Gods and Gopniks

From the May 2014 Print Edition

Journalism is the art of translating abysmal ignorance into execrable prose. At least, that is its purest and most minimal essence. There are, of course, practitioners of the trade who possess talents of a higher order—the rare ability, say, to produce complex sentences and coherent . . . . Continue Reading »

The Nietzsche of Recanati

From the May 2014 Print Edition

Zibaldoneby giacomo leoparditranslated by kathleen baldwin, richard dixon, david gibbons, ann goldstein, gerard slowey, martin thom, and pamela williamsedited by michael caesar and franco d’intinofarrar, straus and giroux, 2,592 pages, $75In the history of Italian literature, arguably only . . . . Continue Reading »

The Love of Wisdom

From the April 2014 Print Edition

I went in at the sign of The Temulent Termagant (a frowsy slattern asplay in a shallow ditch along the wayside, with toes pointing upward, cheeks feverishly flushed, hair and bonnet and skirts wildly disordered, and a fist angrily raised at a rachitic child hobbling by on crutches). A . . . . Continue Reading »

Roland on Consciousness

From the March 2014 Print Edition

Afew months ago, the morning before my eldest brother was to return home to Norway after a long visit, I dreamed that I had just awakened in the early light of dawn to find my dog Roland sitting at the end of my bed, a bar of softly glaucous shadow—cast by the central casement frame of my . . . . Continue Reading »

From a Lost World

From the January 2014 Print Edition

This year, of course, we mark the centenary of the beginning of the end. It was in July of 1914 that European civilization entered its final death throes, the last convulsions of which would not subside for more than thirty years. After that, not even the illusions remained. The great Western . . . . Continue Reading »

Emergence and Formation

From the November 2013 Print Edition

A few months ago, I began reading a book by the sociologist Christian Smith called What Is a Person?—concerning which, though it is very interesting, I have nothing of consequence to report just at the moment. I mention it here only because its early chapters reminded me of a topic upon which I . . . . Continue Reading »

Dante Decluttered

From the November 2013 Print Edition

The Divine Comedy  by dante alighieri  translated by clive james  liveright, 560 pages, $29.95 For me, the appearance of Dan Brown’s newest Robert Langdon novel, its dust jacket adorned with Dante’s flinty profile and a misappropriated title, poses a purely historical . . . . Continue Reading »