Mark Ford on Joni Mitchell October 26, 2017 / Volume LXIV, Number 16 Lisa Appignanesi on Freud Nathaniel Rich on Salman Rushdie Peter Brown on Augustine The President’s Minders by James Mann Tory Europhiles Outsider Art Stalin at the Movies Vivian Maier Viv A Ph Photographer’s Life and Afterlife The Testing Charade Pamela Bannos Pam Pretending to Make Schools Better “Ban “Bannos oﬀers a clear-eyed investigation of Maier’s life, aiming to penetrate the myths surrounding her and to assess her stature as an artist. . . . In alternating chapters, she juxtaposes Maier’s biography with her chap afterlife. . . . A sympathetic portrait of an artist who after remains elusive.”—Kirkus Reviews rema Daniel Koretz Cloth $35.00 “Koretz demonstrates that high-stakes testing has corrupted instruction, led educators to cut corners and even cheat, and produced sham increases in scores, while yielding precious little in the way of real improvements in student learning. The Testing Charade is accessible, riveting, and spot-on. Please put this important book on your must-read list.” —John Merrow, author of Addicted to Reform Cloth $25.00 Henry David Thoreau A Life Laura Dassow Walls “Luminous. . . . Through Walls’s biography, Thoreau once more challenges us to see, with his passion and intensity, the world in all its cruelty and its splendour, riddled with human lies and abundant in natural truths.”—Financial Times Cloth $35.00 The Red Atlas How the Soviet Union Secretly Mapped the World John Davies and Alexander J. Kent With a Foreword by James Risen “Amazing. . . . Carefully researched, well-written, and exquisitely designed and printed, The Red Atlas is perhaps the only recent map history that can be called a real eye-opener.”—Mark Monmonier, author of How to Lie with Maps Cloth $35.00 Giza and the Pyramids Dinner with Darwin The Deﬁnitive History Food, Drink, and Evolution Mark Lehner and Zahi Hawass Jonathan Silvertown “Giza and the Pyramids is an extraordinary treatment of these fascinating monuments, and of the complexity of archaeological remains that surround them.” —David O’Connor, Institute of Fine Arts at New York University “A series of beautifully plated amuse-bouche, raising tantalizing, and rich ideas. . . . The book left me feeling as if I had attended a dinner party, where foodies, historians, and scientists mingled, sharing vignettes.”—Science Cloth $75.00 Cloth $27.50 The Aeneid Virgil Nature’s Fabric Translated by David Ferry Leaves in Science and Culture David Ferry—a National Book Award–winning poet and a brilliant translator of Augustan Latin—gives us a new Virgil for a new generation. Never before have Virgil’s twin gifts of poetic language and ﬂeet storytelling been presented so powerfully for English– language readers. “In this fascinating and original book, Lee leads us poetically through the medium of leaves to unimagined insights into our world, why we should care about it, and how best to love it.”—Peter H. Raven, president emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden Cloth $35.00 David Lee Cloth $35.00 THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS www.press.uchicago.edu d Contents 6 12 James Mann Ruth Margalit 16 20 Robert O. Paxton Sanford Schwartz 24 28 30 33 36 39 42 45 47 Robyn Creswell Peter Green Jed Perl Nathaniel Rich Lisa Appignanesi Stephen Kotkin Helen Vendler Peter Brown Colin Thubron 50 53 55 David Bromwich Helene Cooper Neal Ascherson 57 63 65 66 Mark Ford Ian Johnson Marianne Boruch Ferdinand Mount 69 Letters from The Adults in the Room Menashe a ﬁlm directed by Joshua Z. Weinstein Srugim a television series created by Laizy Shapiro and Havvah Deevon The Nazi-Fascist New Order for European Culture by Benjamin G. Martin Eugen Gabritschevsky: 1893–1979 an exhibition at the American Folk Art Museum, New York City Catalog of the exhibition edited by Antoine de Galbert, Noëlig Le Roux, Sarah Lombardi, and Valérie Rousseau The Conference of the Birds by Attar, translated from the Persian by Sholeh Wolpé An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic by Daniel Mendelsohn Donald Judd Writings edited by Flavin Judd and Caitlin Murray The Golden House by Salman Rushdie Freud: The Making of an Illusion by Frederick Crews Stalin at the Movies Half- light: Collected Poems 1965–2016 by Frank Bidart Confessions by Augustine, translated from the Latin by Sarah Ruden Black Dragon River: A Journey Down the Amur River at the Borderlands of Empires by Dominic Ziegler On Empson by Michael Wood Another Fine Mess: America, Uganda, and the War on Terror by Helen C. Epstein Tumult by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, translated from the German by Mike Mitchell New Selected Poems by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, translated from the German by David Constantine, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Michael Hamburger, and Esther Kinsky and two other books by or about Hans Magnus Enzensberger Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell by David Yaffe Sexual Life in Modern China Poem First Confession: A Sort of Memoir by Chris Patten Kind of Blue: A Political Memoir by Ken Clarke Allan Lichtman, Noah Feldman and Jacob Weisberg, E. Haberkern, Bill Roller and Philip Zimbardo, Colin Jones, Henrik Otterberg, and Albert J. Ammerman CONTRIBUTORS LISA APPIGNANESI is Chair of the Royal Society of Literature and former Chair of the Trustees of the Freud Museum in London. She is the author of Mad, Bad, and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors, among other books. NEAL ASCHERSON is the author of Black Sea, Stone Voices: The Search for Scotland, and the novel Death of the Frosac. He is an Honorary Professor at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. MARIANNE BORUCH’s most recent books are Eventually One Dreams the Real Thing, a collection of poems, and The Little Death of Self: Nine Essays Toward Poetry. DAVID BROMWICH is Sterling Professor of English at Yale. Moral Imagination, a collection of his essays, was recently published in paperback. PETER BROWN is the Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor of History Emeritus at Princeton. His books include Augustine of Hippo: A Biography and, most recently, Treasure in Heaven: The Holy Poor in Early Christianity. HELENE COOPER is a Pentagon Correspondent with The New York Times. She is the author of The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood and Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. ROBYN CRESWELL is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Yale and the Poetry Editor of The Paris Review. MARK FORD’s latest book is Thomas Hardy: Half a Londoner. He teaches in the English Department at University College London. PETER GREEN is Dougherty Centennial Professor Emeritus of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin and Adjunct Professor at the University of Iowa. His books include The Hellenistic Age: A Short History and a translation of the Iliad. His translation of the Odyssey is forthcoming. IAN JOHNSON reports from Beijing and Berlin. His new book, The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao, was published in April. He received the 2016 Shorenstein Journalism Award. STEPHEN KOTKIN is the John P. Birkelund Professor in History and International Affairs at Princeton and a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. His essay in this issue is adapted from Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929–1941, which will be published in October by Penguin. JAMES MANN is a Fellow-in-Residence at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. His books include The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House to Redeﬁne American Power and Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet. RUTH MARGALIT’s writing has appeared in The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine, among other publications. She grew up in Israel. FERDINAND MOUNT is the former Editor of The Times Literary Supplement. His books include The New Few: A Very British Oligarchy and, most recently, English Voices: Lives, Landscapes, Laments. ROBERT O. PAXTON is Mellon Professor of Social Science at Columbia and the author of Vichy France and The Anatomy of Fascism, among other works. JED PERL’s Calder: The Conquest of Time, the ﬁrst volume of his biography of the American sculptor, has just been published. NATHANIEL RICH is the author of Odds Against Tomorrow and The Mayor’s Tongue. His novel King Zeno will be published in January. SANFORD SCHWARTZ is the author of Christen Købke and William Nicholson. COLIN THUBRON is a President Emeritus of the Royal Society of Literature and the author of The Lost Heart of Asia, Shadow of the Silk Road, and, most recently, Night of Fire, a novel. HELEN VENDLER is the Arthur Kingsley Porter University Professor in the Department of English at Harvard. Her latest book is The Ocean, the Bird, and the Scholar, a collection of her most recent essays. Editor: Ian Buruma Deputy Editor: Michael Shae Senior Editors: Eve Bowen, Gabriel Winslow-Yost Prudence Crowther, Julie Just Senior Editor, Poetry: Jana Prikryl Contributing Editor: Ann Kjellberg Assistant Editor: Andrew Katzenstein Founding Editors: Robert B. Silvers (1929–2017) Barbara Epstein (1928–2006) Publisher: Rea S. Hederman Associate Publisher: Catherine Tice Advertising Director: Lara Frohlich Andersen Max Nelson and Liza Batkin, Editorial Assistants; Nick Binnette, Editorial Intern; Sylvia Lonergan, Researcher; Katie Jefferis and John Thorp, Type Production; Janet Noble, Cover Production; Kazue Soma Jensen, Production; Maryanne Chaney, Web Production Coordinator; Michael King, Technical Director; Ty Anania, Advertising Associate, Classiﬁeds and Special Listings; Nicholas During, Publicity; Nancy Ng, Design Director; Janice Fellegara, Director of Marketing and Planning; Andrea Moore, Assistant Circulation Manager; Matthew Howard, Editorial Director, Digital; Angela Hederman, Special Projects; Diane R. Seltzer, Ofﬁce Manager/List Manager; Patrick Hederman, Rights; Margarette Devlin, Comptroller; Pearl Williams and Erin Schwartz, Assistant Comptrollers; Teddy Wright, Receptionist; Microﬁlm and Microcard Services: NAPC, 300 North Zeeb Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48106. NYRDaily Matt Seaton, Editor; Gabriel Winslow-Yost, Assistant Editor; Lucy McKeon, NYR Gallery Editor. THE EDGE OF ART nybooks.com/daily » J. Hoberman: A Plague of Trumps » Francine Prose: Mother! and Me » Zack Hatﬁeld: The Garden of Ruth Asawa » Glenn Ligon: Black and Blue Plus: Darryl Pinckney on race and immigration, Tim Parks on consciousness, and more THE RUSSIAN QUESTION LOST KINGDOM THE QUEST FOR EMPIRE AND THE M A K I N G O F T H E R U S S I A N N AT I O N SERHII PLOKHY “Internationally acclaimed historian Serhii Plokhy knows his subject like few others, and he writes with aplomb and a keen eye for the ironies, contingencies, and tragedies of this history. A book that should be read by everyone seeking to understand Russia today.” —D OUGL AS SMITH, author of Rasputin “Serhii Plokhy does for Russia what only great historians can do—make the connections between the distant past and vital present feel relevant and alive. . . . Lost Kingdom is essential reading for those wishing to understand Russia beyond the headlines.” —GAR RY K ASPAROV, author of Winter Is Coming “A timely work of impeccable research that elucidates the Russian impulse toward regaining lost lands under a powerful myth of origins. . . . Plokhy continues to show that he is the master of this terrain.” —KI R KU S R EV I EWS The illustrations on the cover and on pages 6, 28, and 36 are by Siegfried Woldhek. The illustrations on pages 39 and 70 are by David Levine. The illustration on page 66 is by Gerald Scarfe. The artwork on page 32 by Donald Judd is © Judd Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. The New York Review of Books (ISSN 0028-7504), published 20 times a year, monthly in January, July, August, and September; semi-monthly in February, March, April, May, June, October, November, and December. NYREV, Inc., 435 Hudson Street, Suite 300, New York, NY 10014-3994. 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Lauer’s top-down economic history is a thorough, enlightening, and long-overdue contribution to the ﬁeld.” —Publishers Weekly Down and Out in New Orleans Transgressive Living in the Informal Economy PETER J. MARINA “[Marina’s] New Orleans is a lived-in, off-the-beaten-path place . . . The result is a work that will equally serve sociologists, anthropologists and those who are simply interested in seeing another side of one of the country’s most fascinating cities.” —The Times-Picayune Modern Slavery A Global Perspective SIDDHARTH KARA “For all my association with the world of slavery, I’ve never known anyone remotely like Siddharth Kara. He grounds the reader through statistics and deﬁnitions before launching into scenes more true than any statistic or deﬁnition could ever be. No reader, however carefully clad in hyperrationality, will emerge unchallenged and unchanged.” —Swanee Hunt, former U.S. Ambassador to Austria DISTRIBUTED BY COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS Hidden Atrocities Japanese War Criminals Japanese Germ Warfare and American Obstruction of Justice at the Tokyo Trial The Politics of Justice After the Second World War JEANNE GUILLEMIN “Full of memorable personalities, Hidden Atrocities is a documentary ‘whodunit’ that brings a disgraceful moment in history long erased by a shocking obstruction of justice back to vivid life.” —Ambassador Chas W. Freeman Jr., former U.S. assistant secretary of defense 4 SANDRA WILSON, ROBERT CRIBB, BEATRICE TREFALT, AND DEAN ASZKIELOWICZ WINNER OF THE 2017 GENERAL HISTORY PRIZE, STATE LIBRARY OF NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA The Australian Pursuit of Japanese War Criminals, 1943–1957 From Foe to Friend DEAN ASZKIELOWICZ “Aszkielowicz sheds new light on this underappreciated story and assesses its implications to Australian domestic politics and international relations in the Asia-Paciﬁc region.” News under Fire China’s Propaganda against Japan in the English-Language Press, 1928–1941 SHUGE WEI “A superbly researched and well-nuanced account of an overlooked topic.” —Julia C. Strauss, University of London —Yuma Totani, author of The Tokyo War Crimes Trial The New York Review Cataclysms Birth of a New Earth A New Geology for the Twenty-First Century The Radical Politics of Environmentalism MICHAEL R. RAMPINO ADRIAN PARR “Rampino has pulled off the clever trick of producing a book about geology that will appeal to serious professionals and weekend rockhounds alike . . . His crisp narrative matches the dynamism of the science it explains.” “One of those rare and brilliant books that critiques the ongoing destruction of the environment in a writing style that is lyrical, compassionate, and as accessible as it is informative. Parr . . . makes a convincing case for environmental and economic justice on a global scale.” —Dan Fagin, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation —Henry Giroux, author of America at War with Itself In Search of the Lost Orient An Interview Artaud the Moma JACQUES DERRIDA Edited with an afterword by Kaira M. Cabañas. Translated by Peggy Kamuf. OLIVIER ROY Translated by C. Jon Delogu. Foreword by Jean-Louis Schlegel and Olivier Mongin. “A complete intellectual life story . . . An engagingly written, impressive book that provides a rare and unique view of political Islam and one of its major thinkers.” —Benjamin Brower, author of A Desert Named Peace “Truly unprecedented. It is the most amazing attempt ever written—brilliant, baroque, unstoppable—to confront the mad poet’s vociferations and relentless scatology in their own terms while resisting his metaphysical rage for reappropriation.” —Sylvère Lotringer, general editor of Semiotext(e) COLUMBIA BOOKS ON ARCHITECTURE AND THE CITY And Now: Architecture Against a Developer Presidency Architecture Is All Over Essays on the Occasion of Trump’s Inauguration AND JAMES GRAHAM, ALISSA ANDERSON, CAITLIN BLANCHFIELD, JORDAN CARVER, JACOB MOORE, AND ISABELLE KIRKHAMLEWITT, EDITORS October 26, 2017 ESTHER CHOI MARRIKKA TROTTER EDITED BY [The book] investigates architecture’s simultaneous diminishment and ubiquity in the early twentyﬁrst century. Taken together, the pieces in this volume reinterpret architecture’s “all-over-ness” as an untapped disciplinary property rather than a temporary or terminal condition. Wright’s Writings Reflections on Culture and Politics, 1894–1959 KENNETH FRAMPTON [The book] traces the discursive work of Frank Lloyd Wright through a set of essays by Kenneth Frampton. It presents a history of the architect through the essays, books, letters, lectures, and speeches he wrote as well as the material and social cultures he navigated. Why Only Art Can Save Us Aesthetics and the Absence of Emergency SANTIAGO ZABALA “Zabala’s extraordinary book strikes at the very heart of our spiritual predicament.” —Slavoj Žižek “The art world, as well as the philosophical community, will beneﬁt from Zabala’s best book so far.” —Gianni Vattimo 5 The Adults in the Room James Mann The timeworn metaphor has been used and reused ever since the earliest days of the Trump era, when Donald Trump was ﬁrst putting together his cabinet. On December 4, after he named James Mattis to be his defense secretary, the website Politico asserted that “there’s ﬁnally an adult in the room.” In January, as Rex Tillerson was being conﬁrmed as secretary of state, Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told his colleagues, “To me, Mr. Tillerson is an adult who’s been around.” In February, during Trump’s ﬁrst visit to Mexico, the Financial Times quoted one source as saying that Tillerson and John Kelly (then secretary of homeland security) “represent the adult wing of the new regime.”1 Before long, the metaphor became a collective one: a small group of ofﬁcials within the Trump foreign-policy team represented “the adults” or “the grownups in the room.” The membership in the club changed slightly from time to time. At ﬁrst, the “adults” honoriﬁc was most commonly applied to the threesome of Tillerson, Mattis, and National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster. This summer, after Trump brought in Kelly to be his White House chief of staff, Kelly became not only a member but the leading ﬁgure in the Adults club, while, gradually, Tillerson’s problems and increasing marginalization as secretary of state have made him less central to the group. Phrases like “the adults” or “the grownups in the room” seem on the surface to carry intuitive meanings but raise all sorts of questions that deserve scrutiny. What does it mean to be an “adult” in Washington in general, or, in particular, under Donald Trump? What policies do the “adults” favor? Where do they come from, and what do they believe? Most importantly, what is the signiﬁcance of the fact that most of Trump’s so- called grownups come from the military? To answer such questions, it helps to look at the history, both of the way the idea of “adults” has been used in Washington in the past and of the way military ofﬁcers in the US have served in top civilian jobs. T he notion that some ofﬁcials are “adults” or “the grownups in the room” is an old Washington trope dating back decades before the arrival of Donald Trump. It is linked to an opposing metaphor: in Washington parlance, others are said to be “in need of adult supervision.” These phrases go to the heart of the way those who work in Washington operate, see themselves, and, above all, talk about themselves. Washington insider newsletters like The Nelson Report and Washington columnists like The New York Times’s Thomas Friedman purvey the notion that some people are “adults” or “grownups” and 1 See Mark Perry, “James Mattis’ 33-Year Grudge Against Iran,” Politico Magazine, December 4, 2016; Corker remarks to Senate Foreign Relations Committee, January 23, 2017; Demetri Sevastopulo and Stephen Woodman, “Rex Tillerson Promotes US Ties During Mexico Trip,” Financial Times, February 24, 2017. 6 others are in need of “adult supervision.” The phrases were meant to imply a judgment about an individual’s character or behavior: some people were deemed to be mature, while others were merely being juvenile. Before Trump, this Washington lingo was usually a cover for policy differences. The “adults” were those who favored certain policies or approaches; those in need of “supervision” were the opponents of such policies. Thus, the metaphors amounted to a verbal sleight- of-hand, transforming political judgments into personal ones. Other, more neutral adjectives could usually have been applied to those who were approvingly called “adults” (“prag- matists,” “centrists,” and “moderates” come to mind), but the “adults” metaphor added an extra bit of sneer and insult to the opposing side. The “adults” were usually those who didn’t stray too far from the political center, however that was deﬁned at the moment. Bernie Sanders has never qualiﬁed as an “adult” in the Washington usage of the word, although he is old enough to collect Social Security; nor did Ralph Nader; nor did Rand Paul, though he is old enough to perform eye surgery. What made them deﬁcient was not their character or their immaturity, but their views. F ollowing the arrival of Donald Trump in the White House, the meaning of the words “adult” and “grownup” has undergone a subtle but remarkable shift. They now refer far more to behavior and character than to views on policy. This is where Kelly, McMaster, Mattis, and (to a lesser extent) Tillerson come in; “grownup” is the behavioral role that we have assigned to them. For the ﬁrst time, America has a president who does not act like an adult. He is emotionally immature: he lies, taunts, insults, bullies, rages, seeks vengeance, exalts violence, boasts, refuses to accept criticism, all in ways that most parents would seek to prevent in their own children. Thus the dynamic was established in the earliest days of the administration: Trump makes messes, or threatens to make them, and Americans look to the “adults” to clean up for him. The “adults,” in turn, send out occasional little public signals that they are trying to keep Trump from veering off course—to educate him, to make him grow up, to keep him under control. When all else fails, they simply distance themselves from his tirades. Sometimes such efforts are successful; on many occasions, they aren’t. The back-and-forth between Trump and the “adults” has been evident on matters both big and small. Sometimes these involve questions of symbolic signiﬁcance concerning the role of the president: when, at Trump’s ﬁrst cabinet meeting, ofﬁcials took turns in front of television cameras thanking Trump and singing his praises, as if the president were a Central Asian dictator, Mattis opted out, saying, “It’s an honor to represent the great men and women of the Department of Defense.” Sometimes these matters involve is- sues of sweeping importance: before Trump’s ﬁrst trip to Europe, Tillerson, Mattis, and McMaster joined together to put into a draft of his speech a reafﬁrmation of Article V of the NATO treaty, committing the United States to the collective defense of Europe.2 Yet Trump ultimately cut the words from his speech. Then, after the understandable and predictable uproar, he turned around and made the commitment. Trump’s blustering, threatening behavior has raised fears that he might do something impulsive, such as launch a nuclear attack. Those fears, in turn, have heightened the perception of the “adults” as watchdogs or guardians. In February, the Associated Press said that “for the ﬁrst few weeks after the inauguration, Mattis and Kelly agreed that one of them should remain in the United States to keep tabs on the orders rapidly ﬁring out of the White House.”3 Ever since, various versions of this story have appeared again and again, sometimes including McMaster or Tillerson, and usually without the time limits of the original story. Mattis has had the (relatively) easiest time of it with Trump, while McMaster 2 Susan Glasser, “Trump National Security Team Blindsided by NATO Speech,” Politico Magazine, June 5, 2017. and, now, Kelly, have had the hardest, in part because of the nature of the different jobs they hold. As defense secretary, Mattis has a cabinet job that keeps him across the Potomac River, running the US government’s biggest department, and Trump seems to allow him considerably more latitude than the other “adults.” Mattis, a former Marine Corps general who served as commander of America’s Central Command forces in the Middle East, has the satisfaction of knowing he has strong-to-intense support on Capitol Hill, where John McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, let it be known at the start of the administration that he would serve as Mattis’s protector. Mattis has also been especially popular within the military. Before his appointment, he said that he would speak his mind when his views differed from those of Trump. He explained, for example, why he opposes the use of torture. With greater job security than the other “adults,” Mattis seems to have assumed the role of reminding Americans and the rest of the world that the American government existed before Trump and will survive him. At a conference in Singapore in June, when asked if America were retreating from its role in the world, he invoked a quote routinely misattributed to Churchill about America: “Bear with us,” Mattis told the audience. “Once we have exhausted all possible alternatives, the Americans will do the right thing.” In contrast, McMaster and Kelly work at staff jobs inside the White House, where they must deal with Trump day after day. After he was appointed White House chief of staff in late July, Kelly sought to impose order, controlling who gets to see Trump and restricting what materials are given to him. But there were quickly signs that Kelly’s discipline campaign could go only so far. He could not stop Trump from saying outrageous things in public on the spur of the moment; Trump’s outburst equating the two sides in the Charlottesville protests came at what was supposed to be a press conference on infrastructure, and it left Kelly staring at the ﬂoor. It was not long before some of Trump’s friends let it be known that the president was chaﬁng against Kelly’s restrictions. In his recent book, The Gatekeepers, Chris Whipple writes that the position of White House chief of staff “is what may well be the toughest job in Washington—so arduous that the average tenure is a little more than eighteen months.”4 At this juncture, it seems extremely unlikely that Kelly will raise the average. As national security adviser, McMaster has had to handle especially acrimonious disputes inside the White House over issues ranging from trade and immigration to America’s role in the world. At the same time, he has had to wrestle with personnel battles that extend beyond the usual ones among cabinet secretaries. He has had to deal with various White House ﬁgures, including Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, whom Trump set up as a miniczar over foreign-policy issues ranging 3 Vivian Salama and Julie Pace, “Trio of Military Men Gain Growing Inﬂuence with Trump,” Associated Press, February 23, 2017. 4 Chris Whipple, The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Deﬁne Every Presidency (Crown, 2017), p. 11. The New York Review \DOH UHDGV S T E P H E N M I T C H E L L , T R A N S L AT O R , Beowulf “A most readable, energetic, and colorful translation of this savage epic. . . . An amazing achievement.”—Billy Collins D AV I D B E N T L E Y H A R T , The New Testament: A Translation “This necessary, brilliantly presented translation reads like taking a biblical studies class with a provocative professor.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review A B B A S A M A N AT , Iran: A Modern History “Those who wish to understand how an early modern silk road monarchy transformed into a contemporary petroleum-fueled theocracy will ﬁnd no more informed or captivating guide.”—Juan Cole, Director, Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, University of Michigan J O H N F. H A U G H T, The New Cosmic Story: Inside Our Awakening Universe “This book . . . will become a permanent contribution to the religion and science literature.”—Holmes Rolston, III, Templeton Prize winner Q “Fascinating and important.”—John D. Cressler, Georgia Tech G U Y S TA N D I N G , Basic Income: A Guide for the Open-Minded “This book is the most comprehensive guide ever written on basic income, and offers both a history and a road map forward to a more just and economically sustainable future.”—Andy Stern, author of Raising the Floor: How a Universal Basic Income Can Renew Our Economy and Rebuild the American Dream GERALD SHEA, The Language of Light: A History of Silent Voices “Thought-provoking . . . a highly recommended and important work that provides a convincing argument advocating change in society’s attitudes toward the Deaf.”—Library Journal FR ANCIS SPUFFORD, True Stories: And Other Essays “This debut essay collection from novelist Spufford has many strengths, chief among them the diversity of topics covered. . . . Spufford ﬁts no cookie-cutter deﬁnition: he is journalist and scholar, science lover and Christian, word lover and poet, and his writing satisﬁes deeply.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review DANIEL SIEMENS, Stormtroopers: A New History of Hitler’s Brownshirts “A deﬁnitive study of the Stormtroopers. . . . Quite simply, this is the best book on its subject.”—Richard Bessel, author of Germany 1945 yalebooks.com October 26, 2017 7 from the Middle East to Mexico and China. Above all, McMaster waged a months-long battle with Stephen Bannon, the leader of the populist wing of the administration, until Bannon ﬁnally departed in mid-August. Tillerson has been the most bafﬂing of the “adults.” He had years of experience running one of America’s leading corporations but is serving as a classic example of why such experience does not necessarily prepare one for a top cabinet post. He came to the position of secretary of state with more establishment credentials (or at least job references) than any of the other “adults”; luminaries of past Republican administrations, such as Robert Gates, Condoleezza Rice, and James Baker all supported him. Yet Tillerson has gone further than anyone else on the foreign policy team to create a radical break with the past. His determined, prolonged efforts to pare down the State Department—by supporting budget cuts, reorganizing positions out of existence, and, above all, choosing to leave major jobs unﬁlled—have left the nation’s leading diplomats shocked and demoralized, wandering around the silent halls past one empty ofﬁce after another. Indeed, whether intentionally or not, Tillerson has done much to carry out Bannon’s populist call of last February for the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” F or all the attention given to the personal qualities of the “adults” (that is, their ability to preserve a modicum of stability within the administration amidst the Trumpian turmoil), their views have attracted far less scrutiny. It can be argued that what the “adults” believe about various foreign-policy issues is more important than it was for their predecessors in past administrations, because Trump himself seems to care little about policy, certainly not about its details or complexities. He operates in the public realm of words, tweets, and cable shows, leaving hard policymaking to underlings. Indeed, sometimes there seems to be a complete disconnect between Trump’s show-business presidency and what is actually transpiring inside the federal government, as when Trump issued a seeming ban on transgenders in the military on Twitter, while Mattis both limited its scope and delayed it from taking effect. The “adults” have a record of beliefs and actions that, in any other administration, would stand out more. Kelly, now in the White House, was early on—as secretary of homeland security—a strong supporter of Trump’s order to limit immigration from Muslim countries into the United States. Tillerson seems to have an especially rosy view of Putin’s Russia, as well as an obvious aversion to issues of human rights and democracy. McMaster, along with Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, last spring wrote the startling Wall Street Journal Op-Ed that gave a Hobbesian underpinning to Trump’s “America First” worldview: “The president embarked on his ﬁrst foreign trip with a clear- eyed outlook that the world is not a ‘global community’ but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors "" ! ! #!$ $" The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History The University of Texas at Dallas • www.utdallas.edu/arthistory • 214-883-2475 8 and businesses engage and compete for advantage.”5 It is the underlying foreign-policy views and experiences of the three “adults” with military backgrounds— Mattis, McMaster, and Kelly—that are the most important and the least covered. What counts above all are their views on issues concerning armed conﬂict. Because they come from the military, there have been occasional suggestions that they will somehow bring the United States into new wars. As will be seen, there is solid ground for concern about their military backgrounds, but the simplistic fear that their military service might lead them to support the use of force seems misplaced. Most of America’s disastrous or ill-fated military interventions—Vietnam, George W. Bush’s war in Iraq, Libya—were spearheaded by civilians. The notion that military ofﬁcers are Washington’s leading hawks dates back to the era when Air Force General Curtis LeMay tried to persuade President Kennedy to bomb Cuba. But the stereotype has less validity today, when military leaders seem intensely aware of the risks of stumbling into war. Before coming to the White House, McMaster was known primarily as the author of the book Dereliction of Duty, an account of America’s involvement in Vietnam. McMaster’s conclusion was blunt and stark: The war in Vietnam was not lost in the ﬁeld, nor was it lost on the front pages of the New York Times or on the college campuses. It was lost in Washington, D.C. . . . The disaster in Vietnam was not the result of impersonal forces but a uniquely human failure, the responsibility for which was shared by President Johnson and his principal military and civilian advisers.6 T he three “adults” from the military do seem to share a kind of collective view, based on their experiences in uniform. All of them fought on the ground in America’s post-September 11 conﬂicts. Mattis was the commander in charge of America’s wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Kelly served under Mattis in Iraq; his own son was killed in combat in Afghanistan. McMaster commanded troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. In an essay about Afghanistan in 2012, McMaster wrote: “The difference between how the war is briefed in Washington, D.C., and in Kabul, versus how it is waged in the ﬁeld, cannot be starker.”7 It is this perspective, the result of being longtime outsiders to Washington, that distinguishes the current group of “adults” from previous generals and admirals who moved into civilian posts. Most of the military leaders often mentioned as their predecessors—for example, Alexander Haig, the former White House chief of staff and secre- tary of state; or Brent Scowcroft, the two-time national security adviser; or Colin Powell, the national security adviser and secretary of state—rose to prominence largely through their long service in Washington. All of these predecessors had powerful civilian mentors who, over time, promoted them to senior positions (Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger for Haig and Scowcroft, Defense Secretaries Caspar Weinberger and Frank Carlucci for Powell). But Trump’s “adults,” as a group, have been mostly soldiers, not staff ofﬁcers in the Haig model. As a result, their disposition seems to be not so much to enter into new wars as to ﬁnd ways to win the wars America has already entered— the wars in which they themselves have fought. If there is a single major issue on which they have clearly prevailed over Trump’s own initial instincts, it was the decision in August to send new American troops to Afghanistan. In a perceptive description of the outlook of Mattis, McMaster, and Kelly, veteran defense correspondent James Kitﬁeld wrote that they aim “to correct what senior military ofﬁcers see as the mistakes of the Obama administration.”8 Those mistakes, from the military viewpoint, include the complete withdrawal of American troops from Iraq after a 2012 deadline, leaving a vacuum that was ﬁlled by the Islamic State; the setting of a time limit for Obama’s troop surge in Afghanistan; and Obama’s failure to enforce the red line he drew against the use of chemical weapons in Syria. (The “adults” were instrumental in Trump’s decision to launch Tomahawk missiles against Syria last April when Bashar al-Assad’s forces again used such weapons.9) Beyond this desire for successful outcomes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in the ongoing war with ISIS, the views of Trump’s “adults” are more vague and less predictable. They seem to favor generally tougher approaches to Iran, particularly in comparison with the policies of the Obama administration. Mattis, in a long interview with a high school newspaper last spring, called Iran’s government “a murderous regime” and “certainly the most destabilizing inﬂuence in the Middle East.”10 So far, however, the Trump administration has not withdrawn from the nuclear agreement Obama negotiated with Iran. Yet there is little that suggests what these three generals think about China or North Korea. Like US military ofﬁcers in general, they tend to favor preserving and strengthening America’s existing military alliances. That, in itself, creates the sort of tension with Trump that was apparent during the president’s ﬁrst visit to Europe. T he most troubling question about Trump’s “adults” is not so much what they believe but why most of them 5 H. R. McMaster and Gary D. Cohn, “America First Doesn’t Mean America Alone,” The Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2017. 8 6 9 That Assad’s regime used chemical weapons was conﬁrmed in September by an independent UN commission. See “Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic,” released September 6, 2017. H. R. McMaster, Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam (HarperCollins, 1997), pp. 333–334. 7 H. R. McMaster, “Afterword,” in Daniel R. Green, The Valley’s Edge: A Year with the Pashtuns in the Heartland of the Taliban (Potomac, 2012), p. 217. James Kitﬁeld, “Trump’s Generals Are Trying to Save the World. Starting With the White House,” Politico Magazine, August 4, 2017. 10 Transcript, James Mattis’s interview with the Islander, June 20, 2017. The New York Review “ MARK MAZOWER IS A GREAT HISTORIAN AND A SUBTLE WRITER ALWAYS ATTENTIVE TO HUMANE DETAIL.” —O R H A N PA M U K , recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature “ A SIMULTANEOUSLY SWEEPING AND INTIMATE FAMILY PORTRAIT.” —K I R K U S R E V I E W S “ A MEMOIR THAT ONLY ONE OF OUR FINEST HISTORIANS COULD HAVE WRITTEN. To call it a ‘memoir’ even is to represent only a small part of Mazower’s investigation into his family’s past. This is a saga of cities—Vilna, Moscow, Paris, London, and New York—and a profound meditation on what it takes to call a place home.” —M I CH A E L G R E E N B E RG , author of Hurry Down Sunshine An acclaimed historian explores the struggles of twentieth - century Europe through the lives and hopes of a single family — his own. O THER PRESS otherpress.com October 26, 2017 9 +RZGRKXPDQVVWRSÀJKWLQJ":KHUH GRWKHJRGVRIP\WKFRPHIURP" :KDWGRHVLWPHDQWRJRPDG" %5/264%',7%'/0)67,)6)%2( 37,)5'3282(5816%6,)(5%:632 )7,23+5%4,<0-7)5%785)46<',37,)5%4< %2(7,)7,)35<3*)2>-5%5(73 );4035)631)3*7,)*82(%1)27%0 1)',%2-6163*,81%2-27)5%'7-32-/)2-2++-*7);',%2+) WRYHQJHDQFHLQUHYHUVHWKHÀUVWSDUWRIWKHERRNRXWOLQHVD *5)6,%4453%',735)'-453'-7<:,-0)7,)6)'32(4%5775%')67,) )1)5+)2')3*75%26')2()2')-2'300)'7-9)1<7,6%2(-2(-9-(8%0 ()086-3265317,)4)%')1%/-2+5-78%063*45)67%7)63'-)7-)673 7,)4%5%(3;-'%06758'785)3*'326'-3862)66264%',7%/)67,) 5)%()532%2-27)00)'78%0.3852)<7,%7&)+-26:-7,7,)453&0)13* ,3:73()')-9)9-30)2')%2()2(6:-7,7,)5-((0)3*,3:32)'%2 ()')-9)32)6)0* ■ ■4%4)5■4+6 #"! %57-2+:%<6:-7,7,)5)8(-%2%2( %'%2-%25)%(-2+67,%7,%9)(31-2%7)( 5)')276',30%50<82()567%2(-2+3* -7','3'/%9-(81&)57);%1-2)6 7,)533763*9-30)2')-27,)(-5)'735A6 QDUUDWLYHVDQGÀQGVWKHPQRWLQKXPDQ 6);8%0-7<&87-21-1)6-6!,538+, DQDQDO\VLVRIVHYHQNH\ÀOPVKH %5+8)67,%7-5%5(A613()03*1-1)7-' ()6-5)@()6-5)35-)27)(&<-1-7%7-323*%2('314)7-7-32:-7,37,)56@ &)67);40%-26%9%5-)7<3*:)005)'3+2-=)(7,)1)6-2'08(-2+7,) 0DF*XIÀQWKHGRXEOHWKHLQQRFHQWYLFWLPWKHZURQJPDQWKH 75%26*)53*+8-07%2(7,)6'%4)+3%7!,-6678(<:-00%44)%0237320<73 +LWFKFRFNIDQVDQGÀOPVFKRODUVEXWDOVRWRWKRVHLQWHUHVWHGLQ)UHXG %2(-5%5(%2(7,)-5'314)7-2+7,)35-)63*()6-5) ■ ■4%4)5■4+6 )257+&20,1*129(0%(5 !$:2/)*$1*3$/$9(5 !,-693081)'300)'76)2+%+)1)276:-7, -5%5(&<6',30%563*8(%-61,5-67-%2-7< 60%1-2(8-61%2(8((,-61%2( 6-78%7)67,)1:-7,-2'327)1435%5<7,)303+< 4,-03634,<%2(5)0-+-386678(-)6 00&33/6-27,) 78(-)6 -2#-30)2')-1)6-6%2( 80785)6)5-)6%5)%063 %9%-0%&0)%6)33/6 10 come from the military. There have never been so many military leaders at the top levels of America’s foreignpolicy apparatus. Many in this country do not realize how strong the strictures have been in the past against military ofﬁcers serving in senior civilian posts. The reasons for the old rules start, above all, with concerns about civilian control of the military, but they go further, to the impact within the military itself. If military leaders are allowed to take top civilian posts, the argument goes, it opens the way for those ofﬁcers to take a civilian (or “political”) route to military promotion. The classic example is Haig, who entered the Nixon White House in 1969 as a colonel and left in 1974 as a four-star general. When Scowcroft became national security adviser in 1975, he chose to resign from the Air Force. “For a senior White House ofﬁcial to retain a military commission would, [Scowcroft] thought, divide his loyalty between his military superiors and the American president,” wrote his biographer, Bartholomew Sparrow.11 Twelve years later, the report of the congressional committees investigating the Irancontra affair speciﬁcally urged that the job of national security adviser be held by a civilian. Nonetheless, since that recommendation, various presidents have appointed one or another active- duty or retired military ofﬁcer to serve along with the civilians in top leadership ranks: Powell was Ronald Reagan’s national security adviser, Scowcroft was George H.W. Bush’s, and retired Marine Commandant James Jones was Obama’s. With Trump, this pattern has been reversed. There are few civilians at the top of the national-security apparatus, while present or former military leaders occupy the positions of national security adviser, defense secretary, and White House chief of staff. Mattis this year became the ﬁrst former military leader to serve as secretary of defense since George Marshall was appointed to the job in 1950. The ascendance of Trump’s generals has raised alarms that the military might be trying to take over the country. “Is a Military Coup in the Cards?” blared one Newsweek headline this summer, after a video went viral showing Mattis telling some American troops, “Our country, right now, it’s got problems that we don’t have in the military. You just hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other and showing it.” It turned out that those remarks were not new; Mattis had, on other occasions, decried the political divisions in America and urged those in the military to “hold the line.”12 But for now there is scant evidence that the military is pushing to increase its political inﬂuence. Trump’s three generals didn’t seek out the civilian jobs they now hold, collectively or individually. Trump chose to put them there. The chances are that some of them won’t stay for long, either; there have already been occasional reports 11 Bartholomew Sparrow, The Strategist: Brent Scowcroft and the Call of National Security (PublicAffairs, 2015), p. 179. that McMaster or Kelly will be ﬁred or quit. (It is a fair and continuing question whether the proper course for an “adult” in the Trump administration is to resign from it.) The underlying, longer-term problem is the lack of civilian inﬂuence on foreign policy. Even if the generals leave, Trump may choose other military leaders to replace them, rather than appoint civilian leaders who might emerge as dissenters, challengers, or rivals. It is hard to remember now, but when Trump was creating his foreignpolicy team, he talked with centrist Republicans (Mitt Romney), right-wing Republicans (John Bolton), and proTrump Republicans (Newt Gingrich) before rejecting all of them, along with various other foreign policy specialists, turning instead to Tillerson and the generals. Moreover, this dearth in civilian leadership will last longer than Trump’s initial choices and appointments: Tillerson’s failure to ﬁll many State Department jobs means that there are fewer civilians in second-level positions gaining the valuable experience they could use to shape American foreign policy in the future. In a recent insightful book based on her experiences in the Pentagon under Obama, How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything,13 Rosa Brooks describes how the military has come to dominate American foreign policy overseas because it possesses the money and personnel to do what the State Department cannot. “It’s a vicious circle: as civilian capacity has declined, the military has stepped into the breach,” Brooks wrote. Under Trump, this phenomenon is now spreading from US operations abroad to the top levels of leadership in Washington. After the racist violence in Charlottesville and Trump’s incendiary comments about it, the leaders of America’s ﬁve military services— that is, the individual members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—published statements condemning racist hatred. They had strong and legitimate military reasons to do so, in order to make certain there was no racial upheaval among the troops. Nevertheless, it was a little unsettling. In the past, America did not have to rely upon its military leaders to calm passions or make soothing statements, because those are the sorts of things that usually come from presidents and top civilian leaders. Such statements raise, momentarily, the specter of countries like Turkey or Egypt or Thailand, where the military assumes an obligation to step in for the good of the country when civilian governments have collapsed. For now, such comparisons seem remote. But what has been most disturbing this year is the subtle link that is being created in American consciousness between the phrases “military leaders” or “generals” and the phrases “adults” or “grownups in the room.” Having military ﬁgures act as “adults” may somehow suggest that civilians lack the capacity to govern on their own, or even that civilians act like children. That, in Trump’s case, would be sadly accurate. —September 28, 2017 12 ■ 06835(6625* Greg Jaffe and Dan Lamothe, “With a Drama-Filled White House, Mattis Has Shown Deft Political Touch,” The Washington Post, August 30, 2017. 13 Simon and Schuster, 2016. See Kenneth Roth’s review in these pages, March 9, 2017. The New York Review Congratulations to the first international winner of the WILLIAM WALL THE ISLANDS SIX FICTIONS “The Islands is evocative, moving yet tough-minded, written with marvelous style and authority. After just the ﬁrst few sentences, we trust absolutely that this writer is in control and knows what he’s doing. The narratives move expeditiously, even when they’re thick with description, and the characters’ voices are distinct and convincing.” —David Gates, judge is the author of four novels, three collections of poetry, and two previous volumes of short ﬁction. His work has won many prizes, including the Virginia Faulkner PHOTO BY LIZ KIRWAN Award, the Patrick Kavanagh Award, and the Sean O’Faolain Prize. He has been short- or longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Irish Book Awards, the Raymond Carver Prize, and the Manchester Fiction Prize, among others. He lives in Cork, Ireland. & / 2 7+ October 26, 2017 11 So When Are You Getting Married? Ruth Margalit Srugim a television series created by Laizy Shapiro and Havvah Deevon How insular a community is may be measured by its share of members who wish to appear on camera. When a casting call went out to New York’s ultra- Orthodox community, which numbers in the hundreds of thousands, to appear in Menashe, a feature ﬁlm set in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, only sixty people showed up. “I would call it uncasting,” Joshua Z. Weinstein, the ﬁlm’s director, told an interviewer. Even after they agreed to participate in the ﬁlm, many of the actors soon dropped out, citing rabbinical prohibitions or cold feet. A full cast list has yet to be released; the ﬁlmmakers are worried that even extras could face excommunication. Menashe’s clandestine aspect—it was shot in secret entirely within the Hasidic community it depicts—has at least one salutary side effect: it lends the story an understated, naturalistic quality that might have been missing in a ﬂashier production. That quality is heightened by the fact that most of its cast members are ﬁrst-time actors, and many had never stepped inside a movie theater. Menashe is spoken completely in Yiddish, except for one brief but consequential scene in English (to which I’ll return). It loosely tells the real-life story of Menashe Lustig, the ultra- Orthodox actor playing the title character. Having been widowed for a year, Menashe wants to raise his tenyear- old son, Rieven, by himself. But his religious faith won’t allow it. As the Book of Genesis says: “It is not good that the man should be alone.” Until Menashe remarries, a rabbi decrees, Rieven is to be left in the custody of his uncle and aunt. But Menashe doesn’t wish to remarry, and the rabbi gives him a week to prove himself as a single father. The plot takes place during that week, as Menashe, a devoted father but a helpless klutz, bumbles his way through his parental duties and his low-paying job behind the cash register of an ultra- Orthodox- owned supermarket. He is always short on money and on the verge of being ﬁred. He gets drunk on a night out with his son, oversleeps, then gives Rieven Coke and cake for breakfast. Our desire to see Menashe win custody of Rieven is complicated by the fact that he is far from an ideal father. When Menashe’s stringent brother-in-law blames him for having neglected his wife when she fell ill, Menashe doesn’t dispute him. Still, we ﬁnd ourselves rooting for Menashe. It helps that Lustig is a born 12 actor, with a rare ability to project comic expressiveness at key dramatic moments. One of the ﬁlm’s most riveting scenes is without dialogue: we simply watch as Menashe moves about his cramped apartment, knocking over a plastic cup here, scratching his belly there. His physicality is thoroughly commanding—like a paunchy Chaplin with a yarmulke. So embedded are we within the strictures of Orthodox life that even when Menashe slaps Rieven for a small infraction, we quickly forgive him. When Rieven asks his father, who wears a black yarmulke and whose tzitzit, or prayer shawl fringes, dangle F or a ﬁlm that focuses on parentchild relations in the wake of a tragic death, Menashe remarkably eschews sentimentality or lazy conjecture. You may, for example, presume, as I did, that Menashe does not wish to remarry because he is still in love with his late wife. You’d be wrong. Their marriage, we ﬁnd out, was not a happy one. The couple met through a matchmaker on a mutual trip to Israel, and spent most of their time together ﬁghting. Even a moment of tenderness, in which Menashe gives his son a ﬂuffy little chick, isn’t saccharine. As Rieven pets it, his father belts out a song in Yiddish: “Tomorrow are Bobover Hasidim who originated in Galicia, in today’s southern Poland. The Bobovers are credited with establishing a major ultra- Orthodox community in the United States after a near- complete annihilation of their sect in the Holocaust. Much like the Satmars of Williamsburg, they belong to a zealous, antimodernist branch of ultra- Orthodox Judaism, though one that is less vocal against the State of Israel than the Satmars. Lustig himself is a member of a far smaller sect, called Skver, that is based in New Square, a village in Rockland County, New York, where men and women walk on separate sides of the street. Women often occupy a paradoxical position in Hasidic life—a position Menashe deftly portrays. They are largely absent from civic life, yet hold much power when it comes to the home. In some Hasidic circles, they are even employed in ﬁelds that are considered too modern for men, such as computer work or design. This is particularly true in Israel, where Haredi, or ultraOrthodox, women serve as their households’ main breadwinners while more than half of Haredi men don’t work and spend their days studying the Talmud. An old Jewish joke tells of a devout woman who says that her husband is in charge of the “big things,” such as going to war or relations with the king, while she is responsible for the “little things”: their livelihood, their children’s education. This ambivalent status of ultraOrthodox women—outsized yet marginalized—can be summed up in one sentence that Menashe utters matterof-factly partway through the ﬁlm. Why marry, he asks his rabbi, if a stepmother wouldn’t be allowed to touch his son anyway? In other words, a woman’s presence is so vaunted that a man cannot be expected to raise a child without her, but she is also deemed ritually impure and cannot touch even a young boy who is not her blood relative. Such is the plight of ultra- Orthodox women. Unsurprisingly, the dialogue in the ﬁlm is spoken almost exclusively by men. A rare exception is a scene in which Menashe goes on a blind date organized by a community matchmaker. The meeting is cold, like the ice cubes in the couple’s Coke glasses. As beﬁts Orthodox custom, they barely make eye contact. “Besides marriage and children, what else is there?” Menashe’s date asks him solemnly. Menashe sighs. Oy. Not only are women otherwise largely missing from the ﬁlm, but so is secular life. Unlike the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, which is famous for its outreach, the majority of ultra- Orthodox Jews shun non-Hasidic society. Only once do we see Menashe interact with anyone outside his community, and to hear him suddenly speak in English (a Federica Valabrega/A24 Menashe a ﬁlm directed by Joshua Z. Weinstein Menashe Lustig in Joshua Z. Weinstein’s ﬁlm Menashe out from under his shirt like curtain tassels on a windy day, “Why don’t you wear a hat and coat like everyone else? You’d look much nicer,” I found myself thinking: Yeah, Menashe, why don’t you? The lifelike feel of Menashe is further compounded by improvisation. Weinstein has said that because of his casting problems, the ﬁlm’s script had to go through countless iterations. A large part reserved for Menashe’s father-in-law, for example, had to be scrapped: the actor playing the role pulled out after shooting began. Then there was the language barrier. Yiddish is the main language spoken by most ultra- Orthodox Hasidim (but not by Chabadniks or Lithuanian Orthodox Jews, who converse in Hebrew). Yet neither Weinstein nor his fellow writers speak it. So the actors were given free rein to translate the English script as they saw ﬁt. The resulting dialogue comes across as refreshingly unpolished—the English subtitles rightly read like a translation, not like a superior original. The same unpolished veneer characterizes the ﬁlm’s visuals. At one point, Menashe and Rieven look for decorations to liven up the bare walls of their apartment. Most pictures are out of the question. Instead, they settle on a watercolor portrait of a rabbi, set against a pinkish sunset. “Very authentic,” Menashe says approvingly. we’ll have you in the chicken soup.” Both father and son laugh. Menashe thus follows the very best of Yiddish literary tradition—Sholem Yankev Abramovitsch (known by his alter ego Mendele the Book Peddler) comes to mind, as does Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich (Sholem Aleichem)—in which gallows humor is the surest salvation from kitsch. Menashe’s depiction of Hasidic society is likewise nuanced. Weinstein, whose background is in documentary, is interested in life as it is, not in life as it should be. (Nor is he interested in bogging down his story with explication: we watch Menashe and his neighbors feed a growing conﬂagration with no commentary on its being Lag BaOmer, a holiday celebrated by lighting bonﬁres.) Despite Menashe’s small rebellions—his informal attire, his refusal to remarry—there is no question of his leaving the conﬁnes of his religion, no matter how unfair its rabbinical edicts. Whether or not Menashe gets to raise his son, the ﬁlm makes clear, he will remain within the rigid boundaries of Borough Park— home to one of the largest Hasidic communities outside Israel. Hasidism, a spiritual movement that grew out of ultra- Orthodox Judaism in the eighteenth century, is comprised of different sects, each with its own tzadik, or “righteous” leader. The majority of Borough Park residents The New York Review History for Every Reader from the “Highly readable.... 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To say of a group of people that they are srugim conjures in Israel a speciﬁc segment of society: people who take an active part in all of the country’s institutions (military, parliament, universities) while also adhering to the strict interpretation of Jewish law. They keep the commandments; they observe the Shabbat; they do not touch members of the opposite sex before marriage. Active participation in political and civic life has been the main distinction between the Zionist religious Jews and the Haredim—the ultra- Orthodox— since the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, an event that tore religious Jews apart. Leaders of the ultra- Orthodox community rejected the nascent country as an “attempt to replace divine agency with human agency,” in the a nonkosher sandwich by handing it to an Arab doctor, who quips, “I hope it’s not poisonous.” Another time, Yifat and Amir think they see an Arab man and run away in fear, only to discover that the man was, in fact, a neighbor’s relative. If all this sounds riling to a liberal sensibility, Srugim was also met with criticism from ultra-religious groups in Israel who argued that the series had “crossed many red lines,” as one review on Arutz Sheva, a news site identiﬁed with the religious right, put it. The show’s transgression? “Saying prayers in vain, having a woman bless the wine in front of men, and, above all, breaking many of the modesty precepts between men and women, from touching to more blatant acts.” That the series should be rebuked by religious Jews for Abut-Barkai Talisma/ YES halting English, at that) is so jarring that we forget this has been New York all along. He is seen sitting with two Hispanic employees of the supermarket after a long day’s work. All three are sipping beer from forty- ounce bottles as the men invite Menashe to join them on a night out. Menashe laughs. With them he feels welcome, at ease. And yet part of the joke is precisely the impossibility of their proposition: Menashe will not be joining their ﬁesta, of course. Though he may ﬁnd his religion suffocating, its pull is too strong for him to resist. Menashe ends exactly as it begins, with a long shot of Menashe pacing the streets of Borough Park, drowned out by a sea of other people—with one difference. He now wears a long coat and black hat. Not only will he not be rebelling against his community but he seems to have taken to heart their criticism of him and to be eager to do better. It may not be the lesson we were hoping for, but this, after all, is life. Another portrayal of the pressures on young religious people to marry can be found in Srugim, an Israeli drama series that premiered a decade ago and streams with English subtitles on Amazon. Though decidedly less insular than the ultra- Orthodox of Borough Park, Israel’s national-religious movement, known outside of Israel as Modern Orthodox, still tends to view secular television and cinema with a combination of skepticism and distrust. Srugim was written by two religious ﬁlmmakers, and deals with the dating lives of single religious Jerusalemites: Yifat, a genial graphic designer; Hodaya, a rabbi’s daughter who undergoes a crisis of faith; Nati, a heartthrob doctor; Amir, a divorced Hebrew teacher; and Reut, a no-nonsense accountant. In an early episode, Yifat and Hodaya, who have been best friends since their days in Bnei Akiva, a religious youth movement, are squinting in front of a computer, bemoaning the fact that nearly all religious parts on Israeli commercials and TV are performed by nonreligious actors. Hodaya: “That religious kid smiling next to the Coke bottle?” Yifat: “I don’t think an Orthodox family would allow its son to shoot a commercial for Coca Cola.” Hodaya: “The ultra- Orthodox guy from Visa?” Yifat: “I think he’s Swedish.” Hodaya: “Why is it? Don’t we deserve models from the sector?” The irony, as Israelis will pick up on, is that the two well-known actresses offering this bit of dialogue—Yael Sharoni and Tali Sharon—are themselves nonreligious, as are the other actors. And yet when it came out, Srugim proved a hit among religious Israelis— as well as a hit generally: the newspaper Yediot Ahronot called it “a rare instance of superb television.” While Menashe will not be watched by the very community it portrays, Srugim is a more mainstream affair. In a way, Srugim can be seen as the reverse of Menashe: written by “insiders,” cast with “outsiders,” and watched by both insiders and outsiders alike. Srugim means “knitted” and is short in Hebrew for kippot srugot, or “knitted yarmulkes,” the ones worn by Is14 The cast of the Israeli television series Srugim words of Moshe Halbertal, a scholar of Jewish philosophy, whereas nationalreligious Jews came to regard Israel’s founding with rapture—as a hastening of redemption and of the arrival of the Messiah. If secular Israelis deﬁned the country’s early decades (David BenGurion, Golda Meir, the kibbutznik pioneers), the Zionist religious Jews are likely to deﬁne its future. Their ranks, due to very high birthrates, are swelling: about a quarter of Israelis identify as national-religious, according to 2014 statistics from the Israel Democracy Institute. Interestingly, only 10 percent of Israelis described themselves as religious when asked solely about religiosity without adding nationalism to the mix, suggesting that the deﬁnition is ﬂuid and that Zionism plays an important role in their self-perception. Srugim has been described, not outlandishly, as the Israeli Friends (though it’s not a sitcom). Most of its scenes take place inside an apartment in the Old Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem, and the focus never veers from the group of ﬁve singles at its center. But because this is Israel, politics are never far away, either. Yifat attempts to clear her head and escape city life by moving to a West Bank settlement—a move that is presented as rational and commonplace. In a 2008 interview with a religious Israeli publication, Laizy Shapiro, the co- creator of the show, who lives on a settlement himself, took pride in having bussed the entire production team “across the Green line” for the shoot, calling it a “great accomplishment.” Only twice, and brieﬂy, do we see Arabs mentioned on the show: once when Nati gets rid of not being modest enough is unsurprising. What is surprising is the opposite: that its creators managed to bring to Israeli prime time a show about dating where the most “blatant acts” include nothing more than a rare kiss or a daydream of jumping on a bed with one’s love (on a bed, not into bed), and one scene in which sex is portrayed only by showing a married couple in bed, fully covered, after the fact. If anything, Srugim makes a rather convincing case for religious Judaism, with an emphasis on family and on a tight-knit sense of community. By contrast, the picture that emerges of secular life revolves around lighthearted bromides about food. Secular people, we are told, eat fancy cheese and “ﬂy off to Barcelona to eat squid” and complain about store-bought cake. On the one hand, Hodaya’s growing disillusion with religion is presented sympathetically—in one of the show’s most affecting scenes, she has an exchange with a formerly religious writer who tells her: “All the laws and the commandments and the fact that everyone knows what to do all the time, I felt like that’s the furthest thing from God.” On the other hand, there is a nagging implication in the series that secularism equals selfishness. As Hodaya questions her faith, she repeatedly turns down job offers and romantic partners, deeming them all beneath her. “Stop looking down on everything,” Yifat berates her at one point. “Stop thinking that you’re so special.” I confess that I may be bristling at the show’s depiction of nonreligious life more than is warranted. To be fair, one of the most endearing characters is Avri, a secular Ph.D. with whom Hodaya falls in love. But since I grew up in a secular family in Jerusalem only a few blocks from where the series takes place, watching Srugim felt strangely personal to me, like a home video beamed out to the world. The series namechecks little havens of nonreligious life that my friends and I used to frequent: Smadar cinema, Café BaGina, Emek Refaim Street in the German Colony. But such places are disappearing at a dizzying pace (or else turning glatt kosher). Today, 35 percent of Jerusalem residents deﬁne themselves as Haredi while only 21 percent say they are secular—an increase of 5 percent and a decrease of 7 percent respectively compared to a decade ago, according to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics. This in itself would not be an issue were it not for the growing realization that secular people are increasingly unwelcome in the city: the process of Jerusalem’s “Haredization” peaked a few years ago when all images of women were scrubbed from the city’s billboards. It’s no coincidence, perhaps, that when Hodaya and Avri afﬁrm their love, they’re on the beach in Tel Aviv. Srugim at times feels contrived, heavy-handed. More than once it suffers from what I’ve come to think of as a tendency in Israeli productions to cram in “and, and”—in this case, to deal with divorce and homosexuality and infertility and losing one’s faith, sometimes in a single episode. I suspect this has to do with the richness of Israeli society and the attempt by Israeli writers to encompass it all, to check every box on its multitude of layers. All the more so in recent years, when so much of Israeli television is being made with an eye overseas, where a larger audience and big money beckon. (Such productions have a proven track record: Homeland originated in Israel, as did HBO’s In Treatment; the thriller Fauda, about a special forces unit of the Israeli military, is available on Netﬂix; the excellent drama Shtisel, about a Haredi family, is currently being adapted by Amazon.) But it’s not often that a TV show centered on romantic entanglements— that most hackneyed of tropes—comes across as bracing. “There’s no place for single life in the religious community,” Shapiro said when the show’s ﬁrst season aired in Israel. “If you don’t have a family or a wife, you barely have an existence in religious society.” Dating, for the characters of Srugim, isn’t casual or diversionary: it is existential. A sense of high drama drives their encounters—chaste as they are—emphasizing just how high the stakes are. No milestone is dreaded on the show quite like turning thirty alone. And so the characters date aggressively: speed dating, online, through acquaintances, even at synagogue. (“You pray at Yakar, but all the girls are waiting at Ohel Nehama,” Yifat tells Nati). They are desperate to start a family, but are not willing to give up on love in the process, or on professional fulﬁllment. When Reut realizes that her boyfriend resents her earning more than him, she promptly breaks up with him. And that, in the end, may be the show’s quietly radical stance— one that is also echoed in Menashe. Love and marriage, yes. But at what cost? The New York Review Changing the Conversations that Change the World The Little Book of Black Holes Bible Nation Steven S. Gubser & Frans Pretorius The United States of Hobby Lobby “The Little Book of Black Holes by Gubser and Pretorius provides an elegantly brief introduction to the basic properties of black holes and their occurrence in the universe. I warmly recommend it to the general reader.” —Roger Penrose, author of Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe Cloth $19.95 Candida R. Moss & Joel S. 