Review: Louis Menand’s “The Free World”

In many ways, the book also reads as a eulogy to a liberal, liberalizing, and internationalist America.”

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The Two-faces of Classical Music: Criticism Good, Bad, and Ugly

(Wikipedia Commons)

Why, after all, should it be ‘pro-test,’ and not ‘de-test’? Protest once meant to give testimony in pro of something good, over and against something corrupt.”

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Sir Roger Scruton’s Wagner

(Ken Howard/Met Opera)

“Scruton loved Wagner. The two were a match made in heaven, or hell, depending on your perspective and appreciation of irony.”

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Virgil’s War and Peace

“The Meeting of Dido and Aeneas” by Sir Nathaniel Dance-Holland (1735–1811)

“Two millennia later, we are still warring over the meaning of Virgil’s Aeneid.”

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Odysseus: the First Western Man

J. M. W. Turner’s “Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus”

“Odysseus is the first recognizably Western man.”

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In Every Time and Every Place: the Political Nuance of “Legend of Galactic Heroes”

“This is not a clear-cut struggle between good and evil, especially when enemies could come from within as well as without. Rather…it is a war between one good and another.”

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How “Ms .45” and Zoë Lund Paved Abel Ferrara’s Way

Ferrara and Lund (“Ms .45” / 1981)

“In the end, these are movies about redemption and what it means to be redeemed, whatever the struggle in getting there.”

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Review: Michael Shnayerson’s “Bugsy Siegel”

Jewish Lives

“It is a short and gripping panorama of life in 1920s-1940s America, that defining epoch of struggle and stardom, hardship and grandeur, fortune and bankruptcy—and Bugsy Siegel experienced it all.”

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Review: Jan Swafford’s “Mozart: The Reign of Love”

“The problem is that this story of Mozart that we think we know is not true at all; thankfully, Jan Swafford is here to correct the problem.”

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Review: “The Klondike Bake-Oven Deaths”

“In a novel to be released later this month, Hornblum—perhaps best known for his 1998 non-fiction book Acres of Skin, which centers on different events at Holmesburg Prison—retells the calamitous events of August, 1938.”

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What Ortega y Gasset and Orwell Both Foresaw

(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

“Both Ortega and Orwell concluded that the Left was in trouble as a result of these developments, and their analyses and diagnoses pointed the way forward to the situation we have today in the West.”

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The Moral Philosophy of Plutarch

While not all of his essays are explicitly moral in orientation, nearly all of Plutarch’s essays have moral instruction and guidance baked into them.”

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Review: Nicholas McDowell’s “Poet of Revolution: The Making of John Milton”

(Stock Montage/Getty Images)

As McDowell suggests, it was the liberating and open environment of humanist education that moved Milton more than any theological or political zeal, and it seized Milton at an early age.”

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Don’t Cancel the Classics—We Need Them More Than Ever

(Francesco Solimena’s “Priam in the Tent of Achilles”)

Those who are adamant that love will trump hate, heal the world, and divinize us are not articulating anything new. The Greeks are still singing to us the songs of humanistic love as the spirit that will heal the world.”

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Beware the Interpreter: “Hillbilly Elegy” as a Prime Example

(Netflix)

Vance’s critics could benefit from a basic overview of the difference between a primary and secondary source, and between the personal and the systemic.”

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