Lost Illusions: American Neo-Realism and Hitchcock’s Vertigo

Brigid O’Shaughnessy: “I love you!” Sam Spade: “I don’t care who loves who.  No one’s gonna play me for a sap.” —The Maltese Falcon Joe Gillis: “You’re Norma Desmond.  You were in the silent movies.  You were big.” Norma Desmond: “I am big.  It’s the movies that got small.”  —Sunset Boulevard             The movies didContinue reading “Lost Illusions: American Neo-Realism and Hitchcock’s Vertigo”

Inspiration and the Experience of Order

Introduction The subject of this book is a moment in the process of wrestling with impressions,experiences, gathered data, emotions, when suddenly a long sought solution, a desired form, a poem with its words, rhymes and rhythms, or the form and content of a composition, present themselves, all at once coherent and as though given fromContinue reading “Inspiration and the Experience of Order”

Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial: The Limits of Charismatic Art

These thoughts on the aesthetics of Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial began as the last chapter of my book, Enchantment: On Charisma and the Sublime in the Arts of the West (2012). Because the book was already too long, this essay became an orphan. I hope it’s still worth reading without the rest of itsContinue reading “Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial: The Limits of Charismatic Art”

Philosophy, 950-1050

Abstract: The leading conception of “Philosophy” in the period 950–1050 distinguishes it from the discipline as understood either in the Carolingian period or the later eleventh and twelfth centuries. This essay takes issue with current opinion on the subject, which tends to give particular stress to the cultivation of Aristotelian logic, mediated above all byContinue reading “Philosophy, 950-1050”

The Good Person of Bronzeville: A Liturgical Blues Comedy

Adapted from the play by Bertolt Brecht “The Good Person of Sechzuan”  SYNOPSIS A defrocked pastor meets God, Jesus Christ and Satan in a Chicago blues bar late one night. The fate of mankind hangs on a bet between God and Satan. God has decided to wipe out mankind and create a new race ofContinue reading “The Good Person of Bronzeville: A Liturgical Blues Comedy”

Bucky the Great and the Foul (Ball) Affair

Few people know the name, Buckminster Bixby. But everyone knows Bucky the Great.  Three time American League MVP, home run champ seven years running, twice triple crown winner, unforgettable personality. By unanimous acclaim, his team, his fans, and all of baseball conferred on him a title no other player in the history of the gameContinue reading “Bucky the Great and the Foul (Ball) Affair”