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Gusmano, coauthor of Health Care in World Cities Cloth $29.95 Featuring the Original Manuscript of Einstein’s Masterpiece Hanoch Gutfreund & Jürgen Renn With a foreword by John Stachel “Any devotee of Einstein will relish the chance to parse this annotated facsimile of the physicist’s original manuscript on general relativity. . . . A fascinating window onto Einstein’s otherwise inaccessible opus.” —Scientific American Paper $22.95 See our E-Books at press.princeton.edu October 26, 2017 15 The Cultural Axis Robert O. Paxton The Nazi- Fascist New Order for European Culture by Benjamin G. Martin. Harvard University Press, 370 pp., $39.95 “When I hear the word ‘culture,’ I reach for my revolver.” This philistine wisecrack is often attributed to Air Marshal Hermann Goering, or some other Nazi notable. Benjamin Martin sets us straight on its source: the 1933 play Schlageter by the Nazi Party member Hanns Johst, in which a character says: “When I hear the word ‘culture’ I release the catch on my Browning.” Martin’s illuminating book The NaziFascist New Order for European Culture shows how badly astray this famous quip leads us: cultural concerns were in fact vital to the imperial projects of Hitler and Mussolini. We do not normally associate their violent and aggressive regimes with “soft power.” But the two dictators were would-be intellectuals— Adolf Hitler a failed painter inebriated with the music of Wagner, and Mussolini a onetime schoolteacher and novelist. Unlike American philistines, they thought literature and the arts were important, and wanted to weaponize them as adjuncts to military conquest. Martin’s book adds a signiﬁcant dimension to our understanding of how the Nazi and Fascist empires were constructed. German power and success gave the Nazi case particular salience. The special meaning of Kultur in Germans’ evaluation of themselves is an important part of the story. According to a famous essay by Norbert Elias, the meaning of Kultur for Germans is hardly comprehensible without reference to a particular historical development.* Kultur, he explains (along with Bildung, or education), denoted in pre-uniﬁcation Germany those qualities that the intellectuals and professionals of the small, isolated German middle class claimed for themselves in response to the disdain of the minor German nobles who employed them: intellectual achievement, of course, but also simple virtues like authenticity, honesty, and sincerity. German courtiers, by contrast, according to the possessors of Kultur, had acquired “civilization” from their French tutors: manners, social polish, the cultivation of appearances. As the German middle class asserted itself in the nineteenth century, the particular virtues of Kultur became an important ingredient in national self- deﬁnition. The inferior values of “civilization” were no longer attributed to an erstwhile French- educated German nobility, but to the French themselves and to the West in general. By 1914, the contrast between Kultur and Zivilisation had taken on a more aggressively nationalist tone. During World War I German patriotic propaganda vaunted the superiority of Germany’s supposedly rooted, organic, *Norbert Elias, “Sociogenesis of the Antithesis Between Kultur and Zivilisation in German Usage,” in The Civilizing Process: Sociogenetic and Psychogenetic Investigations, revised edition (Blackwell, 2000). 16 spiritual Kultur over the allegedly effete, shallow, cosmopolitan, materialist, Jewish-inﬂuenced “civilization” of Western Europe. Martin’s book shows how vigorously the Nazis applied this traditional construct. Hitler invested considerable money and time in the 1930s, and even after World War II began, in an effort to take over Europe’s cultural organizations and turn them into instruments of German power. These projects had some initial success. In the end, however, they collapsed along with the military power they were designed to reinforce. In a parallel and even less enduring effort, Mussolini’s Fascist regime tried to establish the primacy of Italian culture under the umbrella of Hitler’s conquests. Mussolini’s cultural executives, such as his Minister for Press and Propaganda Dino Alﬁeri, asserted that the Mediterranean and classical tradition of Italy was the proper foundation of a European “cultural Axis.” Having thrown in their lot deﬁnitively with Hitler, the Italians could hope to be the contemporary Greece to Germany’s new Rome, but the Nazi leaders never entertained the slightest doubt that German Kultur was the foundation stone of the “new cultural order” for Europe. An extensive network of international cultural organizations already existed before Hitler came to power. They had been greatly expanded after 1919 in the orbit of the League of Nations. Hitler saw them cynically as instruments of French cultural inﬂuence and as a reinforcement of Allied hegemony. Just as he planned to overthrow the political system set up by the victorious Allies after World War I, he was determined to overthrow the democratic cultural network. He intended to replace it with his own organizations headquartered in Berlin and dedicated to spreading throughout Europe the Nazi conception of the unique racial character of each national culture. The word “international” acquired a special meaning in its usage by Nazi and Fascist cultural ofﬁcials. The Allies’ international cultural associations had rested on a set of liberal democratic assumptions: that works of art and literature should be evaluated by universal standards of quality; that masterpieces were the product of individual creativity; and that no national culture deserved hegemony over another. The Nazi and Fascist dictators reversed all of these assumptions. They measured the merit of works of art and literature by their signiﬁcance within unique national cultural traditions. Masterpieces, in their view, grew out of community roots. And national cultural traditions were ranked in a natural hierarchy, with the German and Italian ones at the top. Hitler concerned himself with cultural matters as soon as he became chancellor of Germany in January 1933. He purged the German section of PEN International of “leftist” and Jewish writers. When PEN International protested, Hitler dissolved the German section altogether at the end of 1933. During this dispute the president of the Italian PEN club, the provocateur Futurist intellectual Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, supported the German position. Thus from the earliest days, Nazi cultural projects proved capable of enlisting foreign support. Hitler made his ambitions for German culture clear from the beginning. At a Nazi Party Congress on Culture in September 1933 he promised that the Nazi state would intervene more actively in cultural matters than the Weimar Republic had done, in order to make art an expression of the “hereditary racial bloodstock” and to transform artists into defenders of the German Volk. Hitler left the daily tasks of his bid to reorganize European culture under German dominance to his propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels—another would-be intellectual and a failed novelist—threw his frenetic energy, his ideological passions, and a generous budget into spreading abroad the Nazis’ racialist and nationalist approach to the arts. Cinema was the Nazi leaders’ ﬁrst cultural target. Goebbels and Hitler were as obsessed with movies as American adolescents are today with social media. Convinced that cinema was their era’s main engine of cultural inﬂuence, they tried to control ﬁlmmaking as far as their inﬂuence could reach. At the Venice Film Festival in 1935, at Goebbels’s instigation, delegates of twelve nations agreed to create an International Film Chamber (IFC) designed to establish a continent-wide system of ﬁlm exchange and regulation. As the possessor of the continent’s largest and most powerful ﬁlm industry, Germany became the dominant force in the IFC . Fascist Italy, however, assured for itself a strong second position by exploiting its considerable ﬁlm-producing assets, such as the technologically advanced studios of Cinecittà and the Venice Film Festival, which continued to be the main venue of IFC activities. The IFC was a genuinely European organization, and even had a French president in 1937. Its inspiration had been German, however, and its organizational form was less international than something Martin usefully calls “inter-national,” a federation of national arts organizations on the model of the Reich Film Chamber, which Goebbels had formed in July 1933 on corporatist principles. Corporatist doctrine required that capital, management, and labor abandon their separate advocacy groups and sit down together to ﬁnd their common interests, alongside state representatives. Corporatism smothered internal conﬂict in ﬁlm production The New York Review New & Notable Titles GAZA ENCLOSURE An Inquest into Its Martyrdom Palestinian Landscapes in a Historical Mirror Norman Finkelstein Finkelstein’s magnum opus is both a monument to Gaza’s martyrs and an act of resistance against the forgetfulness of history. “There is no one like Norman Finkelstein today, but in my bones I know this incredible warrior for Humanity and Justice is an archetype that has always been. And will always be.”—Alice Walker, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award Gary Fields “A masterful study of how landscapes come into being, ﬁrst as imaginable claims to land, and then through technologies of force that remake the material world.”—Lisa Hajjar, author of Torture: A Sociology of Violence and Human Rights A SOCIAL REVOLUTION DESTROYING YEMEN Politics and the Welfare State in Iran What Chaos in Arabia Tells Us about the World Kevan Harris After three decades of social change following Iran’s 1979 revolution, a newly educated and mobilized social class has emerged. Based on extensive ﬁeldwork, Kevan Harris shows how the revolutionary regime endured through the expansion of health, education, and aid programs that have both embedded the state in everyday life and empowered its challengers. AFTER SILENCE A History of AIDS through Its Images Avram Finkelstein “After Silence is an important contribution to the history of AIDS activism. It tells the personal story of a key designer of a crucial political movement and demystiﬁes how design decisions are made amidst political crisis. Compelling and potentially empowering to future visual activists.”—Sarah Schulman, author of The Gentriﬁcation of the Mind Isa Blumi Since March 2015, a Saudi-led international coalition of forces—supported by Britain and the United States—has waged devastating war in Yemen. Largely ignored by the world’s media, the resulting humanitarian disaster and full scale famine threatens millions. Destroying Yemen offers the ﬁrst in-depth historical account of the transnational origins of this war. TECHNICIANS OF THE SACRED, THIRD EDITION A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia, Europe, and Oceania, Revised and Expanded, 50th Anniversary Jerome Rothenberg “No one taught me more about poetry than Jerome Rothenberg. Technicians of the Sacred is the greatest anthology of poetry ever created, ‘primitive’ or otherwise.”—Nick Cave “More radically timely than ever in a tormented era of xenophobia and racism, this is a spiritual book; a book to survive with.”—Anne Waldman WAYNE THIEBAUD DAVID SMITH 1958-1968 Collected Writings, Lectures, and Interviews Edited by Rachel Teagle The ﬁrst study of the emergence of Thiebaud’s mature style, Wayne Thiebaud: 1958–1968 examines the artist’s ongoing impact on contemporary art through in-depth analysis of the paintings and drawings made at the launch of his career, at a seminal moment when the art world was moving beyond Abstract Expressionism and redeﬁning itself. David Smith; Edited by Susan J. Cooke This comprehensive sourcebook is destined to become a lasting and deﬁnitive resource on the art and aesthetic philosophy of sculptor David Smith. A compilation of his poems, notes, essays, and interviews, these previously unpublished texts underscore the ways in which his writing articulated both his private identity and his social ideals. W W W. U C P R E S S . E D U October 26, 2017 17 B enjamin Martin shows most interestingly that the Nazi and Fascist “inter-national” organizations had authentic appeal to some European intellectuals and arts executives who were not themselves Nazis or Fascists. These organizations promised material as well as intellectual advantages. The IFC provided access to a market of continental dimensions, a feature particularly attractive to European ﬁlmmakers who all suffered from the limited size of their national audiences. It also simpliﬁed thorny problems of cross-boundary payments and differing copyright laws. The main role of the IFC was to combat the Hollywood menace. The dominance of American ﬁlms had troubled European ﬁlmmakers and intellectuals from the beginning. By 1928 54 percent of all ﬁlms shown in France, 72 percent in Britain, and 80 percent in Italy came from Hollywood. Already in the 1920s most European countries had imposed quotas on American ﬁlms or limited them by reciprocity agreements. The respite given to European ﬁlms by the arrival of “talkies” in 1929 had been brief, as expert dubbing soon allowed Hollywood ﬁlms to predominate again. Many Europeans endorsed the IFC position that American ﬁlms were trivial entertainment designed to make money, while European ﬁlms were artistic creations that deserved protection. Although the British and Dutch refused to join, IFC membership extended by 1935 “from Belgium to Hungary [and] revealed a Europe,” according to Martin, “ready to accept German leadership.” German military conquests early in World War II enabled the Nazis to tighten even further their control of European cinema. In August 1940 they banned American ﬁlms altogether in the territories they occupied. A similar ban within Germany itself followed in 1941. The Fascist regime had already reduced the number of Hollywood ﬁlms shown in Italy by the “Alﬁeri law” of 1938 that created a state monopoly with sole authority to buy and show foreign ﬁlms (Hollywood’s four biggest studios withdrew from the Italian market in response). The unintended result of such protectionism was to give Hollywood ﬁlms the allure of forbidden fruit and to prepare their triumphant return to Europe in 1945. In Jean-Pierre Melville’s Resistance ﬁlm Army of Shadows, two underground leaders are smuggled out of France to consult personally with Free French leader General Charles de Gaulle. The ﬁrst thing they want to do in London, after eating a ﬁlling meal, is to go see Gone with the Wind. Beyond cinema, the Nazis meant to reorganize the whole range of German cultural activities along corporatist lines. The Reich Chamber of Culture contained subgroups for music, literature, theater, press, radio, and so on. The 18 Nazis soon tried to extend the reach of these cultural corporations to the entire European continent, according to their geopolitical vision of a world divided into blocs, or “great spaces,” continentscaled, self-sufﬁcient economic systems aligned with the appropriate cultural associations protected by authoritarian states. Their European “New Order” was meant to be cultural as well as economic and political. Music was a realm that Germans felt particularly qualiﬁed to dominate. But ﬁrst the German national musical scene had to be properly organized. In November 1933 Goebbels offered Richard Strauss the leadership of a Reich Music Chamber. In June 1934 Strauss invited composers from thirteen countries to the annual meeting of the German Music Association in Wiesbaden. The delegates created a Permanent Council for International Cooperation among Composers. The Permanent Council grew by exploiting an aesthetic rift in European musical culture. Since the early twentieth century a generation of gifted innovators had created new musical languages, such as Arnold Schoenberg’s twelve-tone technique. Organized in the inﬂuential International Society for Contemporary Music, the avant-garde had come to have a powerful inﬂuence on the European musical scene. Traditional composers resented the modernists’ celebrity, and the Nazis (Mussolini remained more open to modernism) attracted conservative support by attacking the avantgarde as internationalist, rootless, and Jewish. In a famous speech in December 1934 Goebbels derided “an atonal noise maker,” by whom he was generally assumed to mean the composer Paul Hindemith (who was not Jewish). Goebbels organized in Düsseldorf in 1938 a presentation of “degenerate music” following the better-known 1937 exhibition of “degenerate art.” Most of the composers who were afﬁliated with the Permanent Council, advocates generally of a national, rural, or folklorist approach to musical composition, are forgotten today. The council did draw some prestigious composers who were not really Nazi or Fascist, like Jean Sibelius and Albert Roussel. The presence of Richard Strauss, a onetime moderate modernist who resented the decline of his fame, gave legitimacy to the IFC . He continued to preside over it even after he had been removed from the Reich Music Chamber in 1935 in a dispute over his continued association with Stefan Zweig, who had written the libretto for his opera Die schweigsame Frau. The Permanent Council’s attention to composers’ material problems was an additional attraction. These included inconsistencies among different national copyright codes, problems of international royalties payments, and droit moral—the right claimed by authors and composers to assure that their work was not presented in a deformed way or with offensive associations. Thus the Permanent Council was able to ﬁll a busy schedule of concerts in various European capitals through the late 1930s. T he Nazi organization of European literature came later, but by similar tactics: a federation of national corporative bodies. German authors already gathered annually in Weimar. In connection with the 1941 Weimar authors’ meeting, Goebbels invited ﬁfty foreign writers to visit the city of Goethe and Schiller at the expense of his Propaganda Ministry (an indulgence that caused many of them trouble after the war). The following October authors from ﬁfteen European countries met at Weimar to found a European Writers’ Union. As with music, the Nazis were able to attract writers outside the immediate orbit of the Nazi and Fascist parties by endorsing conservative literary styles against modernism, by mitigating copyright and royalty problems, and by expelling Jewish scientists such as the talented nuclear physicist Lise Meitner. The soft power of science is fragile, as Americans may yet ﬁnd out. Without speciﬁcally setting out to do so, Martin casts interesting light on soft power and the conditions for its success. Nazis and Fascists turned out to be poor at it. Inherent contradictions undermined their attempts at cultural dominance. Dictatorial methods clashed with literary and artistic independence. Nazis had burned books, and both Germany and Italy had excluded prominent writers and artists. Their evident desire to put their own cultures ﬁrst undermined their lip service to “inter-national” cooperation. Within the “cultural Axis,” the relationship between Germany and Italy was strained. Martin was right to include the Italian case, even if Mussolini’s parallel bid for cultural power, like his parallel war, accomplished little. Hitler always accepted that Mussolini was his forerunner—the Duce’s bust stood on his desk—and while always ready to try to upstage him never let him drop. And so his “inter-national” organizations often attributed a strong second role to the Italians. But the Italians worked from within to subvert German claims to primacy. A major obstacle to the success of Axis “inter-national” cultural organizations—especially with the Nazis—was their ideological narrowness. While an alignment with militant antimodernism attracted conservative writers and artists, these generated little excitement compared to the modernists. Hitler’s efforts to stem the mass appeal of Hollywood ﬁlms and jazz only made them (as Martin suggests) more seductive and, in a ﬁnal irony, prepared for the triumph of American music, jeans, and ﬁlm in the postwar world by trying to make them taboo. Soft power seems to have thrived best without direct military occupation. The global inﬂuence of French language, manners, and ideas began in the seventeenth century, and depended little on the conquests of Louis XIV and Napoleon. The ascendancy of the English language began with the commercial and ﬁnancial power of the City of London in the nineteenth century, and owed little to conquest or colonial occupation, though those helped. The soft power of the United States, the most successful yet, spread far beyond direct American military presence. It prospered by appealing to mass popular tastes in music, dress, and entertainment, while the “cultural axis” aimed at conventional forms of high culture. The United States government did not ignore high culture—consider the activities of the United States Information Agency and the Congress for Cultural Freedom after World War II. But American soft power thrived mostly through the proﬁt motive and by offering popular entertainment to the young. Far from reaching for a revolver to deal with “culture,” Hitler (with Mussolini struggling behind) tried with at least some initial success to use international cultural organizations to enhance his military power. This story has been approached mostly, if at all, in individual national terms, but Martin has brought the whole Axis cultural project admirably into focus. SZ Photo/Scherl/Bridgeman Images and gave determining inﬂuence to the state rather than to the market. Each IFC member nation was expected to have a national ﬁlm organization similar to the Reich Film Chamber. Within Germany the Reich Film Chamber became the instrument through which the Nazi regime controlled an increasingly concentrated German ﬁlm industry purged of Jews. In 1942, the largest production companies, such as UFA and Tobis, were merged into one state- controlled entity. Sepp Hilz’s Peasant Venus, shown in the ‘Great German Art Exhibition,’ Munich, 1939 offering sybaritic visits to Germany and public attention. Some signiﬁcant ﬁgures joined, such as the Norwegian novelist Knut Hamsun, winner of the 1920 Nobel Prize in literature, but most were minor writers who employed themes of nationalism, folk traditions, or the resonance of landscape. Martin unravels these multinational connections with clarity and precision, aided by research and reading in at least ﬁve European languages. Painting and sculpture, curiously, do not ﬁgure in this account of the cultural ﬁelds that the Nazis and Fascists tried to reorganize “inter-nationally,” perhaps because they had not previously been organized on liberal democratic lines. Within Germany, of course, modernists could not show or sell their work, but this was not the case in occupied Paris, where Picasso and Kandinsky painted quietly in private and Jean Bazaine organized an exhibition with fellow modernists in 1941. Nazi cultural ofﬁcials thought “degenerate” art appropriate for France. Hitler made effective use of some German intellectuals’ resentment at being shut out of international cultural institutions after 1919. Martin seems to accept this sense of victimhood as legitimate, but it is difﬁcult to square with the prestige of German cinema, music, and science in the 1920s. Science would have made an interesting case study, a contrary one. Germany dominated the world of science before 1933. Germans won ﬁfteen Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry, and physiology or medicine between 1918 and 1933, more than any other nation. Far from capitalizing on this major soft power asset, Hitler destroyed it by imposing ideological conformity and The New York Review The Origin of Others The Dead March Collecting the World Impeachment Toni Morrison A History of the Mexican-American War A Citizen’s Guide Foreword by Ta-Nehisi Coates Peter Guardino Hans Sloane and the Origins of the British Museum +Author Louise Penny picked The Origin of Others as one of her favourite books for fall on PBS NewsHour “By examining the motivations and viewpoints of fighters on both sides, Guardino presents a balanced and “This book collects the great novelist’s deeper understanding of the war, James Delbourgo +A Daily Mail Book of the Week +A Guardian Book of the Week +A Times Book of the Week “Delbourgo’s engrossing new biography Norton lectures at Harvard, giving those challenging readers to determine of us who didn’t get to attend a glimpse why and how America triumphed and situates Sloane within the welter of at Morrison’s thoughts on race and the long-term ramifications for both intellectual and political crosscurrents otherness, and how these things affect countries . . . Extremely well-researched that marked his times.” literature and lives around the world.” and highly readable.” —The Millions —Publishers Weekly — Bruce Boucher, New York Times Book Review $22.95 Jottings under Lamplight $39.95 Belknap Press | $35.00 Cass R. Sunstein “Thoroughly grounded in constitutional history and past practice . . . Excellent.” — Noah Feldman & Jacob Weisberg, New York Review of Books “What makes Sunstein’s book of such great interest is its lack of fanfare and knife-sharpening. The author is a learned and accessible guide . . . A welcome, timely, ideal primer.” —Kirkus Reviews $7.95 | paper American Niceness Pious Fashion Lu Xun Collective Choice and Social Welfare A Cultural History How Muslim Women Dress Edited by Eileen J. Cheng • Kirk A. Denton An Expanded Edition Carrie Tirado Bramen Elizabeth Bucar “An often searing and sometimes startling collection . . . Animating every essay is Lu Xun’s deeply felt humanity . . . The Amartya Sen “Expanding on the early work of Condorcet, Pareto, Arrow, and others, “Any nation that lays claim to certain “A look at contemporary dress and how it principles, just like any person who dares can help us see the ‘Muslim community’ to do so, opens itself up to the charge of as a vast array of individuals rather totality adds up to a portrait of a country Sen provides rigorous mathematical hypocrisy. Some of the best moments in than an inscrutable monolith . . . Bucar struggling with uncertainty and transition, argumentation on the merits of voting Bramen’s history ask what might happen disabuses readers of any preconceived a picture just as relevant to the West mechanisms . . . For those with graduate were we to actually live up to our ideals.” ideas that women who adhere to an today as to early-20th-century China.” training, it will serve as a frequently —Meghan O’Gieblyn, New Yorker aesthetic of modesty are unfashionable —Publishers Weekly consulted reference and a necessity on $45.00 or frumpy.” $35.00 one’s book shelf.” —Robin Givhan, Washington Post —J. F. O’Connell, Choice $29.95 $35.00 H A R VA R D U N I V E R S I T Y P R E S S October 26, 2017 w w w. h u p . h a r v a r d . e d u b l o g : h a r v a r d p r e s s .t y p e p a d . c o m t e l : 8 0 0. 4 0 5.1 6 1 9 19 The Master of Eglﬁng-Haar Sanford Schwartz It is possible that the people who run the American Folk Art Museum have wondered in recent years about the name of their institution. Works by American folk artists make up the majority of its exhibitions, it is true. In the last decade or more, however, the museum has become an invaluable part of New York’s cultural life because it has produced a little stream of full-ﬂedged introductions to ﬁgures who are much the opposite of folk artists and frequently are not American. The term “folk art” implies an art for a wide, popular, and perhaps not overly discriminating audience—ingenious and lovely as folk-art creations can be. But the day has passed when this kind of work, which was at its most vibrant in the early decades of the nineteenth century, was crowded with ﬁgures waiting to be discovered. In this gaping situation the museum has informally reinvented itself with occasional explorations of what have been called outsider artists. They are sometimes confused with folk artists in that their work also has little or no connection with professional art-making. Yet in their creations (and their persons) they present the underside of the demotic, folk ethos. In no way a movement, they give us instead highly idiosyncratic, often confounding experiences. Folk artists in their work tend not to invite us into their private lives. We almost assume that they do not have private lives. Outsider art, which is frequently made by people who have spent their days as isolates, or have suffered mental or physical impairment and need to be cared for in assisted conditions, can seem like nothing but an immersion in the private. The Folk Art Museum has given us deﬁnitive shows of such masters of the private as Martín Ramírez, Henry Darger, and Adolf Wölﬂi.* Two years ago, to take another signiﬁcant example, there was an overdue examination of Jean Dubuffet’s pioneering project, begun in the 1940s, of collecting the work of these artists, which he called “art brut.” And recently the museum again expanded our sense of outsider art—a term that the curators there seem to use sparingly, preferring “selftaught art and art brut”—with separate but concurrent shows of Eugen Gabritschevsky (1893–1979) and Carlo Zinelli (1916–1974). *On Martín Ramírez see my “A Track All His Own,” The New York Review, April 12, 2007; on Adolf Wölﬂi see my “Wölﬂi’s Empire,” The New York Review, May 29, 2003. 20 These were ﬁrst- ever retrospectives in the States for these artists, though Zinelli, who spent a fair amount of his adult life in a psychiatric hospital in Verona, may be an almost-familiar ﬁgure for some New York gallery-goers. His good-size works on paper, which show silhouette-ﬂat ﬁgures, abstract shapes, and passages of writing lined up in loose formations—and which please us in the seemingly spontaneous yet rhythmic ways they are parked here and there—often seem to be on hand at art fairs. One remembers regu- we look at small paintings surrounded by mats and behind glass.) These works range from dreamlike portrait heads to total abstractions, some showing merely the swish of a brush, others giving us galaxies of interconnecting little elements. There are as well pictures where semblances of faces and bodies appear in what might be windy and stormy, or sometimes cloudy and stilled, atmospheric conditions. Other pictures are of stageset-like city and factory views, and we ﬁnd scenes of theaters, and pared in the catalog to the roughly similar ways that Victor Hugo, starting off with spills of dark brown ink, and Max Ernst, beginning with rubbings made on wood boards, developed some of their drawings. But Gabritschevsky leaves us even more with a newfound interest in gouache itself. We tend to think of it as a utilitarian medium, a fast- drying tool, not temperamental like watercolor, that is suitable for making posters or perhaps mock-ups for paintings. Gabritschevsky shows that it can be streaky and ﬂorid in Collection Chave, Vence, France/Estate of Eugen Gabritschevsky Eugen Gabritschevsky: 1893–1979 an exhibition at La Maison Rouge, Paris, July 8–September 18, 2016; Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne, November 11, 2016–February 19, 2017; and the American Folk Art Museum, New York City, March 13–August 13, 2017. Catalog of the exhibition edited by Antoine de Galbert, Noëlig Le Roux, Sarah Lombardi, and Valérie Rousseau. Snoeck, 192 pp., $35.00 Eugen Gabritschevsky: Untitled, gouache on paper, 8 1/4 x 11 5/8 inches, 1942 larly ﬁnding them at the no longer extant Phyllis Kind Gallery, for years the place to go, in New York, to see such work. Eugen Gabritschevsky, however, has been a far less visible ﬁgure. It is likely that even Americans who have come to realize in the past few decades how powerful the very different epical visions of Ramírez, Wölﬂi, and Darger can be are unfamiliar with his pictures. And of the two exhibitions it was that of the Russian-born Gabritschevsky, who suffered a mental breakdown when he was in his late thirties and lived for most of the remaining decades of his life in a psychiatric hospital, that provided the more mysterious and absorbing experience. This is partly due, of course, to what for most of us is the total novelty of his work. But it really derives from the marvelous, and elusive, visual poetry he often attained. Uncommonly varied in nature, his pictures are primarily works on paper, done largely in gouache, a medium like watercolor (which he sometimes added in) but with more body and less translucence. (In effect, compositions that resemble tapestries, jammed with molecule-small ﬁgures. Close looking at his various tableaux reveals that curving lines of dots might be rows of the tiniest people—on the march somewhere. If we didn’t know much about Gabritschevsky the person, and limited ourselves to the reproductions of his work in the show’s valuable and handsome accompanying catalog—it presents many more pictures than were in the museum’s exhibition—we might not at ﬁrst assume that their author was a schizophrenic patient living in a psychiatric hospital. We might, rather, wonder whether we were encountering a newly discovered modern master, a kind of Paul Klee, say, whose each small-size picture feels like its own selfcontained world. He is an artist who, like Klee and others, seems to proceed less from having a particular image in mind at the start than from letting images be suggested to him from the runny and brusque, or the pasty and porous, way he introduced his medium onto the given sheet of paper to begin with. We know that Gabritschevsky sometimes did work in this manner, and his method has appropriately been com- one instance, or ploppy and indecisive in the next—or waxy, and then somehow carved into. His skill with gouache is one of the revelations of his work. Should Gabritschevsky be called an outsider artist? The question hovers over his pictures, adding yet another level of mystery to them. In a number of obvious senses, he was certainly the opposite of the ﬁgures we generally think of as outsiders. Their bodies of work, if one can generalize, tend to emphasize (in quite different styles) lines, patterns, and structures. Gabritschevsky’s scenes in comparison are practically amorphous. He was also very different from many outsiders as a person. Such ﬁgures tend not to have an interest in art in itself and to make pictures and objects for the ﬁrst time only after they are stricken. (Their work seems to have the quality of a suddenly found language.) Most tend to come, moreover, from milieus where art is hardly thought about. Wölﬂi and Ramírez were laborers. Darger supported himself as, among other things, a janitor, and the highly regarded James Castle, who was born The New York Review NEW FROM THE Getty Golden Kingdoms Luxury Arts in the Ancient America Edited by Joanne Pillsbury, Timothy Potts, and Kim N. Richter This catalogue features over three hundred highly valued works made of jade, gold, delicate shell, and other materials, that traveled great distances across space and time, revealing connections between regions and challenging our sense of bounded traditions. THE J. PAUL GETTY MUSEUM / THE GETTY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Hardcover $59.95 Photography in Argentina Contradiction and Continuity Edited by Idurre Alonso and Judith Keller This groundbreaking volume tracks a course through Argentine history using photography as a path to understanding notions of modernity, immigration, and national identity. THE J. PAUL GETTY MUSEUM Hardcover $55.00 Making Art Concrete Works from Argentina and Brazil in the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Pia Gottschaller and Aleca Le Blanc In the years after World War II, artists in Argentina and Brazil engaged in lively debates about the role of artwork in society and used novel synthetic materials and geometric abstraction, creating objects that they proposed become part of everyday life. This collection sheds new light on the social, political, and cultural underpinnings of these artists’ propositions. THE GETTY CONSERVATION INSTITUTE / THE GETTY RESEARCH INSTITUTE Hardcover $39.95 Revolution & Ritual The Photographs of Sara Castréjon, Graciela Iturbuide, and Tatiana Parcero Edited by Mary Davis MacNaughton This richly illustrated catalogue features photographs by three Mexican photgraphers—Sara Castréjon, Graciela Iturbide, and Tatiana Parcero— each representing a different generation, who have explored and stretched notions of Mexican identity in works that range from the documentary to the poetic. RUTH CHANDLER WILLIAMSON GALLERY, SCRIPPS COLLEGE IN ASSOCIATION WITH GETTY PUBLICATIONS Paper £22.50 David Lamelas A Life of Their Own Edited by María José Herrera and Kristina Newhouse The renowned Argentine conceptual artist David Lamelas has an expansive oeuvre of sensory, restive, and evocative work. This book, published to coincide with the first monographic exhibition of the artist’s work in the United States, offers an incisive look into Lamelas’s art. UNIVERSITY ART MUSEUM, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, LONG BEACH IN ASSOCIATION WITH GETTY PUBLICATIONS Hardcover £50.00 Prometheus 2017 Four Artist From Meixco Revisit Orozco Edited by Rebecca McGrew and Terri Geis José Clemente Orozco’s 1930 mural Prometheus, created for the Pomona College campus, is a dramatic and gripping examination of heroism. This thoughtful volume examines the multiple ways Orozco’s vision resonates with four artists working in Mexico today: Isa Carrillo, Adela Goldbard, Rita Ponce de León, and Naomi Rincón-Gallardo. POMONA COLLEGE MUSEUM OF ART IN ASSOCIATION WITH GETTY PUBLICATIONS Hardcover £35.00 Getty Publications A WO RLD OF A RT , RESEA RC H , C O NSERVATION, AND PHILANTHROPY www.getty.edu/publications 800 223 3431 © 2017 J. Paul Getty Trust October 26, 2017 21 22 Collection of Audrey B. Heckler/Estate of Eugen Gabritschevsky humor, that are also felt in his picnervously and appealingly watchful the circumstances are quite different, tures. The many instances in his scenes while other shapes, equipped with unthe image reminded me of the nightwhere, for instance, aspects of women’s friendly eyes that resemble pomegrantime scene in Citizen Kane when the nude bodies appear make it seem as ate seeds, ﬂoat along in the currents. reporter comes to interview Bernstein if we were encountering a mind that Then in an extraordinary work from in his ofﬁce while, outside the windows, was being visited not only by his vi1947, we are confronted by a head that the city seems to glow.) sions and memories as a naturalist but has been stretched out, as we might Gabritschevsky’s literally dark, and see ourselves in a funearly, charcoal pieces house mirror, with an tend to be more threateyeball at either side and ening and overcast in a wispy bowtie underspirit than the Columbia neath. Taking up almost lab picture, however, and the entire sheet of paper, it is fascinating to turn the bloated, pinkish from these charcoals head, with one eye sugto the often fantastical gesting a wounded soul works in gouache that he and the other an angry did after his breakdown. one, could be the ofﬁcial They suggest that when face of anyone suffering he was a functioning mental turmoil (or of person in society (who any of us when we sense also happened to be a that we have become all widely respected scihead and yet wonder if entist), Gabritschevsky anything is in it). saw the world as an And in, lastly, a strikominous place—a spirit ing scene dated circa that is only occasion1947, we see a hugeally felt in the pictures, headed, puppetlike man, with their fanciful, and Eugen Gabritschevsky: Untitled, gouache and watercolor on paper, each of his large eyes wonderful, colors, that 11 5/8 x 15 3/4 inches, 1957 a black abyss, in a railhe made after he beway or subway station. came ill. We might say Every space around him that, excruciating as the ingeniously, and inaccessthroes of his crisis were, ibly, contains unclothed it liberated him from women. Did Gabritschevpervasive dread. sky make other pictures It is hard, of course, that, like these, portray to pin down the content states of imprisonment of the little paintings and yet give us joy as that he did at the hosworks of art? There is pital. Annie Le Brun a good chance that he and Valérie Rousseau, did. The two-hundredin separate strong esodd pictures in the pressays in the catalog, see ent catalog are but a Gabritschevsky’s conportion of the roughly cerns as a biologist perthree thousand works on meating his pictures. paper that he left. Le Brun writes about We have Jean Dubufthe artist, whose scenes fet to thank for setoften show forms and ting in motion the substances in ﬂux, that process whereby those “we cannot forget that works were preserved. he was a geneticist Gabritschevsky made who was fascinated by them, it appears, over the transmission and the ﬁrst three decades of possible transformations his stay at Eglﬁng-Haar. of form.” His images of Then in the 1960s and “strings of bead-like 1970s, whether due, it is forms stretching from thought, to new medicahorizon to horizon,” tions, or because, as a vishe says, “may be taken sual artist, he said what for a barely transposed he had in him to say, he representation of the made hardly any new arrangement of genes.” pictures. And Rousseau evokes He had long since lost the sense of constant his ability to be a scienbubbling activity in tist, and he now lost his these pictures, with desire to make art. Yet their instances of nearhis losses seem not to molecular miniaturism, have weighed on him. when she refers to “that His doctors, we read, bacterial colony in which were amazed by his the whole body of Gafortitude. After all his britschevsky’s work is years of hospitalization, steeped.” he should have become, one of them wrote, a e Brun and Rous“silent shadow, an emaEugen Gabritschevsky: Untitled, gouache and pencil on paper, 8 11/16 x 5 1/8 inches, circa 1947 seau’s approaches will ciated body with nothsurely be guidelines ing human left.” But he as Gabritschevsky becomes better by his predicament as a person. One didn’t give in to “despondency,” and known. (It will also be helpful to learn feels this even more in some of the few “he looks better than many other men more about the vast number of letters images of faces in the present selecof his age”; and another doctor believed and essays that we hear he wrote—in tion. They are Gabritschevsky’s most that Gabritschevsky ultimately came to what years?—in the hospital.) Yet for affecting works. see himself with “a deep wisdom full this nonscientist, the “natural uniIn a buoyant picture from 1942, say, of resignation.” He was now, one might verse,” as Rousseau puts it, doesn’t showing a bubbling forth of atmosay, in the third act of his life, and he account for the sense of violence, and spheric forces, a blob at the bottom was again proving himself to be, as Le of longing and hiddenness, and the of the delectably red- orange scene is Brun writes, “always exceptional.” Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne/Estate of Eugen Gabritschevsky deaf and mute, lived primarily on his family’s Idaho farm. Gabritschevsky, though, was a person of considerable learning, and he came from a background of some wealth and stature. At the home of his mother’s relatives, where much of his childhood was spent, Leo Tolstoy was a visitor. Eugen’s father was a renowned bacteriologist. When he died at a relatively young age from an infection connected to his work, Eugen’s mother assiduously took over the education of her ﬁve children. There were tutors, many esteemed in their own right, for every subject, and Eugen and his brothers and sisters all eventually mastered numerous languages. Eugen as a matter of course had drawing (and dancing) lessons as a boy; he drew consistently and learned to paint and sculpt. He attended exhibitions in Moscow in the years before World War I of the most progressive new Russian art and stage design. Eugen’s chief interest was the natural world, which he seems to have seen in terms that were equally scientiﬁc and imaginative. From childhood, he personiﬁed birds, ﬂies, and insects, and his brother Georges wrote that he so blended fanciful details with precise factual ones that it was hard to know what was real. Eugen became a biologist, with a particular concern for morphology and heredity. An accomplished researcher, he was able, in 1925, to do postdoctoral work in genetics—then a new ﬁeld—working with Thomas Hunt Morgan at Columbia. (Morgan would later win a Nobel Prize for his work in heredity.) After his stay in New York and then at the Woods Hole labs (and a western vacation that included a visit to Yellowstone), Eugen moved on to the Pasteur Institute in Paris for further work. His papers and ﬁndings were admired by his colleagues, and he was already, in his ﬁeld, a ﬁgure of real distinction when in the late 1920s his grip on reality began to disintegrate. It precipitated a time, his brother wrote, of “violence that is familiar to all doctors and that is impossible to describe.” By 1931, now entirely unable to handle his personal and professional lives, he was admitted to the Eglﬁng-Haar Psychiatric Hospital outside Munich. He remained there—apart from the years of World War II, when he seems to have been taken to the homes of different people—until he died, in 1979. A number of Gabritschevsky’s drawings done before his breakdown have been preserved, and they show him to have been a conventional realist artist of the era, albeit one with a taste for large, rounded forms. He worked primarily in charcoal and, clearly sensitive to the properties of the materials he used, he saw the medium as lending itself to presenting blackness, or darkness. Areas where there was no charcoal on the sheet became, as he drew, vestiges of light. The charcoals are from his time in the States, and one alluring piece from 1926—most of his pictures are untitled but many are dated—shows Thomas Morgan and another researcher at a Columbia lab, working at night. Their test tubes and microscopes are before them, and the room’s pervasive darkness plays against the beckoning lights from the scientists’ desk areas and from building and street lights outside, seen through the window. (Although L The New York Review p re ss . j h u .e du MAKING THE MOST OF THE ANTHROPOCENE CREATURES BORN OF MUD AND SLIME Facing the Future The Wonder and Complexity of Spontaneous Generation 0DUN'HQQ\ 'DU\Q/HKRX[ “A profoundly important book. Well-argued and lively, this book is a must read for climate change skeptics, millennials who can shape a better world, and grandparents like myself who worry about just what we have left to our grandchildren.” —Ben Hoffman, author of The Violence Vaccine KDUGFRYHUHERRN ON THE OTHER HAND Left Hand, Right Brain, Mental Disorder, and History +RZDUG,.XVKQHU “Kushner, a distinguished historian of science and medicine with a deep knowledge of neuroscience, identiﬁes an extremely interesting and puzzling set of issues around the phenomena of left-handedness. Illuminating.” “A very well-written and well-researched book that grapples with the foundational questions of the history of Western philosophy.” —Justin E. H. Smith, author of The Philosopher: A History in Six Types KDUGFRYHUHERRN PERSIAN INTERVENTIONS The Achaemenid Empire, Athens, and Sparta, 450–386 BCE -RKQ2+\ODQG “A wonderful book, well-conceived and brilliantly executed.” —Stephen Ruzicka, author of Trouble in the West: Egypt and the Persian Empire, 525–332 BCE KDUGFRYHUHERRN —Alice R. Wexler, author of The Woman Who Walked into the Sea: Huntington’s and the Making of a Genetic Disease KDUGFRYHUHERRN October 26, 2017 23 The Seal of the Poets Metropolitan Museum of Art Robyn Creswell The Conference of the Birds by Attar, translated from the Persian by Sholeh Wolpé. Norton, 376 pp., $25.95 Almost nothing is known for certain about the life of Farid ud-Din Attar, a Persian poet celebrated for his delightful long poem The Conference of the Birds. He had no contemporary biographers and the few vignettes of his life that do exist feel apocryphal. He was born toward the middle of the twelfth century and made his living as an apothecary (Attar, a pen name, means “perfumist” or “pharmacist”). In addition to The Conference of the Birds, he composed three other long narrative poems, a large collection of shorter verses, and a charming book of anecdotes about famous followers of Suﬁsm, the mystical branch of Islam.1 Later Persian poets such as Jalal ad-Din Rumi in the thirteenth century and Hafez in the fourteenth were openly indebted to Attar’s work. He probably died around 1220, when Mongol armies sacked his home city of Nishapur. According to one tradition, after an enemy soldier decapitated him, Attar picked up his head and recited the Bisarnama (“Book of the Man with No Head,” an actual work, though Attar did not compose it). The Conference of the Birds is widely understood to illustrate and allegorize Suﬁ teachings—Henry Corbin, the French scholar of Islamic philosophy, called it a “peak of mystical experience”—but it is not certain Attar ever belonged to a Suﬁ order or studied with a qualiﬁed master. This is curious, for the teacher– student relation was at the heart of medieval Suﬁsm. Each congregation was centered on a particular sheikh, and one could only become a Suﬁ after intensive study. The early mystics of the ninth and tenth centuries preached austerity in response to the corruption of rulers in Baghdad and the Islamic east, and they countered the strict legalism of the clerics with esoteric, often symbolic interpretations of religious texts. The Suﬁs taught an exaggerated form of monotheism: not only is there a single God, but God is all that truly exists; everything else, including our worldly selves, is merely a shadow of His presence. Accordingly, Suﬁ sheikhs urged their followers to disdain wealth and bodily pleasures. By looking inward, believers were taught to recognize the afﬁnity of their soul with God. Through ascetic discipline, they were guided toward a self-annihilating union with the divine. The Conference of the Birds, which is close to ﬁve thousand lines in the original Persian (about the length of Dante’s Inferno), is an allegory of Suﬁsm’s central drama: the soul’s quest to unify itself with God. The poem tells the story of a ﬂock of birds who ﬂy to the ends of the earth in search of the mythical Simorgh, an Iranian version Everything is an inﬁnity of things. You, you are music, Rivers, ﬁrmaments, palaces and angels, O endless rose, intimate, without limit, which the Lord will ﬁnally show to my dead eyes3 Borges, who elsewhere compares Attar favorably to Dante, is subtly suggesting that Attar is ﬁrst of all an imaginative thinker—a poet for whom any one thing might become the symbol of any other thing. The delight one gets in reading Attar’s poem has everything to do with its surprising turns of thought, its intellectual daring, its literary wit. In his role as spiritual guide, the ‘The Conference of the Birds’; detail of an illustration by Habiballah of Sava from a Persian manuscript of the poem by Farid ud-Din Attar, circa 1600 of the phoenix. The title comes from a passage in the Koran about King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba in which the king claims to have learned “the speech of the birds” (mantiq al-tayr), a more literal translation of Attar’s title. Solomon’s go-between is the hoopoe, a small bird with a spikey crest of feathers, who is also the main character of Attar’s poem. Like a Suﬁ spiritual guide, or pƯr, Attar’s hoopoe exhorts the other birds to renounce their material comforts and join him on a difﬁcult journey through seven valleys (the ﬁrst is the Valley of the Quest, the last is the Valley of Poverty and Nothingness) to reach Mount Qaf, home of the Simorgh. At the beginning of Attar’s epic, which is composed in rhyming couplets, each species hesitates to join the hoopoe for his own reasons. The ﬁnch complains that he is too weak for the journey, the hawk boasts that he already enjoys lofty connections, and the nightingale is infatuated with a ﬂower: My love is for the rose; I bow to her; From her dear presence I could never stir. If she should disappear the nightingale Would lose his reason and his song would fail.2 In the hoopoe’s responses to each bird, readers are given a primer on Suﬁ 1 A selection of these stories has been translated by A. J. Arberry, Muslim Saints and Mystics (University of Chicago Press, 1966). 24 poem that imagines Attar in his garden meditating on a rose—“like one who thinks, not like one who prays”—as the Mongol armies close in. Borges projects his own blindness onto the Persian poet, who is free to imagine that the rose he holds and smells is white, or gold, or red. In the last lines of Borges’s poem, the ﬂower loses all speciﬁcity, transformed into a bottomless allegorical sign: 2 All citations are from the translation of Dick Davis and Afkham Darbandi (Penguin, 2011). beliefs and ethics: the impermanence of worldly things, the importance of spiritual courage, the ideal of divine love. In response to the nightingale, the hoopoe warns against deceiving appearances: Dear nightingale, This superﬁcial love which makes you quail Is only for the outward show of things. Renounce delusion and prepare your wings For our great quest. After traversing the world, just thirty birds of the original multitude remain to meet the Simorgh. They arrive in his presence only to discover a mystical mirror: “There in the Simorgh’s radiant face they saw/Themselves, the Simorgh of the world—with awe/They gazed, and dared at last to comprehend/They were the Simorgh and the journey’s end.” The birds were the very thing they’d searched for. It is an eloquent summary of the Suﬁ teaching that the divine lies within each believer’s soul. In Persian, this collapse of difference into unity is clinched by an accident of language. Simorgh, the name of the divine bird, breaks down into si-morgh, meaning “thirty birds.” How many poets would dare to put so much pressure on what is essentially a linguistic joke? The German scholar of Suﬁsm Annemarie Schimmel called it “the most ingenious pun in Persian literature.” Late in his life, Jorge Luis Borges wrote “The Unending Rose,” a short hoopoe tells the assembled birds many short tales along their journey to illustrate his arguments. The bulk of Attar’s poem is made up of these stories, adapted from the Koran, Islamic history, and the lives of Suﬁ saints. In the centuries after Attar’s death, as the Mongol conquerors of Persia converted to Islam and established courts that rivaled those of Istanbul and Florence in sophistication and luxury, many of these retellings became subjects for elaborately illustrated manuscripts. The most exquisite of these, which includes works by the master painter Behzad, was commissioned in the late ﬁfteenth century in Herat, Afghanistan, and is now in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.4 The retellings of Koranic tales are, in effect, Attar’s interpretations of the holy text. Some of them are terriﬁcally strange, seeming to upend the meaning of the original story altogether. This sort of revisionism is a Suﬁ specialty. It is a commonplace of mystical teaching, for example, that the Koranic story of Satan’s refusal to bow before Adam as the rest of the angels do, a story that appears in several passages of the Koran, is not evidence of Satan’s pride, as it is understood in traditional interpretations, but rather of his overpowering love for God, which did not permit him to bow to anyone else. (In this sense, Satan is the model monotheist.) Attar 3 Borges: Selected Poems, translated by Alastair Reed (Penguin, 2000), p. 367. 4 An illustrated volume of the epic, which includes these original ﬁfteenthcentury images along with others from a variety of sources, was published in 2014 as The Canticle of the Birds: Illustrated in Eastern Islamic Painting (Paris: Éditions Diane de Selliers). The New York Review Through January 7 Catalogue available at publications.artic.edu Tarsila do Amaral: Inventing Modern Art in Brazil is organized by the Art Institute of Chicago and The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Major support is generously provided by The Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation. Additional funding is contributed by the Morton International Exhibition Fund, Robert J. Buford, Noelle C. Brock, Constance and David Coolidge, Margot Levin Schiff and the Harold Schiff Foundation, the Jack and Peggy Crowe Fund, and Erika Erich. Annual support for Art Institute exhibitions is provided by the Exhibitions Trust: Neil Bluhm and the Bluhm Family Charitable Foundation; Jay Franke and David Herro; Kenneth Griffin; Caryn and King Harris, The Harris Family Foundation; Liz and Eric Lefkofsky; Robert M. and Diane v.S. Levy; Ann and Samuel M. Mencoff; Usha and Lakshmi N. Mittal; Thomas and Margot Pritzker; Anne and Chris Reyes; Betsy Bergman Rosenﬁeld and Andrew M. Rosenﬁeld; Cari and Michael J. Sacks; and the Earl and Brenda Shapiro Foundation. Tarsila do Amaral. Abaporu, 1928. Colección MALBA, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires. © Tarsila do Amaral Licenciamentos. October 26, 2017 25 new books from polity Leningrad 1941-42 Morality in a City under Siege Sergey Yarov “An intensely moving and unforgettable book.” – Catriona Kelly, University of Oxford Cloth | 432 pages | 9781509507986 | $45.00 Munich 1919 Diary of a Revolution Victor Klemperer “Klemperer guides us through the turmoil of these eventful Munich days with empathy, sensitivity and a perceptive eye … This book is essential reading.” – Christopher Clark, University of Cambridge Cloth | 224 pages | 9781509510580 | $25.00 Will China’s Economy Collapse? Ann Lee “Anyone interested in China’s future and its global implications would do well to read this book.” – Alan Krueger, Princeton University Paper | 144 pages | 9781509520145 | $12.95 The Invention of Celebrity 1750-1850 Antoine Lilti “[H]ighly impressive. … a new perspective on the transformations of Western culture in the age of revolutions, and on the genesis of modern notions of selfhood and personal authenticity.” – David A. Bell, Princeton University Paper | 384 pages | 9781509508747 | $28.95 Facing Gaia Eight Lectures on the New Climatic Regime Bruno Latour A world-leading thinker shows why the current ecological mutation requires a radical rethinking of our relationship to nature. Paper | 336 pages | 9780745684345 | $26.95 Formations of the Unconscious The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book V Jacques Lacan A major work on the unconscious by the most inﬂuential psychoanalyst since Freud. Cloth | 544 pages | 9780745660370 | $45.00 polity 30 years of independent thinking Cambridge | Oxford | Boston | New York www.politybooks.com 26 goes further, saying that God’s curse of Satan is to be prized, since any form of divine attention, even in the form of a curse, must be counted a blessing. The most important Koranic narrative for Attar’s poem is the story of Joseph, which the Koran itself calls “the best of all stories.” Joseph, who was cast into a well and then sold into slavery by the very brothers who pledged to watch over him, makes many appearances in The Conference of the Birds, most often as a symbol of the pure soul. At the end of Attar’s poem, before the birds confront themselves in the mirror, they are shown a ledger of their worldly deeds. Attar compares this balance sheet to the slave merchant’s receipt that Joseph reveals to his brothers when they meet in Egypt. It is one of the most powerful passages in the poem, moving between Koranic original, Attar’s fable, and the reader’s conscience: As they read They understood that it was they who’d led The lovely Joseph into slavery— Who had deprived him of his liberty Deep in a well, then ignorantly sold Their captive to a passing chief for gold (Can you not see that at each breath you sell The Joseph you imprisoned in that well, That he will be the king to whom you must Naked and hungry bow down in the dust?) While much of Suﬁ literature is esoteric, mechanically allegorical, and spiritually high-strung, it can also be playful and experimental (the same might be said of Jewish mystical literature). Attar is skilled at retelling old stories to reveal unsuspected meanings, and he has a special liking for stories that turn on some dramatic reversal of fortune—a religious conversion, a king brought low, a slave raised high. One effect of these topsy-turvy narratives is to cast doubt on the permanence or even legitimacy of any worldly power. Kings, like roses, will not last forever, and the man who seems to be a sovereign might actually be a slave to his passions. Attar’s suspicion of authority lends his poetry an attractively modern note, but this skepticism is deeply rooted in his own times. In medieval Iran, Suﬁ communities emerged for the most part outside the royal courts, which they regarded as dens of debauchery and worldly intrigue. The mystics’ legendary piety and ascetic way of life stood as a rebuke to the intemperance of rulers (as well as the hypocrisy of ofﬁcial clerics). Attar boasted of never having written a poem in praise of a king—“Why eulogize/Some idiotic fool as great and wise?”