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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 »

America’s Fat Knight

Harold Bloom, who died in October at age eighty-nine, was The Last Great American Literary Critic. The Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale, he wrote best sellers, appeared on talk shows, and collected honorary doctorates like lint. Bloom championed the Western Canon against its critics, . . . . Continue Reading »

Virtuous Evildoers

At the end of Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, Brutus and ­Cassius, the conspirators who had assassinated Caesar, are themselves dead. Brutus has, in fact, fallen upon his sword rather than face capture by the armies of Octavius and Mark Antony. Brutus was bad enough to betray and murder a . . . . Continue Reading »

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