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Contrapuntal Order

Around the start of the seventeenth century, a new sense of the word “harmony” emerged. To that point, harmony in music had been produced by the pleasing opposition of two melodies according to the principles of counterpoint. In the 1600s, “harmony” began to denote the non-melodic . . . . Continue Reading »

Epicurus Today

Oenoanda was an ancient town of modest size and middling prosperity, perched on the rugged hills above the River Xanthus in Lycia, now southwestern Turkey. It was here, sometime around the reign of Hadrian (a.d. 117–38), that a citizen named Diogenes erected a portico destined to bear one of the . . . . Continue Reading »

Perilous Directions

Pity the satirist: He labors under a double burden. There is, first and foremost, the need to be funny. Whatever kind of laughter the satirist conjures—whether it be queasy or full-out—the jokes have to land. Comedians have no safety net, and the ground is hard-packed. Then there is the . . . . Continue Reading »

Learning Latin

Some people acquire foreign languages more easily than others. I, alas, am one of those others. I cannot truly say that I have possession of any foreign language. I have perhaps two hundred or so words of Yiddish—just enough to fool the Gentiles into thinking I know the language, but not . . . . Continue Reading »

Replace the Elite

Michael Lind’s The New Class War is sure to be one of the most important political books of the new decade. Like many recent publications, The New Class War explains the rise of populism and the decline of liberalism across the West. But it succeeds where others fail. The . . . . Continue Reading »

Marriage of Genius

In the summer of 1970, Elizabeth Hardwick may have been the best nonfiction prose writer in America, just as Jim Hines was the fastest man alive and Joe Frazier was the heavyweight champion of the world. She was the queen mother of the New York Review of Books, one of its four cofounders and . . . . Continue Reading »

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