Oct 042010
 

Arts & Letters Daily

ideas, criticism, debate

The years leading up to World War I were a time of radical artistic experimentation &mdash; <strong>vorticism, cubism, futurism, "anti-art." </strong> These new movements turned out to be further casualties of the war

The years leading up to World War I were a time of radical artistic experimentation — vorticism, cubism, futurism, "anti-art." These new movements turned out to be further casualties of the war
 
 

In 1837, Darwin sketched a <strong>tree of life</strong>: a common ancestor at the trunk, ever-dividing branches leading to new species. Turns out those branches aren't as separate as we thought

In 1837, Darwin sketched a tree of life: a common ancestor at the trunk, ever-dividing branches leading to new species. Turns out those branches aren't as separate as we thought
 
 

"A curious situation has arisen." That's how <strong>Leonard Bernstein</strong> began an unusual pre-concert address to an audience. He went on to disavow the performance he was about to conduct

"A curious situation has arisen." That's how Leonard Bernstein began an unusual pre-concert address to an audience. He went on to disavow the performance he was about to conduct
 
 

For <strong>Roland Barthes</strong>, understanding society required understanding how meaning is produced and consumed. It led him to a social psychology of human alienation

For Roland Barthes, understanding society required understanding how meaning is produced and consumed. It led him to a social psychology of human alienation
 
 

More than 800 pre-Gutenberg editions of <em>The Divine Comedy</em> are known to exist. The <strong>history of translations</strong> and interpretations is long and fractious

More than 800 pre-Gutenberg editions of The Divine Comedy are known to exist. The history of translations and interpretations is long and fractious
 
 

Kant believed that beautiful art &ldquo;must always show a certain dignity in itself.&rdquo; Alfred Brendel disagrees. He believes in <strong>musical jokes&nbsp;</strong>

Kant believed that beautiful art “must always show a certain dignity in itself.” Alfred Brendel disagrees. He believes in musical jokes 
 
 

<strong>V.S. Naipaul</strong> was a grumpy reactionary whose sense of humor bordered on cruelty. His irascibility sharpened his vision

V.S. Naipaul was a grumpy reactionary whose sense of humor bordered on cruelty. His irascibility sharpened his vision
 
 

The architecture critic <strong>Owen Hatherley</strong> has announced his last &ldquo;walking around and looking at things&rdquo; book. We look forward to his stopping

The architecture critic Owen Hatherley has announced his last “walking around and looking at things” book. We look forward to his stopping
 
 

&ldquo;Relevant&rdquo; is one of the <strong>great nonsense words</strong> in art, says Jay Nordlinger. The best art doesn't speak to our time. It speaks for all time

“Relevant” is one of the great nonsense words in art, says Jay Nordlinger. The best art doesn't speak to our time. It speaks for all time
 
 

The physicist <strong>Leo Szilard</strong> was integral to the creation of nuclear weapons. His literary legacy, including a cabal of messianic dolphins, is less well known

The physicist Leo Szilard was integral to the creation of nuclear weapons. His literary legacy, including a cabal of messianic dolphins, is less well known
 
 
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