Criterion Reader: The First Five Years, Free Pr., 1987), covers a wide range of topics touching on contemporary culture, specifically, higher education and the arts. A number of the selections seem nothing more than acerbic darts against the cultural (read "leftist") establishment. Many of the noted contributors, however (including Brad Leithauser, Joseph Epstein, Martin Greenberg, David Frum, and Hilton Kramer), use their forum for fair and justified critiques of the cultural hegemony perpetrated upon the arts and the academy in recent years. Offering an intellectually stimulating counterpoint to the politically charged rhetoric often found in the cultural wars, these essays, which envision a return to the conservatism of Thomas Carlyle in matters of art and education, emphasize aesthetics and continuity rather than transient political necessity. Highly recommended for public and academic collections, particularly those that do not subscribe to the New Criterion.Martin R. Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Institution Libs., Washington, D.C.
The Wall Street Journal
Upholds the highest civilized standards in our culture...no one who reads this volume can be in any doubt what the cultural war in the U.S. is all about, or who ought to win.
— Paul Johnson, Bowling Green State University
The New York Times
This is an immensely literate collection...full of controversy and opinion. It is sure to provoke, instruct, amuse and raise hackles.
— Andrea Barnet
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566630702
  • Publisher: Ivan R Dee
  • Publication date: 2/28/1995
  • Pages: 477
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet the Author

Hilton Kramer is editor of The New Criterion and author, most recently, of The Twilight of the Intellectuals. Roger Kimball is managing editor of The New Criterion and author of The Long March, Experiments Against Reality, and Tenured Radicals. Together Messrs. Kramer and Kimball have also edited The Future of the European Past, and The Betrayal of Liberalism.
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Table of Contents

Introduction
The Treason of the Intellectuals 3
The Culture of Classical Music Today 13
Has Success Spoiled the Art Museum? 34
Robert Hughes and the Flaying of America 45
Literature and Politics in Latin America 51
What Is at Stake in the "Battle of the Books"? 67
Studying the Arts and the Humanities: What Can Be Done? 74
Back to the Sixties with Spin Doctor Graff 82
The Case against Martin Bernal 91
Houston Baker, Jr.: Another Sun Person Heard From 101
The Sobol Report: Multiculturalism Triumphant 109
When Reason Sleeps: The Academy vs. Science 123
Willem de Kooning at 90 137
A Dissent on Kiefer 144
Other People's Music: Corigliano at the Met 153
Jennifer Bartlett and the Crisis of Public Art 165
Stuffed: Mike Kelley at the Hirshhorn 169
The Trouble with "Angels" 173
The Best and the Worst of Louise Bourgeois 179
Betraying a Legacy: The Case of the Barnes Foundation 186
The Perversions of Michel Foucault 195
G.B.S.: The Life of George Bernard Shaw 208
Raymond Williams in Retrospect 222
Tough Buttons: The Difficult Gertrude Stein 233
The Many Lives of Frederick Douglass 236
John Maynard Keynes: The Nietzsche of Economics 251
The Importance of T.E. Lawrence 258
Max Beerbohm: A Prodigy of Parody 276
Walter Gieseking Plays Ravel and Debussy 282
Mary McCarthy and Company 287
A Footnote for Housman 295
Vladimir Nabokov: The Russian Years 307
The "Ecstasy" of Jean Baudrillard 322
Andrew Motion's Philip Larkin 336
C. P. Cavafy: A Poet in History 343
The Poetry of Robert Graves 355
Jean Genet: The Apostle of Inversion 366
The Career of Harold Laski 372
Arnaldo Momigliano and the Human Sources of History 385
"The Two Cultures" Today 391
Selling Henry James 400
O Pioneers! Picasso and Braque 1907-1914 416
A Defense of Translation 425
Returning to the Founders: The Debate on the Constitution 438
Contributors 447
Index 451
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