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”

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”

Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil (1925)

Another plague book. This one has taken me by surprise. It’s an excellent novel, one of the best by Maugham. In earlier years I read him a lot, but not Painted Veil until now. There is a movie version from 2006 starring Naomi Watts and Robert Norton. Well worth seeing. Watts is superb. The 1934Continue reading “Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil (1925)”