—and warned against cozying up to powerful men. “An earthly king acts righteously at times,” the hoopoe warns the hawk, “But also stains the earth with hateful crimes,/And then whoever hovers nearest him/Will suffer most from his destructive whim.” U ltimately more subversive than his mistrust of rulers is Attar’s conception of love. One might even say that for him, Suﬁsm is fundamentally the cultivation of love—not in the sentimental sense of an affection for particular people (although this may be the ﬁrst symptom of the real thing), but rather as the state of readiness to give up everything, including one’s most deeply held beliefs, for the sake of one’s passion. Love in this sense is a profoundly irrational and asocial—even antisocial—force. “Give up the intellect for love,” the hoopoe urges his disciples more than once, “and see/ In one brief moment all eternity.” In a rich and extraordinarily wideranging study, the late scholar of Islam Shahab Ahmed recently argued that the “religion of love” (madhhab- i ‘ishq) is a central element of Muslim history and thought, in societies stretching from the Balkans to Bengal. 5 The popular stereotype of Islam as a puritanical and legalistic faith—an image that often persists in scholarship as well—is in his account very far from the lived truth. In view of the enormously widespread circulation of poems by Attar, Rumi, and Hafez, as well as the visual art that grew out of these works and the philosophical arguments they engaged with, Ahmed argues that Suﬁ poetry is a more reliable guide to Muslim “orthodoxy” than jurists and theologians. Ahmed’s argument is a useful corrective to more prevalent opinions, but it is difﬁcult to imagine Attar’s notion of love ever serving as a guiding principle for a social or religious organization. For Attar, love is instead a process of transformation that transcends received notions of good and evil. The longest story in The Conference of the Birds is about Sheikh San’an, a pious Meccan who falls for a Christian girl and converts to her religion—one of Attar’s typical reversals. The sheikh’s disciples remonstrate with him, but he responds with a series of blasphemies, delivered with the eerie serenity of a man who is head- over-heels in love: One urged him to repent; he said: “I do, Of all I was, all that belonged thereto.” One counseled prayer; he said: “Where is her face That I may pray toward that blessèd place?”. . . . And one reproached him: “Have you no regret For Islam and those rites you would forget?” He said: “No man repents past folly more; Why is it I was not in love before?” Divine intercession eventually restores the sheikh to his original faith—the Christian girl converts to Islam—but the experience of love has profound consequences. It liberates the sheikh from the outward shows of religion and inducts him into its deeper mysteries. The sheikh’s passion for the Christian girl is clearly an allegory of the spiritual love that rises above earthly distinctions of sect. In this sense, the Christian is—paradoxically—the Muslim sheikh’s pƯr, or Suﬁ master, who initiates him into higher truths. But as Attar tells us in lingering detail, the girl is beautiful in a mundane sense too: “Her mouth was tiny as a needle’s eye,/Her breath as quickening as Jesus’ sigh;/Her chin was dimpled with a silver 5 Shahab Ahmed, What Is Islam?: The Importance of Being Islamic (Princeton University Press, 2016), pp. 38–46. The New York Review well/In which a thousand drowning Josephs fell.” Later on, the girl demands that the sheikh drink forbidden wine to prove his love for her, which leads to an equally rapturous passage about the effects of intoxication. The celebration of physical beauty and sensual delight is clearly at odds with Attar’s strictures against worldly pleasures and outward shows. But the poet’s joy in language, which is itself a kind of sensual pleasure, seems to outrun his spiritual dictums. For some readers, it is the thrill of seeing style triumph over stricture that gives Attar’s poetry its special appeal. Suﬁsm has a reputation, particularly in the West, as a “moderate” or even ecumenical branch of Islam. An ode of Ibn Arabi, the Andalusian philosopher and poet, is often quoted in this spirit: My heart can take on any form: a meadow for gazelles, a cloister for monks, For the idols, sacred ground, Ka‘ba for the circling pilgrim, The tables of the Toráh, The scrolls of the Qur’án. I profess the religion of love; wherever its caravan turns along the way, that is the belief, the faith I keep.6 Suﬁsm’s reputation for tolerance and mysticism has attracted religious syn6 The translation is by Michael Sells, Stations of Desire: Love Elegies from Ibn ‘Arabi and New Poems (Jerusalem: Ibis, 2000). 1 2 5 cretists of all kinds. In the United States, what goes by the name of Suﬁsm is basically a branch of the New Age movement and bears almost no relation to Suﬁ orders of the Middle East and South Asia. In this spiritualist milieu, the poetry of Attar, Rumi, and Hafez— like that of the early-twentieth- century Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran—is read as a form of wisdom literature, valued above all for its sayings, parables, and apothegms. Sholeh Wolpé, the most recent translator of Attar’s epic into English, writes in the foreword to her new version that “the parables in this book trigger memories deep within us all. The stories inhabit the imagination, and slowly over time, their wisdom trickles down into the heart. The process of absorption is unique to every individual, as is each person’s journey. We are the birds in the story.” This is a plausible response to Attar’s pedagogic intentions. We are plainly meant as readers to identify ourselves (or at least our souls) with the birds. But this interpretation ignores the literary and rhetorical dimensions of Attar’s poem, and it is in this respect that Wolpé’s translation often falls short. The Conference of the Birds is not a poem that cries out for retranslation. Dick Davis and Afkham Darbandi’s version, ﬁrst published in 1984 and revised in 2011, is a wonderfully lucid and stylish rendition. Darbandi and Davis maintain the rhyming couplets of the original—they turn the elevensyllable lines of the Persian into iambic pentameters—without any sacriﬁce of sense (and astonishingly few stumbles). Their Attar is at once folksy and for- Y E A R S O F mal; the couplets maintain narrative momentum even during the most esoteric ﬂights. Darbandi and Davis, accomplished Persianists, approach the poem primarily as a work of imaginative literature, for which Attar’s conception of Suﬁ doctrine provides a convenient structure. No doubt the doctrine is at times seriously meant, but it is not where the real action is— not for the poet, and not for the translator, either. Wolpé’s version is rather earnest and earthbound by comparison. She makes the curious choice to render the retellings of legendary material in what she calls “poetic prose”—though it is not exactly clear what makes it poetic—and the speech of the birds in unrhymed verse. But her hoopoe often sounds merely sententious: Cast off the shame of narcissism. How long will you keep this faithlessness, this disgrace? Stake your life for the Beloved and you will be Liberated from everything, even good and evil. Surrender your ego and step into the Path, Cross that threshold dancing. “Surrender your ego” is a maxim of the yoga studio. Wolpé defends her use of that jarringly clinical word, which she employs throughout her translation: “I chose ‘ego’ because it felt like a word closest in meaning to the inner conceited self, the non-soul. Do not read it as the psychoanalytical ego, minted by the nineteenth- century neurologist and father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud.” One must point out that Freud’s word was in fact the German Ich or, “I”; “ego” was minted by his English translator, Ernest Jones. In any case, translators get to choose only the words, not the words’ connotations. “Ego” cannot help but make contemporary readers think of Freud, but also—more worrisomely—of New Ageism and the tendency it encourages to treat literature as a kind of therapy or self-help. This approach is not entirely foreign to Attar, but it fails to pick up on what is most distinctive about his poetry. The epilogue of The Conference of the Birds, a poem dedicated to scourging the self, is Attar’s grand self- eulogy: “Until the end of time there’ll be no one Who’ll write about these things as I have done. I bring pearls from Truth’s sea, and poetry— This book’s the proof—has found its seal in me!” Muhammad was “the seal of the prophets” in the sense that he was the last prophet, whose revelation superseded all previous revelations. Attar’s claim to be the seal of the poets seems to be another case of his pleasure in language—in this case, the pleasures of hyperbole—getting the better of his doctrine of humility. He was not the last poet, of course; many others have been guided by Attar’s example in the nine centuries since his death. The best students recognized that his virtue lay not in his precepts but in his limitless powers of invention. P U B L I S H I N G S TA N F O R D U N I V E R S I T Y P R E S S Broke and Patriotic The Myth of Millionaire Tax Flight Why Poor Americans Love Their Country Francesco Duina How Place Still Matters for the Rich Cristobal Young “An excellent, timely book, which can help us understand the results of the recent election.” —Liah Greenfeld, author of Mind, Modernity, Madness “A tour-de-force that should be read by taxpayers everywhere.” —Douglas S. Massey, Princeton University Secret Cures of Slaves Forgotten Disease People, Plants, and Medicine in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World Londa Schiebinger Illnesses Transformed in Chinese Medicine Hilary A. Smith A long-ranging history of medicine in China and the West’s inﬂuence on Chinese understanding of disease A rich examination of medicine and human experimentation in the eighteenth-century Atlantic World sup.org stanfordpress.typepad.com October 26, 2017 27 A Family Cruise Peter Green An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic by Daniel Mendelsohn. Knopf, 306 pp., $26.95 In January 2011, just before the beginning of the spring semester, Daniel Mendelsohn—well known to readers of The New York Review and a professor of classics at Bard College—was approached by his eighty- one-year- old father, a retired research mathematician and instructor in computer science. Could he, Jay Mendelsohn asked his son, “for reasons,” Daniel writes, “I thought I understood at the time,” sit in on his annual freshman seminar on Homer’s Odyssey? Nervously, Daniel welcomed this unexpected auditor, believing, as he was assured, that the old man would be happy just listening. Before the ﬁrst session was over he had realized his mistake and was thinking: This is going to be a nightmare. In fact the paternally augmented seminar, and the Odyssey-related Mediterranean cruise that father and son took shortly after it, turned out to be an unexpected, and revealing, success. In particular, they stimulated exploration, via Homer, of the timeless elements of family relationships down through the generations. About a year after the seminar, Jay Mendelsohn suffered the fall that unexpectedly led to his ﬁnal illness. The unusual, and unusually complex, nature of the book before us is previewed, and explained, in a meditation that its author recounts in its early pages of watching over his unconscious father, “as imperturbable as a dead pharaoh in his bandages,” in the local hospital’s intensive care unit: But we had had our odyssey—had journeyed together, so to speak, through this text over the course of a semester, a text that to me, as I sat there looking at the motionless ﬁgure of my father, seemed more and more to be about the present than about the past. It is a story, after all, about strange and complicated families, indeed about two grandfathers—the maternal one eccentric, garrulous, a trickster without peer, the other, the father of the father, taciturn and stubborn; about a long marriage and short dalliances, about a husband who travels far and a wife who stays behind, as rooted to her house as a tree is to the earth; about a son who for a long time is unrecognized by and unrecognizable to his father, until late, very late, when they join together for a great adventure; a story, in its ﬁnal moments, about a man in the middle of his life, a man who is, we must remember, a son as well as a father, and who at the end of this story falls down and weeps because he has confronted the spectacle of his father’s old age. The sight of his inﬁrm father is so overwhelming to Odysseus that he, a congenital liar and expert storyteller, abandons his manipulative tales and “has, in the end, to tell the truth. Such is the Odyssey, which my father decided he wanted to study with me a few 28 sponse: neither can you see the world clearly without knowing the Aeneid. In consequence father and son come appreciably closer by tackling bits of Virgil together over the phone. As the Latin ﬁnally gets too difﬁcult for Jay, he disarms his son by saying: “It’s okay. Now you’ll read it for me.” And hard as Jay may be, no one could have been more understanding when, as a confused adolescent, Daniel came out to him as gay. The seminar, of course, has a wider reach than the Mendelsohn family, so as we enter the classroom the focus broadens. We are always conscious of Jay, small, bald, quietly aggressive, week after week in the same seat by the window, a little apart from the rest, coming out with some arresting and essentially nonliterary comment: apropos Odysseus and Penelope’s marriage, on the shared “little things that nobody else knows about”; on Telemachus, “He proves he’s a grownup by taking responsibility”; and, most unforgettably, on Achilles’s confession in the Underworld—a complete negation of his Iliadic social code—that he’d rather be a living hired ﬁeld hand than rule as king of the dead: “It reveals that you can spend your whole life believing in something, and then you get to a point when you realize you were wrong about the whole thing.” Jay & Daniel Mendelsohn years ago; such is Odysseus, the hero in whose footsteps we once travelled.” What are we to make of this remarkable declaration? In the ﬁrst instance, obviously, that anyone embarking upon this fascinating book would be well advised to read, or reread, the Odyssey ﬁrst, since Mendelsohn’s exploration is at least as much a personal family memoir as a critical report on Homer’s epic, and the two facets of the book are by no means always related, despite the surprising ways they frequently illuminate each other. But we have here also, understandably, a partial and selective reading of Homer that concentrates on familial relationships above all else, sometimes sees these in a way that may surprise the experts (for example the description above of Odysseus’s reunion with his father, Laertes—what’s the point, now the suitors are dead, of yet another otiose cover story, not least one causing uncalled-for distress?), and attributes to the ancient text illuminations that more plausibly derive from modern reﬂection. D aniel, as his meditation makes very clear, this time around is not only teaching the Odyssey but using it as a psychological key to unlock the personality of a father he feels he has never really understood: this odyssey only makes sense as a quest for emotional understanding. We can see how the alleged parallels assist him, but we also can’t help noticing how the discoveries he makes and mysteries he solves emerge not from Homer, but rather from his persistent questioning of his own family—various Mendelsohn uncles, cousins, brothers, and close acquaintances. Thus we learn a good deal about the members of the extensive and tightly woven Mendelsohn clan, and in the process one or two striking Homeric likenesses are indeed established, most particularly that of Daniel’s maternal grandfather, who is remembered as vain, talkative, and a great trickster, and had four marriages but only one son: the alert Homerist will at once be reminded of Odysseus’s maternal grandfather Autolycus, and the repeated one-son pattern of Odysseus’s own family. Jay himself comes across initially—as he has long seemed to his son—as an impatient man of dogmatic opinions that too frequently recall the clichés of his professional class and generation. He believes in ﬁrm deﬁnitions (“x is x,” “Only science is science”) and the virtues of hard work, the more difﬁcult the better; he’s suspicious of emotionalism. He and his devoted wife, Marlene—housebound, but witty, cheerful, fun-loving, extrovert: a ﬁne teacher, and this book’s dedicatee—are classic opposites in all respects, an arrangement that seems to work well. Like the vagrant Odysseus, Jay has a large, bald cranium (to the young Daniel he seemed “all head”). On his trips to Bard he sleeps on the narrow bed that he had, years earlier, carpentered for Daniel after he outgrew his crib; it had been doubling as a sofa in Daniel’s study. Father and son, like Odysseus and Penelope, share a bed secret: just as Odysseus built their bed around a bedpost made from an immovable vine, so Jay had made Daniel’s bed from a door. Daniel, who has no real grasp of mathematics, appreciates, but is nervous about, his father’s dictates: “It’s impossible to see the world clearly if you don’t know calculus.” Yet Jay, who gave up Latin as a schoolboy, does, grumblingly, take note of his son’s re- Like most readers, Mendelsohn’s students, and his father, are puzzled by a work that presents its presumptive hero at the outset only brieﬂy, offstage, as a castaway on a remote island. The victim of the angry Poseidon, Odysseus is rescued by a sexy nymph: after living with her for seven years, he is now miserably yearning for wife and home but seems incapable of doing anything about it. He’s lost all his men and ships, Jay keeps complaining; he cheats on his wife. What kind of a hero is that? Further, he is left there in limbo until Book 5, awaiting the gods’ decision to bring him back. Books 1 and 2 describe, in arresting detail, the situation in his island kingdom of Ithaca: local government is in collapse, while a bunch of young aristocratic hooligans, convinced that the long-absent King Odysseus is dead, have invaded his house (on the excuse of courting his presumed widow, Penelope) and are living riotously, consuming his goods and swilling his wine. There is, clearly, not much that Penelope and her near-adult son, Telemachus, can do about the situation. Mendelsohn’s students don’t get a chance to analyze Homer’s sharp- edged portrayal of a society enduring the prolonged absence of its leaders during a foreign war, since they are being treated to a lecture on the Homeric question: Were the two epics attributed to Homer the work of a single person, or did they evolve orally through many bards, by a process described by Mendelsohn as composition-in-performance? These students also, understandably in view of their age, seem a little shy on the subject of Telemachus’s “adolescent oscillation between awkwardness and braggadocio,” his bursts of rudeness to his mother (he clearly ﬁnds her The New York Review unwashed and unlaundered state of mourning distasteful), and his tearful aggressiveness in confronting the suitors. But they emerge as shrewdly perceptive when it comes to Books 3 and 4, which describe Telemachus’s visits to Pylos and Sparta seeking news of his father. As they see at once, the societies of both Nestor and of Menelaus and Helen—peaceful, settled, observing religious and domestic customs—are drawn in deliberate contrast to the anarchic conditions that Telemachus has left behind in Ithaca. By now, however, we also have to consider the numerous divine intrusions into the story by the goddess Athena, who not only sends Telemachus off on a journey in search of his father—even assuming his likeness to organize his departure—but again and again intervenes to help both father and son (Odysseus is her particular favorite) in moments of crisis. It is hard not to sympathize with Jay’s reiterated complaint that Telemachus and Odysseus are just following orders, that the gods do everything for them, that life isn’t like that. and an entire fabric of belief with them. When beyond-the-horizon myths like those of the Sirens or the Wandering Rocks were being supplanted by less colorful geographical fact, it is quite possible that our composer hedged bets on the authenticity of such tales by having Odysseus, their self-proclaimed protagonist, narrate them, leaving everyone, including the Phaeacians, to decide for themselves whether he was telling the truth or, as so often, fabricating a tall tale for the pleasure of it. This kind of historically conscious scrutiny is not what we get in Mendelsohn’s seminar, which covers ground familiar to all teachers and college freshmen. Beyond discussion of the Homeric question, the class does not, for instance, take up issues of transmission and sourcing for the When Odysseus ﬁnally returns to Ithaca, the seminar becomes preoccupied with the literary proposition that he needs to be alone to be a proper hero. There is also the question of whether a real hero can cry. This misses the forceful display of Odysseus’s physique, prowess, and seductive masculinity, which are stressed from the ﬁrst moment of his appearance in Book 5. He fells twenty trees, builds a raft in four days, and steers it effectively by the stars. All his helpers—Calypso, Athena, the sea-nymph Ino, the Phaeacian princess, Nausicaa, and ﬁnally Nausicaa’s mother, Queen Arêtê—are female. He appears in front of Nausicaa and her handmaidens like a mountain lion, naked except for a leafy branch, and the verb that describes his “mingling” with them, mixesthai, is also a term for sexual intercourse. Tactful, clever, and prepossessing, he has not been talking to Nausicaa’s father, King Alcinöos, for ﬁve minutes before the king declares he would fancy him as a son-in-law. The helpless castaway has been neatly transformed into a prize catch—a hero indeed. Mendelsohn discourages his students, on literary grounds, from arguing that the off-the-map wanderings with which Odysseus regales his Phaeacian hosts (his sojourns among the Sirens, Scylla and Charybdis, the Lotus-Eaters, Circe, and so on) are imaginary. As Daniel’s old teacher Jenny Strauss Clay—consulted on this point—reminds him, Circe is mentioned, by the narrator, i.e., Homer, as having taught Odysseus a special knot: ergo, she, and everything connected to her, must be regarded, for the Odyssey, as real, not ﬁctional. But Odysseus does frequently tell ﬁctitious stories about himself (often posing as a Cretan, which reminds us, with mischievous intent, of the old saying that all Cretans are liars). Furthermore our Odyssey was put together in a period, the seventh century BCE , that saw not only the expansion of physical horizons, through commerce and exploration, but also the dawn of scientiﬁc rationalism. The old mythical frontiers of the Mediterranean—including the encircling Ocean and the Underworld— were everywhere being challenged, October 26, 2017 Penelope’s suitors; engraving of a drawing by John Flaxman three-thousand-year- old text as it is parsed and analyzed to establish character and motivation. Differences from modern thinking are noted. Timeless similarities, not least of psychology and behavior, are weighed as proof of greatness. In the hands of a clever and imaginative teacher, as here, the method has considerable merit, even though by its very nature it tends (as, again, here) to ignore improbabilities of plot, of which the Odyssey contains several particularly egregious examples. How can Odysseus kill, almost single-handed, over a hundred suitors? (Answer: originally, there seem to have been only a dozen.) And why does Menelaus have to wander around the eastern Mediterranean for seven or eight years after the war? (Answer: in order to avoid getting home before the murder of his brother Agamemnon is avenged by the latter’s son, Orestes; otherwise everyone would wonder why Menelaus hadn’t done the job himself.) The Odyssey cruise, wished on Mendelssohn and his father by another of his former teachers, Froma Zeitlin, paid off in surprising ways, despite the fact that the Sicilian and Italian sites visited were mostly the improbable suggestions of Greco-Roman savants desperate to maintain that the myths retold by Odysseus had a solid factual origin. Though Jay begins as expected, ready for a serious educational experience backed up by the actual Homeric locations, he ﬁnds the sites disappointing (at Troy he decides that “the poem feels more real than the ruins”) and, to his son’s astonishment, mellows socially at sea, singing old songs from the 1930s and making unlikely friends over the martinis. All this leads Daniel to wonder—having already been taken aback to learn, postseminar, from his students how much they’d been enjoying Jay’s company on their train journeys home—“How many sides did my father actually have, and which was the ‘real’ one?” What most moves Mendelsohn at the end of the Odyssey is the image of son, father, and grandfather standing triumphantly together, the suitors slaughtered, present and past “juxtaposed in a single climactic moment.” The enlightenment he gains often comes not directly, but by associative suggestion, reﬂecting on “long journeys and long marriages and what it means to yearn for home.” Jay’s bluntness and inﬂexibility, we come to see, conceal anxieties and sympathies as well as enduring (though secular) Jewish principles. His passion for education and hard work, his appreciation for solidity and authenticity, are just those qualities that led his son to pursue the rigors of classical philology. Yet for whatever reasons—several are suggested—somehow Jay never completed, and indeed may never have begun, his Ph.D. dissertation in mathematics, and a strong recommendation from his commanding ofﬁcer that he go to West Point and train as an ofﬁcer came to nothing. Some human mysteries never get solved. There are many moments to cherish in this tangled and passionate investigation. The discussion of the Odyssey, if narrow in some respects, sparkles, and the seminar was lucky in its students. (I shall not forget in a hurry the suggestion of one that Telemachus may unconsciously hope that his longabsent father is dead, since being expected to love a living stranger would be tougher than continuing to mourn a dead one.) It was a symbolically happy accident—the temporary closing of the Corinth Canal—that prevented the cruise from ever reaching the island that may or may not be Ithaca. This left a whole day without instruction. The captain, recalling that Mendelsohn had translated C. P. Cavafy’s marvelous poem on the value of not hurrying to reach Ithaca—a poem made famous by its recital at the funeral of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis—persuaded him to ﬁll in with a reading of the poem and a lecture on Cavafy. He did, with much of Tennyson’s “Ulysses” as well as Cavafy, and we get a haunting glimpse of it here: the fear that the end of your journey means ﬁnis, the hope residual in perpetual postponement, in “the virtues of not arriving.” But best of all are the various small recognitions that combine to build the late-blossoming intimacy between Jay and his son. Of these the most intensely moving for me was the moment on the cruise at which Daniel, who suffers from intense claustrophobia, hysterically refuses to go into an Italian cave (allegedly that of the seductress Calypso). Jay takes him gently by the hand and not only walks him through what he most fears (“You did good, Dan”) but afterward tactfully explains to other travelers that his son was helping him manage the steep stairs. We recall what he said to his wife when Daniel confessed to being gay: Let me talk to him, I know something about this. Despite his embarrassing table manners and defensively obstinate declarations, this is far from the only matter of real importance that Jay Mendelsohn knew something about. We should all be so lucky as to have had a father like that; and now we can enjoy his son’s honest, and loving, account of the improbable odyssey that gave them this one last deeply satisfying adventure together. 29 A Visionary of the Real Jed Perl The writings of Donald Judd are triumphantly matter- of-fact. The sculptor, who died in 1994 at the age of sixtyﬁve, was decisive even about his second thoughts and doubts. “Cocksure certainty and squirming uncertainty are both wrong,” he once wrote. “It’s possible to think and act without being simple and fanatic and it’s possible to accept uncertainty, which is nearly everything, quietly.” In the essays that he published over more than three decades, he turned even his equivocations into dictums as he explored subjects that included not only art, architecture, and the art world, but also urban development and national affairs. What rescues even Judd’s most sweeping pronouncements from crackpot irascibility is the easy, pungent power of his prose. He arranges relatively simple nouns and verbs (and a minimum of adjectives) in sentences and paragraphs that have a plainspoken, workmanlike beauty. Judd’s direct, unequivocal writings are a perfect match for his sculptures, with their precisely calculated angles and unabashed celebration of industrial materials such as plywood, sheet aluminum, and Plexiglas. This ﬁercely independent artist belongs in a long line of American aesthetes who embraced an unadorned style, including ﬁgures as various as Ernest Hemingway, Barnett Newman, Virgil Thomson, and Walker Evans. Reading Judd’s prose two decades after his death, you will experience, amid the overheated and gaseous atmosphere of the contemporary art world, an invigorating blast of cold, clear air. Donald Judd Writings, although not the ﬁrst collection of his prose, is the ﬁrst to span his entire career. Edited by Flavin Judd, the artist’s son, and Caitlin Murray, the book includes, in addition to previously published work, selections from notes that Judd made over the years. All the way through, you hear the voice of a man who was never afraid to say no. It was not the refusal of an outsider, however, at least not in his earlier years of writing and exhibiting. Judd’s no is that of the dedicated avant-gardist—the man who leads the charge. This no is fundamentally positive and celebratory—a cry for the new. Judd believed that the search for the new involved, both in his own work and the work of his contemporaries, a rejection of the conventions of painting and sculpture in favor of new forms, which were often aggressively curious or idiosyncratic and startlingly sized or scaled. Judd refused to favor either representational or abstract images. He was an enthusiast for Claes Olden30 burg’s oversized quotidian objects, Lee Bontecou’s shaped canvas convexities, Lucas Samaras’s bedecked and bejeweled boxes, and Dan Flavin’s neon geometries. He gathered these variegated works by his contemporaries under a singular rubric when he titled one of his most famous essays “Speciﬁc Objects” (1964). Although Judd had a great deal to say about many varieties of art, architecture, and design, he was a man with one big idea. “Most works ﬁnally have one quality,” he wrote in “Speciﬁc Objects.” “The thing as a whole, its quality as a whole, is what is interesting.” In sculpture and his writing their staying power. Judd grew up in New Jersey, served in Korea in 1946–1947, and attended the Art Students League and Columbia University, where he studied philosophy and graduated cum laude in 1953. The ﬁrst three essays in Donald Judd Writings, previously unpublished, were written while he was doing graduate work in art history at Columbia later in the 1950s. They reveal a mind and a style almost fully formed. In these essays about a Peruvian wood carv- never left him. He wanted to nail things down. He began his long discussion of Brooks’s lyrical abstraction with a simple declaration: “In the contemporary dichotomy of the dispersion or concentration of form, Brooks’s work is mediate.” In the next few sentences, he assigned particular places within this contemporary dichotomy not only to Brooks but also to Jackson Pollock, Bradley Walker Tomlin, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, and a Frenchman, Pierre Soulages. Judd, still a student, was very much in control—a young, masterful mind, sizing up the situation. Beginning in the late 1950s, when many writers were still inclined to cast what was being referred to as the new American painting of Pollock, de Kooning, and Rothko in a romantic light, Judd argued that these artists weren’t dreamers and mythologizers but realists and pragmatists, albeit of an altogether different kind. Writing about Pollock in 1967, he complained that most discussions of Pollock were “loose and unreasonable.” No doubt thinking of the writers who had associated Pollock’s mazelike dripped canvases with mystical cosmologies or the hurly-burly of urban life, Judd observed that “almost any kind of statement can be derived from the work: philosophical, psychological, sociological, political.” He wanted to distinguish Pollock’s paintings from the expressionism of Soutine and van Gogh, which he saw as “portray[ing] immediate emotions.” This, so he explained, “occurs through a sequence of observing, feeling, and recording.” Pollock, Judd believed, wasn’t concerned with emotions but with “sensations.” Emotions were evolutionary; sensations were immediate. “The dripped paint in most of Pollock’s paintings is dripped paint,” he wrote. “It’s that sensation, completely immediate and speciﬁc, and nothing modiﬁes it.” Richard Einzig/Brechten-Einzig Ltd. /Whitechapel Gallery Archive Donald Judd Writings edited by Flavin Judd and Caitlin Murray. Judd Foundation/David Zwirner, 1,055 pp., $39.95 (paper) Donald Judd at an exhibition of his work at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, 1970 Judd’s grandest sculptures he certainly proved his point. I’m thinking especially of the hundred sheet aluminum boxes gathered together in two buildings in Marfa, Texas, and the richly polychromed wall-hanging compositions of his later years. While everybody who cares about the arts will agree that unity and complexity are both qualities to be admired, there is a fundamental divide between those who crave a complexity that may risk disunity and those who crave a unity that may give short shrift to complexity. Judd, although his heart was always with unity, knew that it was enriched by variety. His hundred aluminum boxes, although alike in their external dimensions, are subdivided inside in many different ways. His polychromed wall-hanging compositions dazzle with their playful, unpredictable color orchestrations. In an essay entitled “Symmetry” (1985), Judd declared that “art, for myself, and architecture, for everyone, should always be symmetrical except for a good reason.” But he immediately went on to observe that “symmetry itself allows variation,” and that there are forms of symmetry that are “very close to asymmetry.” There are intricacies amid Judd’s simplicities. That’s what gives both his ing, a marble relief by the seventeenthcentury French sculptor Pierre Puget, and an Abstract Expressionist painting by the New York artist James Brooks, there is already the methodical attentiveness and the razor-sharp analysis. Judd abhors a mystery. He demands clarity. In describing an impossibly crowded Baroque battle scene, he cuts straight through the pileup of human beings in various states of stress, arguing that the painting is “organized through a virtual grid of diagonals of varying directions and prominence.” Judd took at least one course with the great art historian Meyer Schapiro at Columbia, which leads me to wonder if he was somehow inﬂuenced by Schapiro’s bold but methodical mind—by his combination of boundless curiosity, strenuous critique, and analytical precision. “I leapt into the world an empiricist,” Judd wrote in 1981 in an essay about the Russian avant-garde. In the graduate school essay about James Brooks, he quoted David Hume’s ideas about “the nature of substance,” and commented that “much present American painting seems related to the indigenous pragmatic philosophy, especially Peirce, and its source, the similar British Empiricists.” Judd began with an empiricist’s taste for the concrete, the particular, and the speciﬁc. That taste F or Judd writing became a way of reasoning his way through the world—of reconciling the singularity of his own artistic vision with the chaotic heterogeneity of the art and ideas that he encountered everywhere he turned. When he ﬁrst collected his writings in 1975, he claimed that much if not most of what he had written between 1959 and 1965 for Arts magazine he had written “as a mercenary and would never have written . . . otherwise.” Writing had been little more than a way to eke out a living. “Since there were no set hours and since I could work at home it was a good part-time job.” I don’t think this can be taken at face value. While Judd was surely frustrated by having to write short reviews of the work of artists who interested him little if at all, there was a wonderful steadiness about his eye and his mind as he chronicled the sea changes that were overtaking the New The New York Review art, he was equally convinced that the conditions that invited creation were variable, diverse, and unpredictable. In both “Speciﬁc Objects” and another essay written in 1964, “Local History,” Judd rejected any uniﬁed theory of the history of art. This was the heart of his disagreement with Greenberg—as well as with Fried, who even as he was extending and transforming Greenberg’s ideas launched a direct assault on Judd in his essay “Art and Objecthood.” Judd sensed an underlying and unwanted Hegelian idealism in Greenberg’s belief that any authentic artistic style, as Greenberg put it, “had its own inherent laws of development.” “The history of art and art’s condition at any time,” Judd wrote in 1964, “are pretty messy. They should stay that way.” Judd disliked the simpliﬁcation implicit in a stylistic label such as Abstract Expressionism. Indeed, he rejected the labels that were ascribed to his own work and that of close friends, such as Minimalism and ABC Art. “‘Crisis,’ ‘revolutionary,’ and the like,” he observed, “were similar attempts to simplify the situation, but through its historical location instead of its nature.” Judd, whatever the uniﬁed look of his own work, applauded the pluralism of the early 1960s. He saw a situation in which “a lot of new artists” had “developed their work as simply their own work. There were almost no groups and there were no movements.” He believed not in world history but in what he called local history. Judd had his ﬁrst one-man show at the Green Gallery in New York in 1963, at a time when he was as active as a critic as he would ever be. He exhibited a number of works that hung on the wall and behaved rather like paintings, even as their curved and convex edges, insistently symmetrical compositions, and elements of galvanized iron and aluminum put gallerygoers on notice that they were dealing not with metaphors but with actualities. Perhaps even more arresting were a few works that Judd set on the ﬂoor. With their blunt, carpentered wooden shapes, they suggested enigmatic inventions not yet under copyright. The most striking was a right angle made of two pieces of wood painted cadmium red, with a black pipe ﬁtted between them and also right-angled, so as to create a pokerfaced juxtaposition of right-angled red wood and right-angled black pipe. The inscrutability of Judd’s work, which some might be tempted to describe as a Platonic cool, could more accurately be described as an impassioned particularity. The key to it is to be found in the distinction between emotions and sensations that Judd made when he wrote about Pollock. From the very ﬁrst, he wanted to present gallerygoers with surprising sensations. In the early work exhibited at the Green Gallery, it was sensations of rectilinearity, right-angledness, curvedness, and redness. Judd turned his back on narrative or storytelling, which abstract artists from Kandinsky and Brancusi to de Kooning and David Smith had not so much jettisoned as reimagined in nonnaturalistic ways. Judd hungered for something sharp, clear, and immediate. He was for being, not becoming. Louise Bourgeois An Unfolding Portrait In 1989, looking back to the idealism of the early twentieth century, Judd remarked that “Mondrian tried to keep the larger view in mind, while I, we, are not sure that there is a larger view.” That “we” is striking—a declaration of a communal sense of diminishment. For all the aloof, mandarin elegance of his art, Judd was in many respects a characteristic ﬁgure of the later 1960s and early 1970s, when the initial hopes of the Civil Rights movement and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society had given way to despair following the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Robert Kennedy, the traumas of the inner cities, the struggles of the antiwar movement, and the ever-growing radicalization of the left. Judd’s work was fueled by a determination to create something extraordinarily lucid in a world where confusion reigned. He had no choice but to embrace the particular and enlarge it—ennoble it. Like so many men and women of his generation, he believed in beginning again, rethinking every aspect of human experience. There is something in Judd’s self-reliant, can-do attitude that brings to mind the sensibility of the Whole Earth Catalog, which was ﬁrst published in 1968. Judd’s imagination, in which an instinctive skepticism is shot through with ﬂashes of hope, makes him an exemplary artistic ﬁgure to contemplate in considering those troubled times. In the ﬁrst ﬂush of fame, when some New York real estate was still relatively affordable, Judd bought a castiron building at 101 Spring Street. The year was 1968, decades before SoHo became the shopping mall it is today. Judd was one among a group of artists See It Now 11 West 53 Street, Manhattan York art world in the early 1960s. It was a tumultuous time, with contemporary art acquiring a growing prestige even as many artists and writers worried that the old modern ideas and ideals that had nourished the Abstract Expressionists were proving unworkable and perhaps totally irrelevant. Judd was eager to sort it all out and ﬁnd a way forward. Critical essays and reviews resurrected decades after they were ﬁrst written can convey the atmosphere of a time, but they can also feel dim and obscure—the stakes once so high now registering as little more than stale skirmishes, with yesterday’s battle lines all but erased. I can understand readers dismissing as hardly more than illtempered backbiting and gossip Judd’s characterization of Clement Greenberg’s views as “little league fascism” or Michael Fried’s opinions as “pedantic pseudo-philosophical analysis.” But if Judd’s rhetoric sometimes reached a fever pitch, it was not without reason. A great deal was at stake as the authority of the Abstract Expressionists waned. Judd was one of a number of artists who felt the need to speak out and found themselves doubling as eloquent critics. In Art News and The Nation, the painter Fairﬁeld Porter looked toward a revival of representational painting that might build on the strengths of de Kooning’s painterly abstraction. And writing alongside Judd in Arts, Sidney Tillim, although a painter little known today, vigorously articulated the sense shared by many that Abstract Expressionism had mostly degenerated into mannerism and affectation. For all that Judd believed in the unity, wholeness, and singularity of works of Louise Bourgeois. Spider Woman (detail). 2004. Drypoint on fabric. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of The Easton Foundation. © 2017 The Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, NY October 26, 2017 31 Toward a New History By Richard Edwards, Jacob K. Friefeld, & Rebecca S. Wingo “Homesteading the Plains, the first major scholarly study of homesteading in a generation, uses new data sources and new digital techniques to present a nuanced account of an important government program that scholars will need to reevaluate.” — Richard White, Stanford University “Homesteading the Plains fundamentally alters the dominant frame for understanding the costs and consequences of settling the Great Plains. Engagingly written, full of lively people’s stories, this book upends many tired and baseless myths about the settlement of the continent. The authors tell a nuanced, fascinating national story that is regionally rooted and beautifully illustrated with tables, charts and maps.” — Karen V. Hansen, Brandeis University “Homesteading the Plains unsettles longstanding homesteading myth and history alike. Provocative and illuminating, it offers new data, technologies, and questions to open new historical terrain.” — Elizabeth Jameson, University of Calgary go.unl.edu/homesteading University of Nebraska 32 “Finally,” Judd wrote in 1988, “the only ground you have is the ground you stand on.” It was that search for something steady—some foundation on which to build and live—that inspired not only Judd’s fascination with downtown New York but also his increasing involvement with the life and landscape of the American Southwest. He was already becoming interested in cacti and Native American ceramics and rugs in the early 1970s, when he began looking for a place where he might spend time and work and perhaps display some of his larger compositions along with some by his friends. He found his way to Marfa, Texas, a town south of El Paso, near the Mexican border. In an essay about Marfa that he wrote in 1985, Judd brought a laconic passion to his description of the land. “The area of West Texas was ﬁne, mostly high rangeland dropping to desert along the river, with mountains over the edge in every direction. There were few people and the land was undamaged.” For Judd, this measured, steady description was high praise indeed. Ever entrepreneurial when it came to ﬁnding a way forward with his work, Judd soon enough bought a number of buildings in the practically abandoned town of Marfa and then took over an old army base, which he turned into the Chinati Foundation. Much of the writing of his later years—whether done in Texas, New York, or Switzerland, where he also spent time—concerns his evolving vision of places to work, exhibit art, and live. He became interested in designing furniture and architecture and wrote about the differences between functional and nonfunctional objects, often looking back with a critical eye to the experiments of the Bauhaus and the De Stijl movement in Europe. He sounded off about the state of contemporary architecture, praising Louis Kahn and raging against the postmodernism that Philip Johnson was advocating for at the time. Johnson became a bête noire. Even his Miesian Glass House, almost universally admired, came in for criticism; Judd called it “discreetly vulgar.” Some of the most interesting of Judd’s later writings are about artists whom he admired and whose work he eventually exhibited at the Chinati Foundation. He wrote about artists of his generation and devoted a long essay to an enormous Donald Judd. There are more than eight hundred pages of text and more than a hundred of illustrations, contained in a format so compact and well constructed that it can easily be held in the hand. The bright orange canvas covers are strong but ﬂexible. And the orange is beautifully set off by the cerulean blue endpapers, for an effect that has some of the drama of Judd’s own late polychrome works. The pages of his private notes, often quite brief, are a welcome addition to the writings we already know. They offer a different kind of reading experience—quick, glancing, sometimes witty. Judd can illuminate an entire era in a few sentences. This is what he has to say about Bernini, that commanding ﬁgure of the Roman Baroque: “Bernini made Judd Foundation Homesteading The Plains who were determined to preserve the old industrial neighborhoods of downtown New York and revitalize them as artists’ neighborhoods. Here was local history in action. “Everything that can be stopped, started, run by a community should be run by that community,” he wrote in 1971. “The decision to delegate something to a wider area, say the city or the county, should be very carefully made.” Judd had an almost utopian vision of human society; he wanted to get back to basics. The building he bought was a beautiful, simple structure, ﬁve stories high, on the corner of Spring and Mercer Streets, with the cast-iron grid of the façade framing expansive planes of glass. Twenty years later, he wrote lovingly about this structure, designed by Nicholas Whyte, “whose only other castiron building is in Brazil.” He noted the ruinous state of the interior when he bought it, and how he carefully restored it. He characterized the building as “a right angle of glass. The façade is the most shallow perhaps of any in the area and so is the furthest forerunner of the curtain wall.” He described it as if it were one of his own sculptures. “The given circumstances were very simple: the ﬂoors must be open; the right angle of windows on each ﬂoor must not be interrupted; and any changes must be compatible.” In this building, which Judd speculated had been used for the manufacture and sale of some sort of cloth, he found an aesthetic that somehow preﬁgured his own. He argued for this not as some grand historical continuum but as a particular afﬁnity—an artist of the later twentieth century sensing some connection with an architect of a century earlier. Donald Judd: Untitled, cadmium red light oil, blue-gray oil, and wax on canvas, 69 x 101 x 2 1/12 inches, 1962 horseshoe, Monument to the Last Horse, by Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, which was set up at Chinati in the 1990s. His taste remained unpredictable. He took a great interest in a Swiss geometric painter, Richard Paul Lohse, who has remained relatively unknown in the United States. And at a time when Josef Albers had come to be seen by many as a somewhat outdated ﬁgure, Judd embraced his work with considerable vigor. The closing essay in the new collection, “Some Aspects of Color in General and Red and Black in Particular” (1993), is a magniﬁcent piece of writing in which Judd reaches far and wide as he explains the thinking behind his own opulently colored late wall-hanging works. He explains: “The last real picture of real objects in a real world was painted by Courbet.” The real, the immediate, is always what he’s after. “Color is like material,” he writes at one point. “It is one way or another, but it obdurately exists. Its existence as it is is the main fact and not what it might mean, which may be nothing.” Here we see the core of Judd’s vision, a purity that’s precisely not Platonic, that’s anti-ideal—a purity of the real. Thinking about Mondrian, Malevich, and Van Doesburg, he ﬁnds himself wondering why “it is idealistic—even what does that mean—to want to do something new and beneﬁcial, practical also, in a new civilization.” Judd wanted to liberate the search for the new from the search for some ideal. T he new volume, beautifully designed, would have certainly pleased religion, supposedly the nature of the world, personal. And so religious art and architecture ended; after that it was sentimental and academic.” Judd is suggesting that a genius can, all at once, brilliantly transform and catastrophically terminate a tradition. I wish this new collection included some of the short reviews that Judd published in Arts in the early 1960s, because they reﬂect the reach of his imagination. Although they are part of the Complete Writings 1959–1975—which is now back in print—they would have helped give a fuller picture of Judd’s thinking in what is bound to become the essential collection of his prose. Those short reviews are certainly of more signiﬁcance than the seventypage critique of the collector Giuseppe Panza included here, in which Judd lays out an altogether credible indictment of this Italian who took it upon himself to make unauthorized versions of some of his work. Judd in high dudgeon is fun to read, but his vehemence is most exciting when grounded in deep thought. When he entitled a two-part essay “Complaints,” he knew that he could get away with that almost selfmocking title because he was a person who didn’t just complain. There was substance to his gripes. He was spot on when he complained about the banality with which his art and the art of his friends was exhibited in most galleries and museums. The eloquent installations of his own work in Marfa prove that he knew of what he spoke. Judd was a visionary—a visionary of the real. Reading Judd, I am reminded of the prophetic voices of certain nineteenthThe New York Review and early-twentieth-century artists and writers—of Gauguin, Kandinsky, Pound, and Lawrence. Whatever Judd’s skepticism about the idealism of early-twentieth- century abstraction, he admired the great modern visionaries, especially Malevich and Mondrian, and he brought some of the quickening power of their manifestos into his own writing. Prophetic ﬁgures who castigate the societies that formed them are almost inevitably paradoxical ﬁgures. Judd was certainly aware that a prophet can set off complex, even masochistic reactions in his contemporaries, who embrace (or at least half embrace) his criticisms as a way of expiating what they may be inclined to regard as their own sins. What is perhaps Judd’s most famous diatribe, the two-part “A Long Discussion Not About Master-Pieces but Why There Are So Few of Them,” originally published in Art in America in 1983 and 1984, can still send a shiver of excitement and confusion down the spines of people who ﬁrst read it more than thirty years ago. No wonder Judd had an ambivalent relationship with so many critics, curators, and collectors. Even as he gleefully pointed out their mistakes, they lionized him and made him a wealthy man. Judd began his “Long Discussion” with a line from Gertrude Stein: “Everything is against them.” Judd was emboldened by a battle. But in his art, his writing, and his life, he was never anything less than a man of afﬁrmations. He afﬁrmed the astonishing beauty of what some might dismiss as ordinary things: a box carpentered of plywood; an aluminum construction painted in shades of red, yellow, blue, orange, and black; a simple declarative sentence. He reminds us that the ordinary can be extraordinary. If a man can be a pragmatic utopian, that man is Donald Judd. Rushdie’s New York Bubble Magnum Photos Nathaniel Rich The Golden House by Salman Rushdie. Random House, 380 pp., $28.99 Whether by design, chance, or oracular divination, Salman Rushdie has managed, within a year of the 2016 election, to publish the ﬁrst novel of the Trumpian Era. On purely technical merits this is an astounding achievement, the literary equivalent of Katie Ledecky lapping the Olympic ﬁeld in the 1500-meter freestyle. The publishing industry still operates at an aristocratic pace; Egypt built the new Suez Canal in less time than it typically takes to convert a ﬁnished manuscript into a hardcover. As a point of comparison, the ﬁrst novel to appear about September 11, Windows on the World, by the French author Frédéric Beigbeder, was not published until August 2003. Yet less than eight months into the administration, Rushdie has produced a novel that, if not explicitly about the president, is tinged a toxic shade of orange. Trump poses a risky temptation for novelists, especially those writing amid the shit torrent of his presidency. As political journalists have discovered, the volume of revelations erupting from the White House and the presidential Twitter feed threatens to undermine the reliability of even daily news reports by the time they appear in print. It would seem masochistic to attempt to write a book about such a swiftly moving target, when events could at any time be hijacked by a new revelation of collusion with the enemy, impeachment charges, a nuclear war, a race war. In a nod to the futility of this enterprise, Rushdie uses as an epigram a line from François Truffaut: “La vie a beaucoup plus d’imagination que nous.” Far more perilous to a novelist, however, is the prospect of writing about a public ﬁgure whose name, in the decades before his ascension to the presidency, has carried a ﬁxed set of cultural associations, has been a brand, a trademark, a cliché, appearing in the consciousness if not on the page in boldface type, a textual black hole that threatens to vacuum into itself any gesture toward nuance, complexity, or original thought. Rushdie parries this hazard by omitting Donald Trump’s name and distributing his signature qualities among several characters. The abstraction allows him to scrutinize in turn various aspects of the presidential character, and ours, without succumbing to the familiar catechisms of contemporary political debate. October 26, 2017 obsession with national politics, supporting Romney and loathing Obama with a rage animated by racial bigotry. Nearing the end of his eighth decade, he begins to show signs of mental deterioration. Yet despite his advancing senility—or perhaps because of it—he is able to land a Soviet-bloc third wife, a former nude model, several decades his junior. Yet Golden possesses qualities that Salman Rushdie, New York City, 2005; photograph by Bruce Davidson The Golden House is not about Trump himself as much as it is about the conditions that produced him—the conditions, we can now say, with the dawning conﬁdence of retrospect, that made him inevitable. It reads as if Rushdie sought to write a novel of a speciﬁc place (Lower Manhattan) at a singular time (the last days of the Obama administration), was overtaken by events, and concluded that the same logic that demanded his ﬁctional narrative end in tragedy also governed our reality. The alternative is that Rushdie possesses the powers of the seer in Midnight’s Children, Shri Ramram Seth, who tells the mother of the unborn narrator that her son will have “two heads—but you shall see only one.” The Golden House recounts the fall of the house of Nero Golden, a rich septuagenarian businessman and egoist, famous for being famous, “a man deeply in love with the idea of himself as powerful.” He is the kind of man who walks “toward closed doors without slowing down, knowing they would open for him” (for all his narrative ﬁreworks, Rushdie is a master of isolating the behavioral tic that reveals a character). A veteran of the downtown scene of the 1970s and 1980s, Golden got his start in the construction business and trafﬁcked in a wide range of legal and semilegal schemes, including popular entertainment, before leveraging his fame into a valuable branding operation. His name is itself another scheme, a pseudonym invented to sound as American as Jay Gatsby and to conceal a criminal past (and Indian nationality) behind a scrim of Roman imperial grandeur. He licenses it to ofﬁce towers, for-proﬁt universities, and hot dogs, the word GOLDEN written in capital letters, illuminated in gold neon. His customers don’t seem to mind that his businesses are plagued by persistent rumors of pyramid schemes, bankruptcies, and ties to organized crime. With his three grown sons, from two women, he has a “strangely authoritarian relationship,” holding separate daily meetings with each of them in which he demands to know what their brothers are saying about him behind his back. For Golden, loyalty is “the only virtue worth caring about,” apart from strength. “Once he decides you’re a weakling,” says one of his sons, “you’re dead to him.” During the 2012 presidential election, Golden develops an Trump does not: introspection, historical perspective, remorse. Fiction, unlike reality, makes certain inﬂexible demands on its author. Chief among these is credibility. For a character to hold the attention of a reader over the course of an entire novel, he must possess some semblance of an inner self, capable of complex and contradicting emotions, fear as well as bombast, shame as well as pride. He must, that is, appear to be human. The source of Golden’s shame and fear is a mystery that Rushdie’s narrator, a twenty-ﬁve-year- old neighbor of the Goldens named René Unterlinden, endeavors to solve. The Golden House is primarily a character study, not only of Golden but of his three sons, his viperish young wife, and René. Rushdie is too devoted a storyteller to rely entirely on characterization, however. He turns to a trio of narrative conceits to enliven the action, one for each of the novel’s three acts. In the ﬁrst, we learn that René, an aspiring ﬁlmmaker with a lot of time on his hands, sees in the Goldens a subject for his début: “I felt the excitement of the young artist whose subject has arrived like a gift in the holiday mail.” René’s cinematic ambition justiﬁes his nosy efforts to insinuate himself into the Goldens’ cloistered lives; from his apartment’s rear window he spies on his neighbors in the common garden below. It also allows Rushdie to make frequent use of ﬁlm references, to render scenes in a screenwriter’s shorthand (ending chapters with “Cut,” “Slow dissolve,” “Blackout”), and the license, when convenient, to shift promiscuously, if inconsistently, between René’s ﬁrst-person narrative and an omniscient perspective. Rushdie is a restless presence on the page, with a deep bag of tricks, and unconcerned with breaking his own rules in service of a narrative jolt. So while there are scenes written in the form of a screenplay, consistent with the premise, there are also chapters rendered as inner monologues, 33 The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant Charles W. Calhoun “Without soft peddling the difficulties of Grant’s time in the Executive Mansion, Calhoun’s new book demonstrates just how important a president this quiet man was. Well-researched and well-written, this book is a must-read for scholars and others interested in gaining accurate insight about a major American leader.”