Starlight in Hell

From the June/July 2009 Print Edition

One cannot say with assurance that Russia has outdone all other modern nations in cruelty; the competition is just too stiff. Nevertheless, the memorabilia of inhumanity with a Russian face are indelible: the birch, the knout, the Cossack’s saber, the cattle car, the Arctic slave-labor camp, the . . . . Continue Reading »

What Hath God Wrought?

From the April 2006 Print Edition

“And having food and raiment let us be therewith content . . . . For the love of money is the root of all evil.” St. Paul’s admonition to Timothy rings with the hard ascetic fervor that one has come to think of as distinctively Christian. Of course, certain of Paul’s successors . . . . Continue Reading »

Spirit in the Abstract

From the January 2006 Print Edition

The last American painters of colossal spiritual ambition were such artists as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky, Clyfford Still, Adolph Gottlieb, Robert Motherwell”the Abstract Expressionists. It is chiefly the scale of this ambition that unites . . . . Continue Reading »

Fleeting Light

From the January 2005 Print Edition

Voltaire in Exile by Ian Davidson Grove, 326 pp. $24 If a person of faith troubles to think of Voltaire (1694“1778) at all these days, it is most likely as the village atheist: shoveling scorn in Candide on Leibniz’s sunny theodicy that proclaims this the best of all possible worlds, . . . . Continue Reading »

Malignant Genius

From the November 2004 Print Edition

Nietzsche and Music By George Liébert University of Chicago Press, 291 pp. $25 Sex-Devoted Heart: Sex and the Sacred in Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde By Roger Scruton Oxford University Press, 238 pp. $25 Friedrich Nietzsche (1844“1900) was the nineteenth century’s most . . . . Continue Reading »