Category Archives: Commentary

Opinion or analysis concerning whatever’s on my mind.

Sancho Panza Appreciates a Nip of Good Wine

Sancho Panza takes a memorable pull from a companion’s proffered wineskin (“bota”) in this scene from part 2 of “Don Quijote.” Y diciendo esto, se la puso en las manos a Sancho, el cual, empinándola, puesta a la boca, estuvo … Continue reading

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‘Hotch-Potch of the Pure and the Impure’

Some of my most compelling reading is that which others do for me. Here is a quotation shared with me today by a blogger who consumes more good literature than I can shake a stick at. “…that there is no … Continue reading

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Praise Be!

“Jesus Is My Air Plane”: When a great title meets its maker. A big, juicy exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts turns an embracing eye on Black artists in the American South. (Holland Cotter, “Art Meets Its Soundtrack … Continue reading

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Jane Kaufman

The savory quotation that leaps from this obituary of artist Jane Kaufman (1938 – 2021) is from Holland Cotter’s review of a 2008 retrospective at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, N.Y. “It’s funky, funny, fussy, perverse, obsessive, riotous, accumulative, … Continue reading

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Pausing to Remark

A former associate stumbled upon this blog recently and wrote to me. She had read some older posts in which I challenged certain language practice encountered in published articles. It’s true I experimented for a time with adopting the persona … Continue reading

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‘Art Has Many Mansions’

The NYTimes, as well, has sumptuous reportage on this exhibit of Medici-sponsored artworks. The portraits have a preternatural technical brilliance that’s otherworldly. “Laura Battiferri,” fingering her legible volume of Petrarch, is a creature contrived from mannerist lunacy. An interesting wrinkle … Continue reading

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The Moncrieff Proust

C. K. Scott Moncrieff (1889 – 1930) published the early-twentieth-century English version of Marcel Proust’s “A la Recherche du Temps Perdu.” Adam Gopnik reviews the first full-length biography of Moncrieff by Jean Findlay, “Chasing Lost Time: The Life of C. … Continue reading

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UK Sculptor: Hard Row to Hoe

It will be [a shrine], but not for art lovers. Or for anyone who is easily embarrassed. Perhaps not even for Diana’s sincerest believers, for the statue group’s emotive symbolism is undermined by its aesthetic awfulness. In style it breathes … Continue reading

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Write Infrequently, If Possible?

… Unlike many great twentieth-century writers, who saw truth in despair, Milosz’s experiences convinced him that poetry must not darken the world but illuminate it: “Poems should be written rarely and reluctantly, / under unbearable duress and only with the … Continue reading

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How to Act

“You talk and I listen; then I talk and you listen. That’s how it works.” (90-year-old actor Robert Duvall on the art of acting, interviewed by Stephen Colbert, June 2021) Duvall’s peer Clint Eastwood is credited with expressing his technique … Continue reading

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