—John F. Marszalek, Giles Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History and executive director of the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library, Mississippi State University American Presidency Series 736 pages, 24 photographs, Cloth $39.95 The Election of 1860 “A Campaign Fraught with Consequences” Michael F. Holt “Readers have long expected indefatigable research and fresh interpretations from Michael Holt, and The Election of 1860 will meet those expectations. Holt’s description and analysis of this exceedingly important election is a valuable addition to the literature of politics, the Civil War, and Abraham Lincoln.”—Michael S. Green, author of Lincoln and the Election of 1860 American Presidential Elections 272 pages, 7 photographs, Cloth $29.95 Ebook editions available from your favorite ebook retailer. University Press of Kansas 785-864-4155 • Fax 785-864-4586 • www.kansaspress.ku.edu DR. MARCIA ROBBINS-WILF SCHOLAR-IN-RESIDENCE PROGRAM ARTHUR JAMES BALFOUR, United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Balfour Declaration: Origins and Legacy Centennial of International Recognition of a Jewish Homeland Dr. Daniel Gordis Shalem College MONDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2017 I 7 P.M. Yeshiva University Museum I Center for Jewish History 15 West 16th Street, New York City (Between Fifth and Sixth Avenues) written and imagined correspondence, stream- of- consciousness, parables, an interrogation, and a word collage. Lest the reader’s attention ﬂag during the expositional ﬁrst act, Rushdie makes frequent asides portending juicy developments to come: “As we will see . . .” “Patience: I will not reveal all my secrets at once.” “By the time I’m done, much will be said, much of it horrifying.” “Many years later, when we knew everything . . .” “Now that everything is known . . .” “Now that I know the family secrets . . .” One personal rule Rushdie does not break, however: the intervention of a femme fatale. Vasilisa, with her shadowy connections to the Russian petrocracy, sylphlike ﬁgure (“she is striking . . . astonishing . . . she runs marathons, and is a ﬁne gymnast”), and calculating, Siberian affect is a descendant of Rushdie vixens like Fury’s Mila Milo (“The queen webspyder . . . had him in her net”); the incarnation of Padma Lakshmi that appears in the memoir Joseph Anton, “who had grand ambitions and secret plans that had nothing to do with the fulﬁllment of his deepest needs”; and Teresa Saca in Two Years Eight Months and TwentyEight Nights, “a notorious libertine and ﬁsher-for-rich-men” who electrocutes a lover with lightning bolts shot from her ﬁngertips. Vasilisa too is a sexual sorcerer with “the wisdom of the spider” who casts “the web of her words and deeds around the little ﬂy, the old fool.” She is a ﬁsher-for-rich-men with grand ambitions and secret plans that have nothing to do with the fulﬁllment of Golden’s deepest needs. Nero’s sons are not fooled. They predict she will marry their declining father and attempt to seize their inheritances. Nero is not fooled either, however. Vasilisa understands that the four Golden men are not fooled. Yet she manages to prevail nevertheless, with an unlikely assist from our compromised narrator. Though the ﬁlm René ultimately ends up making about the Golden family is a prestige drama, the novel assumes, in Part II, the narrative velocity of a telenovela. A horriﬁc car crash is followed by an adulterous pact leading to a falsiﬁed parentage, the appearance of a male hypnotist with a blond bouffant, the ﬁrst of two major acts of arson, a cameo by Werner Herzog, a sex change, a double assassination, a prison escape, a suicide, and a mass shooting, all against the backdrop of the 2016 election. In Rushdie’s comicbook parallel universe, which varies only by a degree from our own comicbook universe, “Batwoman” runs for president against a building magnate named Gary “Green” Gwynplaine, who apart from his inexplicable limegreen hair and purple coat, has much in common with Golden. The ofﬁces of Golden Enterprises are even located in Gwynplaine’s Midtown skyscraper, though Nero considers his rival a vulgarian and refuses to utter his name. Rushdie follows his character’s example. Once introduced, the villain Gwynplaine is exclusively invoked by his nickname, the Joker. (Gwynplaine is the name of the deformed hero of Victor Hugo’s The Man Who Laughs, a model for Batman’s Joker.) Tickets are complimentary and available at www.yu.edu/events Tickets and valid photo ID required for admission In cooperation with the American Jewish Historical Society 34 T he novel’s ﬁnal act plays out in the manner of a gangster ﬁlm, with the appearance of a dandy international assassin, a crime boss known as Don Corleone, and a quartet of epitheticized heavies, one of whom is known as “Short Fingers with the orange hair.” Meanwhile, amid litanies of mass shootings and racial violence, the bitter presidential campaign endures its ﬁnal anarchic convulsions. The contest is not between right and left (political parties are not named) but between morality and savagery. It is a battle for modern civilization. “I began to wonder,” writes Rushdie, “if we were moral beings at all or simply savages who deﬁned their private bigotries as necessary ethics.” The Joker speaks at packed, chanting arenas, where he extols “the unrivaled beauty of white skin and red lips.” He is utterly insane, that is obvious, but his supporters back him “because he was insane, not in spite of it. What would have disqualiﬁed any other candidate made him his followers’ hero.” Who cares if he is propped up by Russian oligarchs, proposes that Mexico will be forced to pay for a wall built on its border, assails the First Amendment, and opines that a hostile female reporter has blood coming out of her whatever? Not enough voters to stop him. The Suicide Squad—Two-Face, the Riddler, the Penguin, and Poison Ivy—is swept into the White House on the Joker’s purple coattails. Yet despite the maelstrom of René’s private life and the public life of the nation, life goes on. “The Republic,” René observes in a tone of wonder, “remained more or less intact.” To a certain extent this reﬂects a philosophical truth. As Rushdie writes, “I know that after the storm, another storm, and then another. I know that stormy weather is the forecast forever and happy days aren’t here again.” But the note of equanimity also reﬂects René’s milieu, which is to say the bubble or, in the pronunciation of René’s Belgian professor father Gabe, “de bubble.” Though “the liberal bubble” is now taken to include most major American cities, college towns, and large swathes of the coasts, Gabe Unterlinden deﬁnes his bubble more narrowly. It is a bubble within the bubble. Its geographical boundaries include only Manhattan—below 96th Street, it is implied, and perhaps even below Union Square—and, grudgingly, parts of Brooklyn. Those who live in de bubble share not only progressive political attitudes but ﬁnancial prosperity. De Bubblians are the guardians of enlightenment thought. In the national contest between morality and savagery, de Bubble is morality’s headquarters, the central command. “De point is, we like de bubble, and so do you,” René’s father tells him. “We don’t want to live in a red state, and you—you’d be done for in for example Kansas, where dey don’t believe in evolution. . . . So dis iss who you are. . . . The boy in the bubble.” But The Golden House’s milieu is really a bubble within de bubble within the bubble. Most of the action occurs within the Macdougal- Sullivan Gardens in Greenwich Village, a hedgelined park of maple and sycamore trees that occupies the interior of a full city block, accessible only to the inhabitants of twenty- one brick townhouses that stand along its perimeter. In Rushdie’s novel the Gardens resembles the Grand Hotel in Grand Hotel, a luxurious oasis The New York Review occupied by a cosmopolitan cast of characters of ambiguous international wealth. Besides the Goldens, who have moved there from Mumbai after a family crisis, there are a pair of Sicilian aristocrats, a solitary Argentine-American, a UN diplomat from Myanmar, and the “post-Belgian” Unterlindens, their membership justiﬁed with an aside noting that they bought their townhouse “back in the Jurassic era when things were cheap.” (It is not explained why they haven’t yet sold the property, but we can guess: though they would proﬁt by many millions of dollars, they would be forced to live outside of de bubble.) T he Macdougal- Sullivan Gardens, Rushdie neglects to note, were intended to be cheap. They were designed in 1921 by William Sloane Cofﬁn Sr., later the president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as part of a private campaign to preserve affordable homes for middle- class New Yorkers. Cofﬁn had been alarmed that the booming real estate market had ejected artists, actors, tradesmen, and musicians into the outer boroughs and beyond. For the original tenants the communal vegetable garden was a necessity more than a pastime, and the park a protected refuge for their children, who numbered in the dozens. New Yorkers will not be surprised by how this story ends. In June one of the Macdougal- Sullivan townhouses sold for $14 million. A few artists, actors, and musicians still live in the Gardens, but only those successful enough, and late enough in their careers, to afford it. Others, like the director Baz Luhrmann, rent (the going rate is $40,000 a month). One of the buildings belongs to Vogue’s Anna Wintour, one to the Italian director Francesco Carrozzini (son of the former editor of Italian Vogue), another to Francesco and Alba Clemente, friends of the author, to whom Rushdie dedicates The Golden House. There are fewer children, and when they play soccer it is, according to a resident quoted in a recent New York Times Fashion & Style piece, “much to the dismay of some neighbors.” The old communal garden is kept up by a private landscaping ﬁrm. Last year a rowhouse built during the Civil War on Bleecker Street, at the northern end of the block, was demolished and replaced by the Dolce Greenwich Village, a seven-story “boutique condominium” nearly twice the height of the other buildings, with terraces overlooking the gardens, despite Wintour’s protests that it would block out the sun. The gardens themselves have become a luxury accessory, listed on Dolce’s brochures between the tanned oak hardwood ﬂoors and Caesarstone countertops. It would be difﬁcult to ﬁnd a better metaphor for what Manhattan has become. Rushdie acknowledges that the inhabitants of the Gardens are “cocooned in liberal downtown silk,” but his sympathy with its residents is unironic, his satire never rising beyond a playful chiding. In a novel full of howling political outrage, with excursions into transgender politics, shootings of and by police ofﬁcers, Black Lives Matter protests, campus battles over safe spaces and confederate monuments, Gamergate, the Internet-generated rise of conspiracy theories, and riffs on the nature of “truth” and “freedom,” Rushdie’s disinterest in New York City’s most contentious social issue— accelerating economic inequality and the forced relocation of its working and middle classes—is as conspicuous as an out- of-scale condo development blotting out the sun. He comes closest to the issue when Apu Golden, Nero’s melancholic middle son, takes a ﬁeld trip to the Occupy Wall Street protest, dressing down to blend in, and marvels at the protesters costumed as Gandhi and Henry Ford. “So wonderful,” says Apu, “to see Goethe lying down among the sleeping bags, G. K. Chesterton standing in line for soup.” His sketches of the scene are exhibited at an art gallery on the Bowery. No writer, even in a novel so heavily engaged with social issues, need weigh in on any particular subject; as Rushdie knows better than any other living novelist, the author’s only blood allegiance is to his reader. Yet amid his sharp refrains about “our age of bitterly contested realities,” “the prevalence of the unreal over the real” (a line credited to Primo Levi), and fears that a “cloud of ignorance has blinded us,” one wonders whether life among the Garden people might not impose at least a cirrus cloud of ignorance over their view of the world. The Golden family, we are assured from the novel’s opening pages, will suffer a tragic fate. But the world that Rushdie describes—the private island parties, the Madison Avenue shopping sprees, the ﬁlm festival circuit, the celebrity cameos, the fetishization of multicultural artists (a Faroese singer, a blind accordionist from Ecuador, a Somali metal sculptor), the ladies’ lunches at Sant Ambroeus, the billionaires joking about their “units” (one unit=$100 million), the publicists hired to suppress instead of generate publicity, the ﬂawless taste in cinema and rugs, the endless downtime—is immune from real danger. This is not a political fault, but a dramatic one; it means the stakes are never especially high. Just like the Joker’s supporters, René and his neighbors live in a world in which the unreal prevails over the real. It is the same world, in fact, that created the Joker. By the end of the novel Rushdie has traveled into the future, more than a year after the Joker’s victory. The world has not ended but René and his coterie remain in shock and grief. Their only response—their best response—to “the monstrous forces that faced us” is to live without fear, cherishing love and beauty and friendship. “Humanity,” writes Rushdie, “was the only answer to the cartoon.” This may not prove an effective campaign slogan in 2020, but it has the virtue of being true. And the novelist’s subject, after all, is humanity—the inner life, with its maddening contradictions and inadequacies. For all of The Golden House’s folkloric architecture and twinkling prose, for all its impish cartoonery and exuberant storytelling, the novel is at its heart an unsettling portrait of the state of humanity in the United States of 2017. It celebrates our meager glories and exposes our ﬂaws, particularly our inability to see outside of our own little cocoons, whether they be constructed of silk or some coarser material. A CONSERVATIVE JUSTICE'S LIBERAL OPINIONS David M. Dorsen, close friend to Antonin Scalia, provides a unique glimpse at the liberal side of one of the most important, outspoken and controversial Justices of the last century. “Dorsen’s reputation and obvious scholarship, coupled with his lively writing, should insure a high level of spirited debate.” Retired Chief Judge Patricia Wald of the D.C. Circuit "A comprehensive and well-reasoned treatment of the opinions of Justice Antonin Scalia - with a wonderful surprise ending, with which the Justice (I believe) would have been pleased." John Sexton, Former President of New York University and Dean Emeritus of NYU Law School. OUT NOW IN HARDBACK | $29.99 For more information, visit Cambridge.org/Scalia October 26, 2017 35 Freud’s Clay Feet Lisa Appignanesi Freud: The Making of an Illusion by Frederick Crews. Metropolitan, 746 pp., $40.00 Frederick Crews has a loyalty of preoccupation rare in a literary academic. His attacks on Sigmund Freud began way back in the mid-1970s with his publicly proclaimed conversion away from the Freudian literary criticism he practiced at the time. Since then his assault has drawn sustenance from a variety of revisionist Freud sleuths and scholars. High among the sleuths is the tireless Peter Swales, a onetime assistant to the Rolling Stones and a follower of the cultish G. I. Gurdjieff, who grew interested in Freud because of his cocaine use and sniffed out all manner of facts about the originals of his cases and his supposed affair with his sister-in-law. The scholars include more academic thinkers whose conclusions about Freud don’t always agree with Crews’s, whatever their arguments with Freud’s practice or writings. Like Karl Popper or Adolf Grünbaum, they may also question Freud’s status as a scientist—whether he was one at all, or whether his claims are sufﬁciently supported by empirical evidence. Crews’s 746-page biography, Freud: The Making of an Illusion, damning and mesmerizing by turns, is about the young Freud and reaches The Interpretation of Dreams only on page 543, allowing just a few brief glimpses into the second part of his life. It marks the zenith of what has become Crews’s crusade “to put an end to the myth of psychoanalysis and its creator” by stripping Freud of both his empiricist credentials and the image of a “lone explorer possessing courageous perseverance, deductive brilliance, tragic insight, and healing power,” a series of attributes Crews ﬁnds in Freud’s own self-portrayal and in Ernest Jones’s landmark biography (1953–1957). The idealization of Freud the man that Crews is so keen to prove a blinding illusion is hardly prevalent. Most scholars, commentators, and even analysts don’t need it to make use of Freud’s insights into the opacity and unpredictability of the human mind, or the ways in which love and hate coexist, or how our childhoods echo through us, sometimes trapping us, or how our identiﬁcations with early ﬁgures in our lives shape the complicated humans we become. Or perhaps most important, how much we share with those whom we casually label with the many diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Jones himself, by the time he wrote his biography of Freud, had shifted his theoretical allegiances to Melanie Klein, the Hungarian analyst who so inﬂuenced the British Pychoanalytic Society. Indeed, the Freud illusion was only prevalent in the United States from the 1950s until about 1968. At that time, Freud was taken up ﬁrst by liberal then by radical intellectuals like Herbert Marcuse; and Freudian therapy, in an American translation, formed part of psychiatric training. Freud, who had died in 1939, became an often comic know-it-all ﬁgure in popular culture. 36 Ironically, despite this “fame,” in 1956, the year of his centenary, there were only 942 card- carrying psychoanalysts in the country. It is the attention Freud receives that most irritates Crews. His opening line headily claims: “Among historical ﬁgures, Sigmund Freud ranks with Shakespeare and Jesus of Nazareth for the amount of attention bestowed upon him by scholars and commentators.” Surely not. And surely not even in America, where Jesus—with his clergy and priests, many of whom count as scholars and commentators, not to mention his countless churches, followers, websites—still gets more attention than the author of The Interpretation of Dreams and Civilization and its Discontents. But Crews is on the march against the man who purportedly had a “craving to pull down the temple of Pauline law.” Perhaps Pope Pius XII hadn’t noticed this when in 1953 he formally approved “the use of psychoanalysis as a healing device,” indicating that “science afﬁrms that recent observations have brought to light the hidden layers of the psychic structure of man.”1 Pope Francis himself recently revealed that he had had psychoanalysis at the age of forty-two. He called his analyst a courageous woman. C rews’s subtitle echoes Freud’s The Future of an Illusion (1927), in which Freud argues that our religious beliefs 1 Dagmar Herzog, Cold War Freud (Cambridge University Press, 2017), p. 52. are “fulﬁlments of the oldest, strongest, and most urgent wishes of mankind.” Crews doesn’t explore—as Ernest Gellner did in The Psychoanalytic Movement (1985)—how the growth of psychoanalysis may be understood as akin to the development of a religious movement, or how its claims, while pretending to be scientiﬁc, are actually those of a belief system in disguise. His main thrust is always ad hominem. Crews is convinced that if Freud is shown to be a case-faking scoundrel more interested in money than patients, then everything he has written about repressed memories, sexuality and desire, fantasy and the Oedipal romance of the family, dreams, slips, and the everyday workings of the human mind will be seen to be only the seedy ﬁctions of a demented, hypnotizing Caligari, after whose cabinet Crews suggestively names one of his chapters. In Crews’s view Freud was a man who set out to “achieve fame at any cost” and who sacriﬁced “his integrity as both a scientist and a physician” to that end. Having invented a science with no empirical base, only fabrication, Freud, with his inability to “forgo his luxuries,” his “commercial mentality,” and his aim “to protect and promote his brand,” was able to perpetrate a gigantic hoax on the twentieth century. The rhetorical strategy at work here is that of a talented prosecutor. It traps the reader. Either you buy into the facts Crews foregrounds and relish the mounting glee of his attack or you’re propelled into an identiﬁcation with the accused and ever struggling for breath, wishing that a defense attorney were in sight. It also makes you wonder why on June 23, 1938, a bare two weeks after Freud, ﬂeeing Nazi persecution, landed in England with his immediate family, he received a visit from representatives of the Royal Society, the world’s oldest scientiﬁc establishment. Founded in 1660, inspired by Francis Bacon, and including among its eminent fellows Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin, it had elected Freud to be one of its own. Why had this elite scientiﬁc body decided to name Freud to its ranks? The citation certiﬁcate reads “for pioneering work in psychoanalysis.” The everdisputatious fellows, with their long view of history, knew that science is not a narrow domain whose residents, like adherents of a strict religion, follow one rigid set of eternal rules, but rather a capacious and diverse mansion where observation of not only the animal but also the human world could count as science, where doubters could live side by side and engage in heated argument. They also, in their wisdom, recognized that scientists are not uniformly consistent either in their ideas or in their lives. Nor is it always clear how one shapes the other. Newton, who had formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation, was also a mystic with beliefs strange even for his time, and behaved fraudulently in a dispute with Leibniz. Crews, by contrast, seems to idealize science and even to dehistoricize it, forgetting that at the time Freud began his practice, dangerous patent medicines were touted by many doctors in the US; clinical trials of drugs were not instituted until 1947. C rews is only interested in Freud’s speculations and observations when they relate to hysteria and his earliest cases, or to his rivalries, claims to priority, and “lazy reluctance to collect sufﬁcient evidence.” He portrays Freud as “aroused” by “envy” of the wellconnected young French psychologist Pierre Janet, and claims that Freud simply borrowed Janet’s conceptions of the unconscious and symptom formation. But the Standard Edition of Freud’s writings has sixty references to Janet and his ideas, tracing a sustained argument with him between 1888 and 1925. Freud may want to win the debate, but there is nothing to indicate that he thought his own ideas came to him ex nihilo—as his own notes and countless references to literature ancient and modern suggest. Crews brings a great many, if highly selective, facts to his case. His early Freud is not only a sloppy neurologist but a deluded cocaine addict, a betrayer of friends, homoerotic in his desires (though he may have committed adultery with his sister-in-law), and a doctor who had very few patients on whom to base his ever- changing theories. Those he did have he let down or harmed or falsely suggested ailments to. His only patient was himself. When he didn’t steal his ideas from others, he provided no veriﬁable evidence for any of his own. He was also neurotic, depressive, and sex- obsessed. The rest is all a giant con. The whole ediﬁce of psychoanalysis, Freud’s insights over The New York Review many volumes, is a sham—as must, by deduction, be the worldwide institution of psychoanalysis from Brazil to China and its offshoot therapies. Many of the basic facts of Crews’s account, as he admits, already appeared in Ernest Jones’s chatty but far fuller life of Freud. Jones, despite the myth he is purported to have launched, was no hagiographer. He wrote of Freud’s use of the then new drug cocaine, his Victorian views on women and their psychic satisfaction in having children (even if Freud welcomed women into the new profession), his changes of mind as his practice progressed, the autobiographical content in The Interpretation of Dreams, and more. All this was in the 1950s, when biographies of public ﬁgures rarely went into private matters. When Jones’s biography appeared in the US in 1956, Time stated that it came from the “wartsand-all” school. Crews forgets the “all” and wants only to pick at the warts, aggravate them, and ﬁnd new ones. In the process what emerges is a lurid Freud who is something of a Faustian cartoon villain. “By 1895,” Crews writes, current purposes it is reliable only as long as it concerns negative memories of Freud. Freud’s own memories, in Crews’s view, inevitably lie. In the climax to a chapter intent on underlining Freud’s lack of success with his early hysterics, his untrustworthy and repugnant nature, and his being “widely regarded with suspicion” by elite Viennese Jews, Crews quotes Arthur Koestler’s mother speaking in 1953 about her experience with Freud sixty-three years earlier. Having been sent to the young neurologist in 1890 at age nineteen and gone only reluctantly, she recalls that “he was a disgusting fellow,” his interest in sex was “scandalous and outlandish,” and no one in her circle took him seriously. She sounds just like a teenager to me, though it’s slightly odd, if what she says about the prevailing view is true, that she was sent to Freud at all. Such evidence could of course be used to demonstrate Freud’s sense of himself as a lone outsider, but Crews doesn’t want that either. Freud’s own seventy-page Autobiographical Study (1925) is used to question his veracity about the disappointment he experienced when he ﬁrst went to the University of Vienna in 1873 at the age of seventeen. “Above all,” the sixty- eightyear- old Freud wrote, “I found that I was expected to feel myself inferior and an alien because I was a Jew.” Crews is skeptical: but he lingered over an eclectic potpourri of courses. Nor does it appear that he was deprived of an active social life. Since 21 percent of the student body were “already” Jews, though they composed 10.1 percent of the Viennese population, Crews distrusts Freud’s memory, and sees it only as feeding his own myth of an “outcast who had nobly embraced his fate.” O ies. Crews is sadly deaf to ambivalence, the simultaneous wishes to belong and make a triumph of feeling yourself apart, in particular when it comes to Freud. The voluminous correspondence between Freud and his ﬁancée, Martha Bernays—known as Die Brautbriefe since it covers the period of their engagement—has recently been made available on the Library of Congress website, and also published in meticulously edited form in German. Of the ﬁve projected volumes, three have appeared in German 2 and one in English. Though a selection of the letters had been published before and Jones had had access to all of them, the Brautbriefe is one of the new sources Crews brings to his biography. The letters begin in June 1882, when Freud is an impoverished young researcher and end in September 1886, after he had returned home from his four months of research in Paris at the Salpêtrière hospital with Jean-Martin Charcot, the Napoleon of the Neuroses. They cover the period when Freud set up in private practice, alongside his hospital work, so that he could earn enough of a living on which to support a wife and children, as well as the many other members of his family who were dependent on him. The Brautbriefe, eloquent on both sides, are used by Crews largely to throw vitriol at If Freud had been met with ostracism on entering the university, he surely would have wanted to end the ordeal as speedily as possible, f course, there is something of the noble lonely pioneer in Freud’s Autobiographical Study. It was part of a series commissioned by Leipzig publishers of brief lives of eminent doctors, several of whom write in the same vein. These are the tropes of the profession. They remember the heroic age of medicine: they are Ibsenesque enemies of the people who have had steep paths to climb, struggles to establish new ﬁelds—epidemiology, public health medicine, new diptheria antitoxins, and, yes, psychoanalysis. The romantic legend that Crews attacks—and arguably it is no more romantic than the scientiﬁc romance of the careful, persistent siever of years of accumulated evidence—is not peculiar to Freud, even if his may be the one we know best. But it is Crews’s querying of Freud’s feelings about anti- Semitism that is itself questionable here. Contrary to what he states, anti- Semitism was in fact prevalent when Freud entered the university. But no young person hungry for knowledge, as Freud was, and strained in ﬁnances would be easily routed by prejudice and leave his stud- Eduardo Galeano: Through the Looking Glass Pioneers of Ecological Humanism: Mumford, Dubos and Bookchin The New Anarchism (1974-2012) Volume III of Anarchism Karl Polanyi in Dialogue: A Socialist Thinker for our Times Martha Nandorfy, Daniel Fischlin Brian Morris Edited by Robert Graham Michael Brie “Thrown like darts at the brain and the heart of the reader, Galeano’s texts reveal one of the most important voices to come out of Latin America, discussed here in a critical work of the first order.” — Elena Poniatowska, author of Here’s to you, Jesusa! Morris’ lucid outline of the ecological and political thought of Lewis Mumford, René Dubos and Murray Bookchin. “Brian Morris blazed a lot of trails. He is a scholar of genuine daring and great humanity, and his work deserves to be read for a very long time to come.” — David Graeber, author of Debt: The First 5,000 Years The New Anarchism completes the most comprehensive anthology on the history of anarchist theory and practice. “Graham’s excellent anthology is essential reading for all interested in political thought. The breadth of subjects is both comprehensive and impressive, giving a much needed overview of an evolving social movement.” — Iain MacKay Michael Brie (Senior Fellow, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation) reinterprets Karl Polanyi’s thought for present times in response to neoliberalism, the growing authoritarian right and the ecological crisis. Included are original writings by Polanyi himself and Nancy Fraser (the New School). ISBN 978-1-55164-607-7 ISBN 978-1-55164-336-6 Freud had already awarded himself a license to invent, suppress, alter, and rearrange facts in the interest of enhanced self-portraiture and theoretical vindication. . . . The Katharina chapter [in Studies on Hysteria] puts us on notice that its author . . .would stop at nothing in manufacturing “evidence” of his imaginary prowess. Though Crews has written much about the vagaries of memory, for his ISBN 978-1-55164-178-2 www.blackrosebooks.com October 26, 2017 2 Sigmund Freud and Martha Bernays, Die Brautbriefe, edited by Gerhard Fichtner, Ilse Grubrich-Simitis, and Albrecht Hirschmüller in collaboration with Wolfgang Kloft (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 2011–2015). ISBN 978-1-55164-601-5 Distributed by the University of Toronto Press 37 Freud. Freud’s constant references to money and desperate need for it—either from new discoveries that would secure future posts or, toward the end of the period when he has decided to abandon research, from new paying patients—are never seen as something Martha might expect from a ﬁancé forced to delay their marriage. In Crews’s view they’re a signal that Freud values wealth above scientiﬁc integrity or his patients. Crews is taken aback by the daily toll of Freud’s letters with their details of “migraine headaches, crippling depression, and outbursts of ﬁerce anger,” occasionally against Martha, but mostly against people who have slighted him. It’s Martha, too, who gets all the ups and downs that accompany Freud’s cocaine habit during these years, his lustful fantasies, and, far more sadly, his confessed failure to cure his friend Ernst Fleischl von Marxow of morphine addiction. It’s hard for Crews to imagine why Martha Bernays—intelligent, well read, from a more privileged background—waited for and decided to marry the dishonest, bungling bully Crews portrays and stay with him through six children and ﬁfty years. Her decision is even more astonishing given Crews’s belief in the circumstantial evidence that purportedly places her sister Minna, who moved in with the Freuds soon after their sixth child arrived, squarely in her husband’s bed, not only on travels, one of which might have ended with an abortion, but in a house ﬁlled with children who never noticed. No one else ever actually saw the two in bed together either, nor have any records of an abortion been found by assiduous investigators into Freud’s life. The rumor of the relationship comes from a casual remark that Carl Jung—himself a serial adulterer— made in 1957 that Minna had confessed the affair to him as he was leaving the Freud apartment in 1907. Crews’s fulsome concentration on the details of what he blithely calls “Sigmund and Minna’s lovefest on the banks of Lake Garda” and the supposed subsequent abortion is meant to undermine the moral credentials that have been attributed to the “legendary” Freud by his biographers Ernest Jones and Peter Gay. But equally important for Crews is the opportunity the episode gives him to do some textual analysis—to give us “an object lesson in how to apprehend Freud’s texts with due awareness of their guile.” His aim is to reveal that much of Freud’s writing on dreams, screen memories (or memories that hide deeper or older memories), love, sex, and marriage is more autobiographical than we already know. His Freud is utterly solipsistic, never actually drawing on patients or any human and social observation. So Freud’s essays on sex, love, and marriage (1908, 1910–1911) are built on his own case, not on more general behavior. Yet his Viennese contemporaries, like Arthur Schnitzler and Stefan Zweig—as well as early feminists who decry the lack of education, including sexual education, for women at the time—paint a picture of life that corresponds to Freud’s descriptions. C rews has a good grasp of the general culture of neurological and psychiatric medicine at the turn of the last century, but in his zealous attempt to indict Freud, he fails to give it proper historical weight. There were no cures for psychiatric illnesses, including hysteria, with its wide range of often severe symptoms. Treatments were harsh, penitential, and sometimes terminal. Because Freud learned from Charcot, Crews tries to disparage him. Charcot was indeed theatrical in his public lectures and used hypnotism. But hypnotism was one of the time’s scientiﬁc experimental methods, and in Charcot’s case a diagnostic tool. Crews chooses not to mention that what Freud learned from Charcot was “la chose genitale”— the sexuality that was everywhere in the hospital and in the stories the hysterics told about themselves and to which Freud, unlike Charcot, listened. In contrast, Crews rightly admires the German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin, a contemporary of Freud’s, for his orderly disease classiﬁcations and descriptions, the kind that form the basis for the DSM. Kraepelin may have kept the kinds of tables Crews values, but he was also a believer in the born criminal and a ﬁrm eugenicist, facts Crews doesn’t bother with. Both Kraepelin and Charcot had large asylum populations to draw on for their detailed clinical descriptions. But neither was primarily interested in curing the mentally ill. Freud at least attempted to do so. At the time, mental hospitals and private clinics used whatever drugs they could ﬁnd, from chloral to potassium bromide, to calm their patients. The anguished behavior of the ill—often verbally, sexually, and physically agitated—is well known. It’s hardly surprising that Josef Breuer used sedatives on Bertha Pappenheim, known as Anna O., the ﬁrst patient in the Studies on Hysteria, or that Freud at ﬁrst tried that and whatever other techniques were available to him. Managing such patients was the best that could be done. Failure was the norm. Y et Freud left drugs and hypnotism behind for his new, far gentler talking and listening therapy. Most hospitals and asylums, even clinics, did not. In the course of the more “scientiﬁc” twentieth century came miracle cures, often deadly on application, such as insulin, tooth-pulling, lobotomy, and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Modern ECT entails a more powerful application of electricity than the nineteenth- century electrotherapies the young Freud used, and for which Crews mocks him. Crews’s decision to turn Freud’s work with his early hysterical patients into an exposé of his callow incompetence makes for unsavory reading. Many mental and emotional illnesses are intractable or recurrent. If Freud at ﬁrst turned to a sexual and eventually a familial etiology for the internal conﬂicts that in his view led to illness, he often enough, as in the case of Dora, alerted us to his own mistakes in treatment. Whatever Freud’s highhanded and patriarchal misreadings of this troubled adolescent girl, Dora didn’t commit suicide, as her parents were worried she might; nor did Freud’s other patients. That may not be a miraculous result, but neither is it a total failure, as anyone working in today’s challenging mental health environment would surely agree. Freud, unlike many in his time, at least acknowledged that 38 women’s voices were worth listening to—that women were sexual beings with desires. Crews chooses not to give any positive accounts of analysis with Freud, but there have been notable ones, not least from the American poet H. D. (Hilda Doolittle) and the Russian-born writer and psychoanalyst Lou Andreas-Salomé. Nor is it accurate for Crews to claim that Freud had almost no patients in his early years on whom to base his insights, or that he routinely misdiagnosed. His patient record book from 1896 to 1899 is held by the Library of Congress. Freud saw about sixty patients a year for over ﬁve hundred visits. It was through these sessions and his own self-analysis that he moved from a short-lived use of hypnosis to a talking treatment based on free association and dream and transference analysis. After 1900, aside from the war years, he was working with patients some eleven hours a day. Putting psychological conﬂicts into words in a therapeutic setting seems to help. The recent exposure of the extent to which negative evidence in clinical trials of much-hyped psychoactive drugs was massaged away with the help of doctors on pharmaceutical company payrolls, the way clinical results highlighted only what would prove proﬁtable, the masking of side effects, suicide among them—all this has made the purported misdeeds of psychoanalysts look benign.3 The talking therapies may produce no instant miracles; neither do they do comparable harm. Insurers may want to think again about costs over a patient’s lifetime. Then, too, hand in hand with the development of these new, highly touted “scientiﬁc” psychoactive drugs, the number of sufferers from mental disorders has grown enormously. Unlike Adam Phillips in his brilliant Becoming Freud (2014) or Joel Whitebook in his recent intellectual biography (2017), Crews is never interested in touching on what Freud’s writing might still convey about the mysteries of our everyday lives. I think when it comes to Freud and psychoanalysis, I’ll take my cue from Stanley Cavell: Most philosophers in my tradition, I believe, relate to psychoanalysis, if at all, with suspicion, habitually asking whether psychoanalysis deserves the title of a science. . . . I am for myself convinced that the corpus of Freud’s writing, and a considerable amount of writing that depends upon it, has achieved an unsurpassed horizon of knowledge about the human mind. Accordingly I would not be satisﬁed with an answer that declares psychoanalysis not to be a science, if that answer denies that horizon of knowledge. 3 See Marcia Angell’s articles in these pages, among them “Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption,” January 15, 2009; “The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why?,” June 23, 2011; and “The Illusions of Psychiatry,” July 14, 2011. See also David Healy, The Antidepressant Era (Harvard University Press, 1999) and Let Them Eat Prozac: The Unhealthy Relationship Between the Pharmaceutical Industry and Depression (NYU Press, 2004). The New York Review Stalin at the Movies Stephen Kotkin 1. wrote. “Turning to comrade Voroshilov, he pointed out that the march would go to the masses, and began to recall the melody and ask about the words.” A new genre, the Soviet musical comedy, was born. Shumyatsky’s determination had paid off. He had witnessed a live performance of Utyosov’s band—whose musicians sang, danced, and acted—and had suggested they team up with the director Alexandrov. Utyosov, for his part, had insisted on music by Isaac Dunayevsky, a graduate of the Kharkov Conservatory who had Long focused on the impact of live theater, Stalin did not immediately grasp the full power of ﬁlm. But the producer Boris Shumyatsky persisted, and goaded the Party to issue a directive to ﬁlm all major events in the USSR, design handheld cameras to be put into wide production, and have regional ofﬁcials treat newsreels the way they treated the press. Stalin began to review the newsreels at Kremlin cinema sessions. But it had really been his previewing of the 1934 ﬁlm Joseph Stalin Chapayev that transformed him—a person accustomed to working with written texts— from someone who occasionally viewed ﬁlms for diversion to their executive producer, overseeing everything from the backgrounds of scenes to the dialogue and score. The dictator played a decisive part in supporting not just subjects of political import but also farce. In that regard, an enormous breakthrough was wrought by a young assistant to the virtuoso Sergei Eisenstein, after the latter’s scandalous failure to ﬁnish a ﬁlm in Mexico. Shumyatsky had suggested that Eisenstein next make a Soviet comedy, but the director showed little interest. His assistant, Grigory Alexandrov, using every Hollywood trick he had learned in their travels to Los Angeles, then cowrote and directed Jolly Fellows, which became a smash hit. Stalin’s inner circle had divided over the appropriateness of comedy. When Shumyatsky was set to premiere Jolly Fellows in the Kremlin, Kliment Voroshilov, who had seen it, stated, “It’s an interesting, jolly, thoroughly musical ﬁlm made a name for himself at the Moscow featuring Utyosov and his jazz.” Lazar Satire Theater and more recently the Kaganovich objected that the musician Leningrad Music Hall. Vasily LebedevLeonid Utyosov had no voice; Andrei Kumach, the son of a Moscow cobbler Zhdanov complained that Utyosov and himself a writer at the satirical pewas a master only of criminal underriodical Crocodile, composed the lyrics. world songs. “You’ll see,” Voroshilov When ideologues attacked the recountered, “he’s a very gifted actor, sulting work, Shumyatsky galvanized an extraordinary humorist, and sings Stalin’s support. Jolly Fellows had delightfully in the ﬁlm.” He was right. gone into ﬁnal editing, following the “Brilliantly conceived,” Stalin said to dictator’s suggestions, but its opening Voroshilov after viewing one scene with was delayed by Sergei Kirov’s assasa jazz orchestra rehearsal that devolves sination. It premiered publicly on Deinto a hilarious ﬁght, and another with cember 25, at Moscow’s Shock Worker collective farm livestock run amok. cinema, where Orlova, Utyosov, and Alexandrov were in the audience. A The ﬁlm allows you to relax in an banquet followed at the Metropole. interesting, entertaining fashion. General release took place in January We experienced the exact feeling 1935, and soon an astonishing six thouone has after a day off. It’s the ﬁrst sand copies of the ﬁlm were in circulatime I have experienced such a feeltion throughout the country. ing from viewing our ﬁlms, among The publicity campaign, unprecwhich have been very good ones. edented for the Soviet Union, borrowed American techniques, with After watching another ﬁlm, Stalin repostcards of scenes from the ﬁlm and turned to discussion of Jolly Fellows, phonographic records of the songs. lauding the bold acting of the female Shumyatsky even had sheet music of lead, Lyubov Orlova, and male lead, the score published with an attractive Utyosov, as well as the excellent jazz. “He cover, and there were tie-in cookies talked about the songs,” Shumyatsky from the baking trust and cigarettes from the tobacco trust. The ﬁlm’s stars Copyright © 2017 by Stephen Kotkin featured in radio appearances. October 26, 2017 M any cultural ﬁgures collaborated with the Soviet party-state precisely for its wherewithal to deliver mass audiences. To be sure, whereas listeners in Britain or Germany could tune in to several stations, including some that originated from abroad, the Soviets invested in cable (wire) radio, which was inexpensive and durable, enabling mass production, and imposed far stricter state control over content, since the wires delivered just the two ofﬁcial stations. Only the privileged few had hard-to-procure wireless receivers with tuners. Wire radios were installed in outdoor public spaces, factories, meeting halls, clubs, and dormitories. The Soviet Union had 2.5 million radio reception points already by 1934. Radio Moscow and Radio Comintern were broadcasting approximately eighteen hours per day, creating an ambient Sovietness. “Boring agitation is counteragitation,” one Soviet ﬁlm critic argued. Surveys of radio listeners’ letters showed that they wanted fewer symphonies and more humor, information about the outside world, advice on childrearing, medical issues, and other daily life concerns, and entertainment, such as folk music, Gypsy romances, jazz, operettas (not operas), and songs from the latest ﬁlms. While Germany had Marlene Dietrich and America Greta Garbo, the Soviets had Orlova, promoted in the press, books, and fan postcards. (She and Alexandrov would begin a love affair and later marry.) The songs proved to be easily and widely memorized. From streets to shop ﬂoors, almost the entire USSR was singing “Such a Lot of Nice Girls” (or the tango version, “Heart,” released by Pyotr Leshchenko) and the march “A Happy Song Lightens Your Heart.” Even in profoundly anti-Soviet Poland Jolly Fellows would ﬁnd popularity. The comic master Charlie Chaplin would praise the ﬁlm as better propaganda for the Soviet cause than executions. Stalin authorized an all-Union Creative Conference of Workers in Soviet Cinema (January 8–13, 1935), albeit without formation of a formal union such as the writers had. Eisenstein was awarded the task of delivering the keynote. “When I heard Eisenstein’s report, I was afraid that he knows so much, and his head is so clear that, it is obvious, he’ll never make another ﬁlm,” the director Oleksandr Dovzhenko said in his follow-up speech. “If I knew as much as he does, I would literally die. (Laughter, applause.)” Pravda published a congratulatory note from Stalin to Shumyatsky: “Greetings and best wishes to the workers of Soviet cinema on the day of its glorious ﬁfteenth anniversary.” Soviet power expects from you new successes—new ﬁlms that, like Chapayev, proclaim the greatness of the historic cause of the struggle for power of the workers and peasants of the Soviet Union, mobilize for the attainment of new tasks, and remind us of both the achievements and difﬁculties of socialist construction. That same day, Stalin attended the ceremony at the Bolshoi where, for the ﬁrst time, state awards were handed out to ﬁlm workers. He had edited the proposed awards list: Orders of Lenin were given to the Leningrad Film Studio, Shumyatsky, Pavel Tager (who had helped introduce sound to Soviet ﬁlms), and numerous directors. Eisenstein had been proposed for the lesser Order of the Red Banner, which Stalin crossed out, substituting something lesser still: “honored artist.” After this humiliation, Eisenstein had to offer the closing remarks. “No one here has had to listen to so many compliments about highbrow wisdom as I,” he stated. “The crux—and this you know—is that I have not been engaged in ﬁlm production for several years, and I consider the [awards] decision a signal from the party and government that I must enter production.” The gathering concluded with a performance of the third act of Swan Lake. Shumyatsky did not speak at the ceremony or at the conference, but Pravda published an excerpt from his forthcoming book, Cinema for the Millions. “The victorious class wants to laugh with joy,” he wrote. “That is its right, and Soviet cinema must provide its audiences with this joyful Soviet laughter.” He admitted, however, that “we have no common view on such fundamental and decisive problems of our art as the interrelationship between form and content, as plot, as the pace and rhythm of a ﬁlm, the role of the script, the techniques of cinema.” In fact, all he and other ﬁlm people had to go on was Stalin’s utterances or their own intuition about what might please him. 2. Secret police, in their smartest dress uniforms, lined the walls of the cavernous main hall and all the entrances of the Grand Kremlin Palace for the 1939 New Year’s banquet. Soviet ofﬁcials did not bring their wives unless the latter, too, held ofﬁcial positions, such as Vyacheslav Molotov’s wife Polina Zhemchuzhina (ﬁshing industry commissar). But much of the beau monde was intermarried: the actor Ivan Moskvin attended with his wife, Alla Tarasova, a star of the same theater; the ﬁlmmaker Grigory Alexandrov with his wife, the singer-starlet Lyubov Orlova; the dancer Igor Moiseyev with his common-law wife, the Bolshoi prima ballerina Nina Podgoretskaya. But Stalin himself could come off as the movie star: the mischievous grin, the lifted head, the pauses, nods, glances. During the toasts, when he called out Soviet triumphs and heroes, people clinked glasses, tapped knives and forks, and shouted his name. By the time the USSR State Jazz Band entered the anteroom of the Andreyev Hall, it was after 2:00 AM. A Chekist, as the police liked to be called, summoned 39 THE NOVELS OF HENRY GREEN NOTHING • Introduction by Francine Prose In Nothing two generations face off as two former lovers obsessively conspire to end the relationship between their children, who have fallen in love with each other. The parents, Jane Weatherby and John Pomfret, seem intoxicated by the sudden purpose that has entered their war-torn lives. The children, Philip and Mary, both as serious and sober as their parents are not, struggle to match their parents’ will to have their way. DOTING • Introduction by Michael Gorra Doting, the last of Henry Green’s novels, is, as its title would suggest, a story of yearning and lusting and aging in which a wife and a brash young woman run hilarious circles around a hapless hardworking civil servant suddenly seized by long-dormant urges. Like its immediate predecessor, Nothing, it stands out from the rest of Green’s work in its brilliant, experimental use of dialogue. Green was fascinated with the extravagance, ambiguity, absurdity, and unintentional implications and consequences of everyday human communication, and in Doting language slips and slides the better to reveal the absurdity and persistence of love and desire, exciting laughter while troubling the heart. Previously published by NYRB Classics BLINDNESS • Introduction by Daniel Mendelsohn Green’s ﬁrst novel is the story of John Haye, a young student with literary airs. It starts with an excerpt from his diary, brimming with excitement and affectation and curiosity about life and literature. Then a freak accident robs John of his sight, plunging him into despair. LIVING • Introduction by Adam Thirlwell Living is a book about life in a factory town and the operations of a factory, from the workers on the ﬂoor to the boss in his ofﬁce. “Living introduced a whole school of proletarian literature, and yet remains apart from, and superior to, any of its followers.” —The Times Literary Supplement PARTY GOING • Introduction by Amit Chaudhuri “Green paints an unforgettable portrait of a doomed, amoral world whose characters, trapped in the fog, are somehow waltzing blithely towards oblivion . . . . Within a few years it had acquired a distinguished retinue of literary admirers—including Auden, Isherwood and Eudora Welty.” —Robert McCrum, The Guardian LOVING • Introduction by Roxana Robinson “Loving is a classic upstairs-downstairs story, with the emphasis on downstairs. . . Green’s generosity towards even the most scheming and rascally of them offers a lesson you never forget.” —Richard Lacayo, Time CAUGHT • Introduction by James Wood “Caught manages the improbable feat of being both a harrowing war story of London during the Blitz and a sharply observed comedy about social class.” —Charles McGrath, The New York Times Book Review BACK • Introduction by Deborah Eisenberg The story Charley Summers, back from the war and a POW camp, having lost the woman he loved to illness before he left and his leg to ﬁghting. Back is at once a Shakespearean comedy of mistaken identities, a voyage into the world of madness, and a celebration of the improbable healing powers of love. Concluding, Henry Green’s ninth novel, is published by New Directions. Nothing and Doting will be published on October 17, 2017. The NYRB Classics editions of the novels of Henry Green, published in paperback at $14.00, are also available as e-books. NYRB Classics and New Directions Publishing invite you to a party to celebrate the release of Henry Green’s ﬁnal novels Nothing, Doting, and Concluding. Thursday, October 19th, 7pm Community Bookstore, 143 7th Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 40 them to the stage following the Alexandrov Red Army Ensemble—240 singers and dancers—and Igor Moiseyev’s State Folk Dance Ensemble. “We walked into the dimly lit, deserted Andreyev Hall, which is used by the Supreme Soviet for its meetings,” recalled Juri Jelagin, a violinist. “The hall was lined with rows of armchairs like a theater auditorium, or perhaps more like a university auditorium, because each chair was equipped with a small writing desk and a radio headset.” They reached a door, behind which was a stage. “The bright lights blinded us. We were in the ornate, white [St. George’s] Hall of the Kremlin. . . . The large tables were crowded with people, and a regular feast was in progress.” In front of the stage, at a distance from the other tables, was the Presidium table, the seats facing the hall, backs to the performers. When the jazz musicians appeared on the stage, Stalin and his entourage turned and applauded. “Stalin was wearing a khaki tunic without any ribbons or decorations. He smiled at us and nodded encouragement. In front of him stood a half-empty glass of brandy.” The jazzmen, with their female vocalist, Nina Donskaya, performed “Jewish Rhapsody,” by Svyatoslav Knushevitsky, perhaps Moscow’s top cellist. (He was married to Natalya Spiller, the Bolshoi soprano much admired by Stalin.) For whatever reason, according to Jelagin, Stalin paid no attention to Donskaya. “He turned away and began to eat.” T he mass murderer was able to differentiate, within his conventional tastes, a sublime performance from a merely good one. He loved opera, and selections were invariably included from the prerevolutionary repertoire (Rimsky-Korsakov, Glinka, Mussorgsky, Borodin, Tchaikovsky) and the better-known Western classics (Carmen, Faust, and Aida). But his greatest passion was for Russian, Ukrainian, and Georgian folk songs. After the jazz band had concluded its six approved numbers—among them Tchaikovsky’s “Sentimental Waltz” and Stalin’s sentimental favorite, “Suliko”—the Presidium table, according to Jelagin, “applauded long and vigorously.” Only now, after exiting and storing their instruments, were the musicians invited to dine—in a separate hall for performers, one ﬂoor below, at tables loaded with “caviar, hams, salads, ﬁsh, fresh vegetables [in winter], decanters of vodka, red and white wine, and ﬁne Armenian brandy. There were about four hundred of us, but the tables could seat at least a thousand.” Here, the Chekist servers wore their police uniforms. The musicians were addressed by the latest chairman of the committee on artistic affairs, Alexei Nazarov, who toasted Stalin as well as some of the most famous performers, such as the singer Ivan Kozlovsky. Kozlovsky, the virtuoso soloist at the Bolshoi, would receive the Order of Lenin in 1939. (The next year, Stalin would make him a USSR People’s Artist.) He possessed a transparent, even voice, with a beautiful and gentle timbre in the upper register; it was not particularly powerful yet ﬁlled the largest spaces. He hailed from a Ukrainian village and had a brother who had emigrated at the end of the civil war and wound up in the United States, which alone would have been enough to doom the tenor. Zealous Chekists went to Kozlovsky’s native village to dig up dirt, but when Poskryobyshev handed Stalin thick ﬁles of compromising material, the despot was said to have observed, “Fine, we’ll imprison comrade Kozlovsky—and who’ll sing, you?” Whether the story is apocryphal or not, the despot was said to keep track of the schedule for the Bolshoi and to terminate meetings in the Little Corner to catch an aria sung by Kozlovsky, Maxim Mikhailov (a bass) or Mark Reizen (also a bass), the lyrical tenor Sergei Lemeshev, the lyrical sopranos Spiller and Yelena Kruglikova, or the mezzo-soprano Vera Davydova. At the New Year’s gala, Kozlovsky, who acquired the reputation of being an unbearable person, sang “La donna è mobile,” from Rigoletto, at Stalin’s request. Two days later, Stalin informed USSR Procurator General Andrei Vyshinsky that he wanted a public trial of those arrested in the NKVD. “The enemies of the people who penetrated the organs of the NKVD,” the commission on the secret police internally reported to Stalin—as if the secret police rampage had somehow occurred without his directives— consciously distorted the punitive policy of Soviet power, conducting a mass of baseless arrests of people guilty of nothing, and at the same time protecting the activities of enemies of the people. . . . They urged that prisoners offer testimony about their supposed espionage activity for foreign intelligence, explaining that such invented testimony was necessary for the party and the government in order to discredit foreign states. The despot circulated the report to the inner circle: they needed to know how to interpret the terror, as the result of the inﬁltration of “spies in literally every [NKVD] department.” But for whatever reason, a public trial of the NKVD never took place. “I am very busy with work,” Stalin wrote on January 6, 1939, to Alexander Aﬁnogenov, a reprieved writer, who had sent in a copy of his latest play to read. “I beg forgiveness.” Lavrentiy Beria, the chief of the NKVD, issued a secret directive calling for NKVD branches to cease recruiting informants for surveillance of Party and factory bosses, and to destroy, in their presence, the ﬁles compiled against them. Provincial Party bosses were even invited to scrutinize the dossiers of all NKVD personnel in their domains. But Stalin had some second thoughts. “The Central Committee has learned,” he wrote in a telegram to all locales on January 10, 1939, “that the secretaries of provinces and territories, checking on the work of the local NKVD, have charged them with using physical means of interrogation against those arrested as if it were a crime.” He informed them that the “physical methods” had been approved by “the Central Committee” and agreed to by “the Communist parties of all the republics” (whose leaders had almost all been shot as foreign agents and wreckers). “It is known that all bourgeois intelligence services apply physical coercion with regard to representatives of the socialist proletariat, and in the ugliest forms,” he stressed. “One might ask why the socialist intelligence service must be more humane with regard to inveterate agents of the bourgeoisie.” The New York Review OR D ER off R 9 75% BE LIM D TIME OF R FE E IT BY N OV E M Learn the Secrets to Getting Published There are millions of aspiring authors in the world. 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Offer expires 11/09/17 THEGREATCOURSES.COM/9NYROB 1-800-832-2412 October 26, 2017 41 The Tragic Sense of Frank Bidart Helen Vendler Twenty years ago, Frank Bidart called his sixth book Desire. It is desire that drives his poetry, just as making desire believable on the page drives his imagination. Besides its erotic reach, “desire” signiﬁes for Bidart a yearning toward the absolute in any domain. To desire to create a perfect work of art; to ﬁnd provable truth; to speak with a candor “that gives a candid kind to everything” (Stevens) is—as any adult knows—to fail. And yet. It is that “and yet” that gives passion to Bidart’s voice, as he both succumbs to and resists desire. Hoping in love for a perfect entwining of body and mind, the young are violently disappointed by each broken relationship; longing for the sustenance of family affection, the young are astonished and hurt by its deﬁciencies; the artist-in-the-making aspires after an unattainable aesthetic cohesion of heart, eye, mind, and medium; and the devotee attempts a mystical knowledge of the divine, only to have the radiance wane. Bidart’s ﬁercely original poetry, now collected into one volume with several interviews, has found again and again an entry into the heartbreak, pathos, plangency, rage, and depression into which the longing for perfection will lead anyone who ﬁnds compromise intolerable. This is an old theme: Coleridge treated it in “Constancy to an Ideal Object”; Hopkins saw himself “with this tormented mind tormenting yet”; and Yeats, in “Among School Children,” bitterly addressed those unattainable ideal perfections of love, worship, or maternal aspiration, those Presences That passion, piety, or affection knows, And that all heavenly glory symbolize, [Those] self- born mockers of man’s enterprise. Bidart’s poems establish themselves on the paradox of the compulsion to return to the scene of desire, loathing its fundamental insufﬁciency as well as the self that returns to it. His intricate twists of syntax, coiling like a python about the tortured sensibility, act out the dilemmas and melodramas of the desiring self. Because above all he wants to register the sound of the human voice, he is driven to unusual representations of that voice on the page. For Bidart, anyone awaking to consciousness who ﬁnds himself incapable of obeying—or at least giving lip-service to—imposed conventions of behavior is forced into the labor of self-articulation through desire, experiencing painful torsions and painful results. The young and intellectual Bidart—raised a Catholic by uneducated parents, afraid to come out as gay until his parents died, and enthralled by art from his adolescence—had to invent a path of his own beyond the theologi42 Nancy Crampton Half- light: Collected Poems 1965–2016 by Frank Bidart. