A recent headline in the New York Times announced: “Metropolitan Opera Says Its ‘Otello’ Tenor Will Not Wear Blackface.” Peter Gelb, the general manager of the Met, made clear that the decision not to use any dark makeup on its white tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko in the Met’s new production of Verdi’s opera is not confined to this production. According to Gelb, “That was a tradition that needed to be changed.”Read more
St. John’s College, one of the few remaining schools devoted to providing a liberal arts education through the careful study of the “Great Books,” is close to having uploaded all of the back issues of its famed academic journal, The St. John’s Review.Read more
For all of the just wars that have been fought over the cultural canon, one genuine benefit of the (still somewhat undulating) critical consensus is that it’s a pretty genuine aid for determining what you really needn’t bother reading right away. Or, as a professor once said while wielding Samuel Richardson’s 1,534-page doorstop Clarissa, “I’ve read it. You don’t have to.” So it is with most longitudinal surveys of literature.Read more
My quest for Symons—A. J. A. Symons, that is—began when, many years ago, I first read that strange novel Hadrian the Seventh (1904). Written by the so-called Baron Corvo, and admired by D. H. Lawrence, among others, the book opens with a magnificent description of a hack writer suffering from writer’s block:Read more
One of Germany’s most famous novelists penned a pro-Iranian regime and anti-Israel poem Wednesday in German and Italian daily newspapers, declaring the Jewish state the greatest threat to global security and denying the existence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.
For those interested in things Jewish, the formidable literary critic D. G. Myers has provided a terrific guide to the 38 best Jewish books of 2011, ranging from Jewish history to thought to literature.Read more
Ladbrokes of London, the famous British bookmaker, lists the Syrian-born poet Adonis as a 4 to 1 favorite to win this year’s Nobel Prize, due to be announced in the next few days. According to one Ladbrokes official, “I really think this is poetry’s year, and without a doubt, the politically correct choice would be Adonis.”Read more
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