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 718 pp., $40.00 becomes forbidden longing, her longing advances to compulsion, compulsion provokes deception, deception permits sex, sex necessitates punishment, and punishment takes the form of metamorphosis, with the pregnant Myrrha transformed into a pine tree, secreting amber tears. In Ovid, the voice of Orpheus as he relates the story is distinct from the voice that ventriloquizes the doomed Myrrha. Although Orpheus admits Myrrha’s “confusion of mind” between apprehension and joy, he judges her (I quote from the Loeb translation) as impious and criminal: The unhappy girl felt no joy at all in her heart, and her heart prophetically mourned, yet she was still glad: such was her confusion of mind. . . . She left the room impregnated by her father, bearing impious seed in her fatal womb, carrying the guilt she had conceived. The next night the crime was repeated: nor did it ﬁnish there. Eventually, Cinyras, eager to discover his lover after so many couplings, fetching a light, saw his daughter and his guilt, and speechless from grief, he snatched his bright sword out of the sheath it hung in. Myrrha ran, escaping death by the gift of darkness and secret night.* Bidart, by contrast, does not judge: when Myrrha, ashamed of her desire for her father, tries to hang herself, the poet follows her mental distress with the understanding inherent in lyric projection: Frank Bidart, New York City, April 2017; photograph by Nancy Crampton cal and social constraints of his family. (It is only later in life that the frightened young person of either sex learns with some relief that others have been obliged to the same desperate courage: in “The Badgers,” Seamus Heaney asked, with comparable anxiety, “How perilous is it to choose/not to love the life we’re shown?”) If the alienated young artist is, like Joyce, a novelist, the populous social world becomes his broad canvas, and he may write Ulysses. When the artist is a lyric poet, the world by contrast might appear a restricted one, its boundaries set by the single self in colloquy with itself. Yet every signiﬁcant lyric poet has found a large cosmos in which to situate the self: for Herbert, the sacred; for Blake, the heterodox; for Wordsworth, “the noble living and the noble dead”; for Keats, the Hellenic world; for Shelley, the scientiﬁc universe; for Lowell, history; for Bishop, geography. Bidart’s cosmos is the society of those who have felt hunger and thirst for the absolute. His poems track the successive means through which he hoped to satisfy that hunger: religion, philosophy, art, passion. Eventually, he faced—and began to articulate in a contemporary American diction—the eventual impossibility of such satisfaction. As Bidart works out, decade by de- cade, ways to animate existential desire on the page, he writes in two genres. The ﬁrst is the lyric of deluded hope and ultimate sadness common in English verse (at least since Shakespeare’s sonnets) but ready to be articulated afresh in every historical revolution in style. His second form draws on biographical sources as it funnels life experience into the focused expressiveness of lyric, its motivation less to tell a tale than to share emotion over time between biographical subject and poet. The characters who appear in his poems can be modern, like the anorexic patient Ellen West described by her doctor Ludwig Binswanger; or mythological, like the incestuous daughter Myrrha of Metamorphoses 10; or perilously ambitious, like Nijinsky dancing his selfchoreographed World War One. For each such life, Bidart invents an improvisatory form. The verse-matrix can allow prose interpolations: as journal entries by Binswanger describe West’s illness and Nijinsky’s wife recounts the terror of living with her deranged husband, their sentences become a backdrop for the disintegrations they describe. In other such poems, the lyric adopts the voice of a single narrator who takes on a character’s anguish. Of these longer works, the most intense reenacts Myrrha’s incestuous desire for her father, Cinyras the king. Bidart hypnotically reproduces Myrrha’s recurrent rhythm of advance and retreat as her sexual awakening What she wants she does not want. The night she could no longer NOT tell herself her secret, she knew that there had never been a time she had not known it. . . . Grief for the unlived life, grief which, in middle age or old age, as goad or shroud, comes to all, early became Myrrha’s familiar, her narcotic chastisement, accomplice, master. The reader is expected to decode the implications of each “grief”: a witch’s “familiar” is her demon companion; a narcotic chastisement yields masochistic pleasure; an accomplice is an acknowledged fellow- criminal; a master creates a slave. Such juxtapositions of risky metaphors and such modern interpretations of behavior are among Bidart’s resources as a storyteller. At irregular intervals, the poem repeats Myrrha’s fatal approach—a *Ovid, Metamorphoses, Volume II: Books 9–15, translated by Frank Justus Miller, with revisions by G. P. Goold (Loeb Classical Library, 1984). The New York Review hesitation-step that gains no ground, but cannot be given up: four steps forward then one back, then three back, then four forward. . . . Sinuously the psychic tale goes on, backing up to the past, stealing on toward the future, as glimpses of plot alternate with the panic of sexual starvation. In the end, Myrrha is “not free not to desire” because, as she comes to perceive, the sinister force that draws her on is already inside her: I fulﬁll it, because I contain it— it prevails, because it is within me— Ellen West’s anorexia prevails because it is already within her; in her terriﬁed desire not to have a body, she abjures food until she attains death. Nijinsky, caught up in the horror of World War I, is unable not to choreograph it and, dancing, collapses, never to perform again. Bidart’s insistence on the mass of compulsions within (of which sexual desire is only one) repudiates any faith in reason and free will. Robert Lowell, with whom Bidart studied at Harvard, says of the heroic Colonel Shaw in “For the Union Dead” that he “rejoices in man’s lovely,/peculiar power to choose life and die”—but Bidart cannot so conﬁdently believe in that power of choice, since very few, male or female, are spared the biological sexual drive—universal, innate, and persistently recurrent. Nor is anyone spared the cultural appetites instilled from birth by familial and educational surroundings. H ow is the poet to voice the drivenness and pain of existential compulsions? To transmit on the page the voice of the poem—its drama, its emphases, its ungovernable sentiments— Bidart conspicuously alters the conventions of print: font, lineation, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, placement of the line on the page, and spaces between the ﬂuctuating phases of narrative (often single lines). Over the forty- one pages of Myrrha’s tale, the intermittent voice rises and falls, protests and yields, speaks parenthetically and epigrammatically, reminisces, hypothesizes, and deplores. As the volatile line sinks deeper and deeper into Myrrha’s fear—“four steps forward then/one back, then three / back, then four forward. . .”—her obsession, as long as the poet’s voice haunts the ear, becomes native to the reader’s mind. Bidart’s long poems reveal how narrative can be transformed into lyric, how the soliciting and tracking of emotions can sustain a tale within the unfolding of form and feeling. In one of the interviews included in this collection, Bidart mentions that as an adolescent he had dreamed of being a ﬁlmmaker, and the seductive way in which these long poems melt and regroup, using ﬂashbacks and side-plots, conﬁrms that it is not the conventional forward-moving narrative found in chronicles and most novels that attracts the poet, but rather the ﬂuid narrative of ﬁlm, allowing jump cuts and crosscuts, panoramas and close-ups, grisaille and technicolor, obscenities and vows. Bidart’s other poems—the taut short lyrics—will continue, rightly, to resonate in anthologies. One of these, “Half-light,” gives its title to this volume. In this touching short poem, Bidart remembers a stiﬂed shyness that arose between himself and a boy he mutely fell in love with in high school. Now, in the “half-light” of the recording page, he can imagine a late conversation in which, as old men, they could admit to that censored relation. The phrase “half-light” appears as well when the imagined ghost of a beloved friend courteously asks, says Bidart, if he can “brieﬂy//borrow, inhabit my body.” This dream- drama incarnates Bidart’s wistful resurrection of the dead: . . . grace is the dream, halfdream, halflight, when you appear. . . . Memory itself—half- dream, halflight—recalls, in retrospect, avatar after avatar of desire, each forebodingly resembling the unchanging original. Bidart’s last words to the reader deﬁne his aesthetic: “The aim, throughout, has been not chronology, but a kind of topography of the life we share—in chaos, an inevitable physiognomy.” Bidart’s early volumes investigate his own psychological history. The ﬁrst, Golden State (1973), sketching the poet’s childhood, youth, and adolescence in Bakersﬁeld, California, unspools the drama by which Bidart’s mother, through two marriages and two divorces, brings her only child closer and closer to her inner dreams and her worsening suffering. Her son, in his own drama, devotes himself to what he interprets (retrospectively) as his desire to outdo her husbands in his intimacy with her. The possessiveness intrinsic to eroticism seems dishonorable, its predictable recurrence shameful. Golden State also presents the ﬁrst of Bidart’s long portrait-poems, “Herbert White,” the soliloquy of a pedophile, rapist, and murderer—the extreme case, one could say, of the perversions of desire, yet uttered in a voice that is convincingly human, uneducated, cunning, and frustrated. It was a startling debut. G olden State was followed by The Book of the Body (1977), containing the harrowing “Ellen West” and “Elegy” (commemorating Bidart’s mother). He later tells us in a poem called “Writing ‘Ellen West’” that imagining this story of suicidal fasting served as an “exorcism” of his mother’s presence within him after her death. The title poem, “The Book of the Body,” reviews the sorrows of desire, desire inseparable from desolation. Who could not echo this thwarted lament: . . . All those who loved me whom I did not want; all those whom I loved who did not want me; all those whose love I reciprocated $%) , )%&" ()$% ! "!&$'&"$% , )*#! "($" &$&% , )$ '%$#&"!$ , )%%&"' $(% , ) +"%& ' %"!&!'"'% +%! ")%)&-%&& '%$&"+R][\NWZQ[M[ +ITT WZ^Q[Q\6-?\T[J[KZQX\QWVKWUY]W\QVOKWLMA* October 26, 2017 43 Elite Academia From The Inside but in a way somehow unlike what they wanted . . . Office Hours H. N. Hirsch Quid Pro Press A well-crafted, wistful memoir of life in higher education.—Kirkus Reviews TURBULENT TIMES America’s Moral Corrosion Masha Gessen —Blindness. Blankness. Bidart’s next book, The Sacriﬁce (1983), which includes the poem about Nijinsky, offers in the ironically titled “Confessional” an extended stylized dialogue between analyst and analysand, an exchange unlike any dialogue conceivable in a Catholic church. Here it is not sin but rather the poet’s chaotic love and hatred of his mother that is staged in an arresting poetic simulacrum of therapeutic exchange, with the analyst as a modern Socrates: Is she dead? By now Bidart has devised his own Yes, she is dead. Did you forgive her? Afghan Surge Redux Ahmed Rashid No, I didn’t forgive her. Did she forgive you? No, she didn’t forgive me. Barcelona’s Jihadists Nafees Hamid Germany: The Unspeakable Madeleine Schwartz and more at nybooks.com/daily BODLEIAN WINTER TITLES WRAPPING PAPER This high-quality wrapping paper shows brightly colored vintage clothbound books with winter titles from the Bodleian Library at Oxford University. Two 19½" x 27½" sheets of wrapping paper per packet. #05-ST263 $7.50 • As the analyst repeatedly puts the same question—“Why are you angry?”—an entire relationship passes before us, constantly circling back to the impossibility, or possibility, of forgiveness. As in the lyric life stories, the reader oscillates with the pendulum of emotion, back and forth, session after session, for almost thirty pages, as Bidart “confesses” his reactions to his mother’s madness, her deranged jealousy (she strangled his cat, if the story is to be read autobiographically), her hospitalization, her fury, and her sense of guilt, confessing as well his own “predatory” competitiveness with her husbands. The helpless and guilty relations between mother and child anatomized in “Confessional” recur in later volumes as helplessness and guilt in adult erotic life. Bidart’s next book, In the Western Night, contains, in caps, his barest formulation of desire and its consequences: WHAT YOU LOVE IS YOUR FATE . In his childhood adoration of movies, and in his love of parents and friends, he sums up his repetitive destiny of “bafﬂed infatuations” (with more capitals): then I saw the parade of my loves those PERFORMERS comics actors singers forgetful of my very self so often I desired to die to myself to live in them then my PARENTS my FRIENDS the drained SPECTRES once ﬁlled with my bafﬂed infatuations. . . . GANDHI QUOTE WRAP RING The future depends on what you do today. This sterling silver ring is hand forged and hand stamped by the maker with the words of Gandhi. Lightweight and comfortable, it ﬁts sizes 4–9. Handmade in the USA. #05-GANWR • $44.95 Prices above do not include shipping and handling. TO ORDER, go to www.shop.nybooks.com or call 646-215-2500 44 young Bidart pursues a vertiginous path through the history of philosophy. The poem arose from the depiction of a gathering of thinkers in Raphael’s fresco “The School of Athens.” The poet, more and more hopeful, more and more distressed, tries on the garments of Western thought (classical, Christian, and post- Christian) until he comes to a dead end, seeing philosophers as no more universal than poets. Like poets, each has an individual view of the world constructed by an individual style of thought and expression; each system is incommensurable with any other. The conclusion—voiced in “Confessional”—denies philosophy any particular access to the truth: “man needs a metaphysics;/he cannot have one.” His title In the Western Night echoes the poem “The First Hour of the Night” (included in the volume), in which the Subscribe to methods of rendering the double bind of desire and its consequences. One method is to stage a clash of dictions. The devastating poem “Queer,” for instance, opens in abstract colloquy, the self addressing the self, illustrating the price one will pay for remaining in the closet: “Lie to yourself about this and you will/forever lie about everything.” With signiﬁcant line breaks and an uneasy alteration of single lines with couplets, “Queer” spells out the danger of consenting to the covert familial hypocrisy: Everybody already knows everything so you can lie to them. That’s what they want. But lie to yourself, what you will lose is yourself. Then you turn into them. Yet that abstract colloquy is abruptly followed by colloquial Americanese: “For each gay kid whose adolescence// was America in the forties or ﬁfties/ the primary, the crucial//scenario// forever is coming out—/or not. Or not. Or not. Or not. Or not.” Then the poet, with yet another change in diction, is quoting his mother’s confusing remark to her child: “Sex shouldn’t be part of marriage.” A few pages later, the voice perverts itself into scatology, as each generation’s effort to maintain the ﬁction of former happiness devolves into Oedipal disgust: “They smeared shit all over//their inheritance because it was broken,/because they fell in love with it.” Sometimes the clashing dictions are satirical. Bidart parodies the science of sexology as it boasts of its ability to peer, beyond the insights of literature, into the secret life of the mind. The vividly inconsistent tones in the threatening voice of the experimental scientist bring dread: We have attached sensors to your most intimate body parts, so that we may measure what you think, not what you think you think. The image now on the screen will circumvent your superego and directly stimulate your vagina or dick or fail to. Writing has existed for centuries to tell us what you think you think. Liar, we are interested in what lies beneath that. This won’t hurt. Bidart’s poetry offers its multiverse of dictions without apology or censorship, composing ceaseless variations of conﬁdential tale and intimate colloquy. The symbols darken as Bidart ages: recalling that the American colonists of Plymouth had exhibited on a pole—for twenty years—the head of their vanquished enemy, the Indian chief Metacomet, Bidart applies that history as a brusque and brilliant summary of his parents’ mutual absorption and hatred: My father’s head hung outside my mother’s window for years when I was a kid. She pretended that it wasn’t there; but hers also did outside his. Are there drawbacks to Bidart’s earnest, bewildered, harsh, and tragic view? Yes, of course, just as there are limitations to O’Hara’s chattiness or Bishop’s discretion. Every idiolect is its own Procrustean bed. Bidart has renewed—for his own generation—the line of suicidal Romanticism that produced Shelley’s “The Triumph of Life” and Keats’s “Ode on Melancholy,” but his model is neither the dramatic narrative of Shelley nor Keats’s mythological personiﬁcations. Bidart has taken as his model the aria of a voice in extremis, always ﬁxed in a drama not of its own choosing, incorrigibly recasting its desire. It is no accident that Bidart has translated, or “imitated,” three times Catullus’s terse “Odi et amo,” “I hate and love,” which responds—with ever more contorted gestures—to the question, “Why would you live this way?” I hate and love. Ignorant ﬁsh, who even wants the ﬂy while writhing. I hate and—love. The sleepless body hammering a nail nails itself, hanging cruciﬁed. What I hate I love. Ask the cruciﬁed hand that holds the nail that now is driven into itself, why. Each translation illuminates a different analysis of compulsion, each one intensifying the self-torture (and, by contrast, suggesting the forbidden voluptuousness) of sex. Bidart’s Collected Poems could bear any—or all—of these three translations as an epigraph. The New York Review of Books® on the Web: www.nybooks.com The New York Review Dialogue With God Peter Brown Confessions by Augustine, translated from the Latin by Sarah Ruden. Modern Library, 484 pp., $28.00 of words spoken, as if on the edge of an abyss, to a God on the far side—to a being, to all appearances, vertiginously separate from ourselves. The measure of the success of In 2012, Sarah Ruden brought us, in Ruden’s translation is that she has a crackling translation, the secondmanaged to give as rich and as diverse Latin novel century-AD a proﬁle to the God on the known as The Golden Ass of far side as she does to the irApuleius. The Golden Ass is repressible and magnetically full of impudent incongruiarticulate Latin author who ties. A topsy-turvy tale about cries across the abyss to Him. a hapless young man turned Most translations of the Coninto a donkey is combined fessions fail to do this. We are with a love story (of Cupid usually left with the feeling and Psyche) as bright and dethat one character in the story lightful as the tapestries that has not fully come alive. We would illustrate it throughout meet an ever-so-human Authe late Middle Ages and the gustine, with whom it is easy Renaissance. Utterly unexto identify even when we most pectedly, the book ends with deplore him. But we meet him the vision of a goddess rising perched in front of an imfrom the swell of a moonlit mense Baroque canvas called sea.1 “God”—suitably grand, of Ruden now leads us to a course, suitably ﬂorid, but ﬂat yet more incongruous masas the wall. terpiece. A little over two How does Ruden remcenturies after The Golden edy this lack of life in God? Ass, we discover a person She takes God in hand. She who appears to be a highly renames Him. He is not a Latinate North African such “Lord.” That is too grand a as Apuleius had been—a word. Its sharpness has been product, indeed, of a school blunted by pious usage. Auestablished in Apuleius’s own gustine’s God was a domihometown, Madauros (modnus—a master. And a Roman ern M’Daourouch, in Algeria, dominus was a master of near the tense border with Tuslaves. Unlike “Lord,” the nisia)—only to learn that he Latin word dominus implied, was a middle-aged Christian in Augustine’s time, no disbishop, with his back turned tant majesty, mufﬂed in fur to us, speaking endlessly, urand velvet. It conjured up life gently to his God. in the raw—life lived face to We call this riveting diaface in a Roman household, logue with God the Confeslived to the sound of the crack sions of Saint Augustine. It of the whip and punctuated by was probably written in 397 bursts of rage. AD, a few years after AugusIn the house of Augustine had become a Christian tine’s parents, slaves were bishop in Hippo (modern Anwell thrashed for gossiping. naba, in Algeria: one of the Monnica herself confronted few good ports available west wives whose faces bore of Carthage, sheltered by a bruises from angry husbands, row of promontories that prowith the grim reminder that, trude into the Mediterranean after all, their marriage conlike a ﬂeet straining at anchor tracts had handed them over to take sail for Rome). to these men as so many The Confessions is as much “slaves.” One should add that a jumble of contrasts as is brilliant recent studies of the Apuleius’s dirty, courtly, and later Roman Empire by Kyle ecstatic tale. We try to anchor Harper and others have left us it by calling it the ﬁrst Chrisin no doubt that slavery was tian autobiography—even, in alive and well in Roman Afmore heady moods, the ﬁrst rica and elsewhere, adding a autobiography ever. But to bitter taste to the social life, to call it an autobiography is a the sexual morality, and to the Saint Augustine of Hippo; painting by El Greco, 1590 misleading half-truth. In the imaginations of Romans of ﬁrst nine books of the Conthe age of Augustine.2 In her introduction, Ruden writes: “This imfessions, Augustine does indeed deinto the shadowy, magical forest of the agery . . . may be harsh and off-putting, scribe his life from his birth in 354 to Hebrew Scriptures to meditate on what but a translator must govern her dishis conversion in Milan in 386, and the Moses had really meant when he dedeath of his mother, Monnica, at Ostia, scribed the six days of Creation. in late 387. Only these books, account2 Kyle Harper, Slavery in the Late Roman ing for slightly more than half of the AD 275–425 (Cambridge UniWorld, o what is the correct reaction when text, deal with Augustine’s past life. versity Press, 2011) and From Shame we open the Confessions? It should, After that—for a further 206 pages in to Sin: The Christian Transformation perhaps, be one of acute embarrassRuden’s translation—the great work of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity ment. For we have stumbled upon a ﬂoats triumphantly out to sea, ever fur(Harvard University Press, 2013); see human being at a primal moment— my review of the latter in these pages, 1 standing in prayer before God. Having The Golden Ass, translated by Sarah December 19, 2013, and Brent D. Shaw, intruded on Augustine at his prayers, Ruden (Yale University Press, 2012), “The Family in Late Antiquity: The Exwe are expected to ﬁnd ourselves reviewed in these pages by G.W. Bowperience of Augustine,” Past & Present, ersock, December 20, 2012. pulled into them, as we listen to a ﬂow Vol. 115, No. 1 (May 1987). Museo de Santa Cruz, Toledo/Bridgeman Images ther away from modern expectations of an autobiography. In books ten and eleven, we are treated to minute self- examination and to spells of philosophical heavy lifting on the nature of memory and time. In the last two books, Augustine plunges S October 26, 2017 taste and try to make her author’s thought and experience as vivid and sympathetic as it plainly was to his contemporaries.” To do otherwise would be “condescending, manipulative, and anachronistic.” To make God more of a person, by making Him a master, does not, at ﬁrst sight, make Him very nice. But at least it frees Him up. It also brings Augustine to life. In relation to God, Augustine experiences all the ups and downs of a household slave in relation to his master. He jumps to the whip. He tries out the life of a runaway. He attempts to argue back. Altogether, “Augustine’s humorously self- deprecating, submissive, but boldly hopeful portrait of himself in relation to God echoes the rogue slaves of the Roman stage.” (Indeed, the thought of the bishop of Hippo as having once been the slippery slave of God—like Zero Mostel as the plump and bouncy Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum—somehow lightens the impression of a seemingly inextricable roller coaster of sin and punishment that we usually derive from reading the ﬁrst part of the Confessions.) For God can change His mood. Like any other free person, He can show a different side. The Confessions is about the marvelous emergence of new sides of God as Augustine himself changes in his relation to God, over the years, from slave to repentant son to lover. Ruden may have to defend her retranslation of the name of God from “Lord” to “Master.” But her approach is a thoughtful one. It is governed by a determination to present Augustine’s relations with his God as endowed with the full emotional weight of a confrontation between two real persons. She takes no shortcuts. Small departures from conventional translations show her constant effort to capture an unexpected dimension of tenderness (very different from that of the slave owner) in God’s relation to Augustine and in Augustine’s to God. To take small examples: Ruden does not have Augustine “embrace” Jesus as if He were a proposition. He takes Him in his arms. When Augustine looks back at his ﬁrst mystical awakening, he cries: Sero te amavi: “Late have I loved you!” It is a famous cry. But it is a little grand. You and I would say: “I took too long to fall in love.” And this—the less dramatic but more human turn of phrase—is what Ruden opts for. Repeated small acts of attention to the humble, human roots of Augustine’s imagery of his relations to God enable Ruden to convey a living sense of the Being before Whom we ﬁnd him transﬁxed in prayer: “Silent, longsuffering and with so much mercy in your heart.” A reviewer may add some touches to this picture. After the rude shock of meeting God as a slave master, some attention might also have been given, in Ruden’s introduction, to Augustine’s images of the tenderness of God. I think particularly of the image of the doctor and the eye salve. In the ancient world, the doctor was not the icy 45 My swelling settled down under your unseen medicinal hand, and the . . . darkened eyesight of my mind, when the stinging salve of . . . sufferings was applied, was healing day by day. Ruden also might have explained even more fully the carefully constructed sense of vertigo induced by the direct encounter of two totally incommensurable beings—a storm-tossed human and an eternal God. She presents this supreme incongruity almost as an occasion for merriment. In describing Augustine’s intellectual ﬁreworks, she stresses the element of freeﬂoating, almost childlike intellectual play beneath the eyes of God. Here was a Being so different from us that even the most serious intellectual endeavor on our part was vaguely ludicrous. But Augustine also uses this sense of vertigo in a different way. He has a deadly gift for miniaturizing sin. There are no large sins in the Confessions. Those that he examines most closely are tiny sins. He spends a large part of book two (nine entire pages) examining his motives for robbing a pear tree. Modern readers chafe. “Rum thing,” wrote Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes to Harold Laski in 1921, “to see a man making a mountain out of robbing a pear tree in his teens.” But Holmes was wrong to be impatient. Only by winnowing every motive that played into that obscure act of small-town vandalism was Augustine able to isolate the very smallest, the most toxic concentrate of all—the chilling possibility that he had acted 46 gratuitously, simply to show that he (like God, and then like Adam) could do whatever he wished. The publishers were right to put on the jacket of this book, which contains a succession of sins, each reduced to chillingly minute proportions, the image of a half- eaten pear. The publishers would have found it much harder to illustrate the middleaged Augustine’s notion of sex. By the time the bishop approached his sexual temptations as he wrote book ten of the Confessions in 397, they had thinned out for him so as to seem next to transparent. He had abandoned sex for a decade. Sexual scenes appeared only in his dreams. But they were there. They still spoke of forces in him that were all the more enduring for being next to imperceptible. He speaks of these urges as a viscum—as a form of birdlime. We should note the terrible precision of this word. Birdlime is not only sticky. It is transparent. This barely visible substance would be placed at the end of a rod that would then be inserted among the boughs of a tree in such a way that the unsuspecting bird would hop without noticing from the living branch on to the adhesive surface. (In the fresco in a fourth- century bathhouse at Sidi Ghrib, nineteen miles southwest of Carthage, the owner of the villa is shown setting out for a bird hunt followed by a slave carrying a bundle of these deadly rods.) This barely perceptible, cloying glue— and not the hot pleasures of the bed, as we might expect—was what preoccupied the bishop. It might still brush against the wings of his soul, slowing, if only a little, his ascent to God. Altogether, in reading book ten of the Confessions, we ﬁnd Augustine looking at his sins as if through the diminishing end of a telescope. They are disturbing precisely because they are so very small but so very tenacious. Confronted by sensuality and violence, ancient moralists and Christian preachers had tended to deploy an “aversion therapy” based upon rhetorical exaggeration. They pulled out all the stops to denounce the shimmer of ornament, the drunken roar of the circus, the rippling bodies of dancers and wrestlers, the sight of beautiful women, and the languid seduction of perfumes. With Augustine, all this falls silent. The effect of the baleful glare of material beauty becomes no more than noting in himself a touch of sadness when he was deprived for too long of the African sun: “The queen of colors herself, this ordinary light, saturates everything we see . . . and sweet-talks me with the myriad ways she falls on things.” Even the noisiest, the most colossal place of all, and the place of greatest cruelty—the Roman amphitheater— seems to shrink drastically. Augustine knew only too well what a gladiatorial show was like. He described his friend Alypius in Rome “guzzl[ing] . . . cruelty” as he watched the gladiatorial games. But had the cruel urge to watch gone away? No. No longer does Augustine follow the venationes, the matador-like combats of skilled huntsmen armed with pikes and nets against lithe and savage beasts that had replaced gladiatorial shows all over Africa: [But] what about the frequent times when I’m sitting at home, and a lizard catching ﬂies, or a spi- der entwining in her net the ﬂies falling into it, engrosses me? Just because these are tiny animals doesn’t mean that the same predation isn’t going on within me, does it? For Augustine, this is no idle lapse of attention. It is a realization of continued urges that is as disturbing as the thin voice of a ghost in a lonely room: “You see, I am still here.” But despite the eerie hiss of sin, Augustine also remembers that he had tasted a little of the sweetness of God: And sometimes you allow me to enter into an emotion deep inside that’s most unusual, to the point Musée Thomas Henry, Cherbourg/Art Resource professional that he or she has become in the modern imagination. Unlike the surgeon, with his dreaded bag of knives, the doctor entered the house as a ﬁgure of magical, tender care. In a world with nothing like modern anesthesia, the doctor stood for the one principle of gentle change made available to bodies all too often held rigid on the rack of pain. His skilled words brought comfort, if only to the mind. His skilled hands played across the body, untying, where possible, the knots of pain. His drugs always carried with them reassuring traces of occult energies culled from herbs, which worked slowly and silently to bring the pain-wracked body back to its natural state. As for the eye salve: the bitter mixture known as collyrium was known to everyone. Eye diseases (glaucoma and conjunctivitis) were everywhere in the dusty landscapes of the Mediterranean. The dangers to the eye of infected water were exponentially increased in every Roman city by the splendor of their public baths. Even in the bracing atmosphere of Hadrian’s Wall, 12 percent of the Roman garrison of Vindolanda (near Housesteads Roman Fort in Northumberland) were out of action, with eye infections predominating. Hence the supreme skill with which Augustine uses medical terminology in books six and seven of the Confessions to describe the last, almost subliminal stages of his conversion. Here the crack of the whip is silent. Nor does truth dawn suddenly for him in the garish, broken-light manner of conventional conversion narratives. Instead, we enter the gentle half-light of a Roman sickroom, as God, the supremely tender doctor, tiptoes in to place his hand, at last, on Augustine’s heart: Fra Angelico: The Conversion of Saint Augustine (detail), circa 1430s of a mysterious sweetness, and if this is made whole in me, it will be something this life can’t ever be. And what is more, he remembered that he had once tasted this sweetness in company. The astonishing (and littlenoticed) fact about the much- debated vision of Ostia, which occurred on the eve of Monnica’s death in 387 and offered a view of “what the eternal life to come would be like,” was that Augustine had experienced it along with his mother: “We conversed together alone, very gently,” and the vision had come to them both. At the end of time, a vast company of humans and of angels would share forever the same vision that Monnica and Augustine had shared, if only for a ﬂeeting moment. And they would do it all together. That is the whole point of the last, triumphant book of the Confessions: for, up above the heavens, “they always see our face . . . and they lose themselves in love for it.” M eanwhile, there was a church to run. A body of hitherto unknown letters written by Augustine in his old age, discovered and published by the Austrian scholar Johannes Divjak in 1981, has been much discussed and used by scholars, but has yet to receive its due weight in our general image of Augustine. Pundits ourselves and the students of pundits, we like to think of our heroes and heroines in an elevated light. We expect the author of a Great Book such as the Confessions to remain in his study—lucubrating darkly, for good or ill, on weighty topics such as sex, subjectivity, and the self. It should come as a salutary surprise to learn, from Letter 10 of the Div- jak collection, that in 428 AD —thirty years after the writing of the Confessions, that is, and maybe only two years before his death—Augustine, now seventy-four, was deeply engaged in an attempt to block the slave trade out of the port of Hippo. Sent inland by slave traders, gangs of slavers had scoured the isolated hamlets in the mountains behind Hippo, shipping cargoes of terriﬁed peasants across the sea. They may have sold them to landowners in Italy and Gaul who were anxious to restock their estates after the disruption caused by the barbarian invasions earlier in the century. Augustine reported the affair to his old friend Alypius, who was in Rome once again—no longer to watch the games, but to search the libraries of the city for copies of imperial laws that might be used to put an end to this “evil of Africa.” The church of Hippo had already ransomed 130 of these captives. Well lawyered-up, the slave traders had responded by suing Augustine for theft of their property. Ever conscientious and on his guard to make a watertight case, Augustine noted for Alypius the testimony of those rescued by the church: Once when I was with some of those who had been freed from their wretched captivity by our church, I asked a young girl how she had come to be sold to the slave dealer. She said she had been taken from her parents’ home . . . she said that it was done in the presence of her parents and brothers. One of her brothers . . .was present [while Augustine spoke to the girl] and, because she was little [and may well have known no Latin: the hinterland of Hippo was still Punicspeaking], . . . he revealed to us how it had been done. He said that thugs like these break in at night. The more they are able to disguise themselves, the less likely the victims are to resist: since they think they are a barbarian band. But if there were not traders such as these [back on the docks of Hippo] things like this would not happen. For Augustine, service to the church had come to include such humanitarian work, among so many other things. But it also continued to mean the attempt to ﬁnd, somewhere in this world—in common prayer, in the collective singing of the Psalms, in the high drama of saints’ feasts, and in the gathering for the Eucharist—some place for the shared sweetness of God. A few years before his intervention in the slave trade at Hippo, Augustine concluded one of his sermons on the Gospel of John: I sense your feelings of yearning, of eagerness, being lifted up with me to what is above. . . . But now I will put away the copy of the Gospel. You are all going to depart as well, each to your own home. It has been good, sharing the Light together, good rejoicing in it, good exulting in it together; but when we depart from each other, let us not depart from Him. It is good to be reminded of such a man by a translation of his masterwork that does justice both to him and to his God. The New York Review A River Runs Through It Colin Thubron The Amur is the ninth-longest river in the world, but to Westerners it may be the least known and most remote. It evokes no ancient culture, as the Nile or the Indus does, nor does it occupy a nation’s heart, like the Mississippi. Instead it creates a little-known and potentially dangerous borderland. Rising in the uplands of Mongolia, it ﬂows for over 2,800 miles between the Siberian forests of Russia to the north and the mountains of Manchurian China to the south, before spilling at last into the Paciﬁc Ocean at the Okhotsk Sea. Its terrain is a frontier of empires. In the late seventeenth century Russian Cossacks, pushing east and south, came into contact here with the borders of the powerful Chinese Qing dynasty. A treaty signed in 1689 conﬁned the Cossacks north beyond the Amur basin, while also opening up Chinese trade to Russia, and the peace between the two countries held for nearly two centuries. Then in 1854 Nikolay Muraviev, the aggressive Russian governor of eastern Siberia, sailed down the river with a convoy of seventy-seven military rafts and barges, and began establishing settlements. By 1860 the enfeebled and preoccupied Qing had ceded all their territories up to the Amur’s left bank, an area that corresponds roughly to today’s Russian Priamurye and maritime provinces, reaching to the Korean border. Almost at once Chinese migrants were crossing the river northward. They were viewed by most Russians as a locust horde with no allegiance to their host country. There was growing talk of the yellow menace and fear of a sleeping giant, even as Chinese cheap labor helped build up the factories, roads, and ports that ensured Russian control. Then the Soviet Union closed off this diaspora with an iron curtain as rigid as that in Central Europe, all but erasing the Chinese presence from historical memory. But in the early 1990s, after the Soviet collapse, the Chinese migration renewed and gathered pace. Now Chinese traders, builders, entrepreneurs, and farmers have penetrated far beyond the riverside Russian towns, causing resentment and sometimes paranoia. There are fears of Chinese buying up real estate, unfounded rumors of increasing intermarriage and proliferating Chinatowns. Statistics are so erratic and unveriﬁable that estimates of Chinese migration veer between 300,000 and ﬁve million, complicated by seasonal movements, often illegal. Interaction between Russians and Chinese—products of profoundly different cultures—is conﬁned to little more than commerce, and the Russian media routinely treat the migrants as a faceless biomass. One study recorded that “the more frequent and intensive October 26, 2017 expected to explore this battleground, and to describe Chinese and Russian regional feeling. Ziegler is a respected commentator on Chinese politics and ﬁnance. He was the China correspondent for The Economist for six years and is now its Asia editor, and the persona in his written journey is a knowledgeable and sympathetic one. His book opens with promise. Ziegler seeks out the source of the Amur on a horseback trek into northeast Mongolia, and ﬁnds it among the forested hills surrounding the Onon River, the most distant of the Amur’s tributaries. a wobbly table by the roadside. The region is quarantined because of footand-mouth disease, she says, and its borders are indeﬁnitely closed. Such unpredictable chances are the curse of travel here. More formidable barriers shadow the Amur itself. On the Russian side hundreds of miles of barbed wire and watch towers are still in place beside “the conChina has huge territorial claims trol tracking strip,” whose raked earth against Russia and stimulates in will betray inﬁltrators. Only a few ferry every possible way the penetration crossings breach the frontier. Where of her citizens into Russian territhe borders are contiguous, there are tory. . . . The main goal of China’s no bridges. Ziegler crosses only once, on a day trip, and records China in less than two pages. The prohibited Russian river zone obstructs deep exploration, and Ziegler does not attempt it. Instead he veers into history, and his promised “journey down the Amur” comes to resemble instead a study of southeast Russia along the Trans-Siberian Railway. The Amur drains a basin almost as huge as Mexico, so numerous towns, regions, and topics can loosely be held relevant to the river. In a series of well-paced and well-researched narratives, Ziegler explores subjects as various as the decorative arts of the native peoples and the bizarre Jewish homeland proposed in 1928, whose idealistic settlers became the victims of Stalin’s paranoia. Ziegler’s visit to Irkutsk, the one-time “Paris of the East,” leads him to describe tsarist Russian expediFishermen on the Okhotsk Sea, at the mouth of the Amur River, which separates Russia and China tions in the Paciﬁc. Chapters on the sleepy provincial capital of entry into Russia, regardless of its His writing here is at once poetic and Chita evoke a detailed history of the forms and channels, is its integraprecise, and reveals a passion for the Buddhist Buryats, who still inhabit the tion into economic activities, acfauna and ﬂora of the region (he annoborderland of Russia and Mongolia, quisition of property and land, i.e. tates them lovingly), and for its pristine and who were the most sophisticated of the creation of economic and legal allure: the native peoples confronting Russia preconditions for the legal seizure in the eighteenth century. of territory. . . .2 Over the pass, fold upon fold of Then there are the Decembrists, exthick-forested mountains pushed iled to Chita and beyond in 1826 during Such alarms are mainly sounded by renorth, like standing waves. It was the reign of the implacable Tsar Nichogional authorities. More sober evaluaanother world, an unbroken riplas I. Mostly principled noblemen at tions number the Chinese migrants at ple of dark green: barely touched odds with tsarist autocracy, they staged somewhere between 500,000 and a milby man, indifferent—a profound an inept rebellion in St. Petersburg lion. Yet there are commentators who stillness. . . . and were scattered into Siberian exile. fear that in time the Amur River fronWe were dropping down toTheir legend accrued glory through the tier will become irrelevant, and that ward the Onon, which we did not numbers of women who voluntarily folall Asiatic Russia will be absorbed by glimpse until we were nearly upon lowed them into banishment, leaving China, the erosion stopping only at the it. To decree where any river betheir comfort and even children beUral Mountains. gins must necessarily involve a hind. In Russia the term “Decembrist ﬁction. Only the very rare stream wife” survives as an epithet for devoallows you to stand and point to tion, although the wives did not all reominic Ziegler’s Black Dragon the spot where it bubbles, fully main faithful. River: A Journey Down the Amur River formed, from the ground. . . . at the Borderlands of Empires might be The Onon began where two f there is an intermittent theme to streams, each no more than three or these blocks of history, it is Russia’s four horse-lengths across, emerged 1 See Ye. I. Plaksen, Integration of the recurring vision of a shining Paciﬁc from a blueberry patch. . . . Here Maritime Kray into the Economic future, of the Amur opening up the the streams slipped together withStructure of the Far Eastern Region Siberian hinterland eastward as triumout fuss, 6,700 feet above sea level, (Rossiya i ATR, 1993), quoted in Alphantly as the Americans were opening at the tip of a gravel promontory exander Lukin, The China Threat: up their West. Siberia, too, had its native that lay between them. I waded Perceptions, Myths and Reality, edited peoples—scattered groups of herders, across to the spit and here from by Herbert Yee and Ian Storey (Routﬁshermen, and hunters (who still surcupped hands I drank the pure ledgeCurzon, 2002), p. 97. vive)—and the myth persists that these water of the earth, at the heart of 2 See Viktor Dyatlov, “Chinese Mi“small peoples of the north” (as Soviet an empty continent. grants and Anti-Chinese Sentiments in ethnographers deﬁned them) welcomed Russian Society,” in Frontier Encounthe Russians as peaceful carriers of enSoon afterward Ziegler attempts ters: Knowledge and Practice at the lightenment. As Ziegler makes his way to cross the Mongolian frontier into Russian, Chinese and Mongolian Boreast, he visits dim-lit local museums China by jeep, then to turn north to der, edited by Franck Billé, Grégory displaying stuffed animals and rusty rejoin the Onon. But his way is barred Delaplace, and Caroline Humphrey (Open Book, 2012), pp. 82–83. weapons. The curators seem oblivious by a woman in a white mask sitting at the contacts of the local population with the Chinese, the less it is inclined to evaluate positively the immigrants’ character.”1 At worst, the migrants are seen as tools of a long-term plot, hatched in Beijing, to take over eastern Siberia. As early as 1994, inﬂuential Russian academics were asserting: Reza/Getty Images Black Dragon River: A Journey Down the Amur River at the Borderlands of Empires by Dominic Ziegler. Penguin, 357 pp., $27.95; $17.00 (paper) D I 47 to what their Cossack halberds and manacles suggest about the brutal Russian conquest. Ziegler writes: EDWARD GOREY GIFT WRAP The somersault, the handspring, the ball pedaled in orbit—all depend on a combination of nerve and verve, qualities possessed in abundance by illustrator and author Edward Gorey. His illustrations of children at play decorate this one 30" x 60" sheet of wrapping paper packaged on a cardboard tube. #05-GW039 • $9.95 For a couple of decades around the middle of the nineteenth century, the Amur River was at the heart of an extravagant delusion that gripped the people of a stagnant autocratic Russia. . . . Russians rediscovered a river that for centuries had hung forgotten on the eastern edge of their realm, ﬂowing through empty Chinese lands. They knew almost nothing of this river and its watershed—neither its physical aspects nor, really, who dwelled there. All the better: onto this river they ﬁrst projected dreams of mineral and agricultural wealth, and then dreams of national renewal. This river-road was to be Russians’ route to greatness. In the desolation of Russia’s presentday Paciﬁc provinces—where the population is declining as fast as China’s is expanding—the dream of the Amur’s future carries its own pathos. The vigor and optimism of the pioneers whose exploits Ziegler charts—the ruthless Yerofei Khabarov and MuravievAmursky, whose statues tower over Siberian cities in decay—are redolent of another age: an age when China seemed in terminal decline. T EDWARD GOREY HOLIDAY CARD ASSORTMENT Twenty 5" x 7" holiday cards with envelopes are packaged in a decorative box and printed on recycled paper, ﬁve each of four designs: The Great Veiled Bear, Fruitcake, Flaming Punch Bowl, and “Suppiluliumas dozes while the family ﬁnishes decorating the ﬁreplace.” Inside message: Season’s Greetings. #05-X929G • $15.95 GOREY BAT CUFFLINKS Sterling silver cufﬂinks offer a distinctive look with a whimsical Gorey drawing. #05-GBTCL • $105 EDWARD GOREY 1,000-PIECE JIGSAW PUZZLE Thoughtfully conceived and engagingly intricate, our 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle features the image “Untitled” (1965) by the incomparable Edward Gorey. Puzzle size: 29" x 20". Not suitable for children under 3 years old. #05-AA820 • $23.95 Edward St. John Gorey (American, 1925-2000) was an artist, writer, and book designer. His drawings and stories, set in a vaguely Edwardian time frame, exhibit a special genius for what is left unseen and unsaid. Crosshatched characters and quirky narratives keep Gorey devotees in gleeful anticipation of decorous mayhem. Prices above do not include shipping and handling. TO ORDER, go to www.shop.nybooks.com or call 646-215-2500 48 he expanding Russian power ﬁrst met the Chinese at a remote settlement on the Amur in 1651, when the freebooter Khabarov massacred the members of a Manchu garrison and seized their women. A quarter of a century was to elapse before resurgent Manchu forces, during the sixty-year reign of the Kangxi emperor, began tightening their hold on the river, and engulfed all but one of the tiny Cossack forts there. This last remote stronghold, named Albazino—a primitive rectangle of stockades and wooden towers—became the testing ground of two empires that barely knew each other. Following orders from the Chinese emperor, its six-hundred-strong garrison, which had reluctantly surrendered, was permitted to leave, unarmed. But within two months the Russians returned to the abandoned fort with 826 men and twelve cannons, and rebuilt it more strongly than before. Its ramparts were fronted by a deep ditch and pits concealing iron stakes. A gun turret swiveled cannonﬁre through a commanding arc, and the palisades were hung with baskets of resin to illumine night attacks. For a few months this solitary outpost staked Russia’s claim to the Amur River. Even now, reduced to an empty depression no larger than a football ﬁeld, it seems inaccessibly far from the Russian heartland, and almost unvisited. The returning Chinese encircled its ramparts with a triple earthwork, lined by light artillery, and sealed off the river with gunboats. For a full year they bombarded Albazino with shot and incendiary arrows, charged it from behind leather-covered assault engines, and rained down long-range ﬁre from a nearby hill. Meanwhile both garrison and besiegers were dying of scurvy. By the time the fort surrendered, the Cossacks were reduced to sixty-six wraith-like survivors. Soon afterward, in 1689, the Treaty of Nerchinsk conﬁrmed Russia’s expulsion from the Amur. But it was concluded with a scrupulous appearance of parity that—Ziegler claims controversially—set the tone for Sino-Russian relationships thereafter. The treaty was drawn up carefully in the language of neither nation, but in the Latin of two Jesuit priests at the Qing court. Yet the Chinese retinue at the negotiations included 15,000 armed men, whose clanking presence may have hurried on the outcome. In exchange for trade concessions the Cossacks were forced to retreat from the Amur to the crest of its northern watershed. More than a century and a half later, in 1854, the Russians returned under Muraviev-Amursky, to a waning Qing empire and a bloodless recovery of all they had once conceded. The Chinese have intermittently contested this reoccupation, and it was by a reversion to the Nerchinsk Treaty that Mao Zedong, as the Sino-Soviet relationship declined, laid claim to the lands lost by China. Ziegler, mindful of the thinning Russian presence there today, writes: Russia seized these lands at a time when Western imperial powers were carving up a stricken China among themselves—“like a melon,” as Chinese pointed out at the time. Russians have since had a century and a half to convince themselves that the lands were always rightfully theirs. est pier-glasses in the world, “each the height of a giraffe.” Ziegler recoils from contact, above all, with the Chinese. In all the book’s 334 pages, there is a single, ten-line exchange with one embittered Chinese trader. If Ziegler ever considered traveling on the river’s southern bank, he does not mention it. This, in an accomplished journalist with more Chinese than Russian experience, is a mystery. Nor is this omission explained by want of courage. In a prank that strikes a curious contrast to Ziegler’s usual prudence, he falls in with an ex-convict who lobs some money over a prison wall at Nerchinsk in exchange for a ﬁghting knife that comes sailing back. After they are both arrested, Ziegler escapes with a caution from an indulgent prison governor. But it is hard not to conclude that such enterprise might have been better put to more enlightening purpose: a probe along “the control tracking strip,” perhaps, or a journey along the Chinese shore, a border less closely monitored than the Russian one. For it is the Sino-Russian tension that haunts today’s river, and that cries out for the insights of experience on the ground. Travelers are few here, and human interaction on any but a commercial level seems exceptional. The Chinese are regularly featured in Russian television and newspapers, writes Viktor Dyatlov, director of the Research Centre on Inner Asia, but there are no “faces”: There is no interest in the individual person, his life or his destiny. Russia is concerned not so much with the Chinese as people, but merely in the problems they are seen to embody. . . . Today, the Chinese migrant has become a function, an abstraction. 3 Although Black Dragon River is framed as a travel book, these expansive histories are not balanced by Ziegler’s experience on the ground. He writes intermittently that “I now wanted to explore how Russians had pushed so far east” or how the Amur “shaped the empires that have come into contact with it.” But this is not the kind of knowledge that travel readily yields. A journey is colored by the history the traveler brings to it, while individual experience offers insight into present feelings and conditions. It is in this last, crucial respect that Black Dragon River falls short. This is the more to be regretted since Ziegler’s encounters, when they come, are sometimes graphic. There is the description—an account bursting with information—of his visit to a ﬁsh research institute, and of the Amur’s 120 species, including “the silver carp, the sharpbelly, the skygazer, the three-lips, the black Amur bream, and the northern snakehead, which survives in mud by drawing its breath from the air.” This ﬁnancial journalist may seem endearingly more interested in the fate of the kaluga sturgeon and the demoiselle cranes, which “walk with a Parisian bustle of dark tail feathers behind them,” than in the often calamitous doings of his own species. In Nerchinsk he comes upon the lavish and dilapidated mansion of the Butins, long-gone barons of the nearby silver mines, who transported from the 1878 Paris Exposition the biggest mirrors in the world. After hobnobbing with the caretaker, Ziegler is admitted down a passageway heaped with tilework from the abortive archaeological dig of a Mongolian palace, enters rooms still dripping with damask and ormolu, and ends up for the night in a canvas sleeping bag, under the larg- The Sino-Russian relationship now is trumpeted as being closer than ever. Ofﬁcially the border disputes are resolved. Yet in times of stress the old sores chafe again. Putin himself, near the start of his presidency, remarked: “Unless we make a serious effort, the Russians in the border regions will have to speak Chinese, Japanese, and Korean in a few decades.” But whatever that “serious effort” might entail for the symbiosis of the two nuclear powers, it must accommodate the thinning Siberian populace who fear that Moscow has abandoned them. A census in 2010 numbered the inhabitants of Russia’s Far East at a mere 6.3 million— one of the sparsest populations in the world—while the three abutting provinces across the river to the south are home to 110 million Chinese. Ziegler, confronting this question on his ﬁnal page, at last wonders: Some [Siberians] are already thinking through the consequences. If Russia can tear up agreements and treaties to grab Crimea, what kind of an example does that set for an increasingly assertive China that might one day awake to feel longings for its former lands beyond the Amur? 3 See “Chinese Migrants and AntiChinese Sentiments in Russian Society,” p. 82. The New York Review GALLERIESANDMUSEUMS A CURRENT LISTING Alexandre Gallery (212)755-2828; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.alexandregallery. com. Tom Uttech, Dibewagendamowin, 2017, oil on linen, 67 x 73 inches Tom Uttech: New Paintings On view through Saturday, November 25, 2017. Illustrated catalogue with text by Lucy Lippard available. Boris Lurie Art Foundation 599 11th Avenue, Floor 4, New York, NY 10036 Boris Lurie in Havana, a large-scale retrospective survey of Lurie’s work at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes La Habana, Cuba will be up through October and November. "That art was a perpetual revolution seemed to him a paltry idea in the face of Korea, Algeria, McCarthy and the struggle in the South. Out of this ever more penetrating nausea grew NO!art which was associated, in those days, with the idea of social protest and political indignation. Its target was not only art itself, but the society which could calmly conBORIS LURIE. “Yellow star of template it while crimes of unspeakable David over red ﬂag”, c. 1973. dimensions were being executed every Acrylic paint on synthetic cloth day." —Dore Ashton, "Merde, Alors!" in NO!art: Pin-Ups, Excrement, Protest, Jew-Art, 1988 Not Or, 1998, acrylic on paper, 4 1/4 x 9 1/4” Victoria Munroe Fine Art 67 East 80th Street #2, New York, NY 10075; www.victoriamunroeﬁneart.com; margo@victoriamunroeﬁneart.com; (917) 900-6661; Wednesday–Saturday 11-5 p.m. and by appointment. Opening November 1 through December 22, 2017 Victoria Munroe Fine Art presents intimate and large scale paintings by Pat Adams whose last show in New York City was in 2008 at Zabriskie Gallery where she exhibited for 5 decades. In her lyrical, abstract compositions Adams imagines transformations of matter. Grinding eggshell, mica and carborundum into oil paint, her sparkling medium evokes dust of the cosmos. Lazy Susan Gallery 191 Henry Street; (917) 650-7287; www. lazysusan.nyc; Gallery hours: Wednesday–Sunday, 12–6 p.m. & by appointment. Pasadena Leaves is a solo exhibition of new photographs by Tom Bovo, portraying autumnal leaves from Pasadena, California. "Untitled" (2017) by Tom Bovo. October 26, 2017 John Davis Gallery 362 ½ Warren Street, Hudson, NY 12534; (518) 828-5907; art@ johndavisgallery.com; www.johndavisgallery. com La Wilson, Constructions, 10.14–11.08 La Wilson, Landscapes, 2008, mixed media, 11 x "I try to steer clear of 18.5 x 2 inches objects that are too loaded with meaning; but then, when I think about it, everything I use is loaded—snakes, pencils, ﬁrecrackers, matches, hair pins. What I try to do is free myself from the conscious associations so that the unconscious ones can take over. I am much more interested in what I don't know than what I do know." Hugo Galerie 472 West Broadway, New York, NY 10012; (212) 226-2262; email@example.com; www.hugogalerie.com Marc Chalmé: Dans l’écho du réel Artist Reception: Saturday November 4, 2017, Marc Chalmé, L'eau et les rêves, 2017, oil on 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. canvas, 63" x 95" Exhibition: November 4 though November 26. Chalmé creates mysterious landscapes, still-lifes and ﬁgurative pieces. He has mastered his approach to these subjects. Perhaps one of the most impressive and notable aspects of his work is his handling of light, which is, at times, almost eerie; the light often seems to glow organically from within the painting and the viewer can nearly feel its warmth. The shadows and sense of depth are handled in such a way that the viewer is invited into the painting, into the room. This innate ability to understand the complexities of light and shadow, and render the subtleties with such talent, is exceptionally rare. Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian One Bowling Green, New York, NY 10004; AmericanIndian.si.edu; Free Admission. Through video proAnsel Adams, Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, jection, innovative silver print, 1941, printed circa 1965. Estimate $80,000 sound art, interactive to $120,000. digital media, performance, and installation, Transformer: Native Art in Light and Sound presents the work of ten artists who reﬂect on their place in and between traditional and dominant cultures, demonstrating the continuity of indigenous cultures and creativity in the digital age. Transformer presents works by Jordan Bennett (Mi'kmaq), Raven Chacon (Diné), Jon Corbett (Métis), Marcella Ernest (Ojibwe), Stephen Foster (Haida), Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit), Julie Nagam (Anishnawbe/Métis), Marianne Nicolson (Kwakwaka'wakw), Keli Mashburn (Osage), and Kevin McKenzie (Cree/Métis). Open Nov. 10, 2017, to Jan. 6, 2019. Swann Auction Galleries 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010; (212) 2544710; swanngalleries.com. Upcoming Auction: “Old Master Through Modern Prints,” November 2; Preview: October 28 to November 1. With stunning works by Heironymous Bosch, Paul Cadmus, Albrecht Edward Hopper, The Lonely House, etching, 1923. Estimate $150,000 to $200,000. Dürer, Edvard Munch and Rembrandt van Rijn, this auction offers rare and museum-quality prints from the ﬁfteenth to twentieth centuries. Gritty urban scenes by Edward Hopper are complemented by a suite of seasonal etchings by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. An important collection of works by Will Barnet provides whimsy and color. Andrei Kushnir Studio / American Painting Fine Art 5125 MacArthur Blvd., NW, Washington, DC 20016; (202) 244-3244; andreikushnir.com; classicamericanpainting.com. Wednesday through Saturday, 11 AM to 7 PM, and by appointment or chance. Andrei Kushnir, Late Snow, 14” x 20” Oil on October 7 through NoCanvas vember 11: BLUE RIDGE Paintings, New works by plein air painter Andrei Kushnir, featuring the Shenandoah Valley as viewed from the Skyline Drive, Virginia. A full color catalog with plates of all 20 works, poems by Michele Martin Taylor, and pricelist of all paintings, is available upon request. Our gallery is dedicated to the ﬁnest work in landscape, still life, genre, urban, and marine art by current traditional American painters, many with national reputations, including recent works by Andrei Kushnir (Landscape and Marine), Michele Martin Taylor (Post-Impressionist), David Baise (NYC Watercolors and Acrylics), Carol Spils (Archetypal), Michael Francis (Urban Landscape), and Ross Merrill (Eastern Shore, Western Landscape). Brighten your life with original, museum quality art. The Drawing Room 66 Newtown Lane, East Hampton, NY 11937; (631) 324-5016; www.d rawi ngroom - g al ler y.c om ; firstname.lastname@example.org. On view through November 26, The Drawing Room in East Hampton presents: selections from MARY ELLEN BARTLEY Reading Grey Gardens. A passionate bibliophile, Bartley is known for her penetrating photographs inspired by the formal properties of books and the context Mary Ellen Bartley, Red Cloth Cover (Reading Grey Gardens), 2017, archi- of particular collections. In this new val pigment print, 18 3/4 x 15 inches series, Bartley documents beautifully worn linen books with marvelous titles from the 20th c. library of the storied Beale family. On several iconic covers the typography has disappeared due to the salty ocean air. Bartley's photographs preserve these relics of 20th c. book design. Hours: Friday, Saturday & Sunday 11-5, and by appointment. Shepherd / W & K Galleries 58 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10075; (212) 861-4050; Fax: (212) 772-1314; s h e p h e rd ny@ a o l.c o m ; w w w. s h e p h e rd g a l l e r y. com. LYONEL FEININGER 1871 - 1956 October 26th through December 22nd. Thinking Big: Blue Mountain Gallery at Westbeth November 2-25, 2017 55 Bethune Street, New York City (Four blocks south of the Whitney Museum) Thinking Big addresses the impact of an artwork’s size in relation to its thematic concerns. For Gina Sawin, one of 41 artists represented, birds offer various ways to consider scale: against an inﬁnite sky, they are minGina Sawin, 'Migration" 44 x50 ute, yet powerful. In migration, they cover thousands of miles, marking the globe, while the individual is made more consequential through the strength of the group. Sawin’s ﬂock paintings depict micro-moments in the earth’s life cycles. Wednesday through Sunday 12 – 6p.m. PINK CLOUD II, 1928 WINDMILL, 1936 49 In Praise of Ambiguity David Bromwich Ambiguity has been an arresting feature of language ever since people learned to care about words for reasons unconnected with utility. An instruction manual on ﬁxing a wheel shouldn’t leave you uncertain whether a wood or a metal spoke is preferred. But diplomacy can allow for “strategic ambiguity,” well understood by all parties, where too much speciﬁcation would hamper an agreement. Ambiguity in literature is a more elusive thing—not a matter of tacit meanings suppressed to secure a particular end. An ambiguous moment in a poem may indicate a suspension between two states of mind, in a situation where someone conﬁned to either state could not know the reality of the other. It commonly turns on a hidden complexity that the reader is prompted to notice in a single word—for example, the word “honest” in Othello, as applied to the character of Iago. Or it may emerge from the cunning deployment of a genre like pastoral, which induces readers to reﬂect on themselves while looking at something apparently unlike themselves. None of this would have seemed implausible or unfamiliar to Johnson, Coleridge, or Hazlitt, the great critics of the eighteenth and the nineteenth century. Yet the widespread practice of “close reading” was only settled in the mid-twentieth century; and its original genius and greatest practitioner was William Empson. His ﬁrst three books, Seven Types of Ambiguity (1930), Some Versions of Pastoral (1935), and The Structure of Complex Words (1951), all deal with motives and doubts of a sort that don’t declare themselves on the face of a work. How recondite is this concern? Michael Wood in On Empson picks out a remarkable sentence from Seven Types to show the connection between ambiguity in action and in writing: People, often, cannot have done both of two things, but they must have been in some way prepared to have done either; whichever they did, they will have still lingering in their minds the way they would have preserved their self-respect if they had acted differently; they are only to be understood by bearing both possibilities in mind. The passage suggests a broader truth. Empson’s criticism is full of sympathy for human weakness and blindness, but this need not coincide with a high estimation of humanity. He thinks we are creatures who can’t fully know ourselves: there is a strong parallel here between Empson on ambiguity and Freud on the unconscious. Our reasons are never identical with our motives; the condition seems incurable. Still, we are right to want to understand its nature and manifestations. Empson had a consistent aim as an educator. “The main purpose of reading imaginative literature,” he wrote 50 New Directions On Empson by Michael Wood. Princeton University Press, 212 pp., $22.95 William Empson, circa late 1940s in the Festschrift for his teacher I. A. Richards, “is to grasp a wide variety of experience, imagining people with codes and customs very unlike our own.” He said it another way in a generalizing passage of his only work of full-length commentary, Milton’s God (1961): The central function of imaginative literature is to make you realize that other people act on moral convictions different from your own. . . . What is more, it has been thought from Aeschylus to Ibsen that a literary work may present a current moral problem, and to some extent alter the judgement of those who appreciate it by making them see the case as a whole. To make the reader see the case as a whole, the author must have seen all around the subject. So if a work celebrates a heroic action, the judgment of those who appreciate it must be made to recognize the cost to the hero and his cause—especially the part of the cost they fail to understand. The Iliad does this for the martial valor and vanity that protract the sufferings of the Trojan War; so does Paradise Lost when it instructs readers in the ambiguous gift of a freedom achieved through transgression of God’s law. Before he wrote his critical books, Empson had acquired a separate fame as an avant-garde poet—gaining admirers in later years from his appearance in a great many anthologies around midcentury—and though he stopped writing poems at thirty-four, his work in verse has an originality as pronounced as that of his criticism. Wood dedicates a chapter to interpreting poems in Empson’s early metaphysical manner; but even in his ﬁrst book of poems, one may notice a congruence with the ethical aims of his criticism. “Homage to the British Museum” addresses—from a perspective of anthropological tolerance—the multiplicity of religious beliefs. The approach is generous and serenely skeptical; the gods appear, in this setting, as human creations, not lined up to pick out a single truth, but struggling differently and wrongly to satisfy all-too-human cravings: There is a Supreme God in the ethnological section; A hollow toad shape, faced with a blank shield. He needs his belly to include the Pantheon, Which is inserted through a hole behind. At the navel, at the points formally stressed, at the organs of sense, Lice glue themselves, dolls, local deities, His smooth wood creeps with all the creeds of the world. Attending there let us absorb the cultures of nations And dissolve into our judgement all their codes. Then, being clogged with a natural hesitation (People are continually asking one the way out), Let us stand here and admit that we have no road. Being everything, let us admit that is to be something, Or give ourselves the beneﬁt of the doubt; Let us offer our pinch of dust all to this God, And grant his reign over the entire building. “The world is everything that is the case,” wrote Wittgenstein, in an aphorism that Empson admired and variously echoed. This poem says that the knowledge of “all their codes” imparted by science is all we can claim to understand about the world. The gods are vapors emitted by our daydreams of order and omnipotence. In that sense, a “Supreme God” is ethnologically interesting; satisfactory for those who believe, and harmless to those who don’t. Empson regards with a detachment bordering on contempt the part of human nature that would grant moral authority to a god; the poem, meanwhile, concedes the picturesqueness of theology, so long as it doesn’t get out of hand. But we are also being warned against the posture of superiority that an enlightened onlooker is apt to assume: “we have no road,” either, and our job as spectator-participants is simply to “attend”—as if religion were a theatrical performance or a medical operation. Accordingly we must offer “our pinch of dust,” the homage of our own unbelief, to this inadequate symbol of human aspiration that “creeps with all the creeds of the world.” Two of Empson’s later poems, “Sonnet” and “Manchouli,” are carriers of the same sentiment. A nyone’s experience of reading poetry as difﬁcult as Shakespeare’s or Milton’s or Hart Crane’s will show how intricate it can be to work out a basic sense of the words. An anxious shyness or frustration in the reader, or the academic wish for a “truth” that will satisfy the scientists, has sometimes led to the suggestion that this difﬁculty can be solved by referring to the author’s intention. Doesn’t the writer know best what his work really means? And can’t we ﬁnd out what he wanted us to know? A theoretical rebuke to any such solution came from the argument of the New Critics of the 1940s and 1950s against “the intentional fallacy”: the work had a life of its own, they said, not dependent on the author, and neither a writer’s own testimony nor any amount of circumstantial evidence could claim automatic authority or exhaust the possibilities of interpretation. Empson agreed about the difﬁculty and inexhaustibility of great writing, but he thought that commentators who omitted all talk of intention had gone too far. They were excluding on principle a kind of knowledge their own experience and affections could have supplied. Wood admires—from too careful a distance I think—the speculative freedom that Empson allowed himself in writing about the intentions of Shakespeare, George Herbert, and many other poets. The adventurous quality that sets him apart from other commentators seems hard to regret; if it The New York Review makes him rash or unconsciously funny (as Wood now and then suspects), so much the worse for seriousness. Thus, in his late essay on Hamlet, Empson supports and elaborates the theory that Shakespeare was working from an “urHamlet” with a stale revenge-plot he had somehow to breathe life into. Empson here takes his full swing: He thought: “The only way to shut this hole is to make it big. I shall make Hamlet walk up to the audience and tell them, again and again, ‘I don’t know why I’m delaying any more than you do; the motivation of this play is just as blank to me as it is to you; but I can’t help it.’ What is more, I shall make it impossible for them to blame him. And then they daren’t laugh.” There has never been a quicker insight into the conventional genre Shakespeare inherited and the tremendous change he wrought. In Empson’s reading of Hamlet, as always in his criticism, a generous view of the entire work is built up from particulars. Consider Horatio’s uneasy comment when, in the ﬁfth act, Hamlet reveals that he has procured the deaths of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: “So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to’t.” Empson remarks that “on this mild hint Hamlet becomes boisterously selfjustifying”—Hamlet says, in fact, that these deaths “are not near my conscience,” and Horatio comments further, “Why, what a King is this!” Now, exactly what work is that last line doing? In his reply to Horatio, Hamlet says: Does it not, think’st thee, stand me now upon— He that hath killed my king and whored my mother, Popped in between th’election and my hopes, Thrown out his angle for my proper life, And with such coz’nage!—is’t not perfect conscience To quit him with this arm? Empson writes: The repetition of “conscience,” I think, shows the gleaming eye of Shakespeare. Critics, so far as I have noticed, take Horatio’s remark to mean that Claudius is wicked to try to kill Hamlet, and this is perhaps what Hamlet thinks he meant; but I had always assumed, and still do, that he meant “what a King you have become.” Hamlet, in short, has become a king indeed and a nasty one, quite comparable to Claudius. Try this reading by the practical test—how would it play?—and Empson’s interpretation comes off markedly superior to the alternative; for Horatio’s tone here is subdued and ironic, whereas a reading that blamed Claudius would be redundantly reassuring to Hamlet—a piece of ﬂattery out of key with Horatio’s temperament. Near the end of the essay, Empson decides that “the eventual question is whether you can put up with . . . Hamlet, a person who frequently appears in the modern world”; and he concludes, “I would always sympathize with anyone who says . . . that he can’t put up October 26, 2017 with Hamlet at all. But I am afraid it is within hail of the more painful question whether you can put up with yourself and the race of man.” Some of Empson’s most inspired thinking went into his criticism of Shakespeare; and the essays on King Lear and Othello in The Structure of Complex Words show how thoroughly he favored reading over performance. But if the words are good enough, they want to be said in a certain way: The thing most needed in Shakespeare productions . . . is that the actors should believe in their words sufﬁciently to say them; ﬁrmly and rather coolly, with rhythm and not much “poetry,” not burying them under the “acting,” not shufﬂing them off in the course of a walk round the stage with an air of having to take a swim through butter before the play can proceed. And yet, some way in back of our reading we must discern an intention, a motive, a story under the story, or what an actor would call a subtext. In this sense, Empson’s criticism puts him forward as the most convincing imaginable interpreter of lines that the poet has supplied—whether the poetry is dramatic, epic, or lyric. If you are not saying it this way, he is telling his readers, you are getting the wrong feeling out of it, a weaker and thinner feeling, and somehow closer to cliché. An extraordinary episode in Emp- son’s long career would emerge from his claim of just such unconditional authority. In the late 1940s, when he was teaching in China, he published a review of Rosemond Tuve’s Elizabethan and Metaphysical Imagery, a book he reports parenthetically having read alongside two books on Shakespeare’s rhetoric—“comforting things to have in bed with one while the guns ﬁred over Peking.” Tuve argued that Empson had overrated the presence of ambiguity in Donne and other metaphysical poets; and in a later article, she supplied an orthodox reading of Herbert’s poem “The Sacriﬁce” to refute Empson’s idea that an image of Christ on the cross as a boy climbing a tree was a scandal for the Christian believer, a painful proof of the cruelty at the heart of the faith. The controversy went on for many years in public and private correspondence and reached a climax with Empson’s assertion: I claim to know not only the traditional background of Herbert’s poem (roughly but well enough) but also what was going on in Herbert’s mind while he wrote it, without his knowledge and against his intention; and if [Tuve] says that I cannot know such things, I answer that that is what critics do, and that she too ought to have “la clef de cette parade sauvage.” He was hardly more concessive in his disagreements with F. R. Leavis, Raymond Williams, C. S. Lewis, Frank Kermode, and Helen Gardner. His interest in the probable motives of a writer—the “story” to be discerned behind the most condensed and impersonal of poems—led Empson into a uniquely perceptive train of thought on the anti- Semitic lines in the published A VIVID, UNSETTLING MASTERPIECE, SET IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE THIRD REICH Hermann Karnau is a sound engineer obsessed with recording the human voice—the rantings of leaders, the roar of crowds, the rasp of throats constricted in fear—and indifferent to everything else. Employed by Ulli Lust the Nazis, he finds himself in the household of Joseph Based on a novel by Goebbels, where he meets Helga, the eldest daughter: Marcel Beyer bright, good-natured, and just beginning to suspect the Translated from the German horror that surrounds her. by John Brownjohn with Nika Knight The first fictional graphic novel by the award-winning cartoonist Ulli Lust, Voices in the Dark is the story of an unlikely friendship and of a childhood betrayed, a grim parable of naïveté and evil, and a tour de force of comics. VOICES IN THE DARK “Following her award-winning graphic novel memoir Today Is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life, Lust adapts The Karnau Tapes, Beyer’s dense, dark novel set during the collapse of the Third Reich. She is more than up to the task, transmuting the material with visual imagination and insight. . . . It’s a rare adaptation that, rather than simply transcribing the source material, transcends it.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review Available in bookstores, call (646) 215-2500, or visit www.nyrb.com “The illustration style and muted color palette (like an aged newspaper) achieve a haunting realism. . . . Stunning.” —Kirkus, starred review “Elizabeth Hardwick, long recognized as one of the great literary critics of the 20th century, is generously represented by this selection of her eloquent, erudite, chatty, and often very witty essays and reviews, with a warmly sympathetic and informative introduction by Darryl Pinckney.” —Joyce Carol Oates THE COLLECTED ESSAYS OF ELIZABETH HARDWICK Elizabeth Hardwick wrote during the golden age of the American literary essay. For Hardwick, the essay was an imaginative endeavor, a serious form, criticism worthy of the literature in question. In the essays collected here she covers civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s, describes places where she lived and locations she visited, and writes about the foundations of American literature—Melville, James, Wharton—and the changes in American ﬁction, though her reading is wide and international. She contemplates writers’ lives—women writers, rebels, Americans abroad—and the literary afterlife of biographies, letters, and diaries. The Collected Essays gathers more than ﬁfty essays for a retrospective of Hardwick’s work from 1953 to 2003. “For Hardwick,” writes Pinckney, “the poetry and novels of America hold the nation’s history.” Here is an exhilarating chronicle of that history. Selected and introduced by Darryl Pinckney “How crucial it is to have Hardwick’s Collected Essays now. For they are incorruptible. Their intelligence is prodigious, but never boastful. This major American writer dares, inspires, and cajoles us into reading and writing with renewed conviction and resistance to the meretricious.” —Catharine R. Stimpson Available in bookstores, call (646) 215-2500, or visit www.nyrb.com CELEBRATE ELIZABETH HARDWICK Tuesday, October 17th, 7pm Barnard College, Sulzberger Parlor, Barnard Hall 3009 Broadway (at 117th Street), 3rd Floor With Darryl Pinckney, Saskia Hamilton, Daphne Merkin, and Susan Minot Wednesday, October 18th, 7:30pm Brooklyn Public Library, Central Library, Dweck Center 10 Grand Army Plaza With Darryl Pinckney and Stephanie Danler Wednesday, November 1st, 7pm Presented by 192 Books Paula Cooper Gallery, 534 W 21st Street With Darryl Pinckney, Margo Jefferson, and Sigrid Nunez Sunday, November 19th, 11am 92nd Street Y, Weill Art Gallery 1295 Lexington Avenue With Darryl Pinckney 51 NEW FROM NOTTING HILL EDITIONS PILGRIMS OF THE AIR THE PASSING OF THE PASSENGER PIGEONS John Wilson Foster draft of The Waste Land. “The young Eliot,” says Empson, had a good deal of simple old St. Louis brashness; half the time, when the impressionable English were saying how wonderfully courageous and original he was to come out with some crashingly reactionary remark, he was just saying what any decent man would say back home in St. Louis—if he was well heeled and had a bit of culture. . . . [In The Waste Land] Eliot wanted to grouse about his father, and lambasted some imaginary Jews instead. This is a story of flocks of birds so vast they made the sky invisible. It is also a story of a collapse into extinction. Empson goes on to say that Eliot’s grandfather “went to St. Louis as a missionary preaching Unitarianism”; that “Unitarians describe themselves as Christians but deny that Jesus was God”; and so the inference becomes clear: In the fate of the North American passenger pigeon we can read much of the story of wild America—the astonishment that accompanied its discovery, the allure of its natural productions, the ruthless exploitation of its commodities, and the ultimate betrayal of its peculiar genius. And in the bird’s fate can be read the essential vulnerability of species and the unpredictable passage of life itself. A morality tale for our times, this is a compelling and deeply researched chronicle of the last years of the passenger pigeon. Now if you are hating a purseproud business man who denies that Jesus is God, into what stereotype does he best ﬁt? He is a Jew, of course; and yet this would be a terrible blasphemy against his family and its racial pride, so much so that I doubt whether Eliot ever allowed himself to realise what he was doing. But he knows, in the poem, that everything has gone wrong with the eerie world to which the son is condemned. On sale October 10th An innocent reader might talk of what “the author is telling me”; an aesthete, puriﬁed of the author’s intentions, would perhaps want to say “the poem knows”; and the difference in Empson’s way of putting it is instructive. The poet, he says, “knows, in the poem.” E BEAUTIFUL AND IMPOSSIBLE THINGS SELECTED ESSAYS OF OSCAR WILDE Introduction by Gyles Brandreth A Classic Collection volume On sale October 24th A selection of Oscar Wilde’s writings that provide a fresh perspective on his character and thinking. Compiled from his lecture tours, newspaper articles, essays and epigrams, these pieces show that beneath the trademark wit, Wilde was a deeply humane and visionary writer, as challenging today as he was in the late 1800s. This edition includes essays on interior design, prison reform, Shakespeare, the dramatic dialogue Decay of Lying and the seminal Soul of Man. Both books are $18.95 in clothbound hardcovers and they are also available in e-book editions. New York Review Books is the North American distributor of selected titles from Notting Hill Editions, a UK publisher devoted to the best in essay writing. Available in bookstores, call (646) 215-2500, or visit www.nyrb.com 52 mpson’s three separate intervals of teaching in the Far East occurred from necessity as well as choice. Near the end of an undergraduate career with distinction in mathematics and English, he had been thrown out of Cambridge when condoms (“love engines”) were discovered in his rooms. Conventional employment closer to home became as unlikely as it was undesired. At the same time, his nature was congenial to life at the frontiers, where he could witness close-up a “heartening fact” about cultures remote from the English, namely “their appalling stubbornness.” From 1931 to 1934 he held positions at Tokyo University of Literature and Science and Tokyo Imperial University; from 1937 to 1939 in the makeshift universities of China under siege; and after returning to England during the war years, from 1947 to 1952 at Peking National University. In London during the 1940s, he broadcast alongside his friend George Orwell for the BBC Overseas Service. “My second volume of verse The Gathering Storm,” he wrote in a letter, “means by the title just what Winston Churchill did when he stole it, the gradual sinister confusing approach to the Second World War.” And again in another letter: “I gave up writing for ten years because I really thought allied propaganda important.” When his colleagues and students in China had to adapt quickly to the military and political changes, Empson lent a hand where he could, and in a way that no one else could have done. As a witness of that period testiﬁed, what they chieﬂy required was books, and “Empson, without saying anything, typed out Shakespeare’s Othello from memory.” It was in these years, too, that he composed the study of the Buddha’s faces, the manuscript of which was recovered after his death and has recently been published.* It is a work of comparative ethnology that is altogether compatible, as Wood takes care to notice, with Empson’s concern that we see two sides of a question or a complex state of mind in a speaker. The complex state, in this account, often appears in the two sides of the face of the Buddha. “It will be agreed,” Empson wrote in a draft digest of his theory, “that a good deal of the startling and compelling quality of these faces comes from their combining things that seem incompatible, especially a complete repose with an active power to help the worshipper.” The strength of On Empson is to demonstrate by well- chosen quotations and commentary “the verve and provocation of Empson’s writing”; criticism and poetry are dealt with in separate sections, but Wood makes us aware that the mind at work is the same in both idioms; and his treatment of Empson’s essay “Honest in Othello” has a marvelous immediacy. Empson, says Wood, is writing here “about meanings that are very close to a word,” and Wood himself brings life to the strangest of imaginative conjectures, namely that a dubious word may “take the stage” and displace a character who has less reality than the stray and shifting words spoken by and about him. It has been supposed by scholars who set a high value on cleverness that Empson cherished ambiguity and complex words for their own sake. The truth is that the struggle with words, for him, had a psychological dimension that went beyond any intellectual satisfaction. “The poem,” he said once in an interview, “is a kind of clinical object, done to prevent [the poet] from going mad”; and he said the same, in other words, in two of his best known poems, “Missing Dates” and “Let It Go.” One can imagine him agreeing with the last sentences of R. G. Collingwood’s Principles of Art, which speak of art as an almost medical remedy against “the corruption of consciousness.” Empson’s own poems seek a resting place they know to be temporary, and they are written under immense pressure. “All losses haunt us,” he says in one poem: “It was a reprieve/Made Dostoevsky talk out queer and clear.” And his great poems all seem to be about loss. The most dryly intimate and commanding from start to ﬁnish are “Villanelle” and “Aubade”; but when Empson wrote about pain, “queer and clear,” it was often in an abstract idiom that held back almost every connective clue to personal experience. “The Teasers” seems to share the existentialist mood of the time, as Empson later admitted somewhat ruefully, and its central argument and motive are plain enough. Our acts are governed, as if from a place beyond us, by a pattern or fate we can only dimly *William Empson, The Face of the Buddha, edited by Rupert Arrowsmith (Oxford University Press, 2016). make out, and with which nonetheless we cannot fail to cooperate: Not but they die, the teasers and the dreams, Not but they die, and tell the careful ﬂood To give them what they clamour for and why. You could not fancy where they rip to blood You could not fancy nor that mud I have heard speak that will not cake or dry. Our claims to act appear so small to these Our claims to act colder lunacies That cheat the love, the moment, the small fact. Make no escape because they ﬂash and die, Make no escape build up your love, Leave what you die for and be safe to die. The ending is stoical: it is never “safe” to die, of course, and the ﬂatness of the irony there is chilling. When once you have separated yourself from every cause, however, and given up the idea of escape, you are alone with whatever love you have built up and there is a kind of reprieve in that solitude. It is as true as Sartre’s aphorism “we are left alone, without excuse”—and perhaps less tinged by melodrama. The tenor of the poem is desolate, but the feeling is of an achieved equilibrium: nothing more needs to be said. And it may have been this undertone of his poetry that commended it to the Movement poets of the 1950s: Thom Gunn, Kingsley Amis, D. J. Enright. Philip Larkin’s clinching line in a characteristic poem, “Nothing, like something, happens anywhere,” could be a repeated line in a villanelle by Empson. When I started reading him in 1968, Empson had written most of what he was going to write but had chosen to publish only four books of criticism and his Collected Poems. Thanks to the scholarly labors of his biographer John Haffenden, and the critical interest incited by Christopher Ricks, Paul Fry, Christopher Norris, and others, we now have fourteen books by my count—not including Haffenden’s edition of Selected Letters, Jim McCue’s chapbook of the brilliant undergraduate reviews he contributed to the Cambridge magazine Granta, and the ﬁnely made selection Coleridge’s Verse, edited by Empson and David Pirie, for which he wrote a major introductory essay. If you want to know what critical writing in English can be, these make a large proportion of the short list of books you will want to have; and Wood’s On Empson offers the most ﬂuent guidance imaginable to the genius and the ingenuity of the man. Candor in argument and a nervous susceptibility to shades of meaning are among the traits one encounters everywhere in his writing, but there is another quality he conveys without trying. One of the feelings you have when you read his criticism is elation. This is not a matter of a particular insight, observation, or epigram. It can last for pages. The New York Review Routine Horrors Helene Cooper When I was twelve years old, a new man-about-town arrived in Monrovia, the city of my birth. His name was Captain Stevens, he had a mysterious job in the United States military, and he had just been detailed to the American embassy in Mamba Point. He showed up at parties hosted by my aunt and uncle, sipped cognac, and charmed the Liberian ladies, who all whispered about the handsome African-American military ofﬁcer. What I would ﬁnd out two years later was that Captain Stevens was spending much of his time in Liberia meeting with disaffected men in the Liberian military who were plotting to overthrow the government. A century and a half of rule by the descendants of freed American slaves who had established themselves as the ruling elite while the rest of the country made do with scraps meant that Liberia was ripe for a coup, one that would be supported, at least in the beginning, by most of the population. President William R. Tolbert, the latest heir to the dynasty begun by the freed slaves who founded the country, had been cozying up to the Soviet Union, even approving the opening, in Monrovia, of a Soviet embassy. In 1980, during the height of the cold war, when African countries were seen by American ofﬁcials as being allies of either the US or Russia, it was anathema indeed to the American government for Liberia to even consider such a thing. And so it was that on the night of April 12, 1980, when twenty-eight enlisted soldiers in the Armed Forces of Liberia stormed the executive mansion, killed the presidential guards, and disemboweled Tolbert in his pajamas, there was not much outrage coming out of the American embassy. When Tolbert’s minister of foreign affairs, Cecil Dennis, arrived at the embassy a few hours later to ask for sanctuary, he was turned away. He later surrendered to Liberia’s new military government, which executed him—along with twelve other former government ofﬁcials—on the beach by ﬁring squad ten days later. And Liberia? The country plunged into eight years of mismanagement, brutality, and tit-for-tat ethnic killings under its new American-backed president, the former master sergeant Samuel K. Doe. The US kept Doe’s government aﬂoat with a ﬂood of American dollars, and when Doe ran out of those, he just ordered his printing presses to issue Liberian dollars. The Liberian currency, once pegged to the dollar, quickly became worthless. Doe soon turned on many of the men who helped him storm the executive mansion and executed them one by one, accusing them of trying to kill him. When one of his former friends snuck into the country from exile and tried to seize the government, the president had him hunted down October 26, 2017 Chris Jackson/Getty Images Another Fine Mess: America, Uganda, and the War on Terror by Helen C. Epstein. Columbia Global Reports, 262 pp., $14.99 (paper) President Yoweri Museveni, Entebbe, Uganda, November 2007 and executed; his body was paraded through the streets of Monrovia before being chopped into pieces and put on public display. Then Doe went on a manhunt, ﬁnding and killing as many members of his rival’s ethnic group as he could. Through it all, the United States continued to back Doe. The Reagan administration invited him to the White House. President Reagan mistakenly called him “Moe” instead of “Doe,” causing hilarity among journalists and Liberian expats. But the White House, the State Department, and Congress continued disbursing the checks that kept the Doe regime aﬂoat—right up until 1990, when Doe himself was executed by the warlord Prince Johnson at the start of a civil war that would last more than thirteen years and kill more than 200,000 people in Liberia and neighboring countries. Helen Epstein’s Another Fine Mess: America, Uganda, and the War on Terror makes no mention of Liberia—it is preoccupied by events three thousand miles away, in the Uganda of Yoweri Museveni, the strongman who has ruled there for more than thirty years. But Epstein’s absorbing book is a damning indictment of the American hypocrisy that has been on display across Africa since the Europeans packed up and left as colonialism collapsed after World War II. A public health consultant who has spent many years talking to and writing about many of the dissidents who have opposed strongman rule in East Africa, Epstein has compiled a catalog of almost every arrest, kidnapping, and execution engineered by Museveni and his goons—all while America looked the other way. She examines the billions of dollars that have poured into the country ostensibly to ﬁght AIDS and poverty but that have ended up ﬁnancing Museveni and his military, professed allies to a series of American administrations, from Reagan to Bush to Clinton to Bush Jr. to Obama. The East Africa presented by Epstein is a lawless place ruled by corrupt and criminal masterminds, going back to the British. “In Acholiland, Acting Commissioner J. R. P. Postlethwaite, nicknamed ‘chicken thief’ by the Acholi, publicly strung up a rebellious chief and lowered him headﬁrst into a pit latrine until he died,” Epstein recounts. In a British-backed operation against the Bavuma people, “such was the enormity of the slaughter,” wrote historian Michael Twaddle, “that, not only were sections of Lake Victoria ‘all blood,’ there were so many dead bodies bobbing up and down in the water that their heads resembled a multitude of upturned cooking pots.” And that was before Museveni even came to power. Early in his career, he served in rebellions that toppled ﬁrst Idi Amin and then Milton Obote. His National Resistance Army commit- ted wartime atrocities of its own in the ﬁght against Obote, but American government ofﬁcials paid attention instead to Obote’s slaughters, and there were many. By the time the war was over, America and the West had endorsed an account of Museveni as a peace-loving national hero of the people, Epstein writes. “A series of glowing tributes to Museveni” appeared in Western newspapers. “Polite Guerrillas End Fourteen years of Torture and Killing” read one headline; “The Pearl of Africa Shines Again” read another. According to his admirers, Museveni was Robin Hood, Che Guevara, and Field Marshal Montgomery all rolled into one. Museveni swept into ofﬁce hailed by the West as one of a new generation of African leaders who could be trusted with IMF loans that would secure economic relief for his country. Joseph Kony and his murderous Lord’s Resistance Army, which rose up in opposition to Museveni’s government, were the bad guys—the Obama administration would spend almost $800 million on a futile effort to capture the notorious Kony, deploying Special Operations forces, intelligence, and logistical assistance to Uganda and to the African Union soldiers ﬁghting the group. They were able to diminish his army, which now consists of around one hundred people, down from a former ﬁghting force of three thousand. But they never found Kony, and in May of this year a group of Ugandan and American military ofﬁcials ﬂew from Entebbe to the remote town of Obo, in the southeastern part of the Central African Republic, to participate in a ceremony organized by Uganda to mark the end of the mission to capture or kill him—in essence celebrating something that was never accomplished. F or a native African, it is both disheartening and infuriating to see one’s entire continent portrayed by the US government as a dumping ground for produce American farmers can’t sell disguised as food aid (the US Department of Agriculture); a classroom for junior diplomats-in-training to offer up their platitudes about democracy (the State Department); or the next front in the battle against radical Islam (the Pentagon). But really, as Africans, how can we expect better given what we’ve done to ourselves? In the years after the Europeans ﬁnally left, we revived all that was bad about the West, from racism to cronyism to privilege, while ostentatiously rejecting the worthier aspects of Western civilization, including support for democratic institutions and a more liberal approach to things like sexual preference and women’s rights. In many African countries it became accepted as pro-African to reject Western notions of equality for homosexuals. When, in 2009, Ugandan Parliamentarian David Bahati introduced his anti-homosexuality act, which would punish gays with the death penalty, there was hardly a word of criticism from elsewhere on the continent—other 53 “As if Chekhov had written Lolita . . . I would contend that in its own felicitous small-scale way, Other Men’s Daughters is to. . . the sixties what The Great Gatsby was to the twenties, The Grapes of Wrath to the thirties, and Rabbit Is Rich to the seventies: a microscope exactly focused on a deﬁnitive specimen of what was once the present American moment.” —Philip Roth, from the Introduction Dr. Robert Merriwether teaches at Harvard in the 1960s. One summer, while his wife and children are away on vacation, he begins an affair with a student, which is later aided and abetted by her father. The affair ultimately destroys Merriwether's family. In Other Men’s Daughters we ﬁnd a chronicle of the attitudes and mores of a bygone era, and a moving portrait of the destructive powers of love. “A novel so good it would have been one of the most valid contenders for the Great American Novel of the decade. It may have achieved in a sane, civilized, academic and romantic way what its showier contemporaries miss by a mile.” —Ann Rosenberg, The Philadelphia Inquirer “It is a pleasure to ﬁnd a novel written with such intelligence and feeling, a novel that judges none of its people but holds them up to calm and affectionate scrutiny. Other Men’s Daughters. . . is ‘relevant’— but its real subject is in the disruptions and exaltation of the human heart.” —Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World OTHER MEN’S DAUGHTERS Richard Stern Introduction by Philip Roth Afterword by Wendy Doniger Paperback and e-book • $15.95 CELEBRATE THE PUBLICATION OF OTHER MEN’S DAUGHTERS Thursday, November 16th, 7pm Seminary Co-op 5751 S Woodlawn Avenue Chicago, IL Alane Rollings, Wendy Doniger, and Richard Strier will be in conversation. Available in bookstores, call (646) 215-2500, or visit www.nyrb.com 54 countries were too busy rushing to pass their own anti-sodomy laws. And it became accepted as proAfrican to reject Western notions of free democratic processes. I can’t quite keep track of the number of times Museveni stood for elections and then pronounced himself the winner, or coerced judges into declaring him so, in spite of obvious improprieties. The United States and Museveni’s other Western backers looked the other way again and again when democracy activists in Uganda were beaten or disappeared completely, usually under mysterious circumstances. But it’s not as if other Africans stood up against the sham elections. Across the continent, Museveni’s fellow presidents were either too busy rigging their own elections or seeing to their own political survival, at whatever cost, to question election results and the court rulings supporting them that consistently seemed to ignore what actually happened at the polls. It became perfectly acceptable, in fact, for leaders to stay in ofﬁce for decades, treating their citizenry as if it were eager to see a despot embodying their national aspirations. Paul Biya, in Cameroon, has been president since 1982. Idriss Déby has ruled Chad since 1990. Robert Mugabe has headed Zimbabwe since 1987. While Epstein should be lauded for the time she spends in her book taking the Americans—and the British—to task for all that both countries have done to perpetuate the mess in Uganda, I wish she had done more to hold Africans to account for their own misdeeds. These are our countries, our presidents; at the end of the day it’s up to us to ﬁgure out how to ﬁx this. The days of blaming all of the continent’s many woes on the European colonizers should be at an end; we’ve done plenty ourselves. E pstein is a molecular biologist by training, but Another Fine Mess, while dense, is leavened somewhat by the presence of the Ugandan journalist Lawrence Kiwanuka Nsereko as her Ishmael. Epstein calls him by his ﬁrst name, sharing with the reader their familiarity, and his improbable life reveals the human consequences of the disasters she describes. At the time Another Fine Mess was written, Lawrence had been chased out of Uganda and was living in Poughkeepsie, New York. But before he boarded a ﬂight to JFK, he was, in Epstein’s words, a child soldier, a reporter, an editor, a democracy activist, and a political candidate. He’d seen his newspaper ofﬁces ransacked, his party headquarters torched, friends and colleagues killed. He’d been arrested and tortured and narrowly escaped assassination himself. All that occurred before he was forty. Through Lawrence, we join the Uganda Freedom Movement as part of the opposition against Obote, the president who preceded Museveni. We travel with Lawrence to northern Uganda, near the Sudanese border, where, at Kalongo Hospital, we meet a teenage girl whose ears and lower lip have been cut off. This particular mutilation, Lawrence knows, is preferred by Kony’s LRA. But we are puzzled, along with Lawrence, by two things the girl tells us: the men who attacked her were better dressed than Kony’s ragtag rebels, and they didn’t speak Acholi, the language of the LRA. Most likely, the men who attacked her belonged to Museveni. Lawrence rashly mentions what the girl has told him later that night to a group of journalists, one of whom would soon be appointed Museveni’s press secretary. “When Lawrence returned to the hospital the next day,” writes Epstein, “the girl was gone. The nurses said she’d been taken away for further treatment, but they didn’t know where. She remains on his conscience to this day.” We actually could use a bit more of Lawrence in Another Fine Mess. The ters, sixteen and eight, from a similar fate. I remember her recounting what had happened a few days later, after my family ﬂed from our isolated house to town, where my mom believed the safety of numbers might protect us. At my cousins’ house, where we took refuge, we ran into Captain Stevens again. It’s been more than thirty years but I can still remember that exchange. My mom, my grandmother, and my uncle, all on the front porch, talking to Captain Stevens. My sisters and cousins and I eavesdropped on them from the living room window. “The soldiers told me that if I didn’t go downstairs with them, they would rape my daughters,” my mom told Captain Stevens. “There were three of them. At ﬁrst, one soldier tried to stop the others, but he gave up soon. The last thing he said to me before he Magnum Photos AN ELEGANT AND UNNERVING NOVEL OF A FAMILY IN UPHEAVAL Sanniquellie, Liberia, 2006; photograph by Tim Hetherington passages about him are alive in a way the rest of the book is not. The recitations of Museveni’s evil and American complicity can occasionally become monotonous, reducing the effect of some of their horrors. The rape of local women by Congolese rebels so that the women would produce future child soldiers to ﬁght Tutsis—and Rwandabacked Tutsi rebels mutilating the same women by ramming them with guns to prevent them from ever conceiving again—are described almost offhandedly. I had to reread Epstein’s paragraph on that subject three times. But perhaps that is her intention—to convey the almost routine prevalence of the horrors these women experienced on a daily basis. The quote she uses to punctuate this story—“As one survivor told journalist Paul Ndiho, ‘I’ve been violated so many times I feel part of me is not my body’”—does not come close to capturing the magnitude of what these women endured. But who could do so? In the end, perhaps Epstein makes the right choice, to detail the never-ending violations inﬂicted upon innocents without delving too deeply. When the United States backed Samuel Doe in his coup against the ruling Liberian elite in 1980, it was also implicitly backing the nine years of reprisal killings and rapes that followed, which then led to another fourteen years of civil war. I remember my mom, who was raped by Doe’s soldiers as she fought to protect me, a thirteen-year-old, and my sis- raped me was, ‘You think the Americans are going to come and help you? Well, they back us.’” When she said that part, she looked straight at Captain Stevens. He looked back at her for a moment, and then he looked away. And yet we ran away to America. It was to the American embassy in Monrovia that my mom went every day to try to get us visas. It took almost a month but eventually she got tourist visas for us. It was a Pan Am plane that we got on, eventually ending up in Knoxville, Tennessee. Lawrence’s journey to Poughkeepsie is a little more mysterious than mine, in Epstein’s telling. After years in and out of jail, and with Museveni spies tracking his every move, he suddenly turned up on the doorstep of a Catholic priest in Nairobi, Kenya. Back in Uganda, his father was brutally beaten. Lawrence met with US embassy ofﬁcials who seemed only to care about who had leaked to him a letter his newspaper published that suggested that the US was involved in a plan to topple Mobutu Sese Seko, the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo and a nemesis of Museveni. Lawrence didn’t reveal his source and somehow, mysteriously, got a ticket to New York, where two men—we’re not told who—drove him to LaGuardia and sent him to Boston, and then Newburgh, New York, where he was met by someone who drove him to Poughkeepsie. He eventually ended up in his own place there, and teaches school. America to the rescue. The New York Review Corrective Afﬁnities Neal Ascherson Tumult by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, translated from the German by Mike Mitchell. Seagull, 320 pp., $27.50 New Selected Poems by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, translated from the German by David Constantine, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Michael Hamburger, and Esther Kinsky. Bloodaxe, 400 pp., $35.00 (paper) (distributed in the US by Dufour) mostly poetry but including essays, plays, and prose works. The Silences of Hammerstein (2009), a marvelous collage of history, recollection, and ﬁction, was his most recent success in English translation.* In 1965 Enzensberger cofounded and edited Kursbuch, for some years the most inﬂuential journal of ideas in the former West Germany, and he helped launch the always-absorbing book series Die Andere Bibliothek. Like Goethe, he has acquired languages with greed, translating from English, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, version of rules, an escape from dogmas (including the tyranny of hope), a journey of searches, disappointments, and painful displacements. He is emphatically not a guru who thinks he is Goethe. Reducing this endlessly lively and elusive man to a statue on a pedestal simply invites the pigeons to settle on his head and gag him with guano. Tumult is much more interesting than an autobiography. Its four deliberately chaotic main sections revisit periods in his past; they are based on old notebooks, diaries, scribbles, and letters that have been critically edited and Bob Peterson/Life Images Collection/Getty Images Mr Zed’s Reﬂections: or Breadcrumbs He Dropped, Gathered Up by His Listeners by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, translated from the German by Wieland Hoban. Seagull, 172 pp., $21.00 Writing with the Words of Others: Essays on the Poetry of Hans Magnus Enzensberger by Alan J. Clayton. Würzburg: Königshausen and Neumann, 271 pp. (2010) “Waiting for Goethe” has been a habit of tired German intellectuals over the generations. Will this ascendant sage or that once-young hell-raiser grown venerable turn out to be the giant of Weimar come again? As a waste of time, the habit is nearly but not quite harmless. It’s an excuse for not taking the trouble to read contemporary writers and thinkers closely. Is one of them the new Goethe or not? At this question, any book review editor should reach for the rejection slips. But even now, not all do. Both left and right can harbor this cargo cult in the back of their minds. I remember the late Günter Grass being heckled in Berlin as he tried to dampen the revolutionary ecstasy of students in 1968. They shouted him down: Grass, du Kröte, Halt dich nicht für Goethe! [Grass, you toad, Don’t imagine you’re Goethe!] He was furious, partly because being booed was a nasty new experience to him, but mostly because he, at least, never did think of himself in that way. Some readers—for a time—came to consider him “Germany’s conscience,” but nobody tried to canonize him as a supreme arbiter of European literature and ethics. Now, however, German literary journalists are trying to attach the G-word to the work, inﬂuence, and personality of somebody else: Hans Magnus Enzensberger. Skeptical, with a quite English knack for self- deprecation, Enzensberger would politely hand that laurel wreath back while trying not to laugh. All the same, although the two writers don’t ﬁt together into anything like a resemblance, there are a few similarities. Now in his mid- eighties, Enzensberger has survived to become the most revered living ﬁgure in German literature. His productivity in published work is stupendous: something like sixty books, October 26, 2017 Walter Höllerer, Susan Sontag, and Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Princeton University, April 1966 and Norwegian, to name a few, and his sovereign translations of his own work into English are sometimes better than their originals. His scholarly learning in literature, history, and politics is profound. And he is one of the vanishingly few imaginative writers—even in the twenty-ﬁrst century—who has bothered to make himself scientiﬁcally and mathematically literate. There, too, he shares a virtue with that polymath of Weimar. (I remember going to an exhibition in Weimar, in the time of the Communist “Democratic Republic,” that presented Goethe as a pioneering theoretician of sanitary engineering.) But there the comparisons should stop. Awe is absolutely the wrong mood for understanding this often playful, sometimes inconsistent, almost always ironic writer. Alan Clayton in Writing with the Words of Others (2010) quotes the Berlin critic Norbert Bolz: Nobody writes better. So it’s a wise idea not to attempt a “critique” of Hans Magnus Enzensberger, because that implies that one is measuring oneself against an incomparably successful author of matchless intelligence—and thereby making oneself ridiculous. It’s hard not to feel that one has already made oneself ridiculous with remarks like that. Enzensberger’s whole life has been an evasion of superlatives, a sub- *Reviewed in these pages by Adam Kirsch, June 10, 2010. written up into memoir form. At the end of each section comes a retrospective “postscript,” dated in the twentyﬁrst- century present, and a poem. The ﬁrst episode begins in 1963: “Notes on a First Encounter with Russia.” The reader meets Enzensberger as plainly a young, sharply observant man, but might not realize how well known he already was in West Germany. Tumult reveals almost nothing about his previous life, beyond stating that “for many years” he had been married to his Norwegian wife, Dagrun, and living on an island in the Oslo Fjord with their daughter, Tanaquil. Old enough to have witnessed World War II—he was ﬁfteen when Hitler’s Reich collapsed—he had been recognized as one of the most talented of the young postwar poets. Defense of the Wolves (1957), his ﬁrst collection, was an angrily left-wing and stylistically radical anthology whose ﬁrst edition included a ﬂyer deﬁning his poems as “grafﬁti, posters, leaﬂets, scratched into a wall, pasted onto a wall. . . .” But in spite of his views—he was not a Communist, and in reality his politics at this point were no more extreme than those of left-wingers in the Social Democratic Party—Enzensberger had become one of the acceptable angry faces of “young Germany” to those who managed cultural patronage in the Bonn republic. And the Soviet cultural authorities, still competing for inﬂuence in Germany, also hoped that this well-known poet with a Marxist outlook might be feasted and ﬂattered into becoming a “progressive bourgeois” sympathizer. He was invited to a congress on the “problems of the contemporary novel” in Leningrad. Most of the period’s conference celebrities were there: Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Nathalie Sarraute, and Angus Wilson among them; and on the Soviet side Alexander Tvardovsky, Mikhail Sholokhov, Konstantin Fedin, Ilya Ehrenburg, and the mutinous poet Yevgeni Yevtushenko. Enzensberger found the two escorts assigned to him much more entertaining than the delegates, apart from Ehrenburg, whom he remembered as the only one to say anything interesting. But the delegates got their money’s worth when a select group— including Enzensberger—was ﬂown down to Gagra on the Abkhazian coast to meet Nikita Khrushchev in his villa. Enzensberger rather liked Khrushchev, ﬁnding him (from his notes made at the time) “plain and simple,” “totally lacking in ‘charisma.’” I n the next section, dated 1966, something happens that was to derail his life and obsess him through all the years remembered in this book. Back in the Soviet Union, as an invited guest at a “Peace Congress” in Baku, he met the poet Margarita Aliger and her young daughter Maria Alexandrovna Makarova—“Masha.” He was in his late thirties, charming and brilliant, above all a Western foreigner of independent mind. Masha was twenty-three, an impulsive, ﬁery spirit with the strikingly blue-gray eyes of a Siberian wolf. (The shamanic eyes were inherited from her father, Alexander Fadeyev, Stalin’s handsome but infamous henchman in the Soviet Writers’ Union, to whom Aliger was brieﬂy attached during the war.) Enzensberger calls what followed “a tempestuous Russian novel” or “an amour fou.” Crazy passion ﬂung him and Masha together, and kept reuniting them after fulminating quarrels and separations. I knew them both in later years, Masha better than Hans Magnus, but had not understood until I read this frank and melancholy account quite how improbable a couple they were—he cool, tidy-minded, wary of reckless surrender to an ideology or another person; she demanding the loyalty of every particle of his heart and mind by day and night. Anything less was treachery. As he puts it, her jealousy was not erotic: We were often separated for months, but she never asked whether I’d been to bed with another woman. . . . But when I was with her, it was enough for me to go out to buy the paper, talk in German with a visitor from Germany, to need some peace and quiet in order to write—then she would behave as if I were stabbing her in the back. In some ways, he was closer to, more at ease with, her wise and patient mother, Margarita Aliger. He and Masha divorced their spouses and married in Moscow, but her arrival at his home in West Berlin was a 55 signs that things were about to fall apart in the Federal Republic. The long- established authoritarian state with its leftovers from the days of the kaiser and its persistent heritage from the dictatorship was no longer viable. The joyful, utopian ideas of these revolutionaries—the abolition of all hierarchy, the continuous self-management of all “workers by hand or brain,” the “demasking” of the authoritarianism concealed in liberal states—were to occupy Enzensberger’s life and work for a time. But on that fateful day—just ﬁfty years ago as I write—he was not there. Not being there on fateful days was a pattern. With typically disarming irony he suggests that it was more than accidental. He traveled constantly, compulsively: “I’d got into the habit of solving my problems with the help of geography.” He missed June 2; he was in Moscow. He missed the tremendous theatricals of the West Berlin “Vietnam Congress,” at which three thousand people gathered to oppose the war in February 1968; he was in Berkeley. Was this habit of absence derived from his discovery that he, a mild poet, also possessed the gift for rousing a rabble? In October 1966, he spoke to 25,000 people at a demonstration in Frankfurt with the slogan “Emergency for Democracy,” and recalls that “it was terrible, for, in the middle of my tirade, I realized I was capable [of] whipping up the crowd, that was already aroused, even more.” The echo of Joseph Goebbels haranguing the Nazi ranks in Berlin’s Sportpalast rose to his memory: I was well on the way to becoming a demagogue. It was a nauseating feeling. . . . I ﬁnished the speech as best I could and swore never to speak on a platform again. T he next main section of the book, “Memories of a Tumult (1967–1970),” covers the years of Enzensberger’s “revolutionary” commitment. His surviving notes for the period—the later 1960s—are fragmentary: he cannot now recognize the man who wrote them, so he constructs a dialogue between a younger self and an incredulous old Hans Magnus: “Can you explain to me what you were up to back then? No. I’ve forgotten most of it and didn’t understand the most important bits.” It would not be wise to treat this central part of Tumult as a history of “the 56 Sixties.” It’s more a reﬂection on what the Spanish melodiously call sesentayochoismo: ﬁxation on the experiences of the year 1968—his own and that of others. The account darts about in time and place, confusingly but in tune with the deafening cataract of happenings that swamped linear memory. At one moment Enzensberger compares it all to “Brownian molecular motion”: Just as every particle suspended in a heated gas is subject to random, uncontrollable ﬂuctuations, exactly the same is true of the political, erotic, climatic and, damn it all, moral turbulence we are dealing with here. His version of his own part in those events is modest to the point of distortion: “During the years of tumult, I was occasionally seen as playing an active role in which I was genuinely never interested.” But speaking as a witness and sometime participant, I remember Enzensberger as a central ﬁgure in the German upheavals of 1967–1968, not a revolutionary ideologist guiding day-to- day struggles like Rudi Dutschke (whom he calls “the only political leader the opposition to the system produced”) but a sort of supreme counselor, an intellectual respected by everybody whose heart was assumed to be ﬁrmly on the side of the marchers, demonstrators, and pamphleteers. Everyone read his Kursbuch and discussed its articles in university canteens, in bars with dirty ﬂoors, or in dim, crowded apartments. He writes: I was 38 when all that stuff started, much too old for the so- called student movement. . . . What I did like, however, was the disruption of the traditional social order in Germany. That was long overdue and difﬁcult to stop. Antiauthoritarian—that was the catchword. It didn’t bother me that I myself was in danger of becoming a kind of authority, even if against my wishes and only a mini-authority. But he was trusted to a staggering degree. Leading ﬁgures of the “movement,” from Dutschke to Christian Semler, Bernd Rabehl, and Horst Mahler, used his study as a meeting place. The anarchist Communards squatted in his house while he was away. In May 1970, after a gunﬁght to liberate Andreas Baader from jail, he, Ulrike Meinhof, and Gudrun Ensslin ﬂed straight to Enzensberger’s house to take refuge and draw breath. Later, when the Baader-Meinhof Group, by then renamed the Red Army Faction, was ﬁghting its murderous underground war against the state, Enzensberger was taken to their secret hiding place in Hamburg and invited to help “[bring] down the ‘system’ by violence.” He did not accept, but he did not betray them either. To say, as he does here, ﬁfty years on, that “I was the poor comrade who never became a full member” is misleading. Enzensberger shared—indeed, helped to develop—the neo-Marxist analysis of “late capitalism” and state power that inspired rebellions all over Europe. But fanatical Maoism, much in fashion then, disgusted him. And political violence was never his way, neither Meinhof’s invitation to take up the gun nor Dutschke’s complicated license for “symbolic counter-violence against objects.” Most Germans would agree with him that the unintended outcome of the 1968 “revolution” in West Germany was to reform, liberalize, and thus perpetuate the “system” instead of destroying it: “To my surprise—very gradually, almost behind our backs—our desolate country was becoming more and more a land that was ﬁt to live in.” E nzensberger had almost stopped writing poetry in those years. In a 1968 Kursbuch, he attacked the very idea of literary art, “for which no essential derdevelopment into art than to abolish it. Masha, on the other hand, was revived by Cuba. A decaying tyranny full of censor- dodging intellectuals with ample time for talking and partying: this was her natural Russian milieu in which she felt at ease. Enzensberger writes, “We’d never got on so well together.” But the regime’s support for the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, Castro’s disastrous “revolutionary offensive” against all small private enterprises, and ﬁnally the brutal persecution of their close friend the poet Heberto Padilla ﬁnally convinced them that it was time to leave. Hans Magnus returned to Berlin, Masha to a new life in London and then Cambridge. Now he settled back to writing, interrupted only by his constant travel around the world to lecture, debate, and receive awards for literature. The extraordinary Mausoleum came out in 1975: a collection of “biographical ballads” about historical ﬁgures—often obscure to an average reader—who had appealed to his imagination. “B. de S.,” for example, turns out to be Bernardino de Sahagún, the monk who tried to rescue Aztec culture from destruction; “E. J. M.” is the nineteenth-century French physiologist Etienne-Jules Marey, pioneer of the photography of motion. Titanic was reconstructed in these years, and a ﬂow of verse collections resumed, running from The Fury of Disappearance (1980) to Lighter Than Air (2000) and A History of Clouds (2003). His latest prose includes Mr Zed’s Reﬂections—a little album of almost three hundred sardonic debunkings of received ideas, pronounced by a fat man who sits in a public park and addresses a small crowd of fascinated but often resentful listeners. ullstein bild/Getty Images disaster. Everything German offended her, and after only three days she threw a Strindbergian row and walked out. She had reached Berlin in June 1967. A few days before that, on June 2, a West Berlin policeman had shot and killed the student Benno Ohnesorg, who had been demonstrating against the visit of the Shah of Iran. That night, rioting and car-burning spread across the city center, effectively touching off the huge revolt by the “extraparliamentary opposition”—uniting students, left-leaning intellectuals, radical Christians, industrial apprentices, and Germany’s embryonic hippie communities—that would shake the Bonn republic to its foundations. Enzensberger had sensed the storm coming. A few years before, he had noticed Hans Magnus Enzensberger, 1994 social function can be indicated in our context.” Literature had failed to wrest the means of production from the bourgeoisie: instead, he proposed to quit the “ghetto of cultural life” and undertake the “political alphabetization” of Germany. But this ultra-left severity was not to last. In the same year, he and Masha moved to Cuba, where they spent the next two years. That sojourn changed him in many ways, one of which was to return him to poetry. It was in Havana that he wrote the ﬁrst version of his masterpiece, the long, wayward, and often overwhelmingly powerful The Sinking of the Titanic, parts of which are included in the New Selected Poems. (The ﬁrst draft—the only copy, as there was no carbon paper in Havana—was lost in the mail somewhere between the Caribbean and Berlin; he wrote it all over again when he returned to Europe, and it was ﬁnally published in Germany in 1978.) Enzensberger never discovered why he had been invited to Cuba. No job ever materialized; he led a vivid life with other expats and rebellious Cuban intellectuals, joined a brigade digging a new coffee plantation, and cut sugar cane, besides beginning once more to write verse. He became increasingly disillusioned, not only with the Castro regime but with all utopian promises: “In Havana I’d eventually started to feel like a left- over from a distant future.” There are brilliant, mordant sketches here of Cuban people and scenes. Most memorable, perhaps, is his visit to the surreal “human-being factory” in Havana, where teams of men and women were building educational body models out of papier-mâché and gaudy paints: To me it seemed like a malicious parody of the socialist concept of the New Man. Moreover, it shows that it’s easier to transform un- Alan Clayton’s book proposes to show how Enzensberger writes “extraordinarily original poems by systematically incorporating the words of others into his texts.” Attributing to him the use of literary devices that include chiasmus, parataxis, Entstellung, and hypallage (terms assumed to be familiar to the cowering reader), Clayton goes on to assert that with Mausoleum Enzensberger “establishes himself as a highly accomplished literary thief.” No offense intended. Clayton is a passionate if not uncritical admirer. And it’s entirely true that some of Enzensberger’s verse is inspired collage, beautiful jackdaw nests built out of sparkling or resonant or darkly absurd fragments that have caught his fancy. Clayton refers to “the poet’s massive documentary research” and his “uninhibited use of a vast amount of borrowed material that he either cites verbatim, disguises, or alters to suit his purposes.” Titanic often relies, with piercing effect, on contemporary texts, ﬁlms, news bulletins, and popular songs. Its main source for details of the disaster and for anecdotes is Walter Lord’s famous old best-seller A Night to Remember (1955). In the Nineteenth Canto of the poem, a recitation of “news wires of April 15, 1912,” slides into pastichepoetry of ofﬁcial jargon: The New York Review The transition from peacetime to a state of war must be facilitated. Comparative statistical tables have been published in order to clarify how the increased effective force of the army will affect conscripts of different age groups. Just after that comes Enzensberger’s free version of a ribald black street song, recorded in Philadelphia: “The eighth of May was one hell of a day/ when the Titanic was sinking away. . . .” And everywhere, his delight in allusion recurs: Man’s struggle against man, according to reliable sources close to the Home Ofﬁce, will be nationalised in due course, down to the last bloodstain. Kind regards from Thomas Hobbes. Enzensberger himself once said in an interview: It’s just a superstition that writers have to compose their texts themselves. I really do think that’s a bourgeois superstition. It’s based on a notion of originality which I ﬁnd especially questionable. That was in 1971, but I hope he would still stand by those words today. It’s a method that, in his case, has allowed him to unload the phenomenal wealth of his reading and scholarship directly and successfully into his verse. Enzensberger is not the ﬁrst to do this, of course: Hugh MacDiarmid was one of several great ﬁgures of Modernist po- etry who kidnapped sonorous scientiﬁc texts for their echo as well as for their meaning (geology and petrology, in his case). Writing with the Words of Others is, for the most part, a helpful and intelligent book, exploring Enzensberger’s sometimes recondite allusions and subtle techniques. But Clayton has his limits, political rather than aesthetic. He is puzzled and pained by his subject’s engagement with Marxist theory and practice, although it’s impossible fully to appreciate the spellbinding Blindenschrift poems (1964) without a sense of the illuminating power of the ideology in that time and place. A patronizing comment rejoices that “the Marxist terminology thankfully disappeared and even the word socialism eventually gave way to democracy . . . a blessing for the reader.” Enzensberger, for all his smiling imperturbability, might well be irritated by that. His life has shown that to change one intellectual position for another can be a change of chapters in a story, not a blunder requiring apologies and remorse. It’s with dignity, and with some respect for those he leaves behind, that Hans Magnus Enzensberger has turned away from Utopia. In the future, he may well be best remembered for what he wrote in Tumult about the Garden of Eden: The apple was the greatest pleasure the Garden had to offer. . . . Without the forbidden fruit, the place would have been a prison. One requirement of a paradise is that you can leave it when you’ve had enough. She Shampooed & Renewed Us Mark Ford David Gahr/Getty Images Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell by David Yaffe. Sarah Crichton Books/ Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 420 pp., $28.00 In an interview with Gene Shay for the “Folklore Program” broadcast on March 12, 1967, Joni Mitchell revealed the improbable origins of one of her best-known and most frequently covered songs: I was reading a book, and I haven’t ﬁnished it yet, called Henderson the Rain King. And there’s a line in it that I especially got hung up on that was about when he was ﬂying to Africa and searching for something, he said that in an age when people could look up and down at clouds, they shouldn’t be afraid to die. And so I got this idea “from both sides now.” In the event, Joni would never ﬁnish Saul Bellow’s Henderson the Rain King, a novel she had been instructed to read by her soon-to-be- ex ﬁrst husband, Chuck Mitchell, a college graduate who, it seems, had only derision for his wife’s ditty; but virtually everyone else who heard the song was rapidly conquered by it. Later that spring the irrepressible Al Kooper, famous for not being an organ player and yet coming up with the greatest organ riff in all rock history for Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” met a girl in a bar: She and I were talking and she told me she wrote songs. She’s goodlooking and I ﬁgured I could follow her home, which couldn’t be a bad thing no matter how you look at it. Back at her apartment on West Sixteenth Street, the newly met singersongwriter played him “Both Sides, Now,” and although it was 3 o’clock in the morning Kooper at once telephoned Judy Collins, a major participant in the folk music scene of those years, with news of his discovery. Joni October 26, 2017 Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen at the Newport Folk Festival, July 1967 repeated her performance over the phone to a sleepy Collins, who instantly woke up: Absolutely mind-boggling. I had an album that was being recorded right then and I wanted to record the song right away. That night, I went crazy and said, “I must have this song.” And her instinct wasn’t wrong; Collins’s version was not only a hit but won a Grammy. The passage in Bellow that caught Mitchell’s attention might serve as an epigraph to her checkered career, which now, alas, may be nearing its close (she suffered brain trauma from an aneurysm in March 2015, although she has since made signiﬁcant progress toward what is to be hoped will be a full recovery, and—who knows?—she may yet be lured back on stage or into the studio): “We are the ﬁrst generation to see clouds from both sides,” muses an airborne Henderson. “What a privilege! First people dreamed upward. Now they dream both upward and downward.” For those who dreamed upward in the late 1960s, there was not only Woodstock, there was also its commemoration by Mitchell in her optimistic paean to the festival’s signiﬁcance in her song of the same name. Despite its use of the ﬁrst person plural (“By the time we got to Woodstock/We were half a million strong”), Mitchell’s “Woodstock” was in fact written in New York while she followed live coverage of the sets of The Who, Joe Cocker, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Jimi Hendrix, and others on television. Mitchell had been booked to perform, but it was feared by her management team that she might not make it back in time for a scheduled appearance on Dick Cavett’s TV talk show the following day. Present in spirit although absent in person, Mitchell set about composing a song that would vividly capture the sense of communal possibility and the hopes for change that Woodstock came to symbolize: “And everywhere there was song and celebration/And I dreamed I saw the bombers/Riding shotgun in the sky/And they were turning into butterﬂies/Above our nation.” The song’s chorus unashamedly celebrates the countercultural visionaries who gathered in the mud of Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in upstate New York that historic weekend in 1969 as “stardust” and “golden,” as angelic children of nature taking the ﬁrst vital step that will lead us “back to the garden.” But how about this for dreaming downward, from “Sex Kills” on Turbulent Indigo (1994)—the album whose cover features a Mitchell self-portrait in the style of Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear: All these jackoffs at the ofﬁce The rapist in the pool Oh and the tragedies in the nurseries 57 It’s difﬁcult to imagine this bleak jeremiad being well received at the hippie lovefest of a quarter-century earlier. Although Mitchell was just twenty- three when she composed “Both Sides, Now,” and still performed her material in clubs and coffee shops in a winsome, girlish soprano, she had much right to claim that she had already experienced life’s ups and downs. She was born Roberta Joan Anderson in Fort Macleod, Alberta, in 1943, the only child of conservative Canadian parents who would view with skepticism, and on occasion dismay, their reckless daughter’s career and views, and well-publicized love life. At the age of nine she fell victim to the same outbreak of polio that partially paralyzed Neil Young; it weakened her left hand, and was in part responsible for her “open tunings,” which helped reduce the amount of ﬁngering needed to play the guitar. The Andersons tried their luck next in Maidstone (“When we were kids in Maidstone, Sharon/I went to every wedding in that little town,” as she recalls in the glorious “Song for Sharon” on Hejira, largely written, I was surprised to learn from this biography, while Mitchell was revved up on cocaine), then moved to nearby North Battleford. Finally, after Joan’s yearlong battle with polio, much of it spent in a harrowing sanatorium that seriously restricted visiting hours and was far from home, the Andersons settled in the city of Saskatoon. Bright but unengaged by school, Joni (she changed her name when she was thirteen) developed into something of a rebel. She secretly began smoking at the age of nine, eventually reaching a steady eighty cigarettes a day, and while in eleventh grade was caught shoplifting. Her teenage years were spent hanging with kids from the wrong side of the tracks, and it was in order to perform at the boozy parties they held that she bought a ukulele for $36, a guitar being too expensive. Only Arthur Kratzmann, her ﬁrst English teacher in Saskatoon, made an impression, but it was a deep one: her ﬁrst album, Song to a Seagull, is gratefully dedicated to him for having “taught me to love words.” But it was as a painter that Joni Anderson initially intended to make her name. In 1963 she enrolled in the Alberta College of Art in Calgary, but she dropped out after a year, unimpressed by the faculty’s doctrinaire insistence that Abstract Expressionism was the only game in town. She found more inspiration at musical evenings in Calgary coffeehouses, performing herself in one called the Depression for $15 a week. Yet Alberta College did have a decisive effect on her life, for it was there she met Brad MacMath, a fellow art student. That spring she found herself pregnant. At the end of the aca58 demic year the penniless couple moved to Toronto, until, as Blue’s “Little Green” poignantly recalls, “He went to California/Hearing that everything’s warmer there/So you write him a letter and say ‘her eyes are blue.’” Joni gave birth to her blue- eyed daughter in February of 1965, naming her Kelly. No word of her situation was to ﬁnd its way back to her parents in Saskatoon: “To be pregnant and unmarried in 1964,” she later recalled, “was like you killed somebody.” Casting around for a solution to her dilemma, Joni deposited Kelly in a foster care home yet delayed putting her up for adoption. Since she was unable to afford the $150 required for musicians’ union membership fees, she could play at only a handful of Toronto venues. At one of these, however, the Penny Farthing, she met an American folksinger called Chuck Mitchell, who liked to perform his own “improved” version of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.” After a whirlwind romance of a few weeks they married in Chuck’s hometown of Rochester, Michigan, then settled in Detroit, where they began appearing as a duo, mixing folk songs with a few Brecht/Weil numbers, and even Flanders and Swann. Haunting their courtship and early weeks as a married couple was the question of what to do with Kelly. The heartbreaking “Little Green” recreates the moment when Joni ﬁnally decided to surrender her: Child with a child pretending Weary of lies you are sending home So you sign all the papers in the family name You’re sad and you’re sorry but you’re not ashamed Little green have a happy ending. Mitchell’s parents would not learn of the lies she was sending home until they were in their eighties, when tabloids broke the story that Joni was searching for the daughter she had given up for adoption thirty years earlier. T he ﬁrst song on Mitchell’s ﬁrst album is called “I Had a King,” and it’s pretty mean about Chuck. He is ﬁgured as a “king in a tenement castle” who has taken “to painting the pastel walls brown.” While he sweeps the rooms with “the broom of contempt,” he is far from cool, for he dresses in “drip- dry and paisley” and seems marooned in folk music’s past: “Ladies in gingham still blush/While he sings them of wars and wine/But I in my leather and lace/I can never become that kind.” Although warbled in her highest, sweetest register, it’s a somewhat cutting divorce song, and reveals the inﬂuence of Dylan’s “Positively 4th Street,” a track Mitchell credits with helping kick-start her compositional career. “You got a lotta nerve/To say you are my friend/When I was down/You just stood there grinning,” Dylan’s vitriolic single opens. It struck Mitchell with the force of a revelation: “I realized that this was a whole new ballgame; now you could make your songs literature.” For both Dylan and Mitchell (who, although she discarded Chuck, opted to keep her married surname), making songs literature often involved getting them to deliver unpalatable truths, even ad hominem denunciations. As it had for Dylan earlier in the decade, the Newport Folk Festival helped make Mitchell known to an audience beyond the cliques and coteries of the coffeehouse scene. Judy Collins persuaded its reluctant board to offer Mitchell a slot at the 1967 festival, where her set was rapturously received. Also on the bill was fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen, author of four books of poetry and two novels, and, at the age of thirty-three, poised to make his musical debut. Their brief affair is charted in Blue’s “A Case of You,” whose opening again reveals Mitchell’s gift for puncturing male pretension: Just before our love got lost you said “I am as constant as a northern star” Jack Robinson/Jack Robinson Archive LLC Little kids packin’ guns to school The ulcerated ozone These tumors of the skin This hostile sun beating down on This massive mess we’re in! And the gas leaks And the oil spills And sex sells everything And sex kills Sex kills Sex kills Sex kills . . . Joni Mitchell, New York City, November 1968 And I said “Constantly in the darkness Where’s that at? If you want me I’ll be in the bar.” Nevertheless, “A Case of You” frankly acknowledges the powerful effect Cohen had on her (“Oh you’re in my blood like holy wine”) while also insisting on her ability to survive exposure to his potent, if contradictory, energies, his mix of bitterness and sweetness—“Oh I could drink a case of you darling/And I would still be on my feet.” Cohen, like Chuck, furnished her with reading lists, but Mitchell was nonplussed, when she got around to reading the likes of Lorca and Camus and Rilke, to discover that Cohen had lifted a number of lines from them for his songs. Mitchell’s ﬁnest albums were made in the 1970s, before developments in studio technology tempted her, most disastrously on Dog Eat Dog (1985), into various experiments with synthesizers and computers that tended not to suit her voice or material. Her ﬁrst contract with Warner Brothers, signed in 1968, granted her pretty much complete artistic control over the production of her records, and she ﬁercely defended her right to independence from the industry’s suits and moneymen in all subsequent deals. The two highest points in her recording career, it is generally agreed, are Blue (1971) and Hejira (1976), but for Prince, an early fan and later ardent friend, it was The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975) that stood out as her greatest achievement. Although her ﬁrst three albums include some durable and famous songs, such as “Chelsea Morning” (which inspired Bill and Hillary Clinton to name their daughter Chelsea), “Both Sides, Now,” “Big Yellow Taxi” (the one with the chorus “Don’t it always seem to go/ That you don’t know what you’ve got/ Till it’s gone/They paved paradise/And put up a parking lot”), as well as that staple of campﬁre sing-alongs, “The Circle Game,” it was not until she entered Studio C at A&M Studios in Hollywood to record Blue in January 1971 that Mitchell’s voice, music, and words meshed to create a record that people still ﬁnd they want to listen to again and again. Many of the songs had been written the year before, during a tour of Europe, which included ﬁve weeks living in a cave with a hippie community in the coastal village of Matala in Crete—which is why her ﬁngernails are dirty and she has beach tar on her feet in the song “Carey” (based on one Cary Raditz, whom she met during her sojourn there). This groovy scene is revisited in “California,” which features a snapshot of a “redneck on a Grecian isle/Who did the goat dance very well.” But while Blue deftly channels the alternative lifestyles of the counterculture’s pioneers and crazies, it avoids celebrating them with the kind of dewyeyed hopefulness that buoyed “Woodstock.” The mélange of dangers lurking beneath the hedonistic petals of ﬂower power are succinctly captured in the album’s title song: “Acid, booze, and ass/Needles, guns, and grass.” Mitchell’s own self-ﬁgurations in these songs often radiate melancholy and indecision, a longing to ﬁnd the key that will set her free. The intimacy of her revelations on the songs of Blue is enhanced by the subtlety and originality of her phrasing, and by her discovery of a new melodic range and intensity. Her voice is almost unbearably soft and poignant on “Little Green,” but can also be bracing and energetic, as on, say, “Carey.” “I was at my most defenseless during the making of Blue,” she later conﬁded. “And when you have no defenses, the music becomes saintly and it can communicate.” Undoubtedly Blue does communicate, but along with her defenselessness it conveys a wide-ranging curiosity and a resonant delight in ordinary pleasures, such as the prospect of sharing a bottle of wine with Carey at the Mermaid Café. As well as confessing that she’s selﬁsh and sad and wants to skate away on a frozen river, Blue celebrates the urge to get up and jive in a jukebox dive, even to indulge in some sweet romance. It’s the inventiveness of the songs and the vigor of their performance, rather than the cris de coeur they occasionally emit, that make it feel like such a startlingly effective leap beyond her ﬁrst three albums. “I am on a lonely road and I am traveling,” opens Blue, “Traveling, traveling, traveling/Looking for something, what can it be.” As proved the case for nearly all those who cut their musical teeth in the 1960s American folk scene, at some point the lonely traveler ends up realizing that, to make it big, what he or she most desperately needs to ﬁnd is a band; also, that a great deal depends on ﬁnding the right one. The likes of Stephen Stills and James Taylor had made guest appearances on early Mitchell albums, but as the ideal of the folk troubadour receded ever further into the past, Mitchell began scouting for a group that might enable her to reach a wider audience. Court and Spark (1974), her highest- charting album, featured LA Express, an ensemble of versatile jazz musicians who were unfazed by her eccentric tunings. The New York Review A single from the album, “Help Me,” reached number seven in the US charts (her one and only appearance in the Top Ten). Mitchell’s gifts, it seems to me, reached their fullest and most efﬂorescent in the albums and concerts of her LA Express years. Particularly wondrous is her voice, somewhat roughened and lowered by her indefatigable consumption of cigarettes, which soars and swoops like the black crow in the song of that name included on Hejira, an album that came out the year after Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks and Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, thus completing a mid-1970s holy trinity. Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Tour was, if only obliquely, a catalyst for the ﬁrst song on Hejira, “Coyote.” Mitchell was not among those originally recruited for Dylan’s ten-week cavalcade through the northeastern states. She joined halfway through in late November, fascinated both by the carnivalesque shows and by the behavior the tour elicited from those involved (“everybody was so insane, I mean insane”). Despite her misgivings, and her acute dislike of the reigning queen of the troupe, Joan Baez, she was not prepared to miss out as she had at Woodstock. “Coyote” is “allegedly,” as her website puts it, about Sam Shepard, who was along to work on the script of the ﬁlm Renaldo and Clara (which Dylan would release, to little acclaim, a few years later). Rumors that she and Shepard had hooked up were soon swirling through the tour buses, despite his preexisting commitments—or as “Coyote” puts it, “Now he’s got a woman at home/He’s got another woman down the hall/He seems to want me anyway.” Shepard, for his part, saluted in his Rolling Thunder Logbook the “uncanny” nature of Mitchell’s “word maneuverings,” citing a line from “Don’t Interrupt the Sorrow”: “I’ve got a head full of quandary/ And a mighty mighty thirst.” Eager not to be considered a puri- tanical, drug-averse party-pooper like Baez and keen to get with the spirit of the tour, Mitchell asked to be paid in cocaine for her appearances. Some lines from “Coyote” memorably capture the prevailing Geist of life on the road with Cap’n Bob: And peeking thru keyholes in numbered doors Where the players lick their wounds And take their temporary lovers And their pills and powders to get them thru this passion play “Coyote” also initiates Mitchell’s presentation of herself as a restless seeking wanderer on Hejira as a whole—the album’s title, meaning “journey or ﬂight,” alludes to Muhammad’s departure from Mecca to Medina in the Koran. The chorus of “Coyote” subtly illustrates, however, her ability to examine the myths of the road in the same spirit as Bellow’s Henderson the Rain King from both sides now: “You just picked up a hitcher/A prisoner of the white lines on the freeway.” Does the freeway offer escape or just a different kind of entrapment? Up until Hejira America’s open road seemed invariably to have been the imaginative province of men, from Walt Whitman to Woody Guthrie, from Jack Kerouac’s Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty to the footloose narrator of Dylan’s “Tangled Up in Blue” (written, incidentally, after Dylan spent a weekend listening to Mitchell’s Blue). The courage required to reconﬁgure so boldly and brilliantly such a well-worn trope may have owed something to the effects of cocaine, described by Mitchell as “a warrior’s drug,” and one which made her feel as indestructible and aggressive as Scarface. Yet Hejira is not an aggressive album; its exploration of the “strange pillows of [her] wanderlust,” of the “refuge of the roads,” is at once exacting and beautiful, as haunting and fragile as the vapor trails she observes while driving across the burn- ing desert in “Amelia,” and compares to both the hexagram of the heavens and the strings of her guitar. Mitchell’s “head full of quandary” and her “mighty thirst” have propelled her music in all manner of directions in the four decades since Hejira. She has never been afraid to experiment, as was perhaps most dramatically proved when Mingus, her avant-garde tribute to the irascible jazz bassist Charlie Mingus, was released in 1979. The album had mixed reviews and undoubtedly alienated a segment of Mitchell’s fan base. But her collaborations with a number of other jazz musicians, such as the gloriously innovative, if somewhat unstable, Jaco Pastorius, whose deep, thrumming bass guitar provides an exquisite counter point to Mitchell’s voice and open tunings, and with the genius saxophonist Wayne Shorter (who was part of Miles Davis’s quintet in the 1960s, and like Pastorius, a member of Weather Report in the 1970s), have resulted in wholly successful fusions of Mitchell’s words and sound with the idioms of post-bebop jazz. Although her lyrics are often full of self- questioning and self- criticism, her belief in her talent and judgment seems never to have wavered. Perhaps the most striking testimony to this comes from her Rolling Thunder rival, Joan Baez, who in an interview with David Yaffe for his new biography observed: “She’s a really strong woman who doesn’t give a fuck about what anybody thinks, and we all wish we could be that way, but we can’t.” Undoubtedly she can be somewhat cantankerous. In Yaffe’s copiously quoted interviews with Mitchell she vividly denounces the music industry, complaining at length of the short straw she feels it has given her in the years since her heyday. Many times she has quit in disgust, only to return with a new album, and eventually a wholly new voice and act. In 2000 Both Sides Now appeared, and two years later Travelogue, both of which presented her as a throaty torch singer backed by a full orchestra. Whether she was covering standards such as “You’re My Thrill” or “Answer Me, My Love” or “Stormy Weather,” or hits from her own by now vast back catalog, the results were often spine-tingling. Her independence and audacity were also strongly in evidence in her adaptation for Night Ride Home (1991) of W. B. Yeats’s poem “The Second Coming,” retitled “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” and including many extra lines penned by Mitchell herself, while her last studio album, Shine (2007), closes with a reworking of Rudyard Kipling’s “If.” Clearly she couldn’t sing Kipling’s original conclusion (“And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!”); instead Mitchell’s oeuvre to date ends with lines twinning the pugnacious and the visionary: “Cause you’ve got the ﬁght/You’ve got the insight/You’ve got the ﬁght/You’ve got the insight.” Yaffe conducted two sets of interviews with Mitchell: one in 2007 for a proﬁle in The New York Times (which she hated), and the second eight years later (by which time she’d forgiven him). These form the core of his contribution to Mitchell studies, for as a biography Reckless Daughter is deﬁnitely not to be preferred to Karen O’Brien’s much better written Shadows and Light: Joni Mitchell (2001). Still, the excerpts from his extensive interviews are revealing in a range of ways: there is much settling of old scores—with Dylan, for instance, who fell asleep when Mitchell ﬁrst played him Court and Spark back in 1974, getting accused by her of plagiarism. Ex-lovers and ex-husbands also have their cards harshly marked. But why, I found myself wondering, should one expect Mitchell, alone on her pedestal as the grande dame of North American singer-songwriters, to have mellowed? For how could she have achieved what she did had she not both trusted her insights and been full of ﬁght? Please order books by using the contact information listed under each press’s name, or visit your local bookstore or online retailer. CREATESPACE FÅRÖ BLACK ROSE WRITING www.createspace.com info@LanguageAndPhilosophy.com www.LanguageAndPhilosophy.com P.O. Box 1540, Castroville, TX 78009; (210) 767-3256; email@example.com, www.blackrosewriting.com MARCHING THROUGH HISTORY WITH CESAR CHAVEZ AND THE FARM WORKERS A Photo Documentary by Cathy Murphy Former UFW Staff Photographer A moving photo documentary shows child labor, conditions in the fields and labor camps. It includes behind the scenes images of organizers, The Thousand Mile March, and personal photos of Chavez at home with his family. 9781539391036 • Paper, $20.00 86 pages • American History Also available on Amazon. CATHERINE LESCAULT WOMEN WITHIN A Novel by Walter Idlewild by Anne Leigh Parrish In this delirious and vitalizing novel, alternative incarnations of Balzac’s classic characters from The Unknown Masterpiece enact romances of lunacy and obsession to dramatize their search for the reality of artistic creation. “Fascinating and breathtaking!” –AnneMarie Baron, President, Société des Amis de Balzac et de la Maison de Balzac, Paris “Parrish’s Women Within is well-wrought, containing dazzling, lyrical prose that will draw you into living memory, into the heartbeat of generations of women.” — San Francisco Book Review, 5 stars 9781612968391 • Paper, $18.95 224 pages • Literary Fiction Author website: anneleighparrish.com Amazon purchase link: http://amzn.to/2vbwZWo 9780998622606 • Paper On Sale in October • Fiction Available through Amazon. To advertise your books, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (212) 293-1630, or see www.nybooks.com/ipl. October 26, 2017 59 DOG EAR PUBLISHING EPSILON BOOKS XLIBRIS 4011 Vincennes Road Indianapolis, IN 46268 email@example.com Xlibris; 436 Walnut Street, 11th floor, Philadelphia, PA 19106-3703; (888) 795-4274, fax (215) 923-4685; www.xlibris.com MY LIFE WITH MIGRAINE by Earle Levenstein Earle’s writing is vivid, brave and impactful, as he shares his journey in the search for answers to Migraine. He gives voice to this invisible condition and reaffirms to Migraine sufferers that they are not alone. 9781457557415 • Paper, $17.99 eBook, $9.99 Available on www.earlelevenstein.com, and through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. THE MAN WHO STANDS IN LINE A Collection of Very Short Stories GREATEST LIVING POET New Edition by Mark Staber Kobo by Kenneth M Halpern Killer flies, amorous dinosaurs, angry buildings, the secret to immortality, and one very large fish are just a few of the oddities one will encounter in this oneof-a-kind book. Madonna has quoted his love poetry at award ceremonies. President Clinton quoted him in a recent speech in Africa. Find out the excitement in the new voice in American Literature. Mark Kobo is the only poet memorized by humans living today. Discover America’s greatest living Lyric poet. 9781945671005 • Paper, $9.99 9781945671012 • Kindle, $3.99 84 pages • Short fiction, Surreal Author Site: www.aplaceofsand.com Available through Amazon and B&N. 140101108X • Paper, $15.99 127 pages • Poetry/Fiction Also available at www.amazon.com and www.markchandos.com. Preview poems at www.kosmoautikon.com. REELIZATION GLOBAL MEDIA P.O. Box 703, Grapevine, TX 76099-0703 (817) 424-2611; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.dhtreichler.com WORLD WITHOUT WORK ARROWHEAD PUBLISHING 1715 36th Avenue Ct, Greeley, CO 80634 (970) 381-4004 email@example.com; www.feedingthefamished.com DRINKING THE KNOCK WATER A New Age Pilgrimage by Emily Kemme Artistically nuanced, using the healing touch of water as a metaphor to overcome trauma, this introspective, gentle novel takes readers on an emotional pilgrimage, illuminating and rejuvenating in the same breath. 9780983740124 • Hardcover, $26.99 288 pages • Chick Lit Author’s website: www.feedingthefamished.com. Also available at www.amazon.com. BREAK AWAY BOOKS Indiana University Press, Office of Scholarly Publishing, Herman B Wells Library 350, 1320 E. 10th St. Bloomington, IN 47404-3907 1 (800) 842-6796; www.iupress.indiana.edu A Novel by dhtreichler “Five stars to noted futurist dhtreichler for bringing us this literary look at nextgen labor issues and the impact of automation on the world’s work force. Incredibly relevant.” — Publishers Daily Reviews CALADIUM PUBLISHING COMPANY 145C Selner Lane, Doylestown, PA 18902 215-340-7564 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.caladiumpublishing.com GOD An autobiography, as told to a philosopher by Jerry L. Martin eBook, $3.99 503 pages • Political Thriller Author website: www.dhtreichler.com; Also available on www.amazon.com. “An atheist philosopher finds himself in a surprising series of conversations with God... 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Available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com; distributed through Ingram. eBook, $3.99 339 pages • Political Thriller Author website: www.dhtreichler.com; Also available on www.amazon.com. JAYHAWK INK PUBLISHING WESTMINSTER JOHN FOX PRESS PECORINO & EGGS KU Bookstore; 1301 Jayhawk Blvd, Lawrence, KS 66045 (785) 864-2470 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.jayhawkink.com 100 Witherspoon St. Louisville, KY 40202 1 (800) 523-1631; www.wjkbooks.com www.pecorinoandeggs.com/contact THE MAKING OF A LEADER Franklin D. Murphy, The Kansas Years By Nancy Kellogg Harper In 1951, Dr. Franklin Murphy, just 35, became University of Kansas Chancellor. This readable biography traces his impact as a transformational leader for a decade, before leaving “the glorious rocket ride” in Kansas to lead UCLA. 9781611950205 • Paper, $20.00 294 pages • Scholarly & Biography A BIGGER TABLE Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community by John Pavlovitz In an ever-polarizing religious landscape, popular blogger John Pavlovitz illustrates what faith communities could and should be: diverse, redemptive, and totally inclusive. 9780664262679 • Paper and eBook, $16.00 204 pages • Christianity www.johnpavlovitz.com CITIES OF THE COMMON MAN by Ben Hasskamp “Part Kitchen Confidential, part It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” Hasskamp’s debut is “a somtimes-crude but unique and oddly endearing tale of self-discovery.” — Kirkus Reviews 9781521784730 • Paper, $9.99; eBook $2.99 345 pages • Literary Fiction Book available on Amazon at: https:// www.amazon.com/dp/B071JZMZJ5 To advertise your books, email email@example.com, call (212) 293-1630, or see www.nybooks.com/ipl. 60 The New York Review PATCHWORK FARM PRESS HERNES ROAD BOOKS SILKWORM BOOKS 293 Chesterfield Rd., Westhampton, Ma 01027 (413) 256-0240 firstname.lastname@example.org, www.dickbentley.com 1504 So. 5th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147 https://www.ingramcontent.com/ P.O. Box 296 Phra Sign, Chiang Mai, 50205, Thailand +66 5327 1370; +66 99 380 6992; email@example.com; https://silkwormbooks.com/ DARK NETWORK A GENERAL THEORY OF DESIRE An Imogen Trager Novel by James McCrone THE BIG BUDDHA BICYCLE RACE by Dick Bentley Imogen Trager, the determined heroine of the “highly suspenseful” thriller Faithless Elector returns, desperate to stop a murderous Dark Network intent on stealing the presidency. “Gripping and unpredictable.” — Midwest Book Review A Novel by Terence A. Harkin A pregnant teenage girl is stranded on the top of the World’s Biggest Crucifix (a place that actually exists in Indian River, Michigan) and, alone with God, she confesses her sins and makes a few suggestions on how he could improve his performance. A divorced couple meets in a singles bar. A mother tries to convince a school principal that her four year old is “gifted.” Two executives of an investment firm decide to conduct a love affair for profit, while electronically robbing all Americans of their identities. These and other captivating stories, plus a diverse collection of poems, provide a mesmerizing literary feast! — April Vehslage 9780692797846 • Paper, $12.99 260 pages • Fiction/Suspense-Thriller http://jamesmccrone.com/ 1569 Solano Ave #546, Berkeley CA 94707; (510) 527-1825; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.shewritespress.com AN ADDRESS IN AMSTERDAM A Novel by Mary Dingee Fillmore A young Jewish woman risks her life in the anti-Nazi underground. “Must-read” historical fiction, say Redbook, BuzzFeed, PopSugar, and Bookstr. Brit+Co: “Complex, engrossing and gorgeous.” 9781631521331 • Paper, $16.95 322 pages • Historical Fiction Maryfillmore.com, available wherever books are sold. SMALLPUB Smallpubpublishing@gmail.com by Brad Rau “One-of-a-kind... Captivating to the very end.” — IndieReader “Brilliantly illuminating... Superbly original.” — The Columbia Review “An absurd, endearing tale... Commendable.” — Kirkus Reviews 6162151328; 9786162151323 • Paper, $16.99 B01M3PL6SC • eBook $6.99 396 pages Literary Fiction Author Website: http://www.taharkin.net/ Available at https://silkwormbooks.com/ collections/frontpage/products/big-buddha-bicycle-race Also available at: https://www.amazon. com/Big-Buddha-Bicycle-Race-Novel/ dp/6162151328/ref=tmm_pap_ swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= SHE WRITES PRESS 0976842122 • Paper, $6.66 50 pages • Poetry & Fiction (short stories) Google: “Dick Bentley Amazon” https://www.amazon.com/DickBentley/e/B002QW95FG CAVEMAN AT THE END OF THE WORLD A Goodreads Top-Ten Vietnam War book! Nominee, the 2017 Kirkus Prize. “Shakespearian (and) lyrical... An excellent, thoughtful book about the Vietnam War.” — Kirkus (Starred Review) BLACK ROSE WRITING P.O. Box 1540, Castroville, TX 78009 email@example.com; www.blackrosewriting.com TILTING CREATESPACE A Memoir by Nicole Harkin www.createspace.com Love’s healing power, the lessons learned with dying, the strength of sibling bonds, and the freedom that forgiveness brings all come across in this excellent first effort. “Unsparing in its emotional honesty.” — Karen Lyon, HillRag MAESTRO SATRIANO A Novel Based on a True Story About the First Musician to Perform at Red Rocks by LeAnna DeAngelo 9780692884317 • Paper, $16.00 434 pages • Literary Fiction Visit the author’s website www.bradrau.com to read full reviews and an excerpt from the novel. Available at www.amazon.com. “A touching, often comic tale of cultural identity, passion and artistic inspiration. An affecting portrait of an artistically gifted family.” — Kirkus Reviews 9781612968926 • Paper and eBook, $26.95 204 pages • Memoir www.tiltingamemoir.com, and available through Amazon. 9780692716632 • Paper, $15.00 199 pages • Realistic Fiction FRIESENPRESS ANDREW BENZIE BOOKS Orinda, California THE GILDED CHATEAU by Jon Foyt WWII guns blast outside Switzerland as central bankers and their wives from warring nations play bridge in Chateau Rougemont and move gold to the Nazis. 9781941713549 • Paper, $14.95 182 pages • Historical Fiction www.jonfoyt.com THE MIND OF AN AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY by Jon Foyt A novel about an immigrant merchant trader from Liverpool who finances the American Revolution out of his own pocket, but ends up in debtors’ prison. 9781941713235 • Paper, $14.95 231 pages • Historical Fiction www.jonfoyt.com 990 Fort St., Suite 300 Victoria, BC, V8V 3K2 Canada (410) 913-2447; firstname.lastname@example.org CITY OF CARDS by Joel Sacks “City of Cards, Joel Sacks’s modern, tech-flavored thriller is fast paced and detailed, incorporating realistic elements that make the threat at its core seem even more real.” – Foreword/Clarion Reviews. 9781460235898 • Paper, $19.99 9781460235904 • eBook, $2.99 327 pages • Thriller Website: www.authorjoelsacks.com also available on www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com & iTunes. BY OTHER MEANS by Joel Sacks The compelling sequel to City of Cards. “By Other Means imparts a dynamic tale in which no one can be trusted and nothing is ever what it seems. Dry humor and wit energize the story in an engaging and compelling way.” – Foreword/Clarion Reviews. 9781460296455 • Paper, $14.99 9781460296462 • eBook, $3.99 228 pages • Thriller Website: www.authorjoelsacks.com also available on www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com & iTunes. CREATESPACE email@example.com UNDERSTANDING BUSINESS The Logic of Balance by Gary Moreau How to establish real trust and establish a business culture that is inclusive and appreciative of diversity, from culture and gender issues to leadership styles. 9781547074730 • Paper, $9.95 188 pages • Business & Economics Author website: www.gmoreau.com UNDERSTANDING LIFE Context is Everything by Gary Moreau Forget what you think you know about life’s meaning. Understanding Life will have you appreciating the dichotomy in life in a truly transformational way. 9781973974192 • Paper, $9.95 159 pages • Self-Help & Personal Growth Author website: www.gmoreau.com To advertise your books, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (212) 293-1630, or see www.nybooks.com/ipl. October 26, 2017 61 WISE INK CREATIVE PUBLISHING D.M. KEGG PUBLISHING HISTORY INVASIONS PRESS 837 Glenwood Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55405 Order Tel: Itasca Books: 1 (800) 901-3480 x 118 email@example.com; wiseinkpub.com; jimsherblom.com 3985 Wonderland Hill Ave. Suite 201, Boulder CO 80304 (720) 668-8840; dmkregpublishing.com 1455 NW Leary Way, Suite 400, Seattle, WA 98107 (206) 489-5335; www.AmericaInvaded.com AMERICA INVADED DANCING FOR THE GENERAL SPIRITUAL AUDACITY A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil by Christopher Kelly and Stuart Laycock by Sue Star and Bill Beatty Six Disciplines of Human Flourishing by Rev. Dr. Jim Sherblom A missing fiancé who may be alive, a mysterious Turkish detective, and a general plotting the great revolution. “An elaborate but exhilarating mystery spotlighting an entirely capable heroine.” — Kirkus Reviews “Jim Sherblom’s spiritual journey takes him to the farthest reaches of the earth— and to the inner sanctum of his heart. In this compelling memoir, Jim shares his victories and wounds with generosity and insight.” Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone, New York Times bestselling authors of Difficult Conversations. In this fascinating and fun-filled book, Kelly and Laycock explore and explain some of the confrontations that occurred throughout each of the fifty states. 9780989357876 • $15.99 438 pages • Mystery Available as paper, eBook, and audio, through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and CreateSpace. 9781634890762 • Paper, $18.95 294 pages • Philosophy/Religion THAT WOMAN 9780692902400 • Paper, $25.95 427 pages • History/Travel From of the authors of America Invades and Italy Invades Available for direct purchase on book websites, available via distributor, Amazon.com, and via all eBook platforms. REVIVING THE REFORMATION Beating the Odds in Colonial New York by Wayne Clark OVERKILL The Vatican Trial of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ by Niels de Terra and Fernando Villafuerte A Jewish Believer Peers Backward to Move Biblical Truth Forward by Daniel Lang Kidnapped in France and brought to America as an indentured servant, a young woman takes on the brutal merchant king of New York’s East River waterfront. “... meticulously crafted... engrossing story.” — Kirkus Reviews Exactly 500 years after Martin Luther kicked off the Protestant Reformation in 1517, an author of Jewish descent, Dr. Daniel Lang, boldly attempts to sit in the seat of past reformers — answering questions few dare to ask. This book rediscovers the beliefs and practices of the very first Jewish believers in Jerusalem. 9780992120269 • Paper, $17.95; eBook $2.99 455 pages • Historical Fiction Available at author’s website at http:// www.wayne-clark.com, as well as online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Teilhard de Chardin’s dreams realized thanks to a Jesuit Pope from Latin America in an engaging new graphic novel. “An ambitious graphic novel… The book’s art… [makes] each spread compelling and digestible.” — Kirkus Reviews 9780692638859 • Paper, $42.21 260 pages • Historical Fiction New edition just out on Amazon. 9781635051223 • Paper, $9.99; eBook $2.99 283 pages • Nonfiction Available at the author’s website: www.RevivingtheReformation.com — Promo code “NY” for a discount. Facbook: type in “Reviving-the-Reformation”. FOX HOLLOW PRESS OWL CANYON PRESS WESTBOW PRESS 1725 N. Sundial, Mesa, AZ 85205 (602) 402-6018; firstname.lastname@example.org 621 Pleasant Street, Boulder, Colorado 80302 (720) 412-1548; owlcanyonpress.com; email@example.com www.susanmerritphd.com DIG OR DIE A GARDEN WALL IN PROVENCE A novel of the First World War by Kenneth Redline, edited by Judith Redline Coopey A love story about good bread, good neighbors, and the fickle winds of the mistral. by Carrie Jane Knowles An American youth joins the Army to play baseball. Then a war breaks out. Written by a soldier of the Great War, more memoir than novel, edited by his daughter. “A Garden Wall in Provence is an utterly charming novella about mothers and daughters, being neighborly, and the power and importance of fresh bread.” 9780997935103 • Paper, $14.95 345 pages • Historical Fiction www.judithredlinecoopey.com Available through Amazon and CreateSpace.com 9780991121175 • Cloth, $24.95 137 pages • Fiction/Novella/Love Story Author website: cjanework.com Available through Amazon. THE CULTURE OF HOPE FOUNDED ON FAITH by Susan Merritt, PhD Susan Merritt describes the journey with her husband through cancer towards understanding that we can trust God to be faithful and keep his biblical promises. 9781512784220 • Paper, $13.95 9781512784244 • Cloth, $30.95 9781512784237 • eBook, $3.99 184 pages • Christian Living Available on www.susanmerrittphd.com (links to order site on www.westbowpress. com). Also available on www.Barnesandnoble.com and www.amazon.com. HOPE NCSA LITERATUR NOT JUST A GAME Finding the Path toward Happiness, Opportunity, Prosperity, and Enjoyment by Wanny Huynh 401 Michigan St. Indianapolis, IN 46204 by Doug Zipes Down to his last dollar, Wanny Huynh knew he had to make a decision that would turn his life around. A notebook and pen would transform him and teach him a path forward to overcome any obstacle. 9781592987658 • Paper, $19.95 128 pages • Self Help/Personal Success Available on www.wannyhuynh.com. MONIKA’S BLUES On the Trail of the German Harmonica and African-American Blues Culture by Herbert Quelle Awesome fact and fun-filled historical fiction. Road trip from Chicago to the Mississippi Delta. One billion German harmonicas imported by United States since 1860. Three generations of the Becker family compete in 1936, 1972, and 2016 Olympics in the shadow of Hitler, and fight a rebirth of Nazism. 9781491790250 • Softcover, $17.57 307 pages • Historical Fiction Website www.dougzipes.com Twitter https://twitter.com/dzipes Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ DougZipes. 9781880788271 • Paper and eBook, $18.00 206 pages • Historical fiction Available on Amazon. To advertise your books, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (212) 293-1630, or see www.nybooks.com/ipl. 62 The New York Review Sexual Life in Modern China Ian Johnson October 26, 2017 to bawdy, coarse works. Abroad, almost none of his writing had been translated. He seemed destined to be little more than one of the many writers whose works are reduced to fodder for doctoral students researching an era’s zeitgeist. In the twenty years since Wang’s death, however, something remarkable has happened. In the West he remains virtually unknown; a single volume of his novellas has been translated into English. But Chinese readers and critics around the world now widely regard Wang as one of the most important modern Chinese authors. Two and Wang Xiaobo grew up with rickets. He had a slightly bulging skull and a barrel chest, as well as bones so soft that he would entertain his four siblings by yanking his legs behind his head and pulling himself along the ﬂoor on his stomach like a crab. His one privilege was sweetened calcium pills, which he ate by the handful while his siblings watched enviously. Despite the family’s misfortunes, Wang grew up intellectually privileged. His father had a wide collection of foreign literature in translation. In school, Wang would stare at the wall and ignore his teachers, but at home he de- mainly as China’s foremost expert on sex and interviewed her about Chinese people’s sexual liberation in the reform era (a typical clichéd idea written up by foreign journalists; how often have we read stories about Chinese people’s sexual liberation?). It took me awhile to realize that she was actually a leading chronicler of something more profound: the return of the private sphere in the lives of ordinary people. She had researched and written about China’s gay and lesbian movement, and in recent years has stood up for transgender and bisexual citizens as well, but the bigger picture was the government’s retreat from people’s daily lives. This past spring I talked with her about her late husband. She said that they had had a similar upbringing. Both came from educated families, and both had secretly read novels like The Catcher in the Rye. While in the United States in the 1980s, Wang had read Michel Foucault and his ideas about the human body, but she felt he was more inﬂuenced by Bertrand Russell and ideas of personal freedom. “The person he liked to cite the most was Russell, the most basic and earliest kind of liberalism,” she said. “I think he had started reading these books in his childhood.” The two met in 1979 and married the next year. Li was part of a new generation of sociologists trained after the ban on the discipline had been lifted. In the Mao era, sociology had been seen as superﬂuous because Marxism was supposed to be able to explain all social phenomena. Supported by China’s pioneering sociologist Fei Xiaotong, Li studied at the University of Pittsburgh from 1982 to 1988. Wang accompanied her for the ﬁnal four years and studiedwith the Chinese-American historian Cho-yun Hsu. Now retired, Hsu told me that he was initially ﬂummoxed by Wang. Although not formally a novelist, the young man wanted to write. And although he was living in the United States he spoke very little English. “I realized that I was training not a historian or sociologist but a Chinese novelist who needed to understand history,” he said. “He was writing a form of trauma literature.” Hsu put Wang on a course of independent study, mostly systematic reading in the Chinese classics and recent Chinese history, which had been lacking in his Communist- era education. Wang received a master’s degree in East Asian Studies but spent most of his time writing—for the desk drawer. “He wasn’t ready to publish,” Hsu said. “And I respected that. My goal was to help him develop.” After Li received her Ph.D., the couple returned to China and collaborated on a groundbreaking study, Their World: A Study of the Male Homosexual Community in China. Li eventually took a position at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Wang taught history and sociology at Renmin and Peking universities. The 1989 student movement came and went, ending on June 4 with the Mark Leong Throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, Chinese writers grappled with the traumas of the Mao period, seeking to make sense of their suffering. As in the imperial era, most had been servants of the state, loyalists who might criticize but never seek to overthrow the system. And yet they had been persecuted by Mao, forced to labor in the ﬁelds or shovel manure for offering even the most timid opinions. Many wrote what came to be known as scar literature, recounting the tribulations of educated people like themselves. A few wrote sex-fueled accounts of coming of age in the vast reaches of Inner Mongolia or the imagined romanticism of Tibet. Almost all of them were self-pitying and insipid, produced by people who were aggrieved by but not reﬂective about having served a system that killed millions. Then, in 1992, an unknown writer published a strange novella that told the hilarious and absurd story of two young lovers exiled to a remote part of China near the Burmese border during the Cultural Revolution. There they have an extramarital affair, are caught by ofﬁcials and forced to write endless confessions, tour the countryside in a minstrel show reenacting their sinful behavior, escape to the mountains, and return for more punishment, until one day they are released, unrepentant and slightly confused. The novella was immediately popular for its sex, which is omnipresent and farcical. But it isn’t described as something liberating during a period of oppression or as a force of nature unleashed by living in Chinese borderlands. Instead, sex is something the Communist Party wants to control—the apparatchiks want the couple to write endless self- criticism so they can drool over the purple prose— but the narrator and his lover still manage to imbue it with a deeper meaning that they understand only later, at the end of the story. After the sex, what was most shocking about the novella was how intellectuals are portrayed. They are almost as bad as the party hacks who control them. The novel’s hero cons his lover into the sack, picks ﬁghts with locals, dawdles at work, and is as tricky as his tormentors. The novella’s title added to the sense of the absurd. It was called The Golden Age, leaving many to wonder how this could have been anyone’s or any country’s best years. And who was Wang Xiaobo, the author? He was not part of the state writers’ association and hadn’t published ﬁction before. But after its publication in Taiwan, The Golden Age was soon published in China and became an immediate success. Wang followed it with a torrent of novellas and essays. He was especially popular with college students, who admired his cynicism, irony, humor—and of course the sex. Just ﬁve years later, in 1997, Wang died of a heart attack at the age of forty-four. Few remarked on his passing. Most in China’s literary scene saw him as little more than an untrained writer who had become famous thanks Wang Xiaobo, Beijing, 1996; photograph by Mark Leong new collections of his works have been published in China. Internet forums honor his life and writings. A café has opened in his name. He is now included in every major anthology of recent Chinese ﬁction, and his essays are considered crucial to understanding China’s recent past. He was also an early user of the Internet and spoke up online for disadvantaged groups—then an unusual position but now common among public ﬁgures such as the ﬁlmmaker Jia Zhangke, the writer Liao Yiwu, and the novelist Yan Lianke. In a less overtly activist way he resembles the recently deceased Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo: an interloper who pushed for change outside the state literary and intellectual apparatus. W ang Xiaobo was born in Beijing in 1952, the fourth of ﬁve children; his father, the logician Wang Fangming, was a university professor. That year, the elder Wang had been labeled a class enemy and purged from the Communist Party. The newborn’s name, Xiaobo, or “small wave,” reﬂected the family’s hope that their political trouble would be minor. It wasn’t, and people like Wang Fangming were rehabilitated only after Mao died in 1976. In his memoirs, Wang’s elder brother, Wang Xiaoping, said their mother was so distraught at her husband’s political problems that she spent her pregnancy weeping. She was unable to breastfeed, voured works by Shakespeare, Ovid, Boccaccio, and especially Mark Twain. His brother estimated that Xiaobo could read one hundred pages an hour, even of difﬁcult works by Marx, Hegel, or classical Chinese writers. When Wang Xiaobo was fourteen, Mao launched the Cultural Revolution, hoping to purge the Party of his enemies and return the revolution to a purer state. After that quickly descended into chaos, Mao ordered young people to go down to the countryside to learn from the peasants. Even though weak, Wang volunteered to go to Yunnan, spurred by romantic fantasies of the border region. He was ﬁfteen when he arrived, and he wrote endlessly while there. He would get up in the middle of the night to scribble with a blue pen on a mirror, cleaning it and then writing again. He dreamed of being a writer and rehearsed his stories over and over again. When he returned to Beijing in 1972 he kept writing but didn’t publish. He worked in a factory for six years, and when universities reopened he got a degree and taught in a high school. All along he stayed silent until one day he couldn’t. I have met Wang’s widow, Li Yinhe, several times over the past twenty-ﬁve years.1 Until recently I thought of her 1 See my interview with her, “Sex in China,” NYR Daily, September 9, 2014. 63 Later, I had another sudden realization: that I belonged to the greatest disadvantaged group in history, the silent majority. These people keep silent for any number of reasons, some because they lack the ability or the opportunity to speak, others because they are hiding something, and still others because they feel, for whatever reason, a certain distaste for the world of speech. I am one of these last groups and, as one of them, I have a duty to speak of what I have seen and heard. Wang’s most prominent chronicler in the West, Sebastian Veg at the School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences in Paris, believes that he was shocked by the 1989 massacre and his own failure to support the protesters. At the same time, he was searching for a new way for people to change society that went beyond protests and marches. Finally, he had something that needed to be said. In 1992 Wang ﬁnished The Golden Age, which he had been working on since returning from Yunnan in 1972. Unsure how to publish it, he sent a copy to Professor Hsu in Pittsburgh. Hsu sent it to United Daily News, a prominent Chinese-language newspaper in Taiwan that sponsored a literary prize. Wang won and entered what he called a “yammering madhouse”—the world of speech. Wang was the second son in his fam- ily, or er—number two—a name he gave most of his heroes: Wang Er. In The Golden Age, Wang Er is a twentyone-year- old sent to Yunnan, where he meets Chen Qingyang, a twentysix-year- old doctor whose husband has been in prison for a year. Gossips accuse Chen of being “damaged goods”—of having cheated on her husband with Wang—and she asks him to vouch for the fact that they haven’t slept together. Parodying the logical 64 formulas of Wang Xiaobo’s father, Wang Er tells Chen: We would have to prove two things ﬁrst before our innocence could be established: 1. Chen Qingyang was a virgin; 2. Castrated at birth, I was unable to have sex. These two things would be hard to prove, so we couldn’t prove our innocence. I preferred to prove our guilt. Eventually the couple have an affair and retreat to the mountains. They are later rounded up and “struggled against”—put on a stage and forced to reenact their sins. But instead of the ages. Wang also set down his ideas in two collections of essays published in his lifetime: My Spiritual Homeland and The Silent Majority. Many of the pieces originally appeared in the edgy magazines and newspapers that used to exist in southern China and which over the past decade or so have been hammered into docility. I met Wang in 1996 because of a piece he had published in Orient, a magazine that had devoted a special edition to the thirtieth anniversary of the start of the Cultural Revolution. Wang’s essay analyzed periods of unreason in history and the thinkers who resisted: Galileo challenging the doctrines of Rome; the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig opposing the Nazis; and the Chinese writer Lao She opposing Maoist excesses. But Wang didn’t stop tradition, there is no sense of the people.” About six months after we talked, Wang died. His friend the literary critic Ai Xiaoming 2 carried out what she thought of as his last wish. The Trilogy of the Ages had been published just days earlier, which he hadn’t lived to see. She placed it on his body before it entered the crematorium’s furnace. As the scope of Wang Xiaobo’s pub- lications in those ﬁve frenetic years became apparent, Chinese critics became more appreciative. On the ﬁfth anniversary of his death, the former culture minister Wang Meng wrote an article about Wang Xiaobo saying he had “lived a life of clarity.” The strong sales of his books didn’t hurt either. The Shanghai-based critic and literature professor Huang Ping told me that Wang now rivals the World War II–era Hong Kong writer Zhang Ailing (better known abroad as Eileen Chang) as the most popular modern Chinese author. Wang had no sense of this in his lifetime, according to Li Yinhe. “There weren’t too many literature reviews of his works in the mainstream,” she said. “People just began to pay attention to his works and essays. We had no idea of his sales.” Huang has a slightly contrarian explanation of Wang’s popularity. While government critics see him as a libertarian, he can also be read as someone whose irony and sarcasm exonerates middleclass Chinese from responsibility for social problems. Huang said that “instead of explaining how to overcome the issues, [Wang] tells you by his ironic tone that the issues have nothing to do with you.” This could be one reason why Wang’s works are in print in China—their humor and sarcasm can be seen as putting distance between then and now, in essence absolving today’s Communist Party for its sins of half a century earlier. And yet his books don’t read as if he were a practitioner of what Perry Link calls “daft hilarity”—a use of humor to avoid social criticism. In his ﬁction, the system and the ofﬁcials are clearly misguided. His essays are also sharply critical of issues like nationalism. His support for marginalized members of society is now common among Chinese intellectuals in the post-Tiananmen era. People like Ai Xiaoming turned to ﬁlmmaking, along with independent ﬁlmmakers like Hu Jie and Wu Wenguang, to document victims of the Anti-Rightist Movement and the Cultural Revolution. And Li Yinhe became an advocate for the LGBT movement, eventually coming out herself as having a transgender partner. It’s abroad that Wang is little known. Only three short works, including The Golden Age and the story “2015” from The Silver Age, are in print in English, published in one volume with the silly title Wang in Love and Bondage. 3 The Mark Leong Tiananmen massacre. Still, Wang did not publish. “On the night of June 4, we were actually in Xidan [the intersection in Beijing near the worst killings],” Li said. The couple watched the protesters, hoping they would succeed where their generation had failed. “Wang Xiaobo hid behind a concrete trafﬁc island at a corner of the street to take photos,” she told me. “We thought at the time that we should just let the young people do it.” Staying silent became the theme of Wang’s most famous essay, “The Silent Majority.” He describes how during the Mao era people were silenced by the ubiquity of the great leader: his thoughts, his ideas, and his words rained down on people day and night. Later, that left a scar, which for Wang meant that he “could not trust those who belonged to the societies of speech.” The struggle to ﬁnd a voice became a personal quest and an allegory for the whole nation’s trauma during the Mao era. This is what drew Wang to homosexuals in China. Disadvantaged groups were silent groups. They had been deprived of a voice, and society ignored them, sometimes even denying their existence. Then Wang had an epiphany—that all of Chinese society was voiceless: Wang Xiaobo and Li Yinhe, Beijing, 1996 humiliation, Chen feels only that this is an acting challenge. And when they are forced to confess their sins in writing, both tell the most absurd stories of their sexploits, seeing the punishment as a literary exercise. When freed of this state bullying, the couple make love in their room—a true emotional act that the party couldn’t control. The experience makes Wang Er realize that society is nothing more than a series of power relationships. In the village, he notes, locals didn’t just castrate bulls, they also hammered their testicles into a pulp to make sure the bulls got the message. After that, he says, even the feistiest bull was a docile beast of burden. Only much later did I realize that life is a slow process of being hammered. People grow old day after day, their desire disappears little by little, and ﬁnally they become like those hammered bulls. This message of control is reﬂected in Wang’s other ﬁctional works. As part of The Trilogy of the Ages, The Golden Age is a novella sandwiched between The Bronze Age, a series of curious stories set in the Tang dynasty (one of which has been recently translated by Eric Abrahamsen as “Mister Lover”) and The Silver Age, a series of futuristic dystopian stories in which social control is nearly perfected. This makes the Cultural Revolution merely a variation of the suffering that humans have endured in societies throughout there. He also pointed out parallels to the China of the 1990s (and, in effect, today) by writing about the rise of nationalism. At our ﬁrst meeting, in a hotel near his apartment, he showed up disheveled, wearing a Hawaiian shirt that made him look like a Hong Kong businessman on a weekend ﬂing. He had a big sideways grin and a mop of hair combed over rakishly. He talked garrulously for a couple of hours, and later we went home to meet his wife and play with his computer. One of his biggest complaints then was a book called China Can Say No, a collection of polemical essays by a half- dozen young writers fed up with the United States and its perceived bullying of China. The writers ranted against Hollywood, Boeing jets, and other reminders that China was inextricably bound to the outside world. Wang thought the book was rubbish, written by opportunists. “People of my age had miserable experiences. We have seen the dark side of things,” he told me. “But today’s young people may not be aware of it. [The writers] are sentimental and unreasonable, and that is why I dislike them.” Those young authors and most of their intellectual contemporaries committed what for Wang was a cardinal sin: they aspired to lead society rather than remain outside of it as independent critics. Wang said: “The maladies of Chinese society are mainly from autocracy and centralization of state power. In the Chinese cultural 2 Interviewed in “The People in Retreat,” NYR Daily, September 8, 2016. 3 Translated and with an introduction by Hongling Zhang and Jason Sommer (SUNY Press, 2007). The New York Review cover is a disaster, showing a drawing, reminiscent of a 1940s American crime novel, of a man and woman in a cheap hotel room after a tryst. Two other essays are available online, but about 90 percent of his work is untranslated—a strange oversight when publishers are often searching (seemingly desperately, given what sometimes gets translated) to ﬁnd Chinese voices to explain the country’s rise. David Der-wei Wang, a professor of Chinese literature at Harvard University, said the lack of translation can’t be due to Wang’s work being difﬁcult to read. Besides including Wang Xiaobo in his New Literary History of Modern China (2017), Professor Wang regularly teaches Wang Xiaobo in literature classes to non– China specialists. “They really like it—the style, the story, the laughter and the melancholia, even though they didn’t know who this person was or what the Cultural Revolution was all about,” Wang told me. “These are issues that speak to a worldwide audience.” On the anniversary of Wang Xiaobo’s death this past April, some of China’s best-known literary critics met to discuss his works, while his widow and a half- dozen of his fans made a pilgrimage to his grave on the outskirts of Beijing. There they spilled a bottle of his favorite grain alcohol in his honor and read poems. The group had made commemorative T-shirts for the day, with Wang’s face and the dates 1952–1997 on the front. “To me, it was never easy to encounter a romantic love,” Li said as she walked up the steep path. “He was the trigger to it. It felt great.” Following Li was Zhang Linlin, a thirty-year- old high school history teacher. Zhang regularly introduces his students to Wang Xiaobo. He said they are drawn to Wang’s works for the sex but stay for the ideas and the social criticism. For Zhang, Wang has become something more important than a favorite author—a guidepost, his principled and thoughtful life an inspiration for his own. “When Nietzsche was in trouble, he’d ﬁnd a portrait of Schopenhauer and shout, ‘Save me, Schopenhauer,’” Zhang said. “I hold a portrait of Wang Xiaobo and think about what he would do. He shows me the direction. He is a perfect person.” In addition to all of your favorite New York Review related merchandise and reprints of every illustration ever published in the magazine, our newly redesigned webstore at shop.nybooks.com features a thoughtfully chosen collection of practical and delightful objects, selected for those for whom literature is a beloved preoccupation. We also offer a collection of gifts for children that foster, guide, and encourage a love of reading and writing, including books, educational toys, and games for infants through teens. 9LVLWRXUQHZVWRUHWRGD\WRÀQGDJLIWIRUWKDWVSHFLDOUHDGHULQ\RXU OLIHRUDWUHDWIRU\RXUVHOI !0%+*+,$%,-+&+,)+,%*+1.(,+/'(#.+"%, -%#+$% Light Gathering Magnifier • $87.50 I Dwell in Possibility Baby Tee • $19.95 SALMON How salmon love sex enough to ﬁght uphill in waters blasting brilliant, some one hundred mph (fact-checkers, forget it, I’m close.) How we stood, old inkling of such exhausting omg Darwin would have . . . (the difference, the samethingness, animal hungers and fury and persistence, the belief, some amazing something next) exploded!—his head on a pillow most afternoons in the parlor, wrapped in her quiet concern. Emma the perfect nurse, they say, who married the perfect patient, Victorian fable, velvet-striped wallpaper even on the ceiling would be my guess. Because that trip he took in youth is everlasting youth, island of huge tortoises and the tiny cactus ﬁnch plus that other green spot in the sea, its DNA trace of the grand extinct Dodo too trusting to run from sailors with their clubs, too weird, and bigger, certainly more feathered and blank-eyed than one impossible irreplaceable Great Uncle Cedric I heard of, just wanting a little honest-to-god barbeque at the wedding. The forces of life are mysterious. But thrilling and painful, August in Alaska near Seward, gone up in a ﬁrestorm during the quake, 1964, any year in a fade next to our stunned standing at the salmon weir, a patch of woods, sunlit river raging, those bright muscle-creatures blown back at it at it leaping, failing spectacular upstarts all over again human. What it means to love is speechless. Bird Bingo • $32.95 Floral Notebook and Pencils • $33.95 Sidekick Book Light • $10.95 Baby Lit Classics • $37.50 Slipcase • $15.00 Over 3000 to choose from • $150.00 framed —Marianne Boruch Prices above do not include shipping and handling. 7RRUGHUFDOORUVKRSRQOLQHDWVKRSQ\ERRNVFRP October 26, 2017 65 Good Lord Ferdinand Mount First Confession: A Sort of Memoir by Chris Patten. London: Allen Lane, 312 pp., £20.00 Kind of Blue: A Political Memoir by Ken Clarke. London: Pan, 525 pp., $15.95 (paper) History to the defeated doesn’t even say “alas,” it just cuts them dead. In the British Conservative Party especially, the waters of oblivion close over the defenders of deserted orthodoxies like appeasement and the Corn Laws. So now with the Tory Europhiles. For a generation and more, to be “a good European” was the passport to promotion in the party. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Young Conservatives prided themselves on being the largest youth movement in the free world, and they were as passionately devoted to the Common Market as they were to table tennis and the twist. By contrast, the opponents of Britain’s entry in 1973 were a sullen minority, easily written off as crusty nostalgists for the Empire. In the 1975 referendum on Britain’s continued membership, they made a wretched showing alongside the dinosaurs of the Old Left. Enoch Powell and Michael Foot sharing a platform looked like a tableau vivant of the wrong side of history. In retrospect, it is remarkable how soon that tide began to turn. Already by the late 1980s the YC s had come under the control of the anti-European pro-Empire right. The Federation of Conservative Students had been closed down in 1986 for its scandalous racist antics by the party chairman, Norman Tebbit. The YC s themselves were closed down as an embarrassment in 1998. The party’s future direction was becoming clear. The painful struggle that John Major endured in 1992 to push through Parliament the Maastricht Treaty, which created the European Union, was only the most conspicuous sign that “the bastards,” as Major so delicately dubbed them, were on a long-term roll. Aspiring Conservative candidates had to take on the protective coloration of Euroskepticism to have much hope of selection. Today, as the remaining Remainers pick their way through the debris of the referendum of June 2016, they hear only the derisive cries of the victorious Brexiteers: “You lost, get over it, stop moaning.” Analysis of the results of the general election that Theresa May so foolishly called in June 2017 shows that the Conservatives owed their survival to the inﬂux of millions of Leavers. All that is left of the great Europhile generation is their memoirs. If revenge is a dish best served cold, we are in for a veritable smorgasbord. Chris Patten and Ken Clarke are the two most attractive survivors of that generation: genial, unstuffy characters, easily reaching for the slang—“gobsmacked,” “double whammy”—that doesn’t trip off the lips of their stiffer colleagues. Even their book titles tell you something— 66 the familiar ﬁrst names, the selfdeprecation in the subtitles. (Kind of Blue is borrowed from the Miles Davis album, Clarke being an obsessive jazz buff more likely to be found tapping time with his Hush Puppies at Ronnie Scott’s than at the Athenaeum.) The two men came from modest backgrounds to occupy most of the great ofﬁces of state, both of them offering the safe pair of hands that the state gropes for in fraught moments. Clarke’s father was an electrician in the local Nottinghamshire colliery. Patten’s family had emigrated from Ireland to escape the horrors of the Famine. It is hard to imagine a sharper contrast with Patten’s own secure and happy childhood in the suburban lanes of Perivale. The garden smelled of honeysuckle, and there were tiny new potatoes from the vegetable patch that his mother fried in bacon fat. Patten’s father, the lovable Frank, was a not very successful music publisher, though he was responsible for one of my favorite songs of the early 1950s, “She wears red feathers and a huly-huly skirt.” Father and son were both ﬁne cricketers and keen supporters of England and Blackpool Football Club, just as Clarke father and son—an equally happy duo—would traipse off to see Nottinghamshire play cricket at Trent Bridge. Clarke and Patten are lookers-forward, an admirable quality in life but not ideal for a memoirist, and in both cases, I would like to have had more of those idyllic early days. Patten and Clarke sailed through their scholarship exams into St. Benedict’s, Ealing, and Nottingham High School respectively, both ﬁrst-rate schools that reserved a generous tranche of places for scholarship boys and provided a springy ladder out of the suburbs. Patten has remained an unwavering though not uncritical Catholic all his life, and he is grateful to St. Benedict’s and sad to see it ravaged in recent years by horriﬁc stories of child abuse. He says of himself, “I was in clover, never bored, well taught, not remotely bolshie,” and he sailed on to Balliol College, Oxford, just as Clarke did to Gonville and Caius, Cambridge. Those who persist in regarding Britain as a closed, caste-ridden society should reﬂect on these not untypical examples of postwar likely lads. England, and still more Scotland, has always been a more open society than it appeared, if not as open as it should be. Herbert Henry Asquith, prime minister during World War I, described Balliol men like himself as possessing “the tranquil consciousness of an effortless superiority.” Patten tells us that this description is not helpful or accurate. But then he gives a list of conspicuous twentieth- century alumni of the college: Ted Heath, Roy Jenkins, Denis Healey, the Lord Chief Justice Tom Bingham, the Guardian columnist Hugo Young, and Ian Gilmour. I have to say that, in their different ways, effortless superiority was exactly what they all exuded. T his is not a mere social footnote. It is decidedly relevant to the casus belli of our times. For all the abovementioned were also passionate, unwavering supporters of the European ideal. Tom Bingham was the ﬁrst judge to urge that the European Convention on Human Rights be incorporated into English law. Hugo Young wrote the most inﬂuential polemics in support of British participation in the European enterprise. It was Roy Jenkins and his coterie of pro-European Labour supporters who assisted Edward Heath in getting the European Communities Bill through the House of Commons. You could be forgiven for seeing the whole thing as a Balliol conspiracy of the elite against the unenlightened. That word “elite” did not ﬁgure much in political debate until the referendum campaign of 2016, when it went toxic. “Elites” or “experts” suddenly became Public Enemy No. 1 in the rhetoric of Michael Gove and Nigel Farage, as they did in the rhetoric of Donald Trump. The country, we were told, was being dragged in the wrong direction by an exclusive clique of know-it-alls who were out of touch with the real needs and desires of the people. Such an outcry was not unknown in the United States. But it was rather new in the United Kingdom. When the Daily Mail of November 4, 2016, carried the headline ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE on its story about the High Court’s ruling that Parliament must have a say on triggering the Brexit process, there was a collective frisson, shared by quite a few people who voted Leave. It was not simply that if the object of leaving the EU was to restore the sovereignty of the British Parliament, then it seemed only logical that Parliament should approve the process. It was also the implicit assumption that the Will of the People had the right to brush aside everything else, Parliament and the rule of law included, a doctrine that owed more to Robespierre than to Burke. Patten’s account of his thirteen years in the House of Commons seems worlds away from these alarming events. Elected for Bath in 1979, after ﬁve years as the precocious head of the Conservative Research Department, he immediately fell into the company of a congenial bunch of talented young MPs like himself in the liberal wing of the party. The whips called them the Blue Chips, which suggests a clique of well-heeled aristocrats, but though a couple of them were the sons of peers, most were middle- class meritocrats like Patten. For Patten, the company of kindred spirits like Gilmour, William Waldegrave, and Tristan Garel-Jones must have passed the time agreeably. Yet perhaps for this reason there is something ﬂat about his account of those years, which were indeed swept by “sharp conﬂicts” and “tempestuous passions.” It is as though Patten and his friends scarcely mingled with anyone else. The leading ﬁgures of the Thatcher Revolution (or counterrevolution)—Geoffrey Howe, Nigel Lawson, Norman Tebbit—scarcely ﬁgure. Thatcher’s chief guru, Sir Keith Joseph, was brieﬂy Patten’s boss at the Department of Education, but he has only a walk- on part as a slightly deranged obsessive—it was, I think, Patten who The New York Review What makes Clarke’s ministerial experience so fascinating is that he passed through virtually every department of government except the Foreign Ofﬁce, and in each of them he found virtually the same situation: the formal hierarchy of minister and department concealed an extraordinary covert syndicalist reality. Almost everywhere the minister and his ofﬁcials had become accustomed to doing little more than acquiesce in the day-to- day control of the trade unions and staff associations. The 1980s British sitcom Yes, Minister has achieved global renown as an accurate and enduring picture of bureaucracy that is applicable in every country and to every type of regime. Yet the peculiar, elegant impotence of Whitehall at this period gave the program an extra bite in Britain. Time and again, on arriving in a department, Clarke encountered a staggering level of noncooperation, which elsewhere would have been grounds for dismissal. After agreeing to a reform program for the National Health Service with the prime minister, Clarke sauntered back to his ofﬁce to be informed by the affable permanent secretary, Sir Christopher France, that regrettably he did not October 26, 2017 If they were stirred at all, it was mostly by dislike of Thatcher’s favorites (several of them admittedly easy to dislike) and by a growing dislike of their constituents, whose devotion to the Blessed Margaret became even more doglike. Patten rightly remarks that it is extraordinary how many politicians “do not seem to like people—their voters—very much: a bit like doctors not being able to stand the sight of blood.” But he himself is not immune to such aversions; he admits that “my feeling about Bath fell short of dewyeyed love” and that when he lost the seat in 1992, “my sentiments at parting company were thus not those of unalloyed gloom.” He particularly disliked “a number of rather unattractive and mildly snobbish middle- class voters.” People of this middling sort he dismisses as “the blazered vote.” But who are the real snobs here? Patten had, after all, worn a blazer himself in his day. The dislike was returned as heartily at Westminster as at Bath. Famously, when the news of Patten’s defeat came up on the screen at an election party given by the Tory treasurer, the faux bonhomme Alistair McAlpine, the assembled hard-liners crowed “Conservative gain.” A remarkable show of loathing, considering that Patten was party chairman at the time and had just helped to win them the general election. You sense that he was not unhappy to say goodbye to domestic politics and sail off to Hong Kong as Britain’s last governor. His remit was to prepare for the handover to China in ﬁve years’ time. This was to be the beginning of a period in his life in which everything went right for him and he rendered signal service to the state. On reaching Hong Kong, Patten immediately incurred the formal hostility of the Chinese government and the rather more heartfelt hostility of the British business community by injecting a degree of democracy that previous governors had not thought to offer the colony. Patten took seriously Deng Xiaoping’s offer of “one country, two systems.” Edward Heath had originally supported the argument that an injection of democracy would be the best guarantee of Hong Kong’s future freedom. But after being repeatedly feted in Beijing, he abandoned this view, inviting himself to stay with Patten, then going around the colony saying what a mess the governor was making by being so confrontational. It was a typical piece of Heath boorishness, equaled in Patten’s experience only by the time when he demolished a lobster and half a bottle of Chablis during a speechwriting session without offering Patten and his colleague so much as a sandwich. Patten is struck by how much of his “public and private life has been spent dealing with the politics of identity, whose wild and carnivorous beasts have torn so many societies to pieces and unleashed so much havoc.” For over a decade, ﬁrst in Hong Kong, then as chairman of the Independent Committee on Policing in Northern Ireland from 1998 to 1999, and ﬁnally as an EU commissioner from 1999 to 2004, he was engaged in the business of smudging sovereignty, in the greater interests of civil concord and prosperity. In Northern Ireland, the British had fought the IRA to a standstill, and a sequence of peace deals wound the conﬂict down until the province could begin to breathe again. The outstanding issue that Patten was sent to resolve was that of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, which by virtue of its name and the Crown on its cap badge was seen as a sectarian force by the Catholic minority, who risked death if they joined it, as indeed the Protestants did too. Three hundred RUC ofﬁcers had been killed during the Troubles, 277 by the AI NO LA W BL E! have any ofﬁcials who could be spared to work on it. So often the minister was, to borrow the embittered Norman Lamont’s phrase about the Major government after he left it, “in ofﬁce but not in power.” To have restored a modicum of genuine ministerial power was not the least of Thatcher’s achievements, for which subsequent governments, whatever their aims, have reason to be grateful. And throughout her principal hatchet man was the most notorious of the Wets, Kenneth Clarke. After her fall, as John Major’s chancellor of the exchequer, he did more to restore the public ﬁnances than any other chancellor since the war. In this ofﬁce too, he was acting in a decidedly Thatcherite fashion. No one could have been better qualiﬁed to succeed John Major as party leader in 1997. Yet Clarke was utterly humiliated in that contest and on the two other occasions he stood. He lost 55–45 to William Hague, then an inexperienced pipsqueak; he lost 61–39 to the risibly inadequate Iain Duncan Smith; and in 2005, when David Cameron won, he was eliminated in the ﬁrst round. Each time, his opponent claimed, with varying degrees of plausibility, to be a fervent Euroskeptic. Each time, Clarke’s friends implored him to mufﬂe his enthusiasm for the EU. Each time, Clarke refused. Twenty years ago then, the Conservative grassroots were already venomously hostile to the EU. And it cannot be denied that much of the damage was done by Thatcher herself. She persistently badmouthed the EU and its leaders at every opportunity while energetically deepening the Union through the achievement of the Single Market. It might be too much to say, as Patten reports the acerbic Jock BruceGardyne saying, that she would save the country but destroy the Conservative Party and that both the country and the party deserved what was coming to them. But she certainly is a good part of the reason why we are where we are. Patten himself came too late to the High Table to take much part in the struggle. He reached the Cabinet in Thatcher’s closing years, and his ﬁrst task was the hopeless one of trying to rescue the wretched Poll Tax, which shifted the local tax burden from property owners to all adults, one of the worst ideas ever to make it onto the statute book. Anyone who retains any illusions about Cabinet government should note the craven way in which every minister except Nigel Lawson tamely assented to a measure they knew would be a disaster (and even Lawson retreated into an impotent grump). In general, it seems, the Wets declined into a sort of internal exile, still ready to accept any ofﬁce that came their way but unwilling to offer any sustained critique or alternative. 2018 New York Review Calendar and Planner AV christened him “the Mad Monk.” Margaret Thatcher herself ﬁgures mostly as a sort of stern house matron who occasionally shows a softer side. The great battles of the period—the miners’ strike, the ferocious arguments about trade union reform and the governance of state schools and the privatizing of nationalized industries—all seem to be happening offstage, as they would in a play by Racine or Aeschylus. Patten does pay dutiful tribute to Thatcher’s achievements in “making Britain governable again,” but he does not show much interest in how it was done, and he remains hostile to her economic policy, which he refuses to consider seriously. I noticed the same thing in his earlier account of his travels around the United States on a Coolidge Fellowship after leaving Balliol in the late 1960s. There too tempestuous passions were in play, new ideas up and running. Patten shows little interest in these debates, writing off Reagan as a buffoon, or, worse, a dishonest buffoon. He reads Hayek but does not inhale, remaining wedded to the old patrician Republican Party of John Lindsay (for whom he worked and whom he came to admire), Nelson Rockefeller, and Jacob Javits. He is just as proud to be immoderate in the defense of moderation as Goldwater said he was in the protection of liberty. Which is ﬁne, except that contentment with the conventional wisdom was unlikely to provide much of an engine for reform. It is notable that the “Wets,” as the moderates came to be called, were often resistant to reforming anything much. As employment secretary, Jim Prior, for example, espoused what he called “a step-by-step approach” to the reform of trade union law, but his instinct turned out to be more like Cardinal Newman’s “I do not ask to see the distant scene; one step enough for me.” The sustained energy came mostly from the rougher element who would not have been welcome at the Blue Chips’ table. But it was Kenneth Clarke who displayed the most conspicuous energy in turning Thatcher’s mantras into concrete results. 2018 David Levine Calendar: Early Days of the Review $12.95 2018 Weekly Pocket Planner $10.95 Shipping is FREE within the US! Why not order one for yourself and several for your friends? Go to: shop.nybooks.com! Name Address City/State/Zip Country J Check enclosed* J AMEX Charge my: J Visa J MasterCard Credit Card Number Expiration Date Signature Item Qty Price Total 2018 Calendar X $12.95 = $ 2018 Weekly Planner X $10.95 = $ PLUS POSTAGE & HANDLING within US per item FREE! X $4.00 = $ 0.00 Canada per item X $5.00 = $ Rest of World per item X $10.00 = $ Orders to New York– add local Sales Tax =$ OR OR GRAND TOTAL $ *Check or US money order must be made payable toThe New York Review of Books in US dollars, drawn on a US bank account. We cannot accept international money orders. Please allow 1–2 weeks for delivery within the US and 2–3 weeks for delivery outside the US. Return this coupon to: Order Department, 435 Hudson Street, Suite 300, New York, NY 10014, or for credit card orders only, call (646) 215-2500 or visit shop.nybooks.com 67 under which the force was to be renamed the Police Service of Northern Ireland and recruits were to be drawn on a ﬁfty-ﬁfty basis, so that within ten years 30 percent of the force would be Catholic. The Unionists protested, quite accurately, that British sovereignty over the Province was being smudged to encourage Republicans who continued to hope for a united Ireland one day. But the deal stuck. In Brussels, he was in charge of the EU’s external affairs. He found himself cleaning up the moral and physical chaos left by the breakup of Yugoslavia. The Kosovo war had only just ended. After a shaky, hesitant start, the EU was now launched on an ambitious program that combined ﬁnancial aid and support for building institutions such as the courts and the police with trade deals and the eventual prospect of EU membership in return for good behavior. By backing down on extreme nationalist demands and agreeing to accept outside supervision, the various statelets could have a tolerable future, provided they accepted the smudge. These were tense and often dangerous days, punctuated by gunﬁre, in shabby bandit country where compromise had been regarded as a crime. But tireless negotiation, plus American backing (the visiting US ﬁremen like Richard Holbrooke were indispensable), made an uneasy peace stick. These are remarkable achievements. On the basis of this experience, Patten could be forgiven for believing that it ought to be possible to persuade people to accept smudged sovereignty, overlapping identities, call it what you will, in any circumstances in which they would be demonstrably better off as a result. He remains puzzled and hurt that the British Conservative Party turns out to be an exception to this rule: The only great regret I have at this stage of my life is the result of the EU referendum and what it tells us about the populist perils that ambush liberal international values here, elsewhere in Europe and alas in America too. Patten and Clarke are both happy men. They ﬁnd it hard to imagine the unhappiness of others, to think themselves into the resentments of the less fortunate. “Identitarianism,” whether they see it at work in Europe or the US, is a closed book to them. In particular, Patten cannot see why people fuss about sovereignty. He insists that what sovereignty means in practice is the power and authority you have in relation to events at any given moment. Sovereignty is not a once-and-for-all commodity, or an incredible shrinking asset. It is not . . . like virginity, as Geoffrey Howe used to note—there one moment, gone the next. But this is not how the word is commonly—and, I think, correctly—used. Sovereignty (“aboveness”) is not the same as power. It is a matter of locating legitimate authority. The questions to be asked are not about the quantum of power being exercised under that authority. The questions are: What is the nature of that authority? Where does it come from? Who in the end calls the 68 shots? Who makes the ground rules? What we are in quest of is what might be more helpfully called ultimacy. “A State either is sovereign, or is not,” to quote Sir Noel Malcolm, our foremost expert on Hobbes. You can’t share sovereignty. It’s plenary and it’s exclusive. This is a doctrine that comes straight from Hobbes via Bagehot and Enoch Powell. Bagehot says in The English Constitution: Hobbes told us long ago, and everybody now understands that there must be a supreme authority, a conclusive power in every state on every point somewhere. When a nation-state joins an international organization like NATO or the UN or the EU, power, not sover- remains tiny. Ninety-nine percent of British taxpayers’ money is spent by British ministers to suit British needs. In their day, many of the most fervent Brexiteers, like Lawson, Gove, and Tebbit, carried out vast reforms of the British tax system, state schools, and trade union law without a squeak out of the EU. The euro remains hopelessly crippled by the continued reluctance of Germany and other Northern European states to transfer funds to Greece and other Mediterranean members, which would be an essential ﬁrst step for the creation of a federal Europe. “Take back control,” Patten retorts, not unreasonably—“what control did we lack?” To Patten and the 48 percent who voted like him, it seems obvious that EU membership offers opportunities Andrew Parsons/ PA Archive/ PA Images IRA. Patten brokered a new settlement the balance of power to malign effect, as the Irish members did in the Asquith years? I quite agree that “it is crucial to manage national opinion so that the public do not believe that their loyalties are being rolled over.” But how is this to be done? Is it really true that, as Patten claims, “it should be relatively straightforward for political leaders to prevent national pride turning into aggressive xenophobia”? If so, why didn’t they do it? Several times, he laments that he and the other pro-Europeans failed to confront the myths, lies, and exaggerations about Europe, for fear of stirring up the right wing and out of reluctance to stand up to the tabloid press. I don’t think it was just fear, or political prudence, to use a kinder term. There was also a lofty unwillingness to look more closely at what the identitarians were worried about. There was a certain Balliol insouciance among the elite, and the common folk felt it. The fact that we have only just begun to talk about identitarianism suggests that we haven’t really thought much about what it means. The nearest I can get to deﬁning it is that it is the old Hobbesian case dressed up as “traditional conservatism.” Put quite simply by Sir Roger Scruton in a recent newspaper article, the indictment is that a familiar and coherent tradition of living together has been undermined by a sequence of hasty, illthought- out tamperings with Britain’s political arrangements: Ken Clarke in his ofﬁce in Westminster, September 2005 eignty, is being pooled. For mutual convenience, the parties may agree to smudge their sovereignties, but they are not thereby obliterated. Any party is entitled to leave and take back the relevant powers whenever it chooses, a right made explicit in the case of the EU by the Lisbon Treaty of 2007. Exactly how any nation-state makes its decision to join, not to join, or to leave is up to that nation. The people of Norway and Switzerland have both voted to stay out, several times, despite the wishes of their governments, and both nations have stayed out. The people of France, Ireland, and the Netherlands have all voted “No” to further development of the EU, and their governments all blithely disregarded their advice. I remember Frits Bolkestein, a Dutch EU commissioner alongside Patten, lamenting that “the people were not well instructed.” A breathtaking piece of condescension, but there was no doubt that the Dutch government had the right to ignore the vote. The poor Irish people were made to vote again to give the desired answer, which they obediently did. The British government too had the theoretical right to disregard the result of the 2016 referendum, but it would have been political suicide. The point is that the European Union remains an association of nation-states, and is likely to remain so, despite the hopes of the federalists and the fears of the Europhobes. Nor is it true that the mission creep of the EU’s institutions is likely to bring its members closer and closer to the point where they ultimately lose their individual sovereignty to a United States of Europe. The EU’s budget in trade, work, travel, and national security to us all, not just the pampered elites. The auto workers of Sunderland owe just as much to the UK being in the EU as do the slickers of the City of London. What’s more, the connections built up over forty years are devilishly difﬁcult to disentangle without damage, as Britain’s negotiators are now ﬁnding every day. In an earlier work, Not Quite the Diplomat (2005), Patten gives an acute analysis of the difﬁculties we are now running into, and the drawbacks of any alternative arrangements such as those now enjoyed or endured by Norway and Switzerland. These problems were, in truth, not hard to foresee: if you withdraw from a trade bloc but wish to continue trading with it on favorable terms, then inevitably you must become a rule-taker instead of a rule-maker. In return for access to the single market, we graciously allow Continentals to come to Britain to do the jobs we were not prepared to do ourselves, stocking shelves, picking peas and strawberries, waiting tables. One numbskull Brexiteer suggested recruiting British pensioners to pick the potatoes instead. “Now there’s an election winner!” Patten chortles. Patten rejects the idea that Cameron had no alternative but to offer a referendum on Brexit. Even if the Remainers had won, let’s say by the margin they lost by of 52–48, the Leavers would have been back for one more heave. True enough, but could Cameron really have gritted his teeth and carried on regardless, as the UKIP vote continued to rise beyond three to four million and to reach the point where the party began to win seats and hold The mass immigration of communities who deﬁne their political membership in religious rather than secular terms; the transfer of sovereignty from parliament to unelected ofﬁcials in foreign countries and foreign courts of law; the disruption of the common law by the abolition of the tutelary ofﬁce of Lord Chancellor and the creation of a continental-style Supreme Court; the assault on national unity caused by creating a Scottish parliament while leaving the English with no assembly of their own—all these changes have occurred with only the most muted of protests from the Conservative Party and certainly with no attempt to articulate in a coherent way what is really at stake in them, namely our survival as a distinctive sovereign body. One may certainly quarrel with the slant that Scruton puts on these items. I have already argued, for example, that there has been no transfer of sovereignty to Europe. But it has to be admitted that, taken together, these changes do add up to something. I would deﬁne it as an unclenching of power from the balled ﬁst of Whitehall/Westminster. As they work their way through, these changes nudge us in the direction of a more open, devolved society, in which it is easier to raise questions and interrogate authority. But then plenty of people, especially older people, are not that keen on the idea of an open society, and do not care to be nudged. Nothing was more remarkable about the results of the EU referendum than the age breakdown: over 70 percent of under-twenty-ﬁves voted Remain; two thirds of over-sixty-ﬁves voted Leave. The New York Review There is a fair case, based on reallife experience, for each of the changes that Scruton abhors. Scottish opinion was overwhelmingly in favor of restoring its old Parliament to bring government closer to home. The new Supreme Court is not the brainchild of demented rationalists; it is a natural response to a world in which we expect judges to review ofﬁcial decisions without fear or favor. As for the EU, many of its activities arise out of purely practical needs for common standards of health, safety, patent law, environmental protection, trading rules, design, professional qualiﬁcations, and a dozen other desiderata of the modern world. Yes, Patten concedes, the EU often tries to do too much, but if it did not exist, we would need to in- LETTERS MORE RULES OF IMPEACHMENT To the Editors: I write to clear up misconceptions about the Constitution, the law, and my book in the review of The Case for Impeachment [NYR, September 28]. The reviewers’ most serious error, with profound implications for current debates, is their claim that impeachment is inapplicable to offenses occurring prior to the presidency. The reviewers cite no authorities for this proposition and ignore the lack of any such limitation in the Constitution. They dismiss my example of a federal judge impeached for transgressions before assuming the bench, saying, “Judges may be different from presidents, since past criminal activity could impinge on their ability to deliver justice fairly.” Yet they fail to draw the obvious connection that any collusion between Trump and the Russians would profoundly impact his ability to govern, even subjecting him to foreign blackmail. The reviewers incorrectly claim that Trump could not be charged with treason if he colluded with the Russians, saying that treason requires “a state of war.” Yet Russia had engaged in acts of war against America, not with bullets and bombs, but through a modern form of warfare, a cyberattack on our democracy. According to Russia’s “Gerasimov Doctrine,” propounded in 2013 by Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff of the Russian Armed Forces, “The very ‘rules of war’ have changed. The role of nonmilitary means of achieving political and strategic goals has grown, and, in many cases, they have exceeded the power of force of weapons in their effectiveness.” The reviewers claim that in suggesting that Trump could be charged with a “crime against humanity” for throttling back efforts to combat climate change, I advocate impeachment over a policy difference, a position I explicitly disavow, writing, “Differences of policy and values do not make a case for impeachment.” I say instead that impeachment requires proof that his backtracking on climate change threatens the well-being and survival of humanity. Crimes against the environment are well recognized in international law, and have grounded successful civil suits in several nations. A similar suit is pending in the United States. Trump himself made the case of considering inaction on climate change a crime against humanity in a 2009 open letter to President Obama, saying, “If we fail to act now [on climate change], it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet.” The reviewers incorrectly say that I cite Trump’s history of lying as a ground for impeachment. Rather, I claim only that Trump’s propensity to lie could expose him to impeachment if, like Bill Clinton, he lies when testifying under oath. They claim that I present Trump’s “misogyny” as another impeachable offense, although I cite his war on women only as a potential impeachment trap through a civil lawsuit that might compel him to testify under oath. October 26, 2017 Alexander Hamilton; portrait by James Sharples, circa 1796 Ironically, the reviewers draw extensively on other parts of my book without attribution. They closely track my language on why impeachment need not involve an indictable crime, even requoting phrases from Alexander Hamilton presented in my book. They make a case for Trump’s violation of the Emolument Clause of the Constitution that is nearly identical to my analysis, citing many identical examples, such as his trademarks from China, his Trump Tower Manila, and foreign profits from his hotels. They ignore my chapter on abuse of power, yet make nearly the same claims for impeachment, including his attacks on the judiciary and the press, and his accusation that President Obama had wiretapped his phones. The reviewers make another damaging mistake by claiming that even if Trump colluded with the Russians, “the issue really is the cover-up, not the crime.” This trivializes the importance of such collusion, which would constitute the most serious threat to our democracy in the history of the nation. An emphasis on the “cover-up” plays into the hands of Trump and his apologists who have been implying that collusion was not a serious matter. In response to revelations of the June 2016 meeting between leaders of his campaign and the Russians, with the intent of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton, Trump said, “Most people would have taken that meeting . . . it’s very standard.” If such conduct were ever to become standard, American democracy would suffer a grievous, perhaps even fatal blow. Allan Lichtman Distinguished Professor of History American University Washington, D.C. Noah Feldman and Jacob Weisberg reply: Contrary to Professor Lichtman’s assertion, the text of the Constitution does specify that crimes a president may have committed before taking office are not impeachable offenses—by using the word “high” to modify “crimes and misdemeanors.” High crimes, as we explained, are those that relate to the office occupied by the person being impeached. Actions taken without connection to political office, such as prior wrongdoing unconnected to the presidency, vent something not unlike it—which is what we are currently struggling to do. All this needed to be said loud and clear before public opinion had soured and congealed. The failure of the elite was not in what they did but in what they failed to say. Their heads were clear enough, but they never cleared their throats. I do not say that an invi- tation to join the modern world is ever an easy one to put to suspicious voters. But it is a sad fact that over the past forty years nobody with that kind of persuasive power has led the Conservative Party, or the nation, in the general direction of Europe. Ken Clarke might well have managed it, but he was too unbending to give himself the chance. are not and cannot reasonably be construed to be “high.” Precedent overwhelmingly supports this understanding. From 1789 until 2010 not one federal official was impeached for actions taken before assuming office. As Alan Baron, a former special counsel on impeachment, points out in another letter to the editors not published here, the 2010 impeachment of federal judge G. Thomas Porteous went against this tradition to a degree. One of the four articles of impeachment against Porteous was for “a longstanding pattern of corrupt conduct”— taking kickbacks from a bail bondsman— that had begun when he was a state court judge and continued while he served on the federal bench. The other three articles related exclusively to Porteous’s federal judicial service. To the extent that the citation of the judge’s earlier conduct could be understood as a departure from precedent, as was justified at the time by then Senator Jeff Sessions, it was in our view highly doubtful. As we noted, the Porteous article of impeachment could arguably be justified on the theory that the constitutional status of judges differs from that of presidents. Under Article III of the Constitution, judges serve “during good behavior”—a restriction not applied to the president. It could be maintained that prior wrongful acts by judges constitute a violation of “good behavior” deserving impeachment insofar as they make it impossible for judges to be seen to be doing justice—especially when the course of conduct is ongoing, as Porteous’s was. In any event, Congress’s impeachment of him in 2010 should not be interpreted as a “seismic change” in the law of impeachment, as Baron suggests, but rather as an outlying case that does not set a clear precedent for presidential impeachment. Whether this matters in practice will probably depend on what the Mueller investigation reports. As we argued, collusion over the election would be a borderline case, since the election relates to the presidency. However, collusion during the campaign would likely be linked to unambiguously impeachable offenses in office, such as a cover-up or rewards to co-conspirators. Some of Lichtman’s other assertions also rest on mistakes of law. The US is not now in a legal state of war with Russia despite that country’s attempts to affect the 2016 election. The Constitution requires Congress to declare war or authorize the use of military force. Furthermore, President Trump’s announcing an intent to withdraw from or renegotiate the Paris climate accord, while in our view bad policy, does not violate international law according to any remotely plausible theory, much less constitute a crime against humanity. This sort of hyperbole tends to undercut serious discussion of impeachment. Finally, Alexander Hamilton’s account of impeachment has been discussed by every scholar on the topic since Joseph Story in his 1833 Commentaries on the Constitution. Trump’s attacks on the judiciary and violation of the emoluments clause have been front-page topics for months, written about at length by both of us among thousands of other commentators. We respectfully submit that discussion of these topics does not require attribution to Professor Lichtman. HOW THE TERROR FELT To the Editors: Colin Jones, in his review of Timothy Tackett’s The Coming of the Terror in the French Revolution [NYR, June 22], ignores the role of the popular movement on the left that opposed the dictatorship of Maximilien Robespierre and the Terror. Neither Tackett nor Jones is unusual in this. In particular, the role of the most important opposition group, La Société des Citoyennes Républicaines Révolutionnaires (The Society of Revolutionary Republican Women), is completely ignored. There are two serious histories of this movement in French: Daniel Guérin’s La Lutte des classes sous la première République: Bourgeois et “bras nus” and Le Club des Citoyennes Républicaines Révolutionnaires by Marie Cerrati. A recent book in English by Hal Draper, Women and Class, includes a discussion of this movement. Albert Soboul’s The French Revolution 1787–1799, also in English, briefly notes that the club, and all other women’s clubs, were abolished by Robespierre on October 30, 1793. The history of the popular movement in the French Revolution is one that has been largely ignored. E. Haberkern Berkeley, California To the Editors: Colin Jones’s review of Timothy Tackett’s The Coming of the Terror in the French Revolution presents us with some curious propositions. Undoubtedly, human emotions fueled the passage of the French people from the legitimate assertion of the public interest versus the royal prerogatives in 1789 to the wholesale scapegoating of the royalist class as well as fellow revolutionists caught up the frenzy of terror in 1793. But how do we understand the structure of these emotions and their origin in the public consciousness? That question takes us from intellectual history to the realm of behavioral and social science. And prompts another question: Must revolutionary movements take such destructive—and ultimately self-destructive—measures as part of their evolution? It doesn’t have to go in that direction—as our recent study of group behavior demonstrates (Group Dynamics and the New Heroism: The Ethical Alternative to the Stanford Prison Experiment). The norms of group behavior are set from the top and communicated both explicitly and implicitly, verbally and nonverbally. In this social context, the emotional content of a group is carried by specific leadership roles that emerge from the group as part of its organizational structure and process of formation. One of the most salient features of this paradigm is the scapegoat leadership role that can either summon a spirit of collective acceptance and inclusion or lead to suspicion, paranoia, and murder. How the scapegoating behavior is managed by the task leaders is the determining factor. Historians and social psychologists as distinct disciplines have not enjoyed much cross-fertilization. But there may be 69 room for fruitful collaboration when investigating the structure of revolutionary leadership. Bill Roller and Philip Zimbardo Berkeley, California Colin Jones replies: Timothy Tackett’s The Coming of the Terror in the French Revolution seeks to go beyond factional maneuverings in 1793 to focus on how apparently perfectly respectable members of the middling classes were drawn toward acceptance of actions from which they would ordinarily have shrunk in horror. He wants to understand that acceptance from the inside, moreover, as a felt phenomenon, and thus draws on the diaries and letters of ordinary men and women (who inevitably therefore are predominantly from the literate classes). This emphasis on the emotional life of what historians used to call the Revolutionary bourgeoisie is pertinent and welcome in that it rejects most earlier discussions of emotions in the Revolution, which luridly highlighted the allegedly irrational, hysterical, and bloodthirsty motivations of the lower classes, particularly women in fact. Far from “completely ignoring” the Society for Revolutionary Republican Women, moreover, Tackett cites it on multiple occasions, highlighting the ways that it inspired and pioneered a set of feminist demands that remain brightly relevant in our own day. He is surely correct, however, not to view the society as “the most important oppositional group” at the time. It comprised less than two hundred members, had very limited influence within Paris, and developed a fluctuating political agenda over its short life of a few months before it was crushed in late 1793—to disappointingly low levels of popular protest. Like Dr. Zimbardo and Mr. Roller, I too somewhat regret that Tackett’s history of the emotions in the Revolution fails to signal what the field might gain from interdisciplinary links to social psychology. In my review, I noted that he did not utilize the work of William Reddy, whose study of eighteenth-century France (notably The Navigation of Feeling, 2001) draws heavily on social science methodologies. Tackett’s own approach adapts the medieval historian Barbara Rosenwein’s idea of “emotional communities,” a concept that might offer bridges into the kind of leadership studies cited by Roller and Zimbardo. THOREAU IN TRANSLATION To the Editors: I was surprised at Robert Pogue Harrison’s assertion in “The True American” [NYR, August 17] that “Thoreau hardly makes it onto the list of notable American authors outside his home country,” and that “his peculiar brand of American nativism has little international appeal.” In fact, Thoreau’s international reception is both broad and deep at this summer’s mark of his bicentennial. Already Tolstoy appreciated what he saw as Thoreau’s back-to-the-land ethics of simplicity, while later on Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and representatives of several emanicipatory movements, including the Spanish opponents of fascism during the civil war and the Danish resistance to Nazi occupation during World War II, found value and inspiration in Thoreau’s brand of civil disobedience. Thoreau’s Walden was published in England in the late nineteenth century, aided by the promotion offered by the famous proponent of vegetarianism cum social activist Henry S. Salt. During the early-to-mid decades of the twentieth century, the book was also translated into German, French, Spanish, Russian, Italian, several Nordic languages, Japanese, and Chinese. By all accounts it has been a decided success, seeing new translations and editions surface regularly—among them a very recent one 70 in Farsi in Iran. In 1971 Thoreau’s international reception had reached a point where it received due attention in the anthology Thoreau Abroad (1971), containing a dozen essays by American and international Thoreau scholars covering different regions. While it is certainly true that Thoreau research remains overwhelmingly American, which fact will be amply evident already by the Thoreau books covered by Harrison’s omnibus review, it seems erroneous to claim that Thoreau is too quirkily and idiosyncratically American to appeal to foreign readers. As Harrison himself states, putatively “American” outlooks or behaviors are easily contrasted by their evident opposites. Thoreau likewise provokes and inspires readers near and far for the interpretive choices and responsibilities his writings prompt. Working beside his environmentalism and abolitionism, Thoreau’s never-failing penchant Henry David Thoreau for proud paradox and plural entendre, along with his ever-rich veins of humor, continually prod his readers to self-inquiry and action both private and civic. Yet there is also, and undeniably, a vibrant and ongoing scholarly exchange on Thoreau beyond the shores of America. In 2009 European and American Thoreau scholars joined for an ambitious conference in Lyon, France, to discuss his writings and their legacy. The ensuing well-received anthology, Thoreauvian Modernities: Transatlantic Conversations on an American Icon (2013), was published by the University of Georgia Press. A follow-up bicentennial Thoreau conference, also to be held in Lyon, is scheduled for this mid-October, and next spring a Thoreau symposium will be held in Gothenburg, Sweden, in early May. These are just indications of Thoreau’s continued interest among scholars, of course, while there are bound to be more Thoreau-related panels and events unfolding internationally in the near future. Writing from provincial Sweden, I can report that the last decade has seen the following Thoreau publications disseminated to curious Swedish readers: a new, annotated translation of Walden (2007); two translations of “Resistance to Civil Government”; an edited selection of Thoreau’s bird notes in his journal; as well as a wider swath of his 1850s journal. While he cannot compete for attention with our popular crime authors, recipe-book writers, and other peddlers to the popular moment, Thoreau’s impact has remained distinct and steadily growing over time. He has had several more lives to live beyond his native Concord and America. the whole, she ably rose to the challenge. I would like to offer two brief comments that may help to round out the story. The first concerns the many attempts that have been made at reconstructing the ancient city of Rome since the time of the Renaissance. A reconstruction of a city is nothing if it does not take risks. And yet it must not go too far: otherwise it becomes simply an imaginary city or an architectural caprice. There is a delicate balance in taking just a few steps beyond the bounds of knowledge at the time and in completing the unknown according to culturally accepted rules (again at the time), so that the reconstruction will be seen as convincing. Over the years, reconstructions of ancient Rome have taken many different forms: maps, paintings, prints, gardens, theater scenery, scale models, and now an atlas. In 1561, Pirro Ligorio, an architect, was the first to produce a bird’s-eye-view map of the entire ancient city. Stefano Du Perac (1574) and Mario Cartaro (1579) then followed in his footsteps—each claiming, of course, that his reconstruction was better than the previous ones. Michel de Montaigne formed his initial ideas about ancient Rome by studying such “pictures,” as he called them. When he made his first visit to Rome in 1581, he walked around the city and soon realized that all of the reconstructions had their limitations. What Carandini and his coauthors are doing is more than just reading the ruins of Rome. They are returning to a timehonored endeavor and giving us the most recent edition of Montaigne’s “pictures.” It will be the task of the next generation of scholars to probe the strengths and the weaknesses of their reconstructions. The second comment involves the parallels in the lives of Carandini and Giacomo Boni (1859–1925), who have made major contributions to the archaeology of early Rome. They both had charismatic personalities, a passion for digging well and deeply at sites in the center of ancient Rome, and an enthusiasm for seeing Romulus as a figure in history. Today most archaeologists and ancient historians view the first king of Rome as a legendary figure. And this was the case in Boni’s time as well. In 1899, Boni made two important discoveries at the Comitium in the Forum: the first was the Lapis Niger (the shrine where he thought Romulus was buried) and the second was the famous early inscription written in archaic letters with the word rex (king) in it, which dates to the sixth century BC. Boni’s belief in the historical Romulus led him to draw connections with what he was finding in his excavations that have not survived the test of time. In retrospect, it would have been better for him to follow the advice of Domenico Comparetti, a leading scholar at the time, and take a more cautious approach to reading the ancient sources on Romulus. In the case of Carandini, there are leading scholars today who tried to wave him off this quixotic course but to no avail. Instead, he forged ahead and bet the whole house on Romulus. Whether or not this was such a good decision on his part, only time will tell. MAPPING ANCIENT ROME To the Editors: Andrea Carandini stands out from other scholars who have studied ancient Rome over the last forty years in his enthusiasm for creating visual reconstructions of the early city and in his fascination with Romulus as a figure in history. Mary Beard had her hands full in reviewing The Atlas of Ancient Rome [NYR, July 13], and, on The Classiﬁeds To place an ad or for other inquiries: email: classiﬁed@nybooks.com tel: (212) 293-1630. You may also place an ad through our website at www.nybooks.com/classiﬁeds/ Classiﬁed Department The New York Review of Books 435 Hudson St., Suite 300 New York, NY 10014-3994 All contents subject to Publisher’s approval. Publisher reserves the right to reject or cancel, at its sole discretion, any advertising at any time in The New York Review of Books or on our website. 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Evans Case Studies of the Struggle for Comprehensive Primary Health Care ‘This book helps us shelve what we thought we knew about gentrification, and gives us instead a brutally honest reckoning with the ills, conveniences and virtues of gentrification.’ Michael Eric Dyson, author of ‘Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America’ New in paperback The Slow Professor Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy by Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber ‘Thrilling’ isn’t a word I often apply to books about higher education, but these pages galvanized me.’ Barbara Hunt, National Public Radio Also available as e-books at utorontopress.com The Austerity State tackles the question of why, after the fall out from the 2008 economic and financial crises, countries across the world continue to rely on austerity policies that, on many levels, have failed. by Michael K. Corman Revitalizing Health for All examines efforts to implement Comprehensive Primary Health Care reforms in countries around the globe including Australia, Brazil, India, South Africa, and more. Twilight of Empire A Country Based on Incomplete Conquests The Brest-Litovsk Conference and the Remaking of East-Central Europe, 1917–1918 In Canada’s Odyssey, renowned scholar Peter H. Russell provides an expansive, accessible account of Canadian history from the pre-Confederation period to the present day. Emergency Medical Services in the Age of Technological Governance edited by Ronald Labonté, David Sanders, Corinne Packer, and Nikki Schaay Canada’s Odyssey by Peter H. Russell Paramedics on and Off the Streets by Borislav Chernev Twilight of Empire is the first book in English to examine the Brest-Litovsk Peace Conference during the later stages of World War I. In this book, Michael K. Corman takes readers on a journey into the everyday lives of paramedics and analyzes their complex, mundane, intricate, and exhilarating work. Perception and its Development in MerleauPonty’s Phemenology edited by Kirsten Jacobson and John Russon This book is an important resource for anyone studying French phenomenologist Maurice MerleauPonty’s philosophy and serves both as a commentary upon and companion to his work, The Phenomenology of Perception.