Andrei Navrozov

Andrei Navrozov

3

Wednesday’s Child: The Ecology of Talent

At first glance there are simply too many exceptions to prove the rule.  Take Emily Dickinson, a woman of transcendent genius who dreamed up a whole new language of English poetry, too advanced for our age to find any proper understanding or creative use.  If anybody knows anything at all about Dickinson, it’s that she was a hermit, living at a remove from urban civilization and the cultural milieu it nourished. 

12

Wednesday’s Child: Crying Wolfe

If one were to cut open, the way one saws through a tree trunk, the literary career of Tom Wolfe, in the circles revealed therein one could read the entire history – or, more to the point, the whole tragedy – of what happened to the press in America in the twentieth century.  As the writer passed away last month, I want to say a couple of things about him which the gentle reader is unlikely to find in the numerous obituaries. In 1966, after a lengthy struggle, New York’s Herald Tribune – by then the only remaining highbrow competitor...

10

Wednesday’s Child: Satan in the Details

This is an old story – exactly two years old, to be exact – but I completely missed it when it was unfolding, and something tells me the gentle reader was likewise napping even as mischievous Pan was sounding his pipes. In June 2016 the Alps played host to a variety of dignitaries, including Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s Francois Hollande, and Italy’s Matteo Renzi, at the opening ceremony for the $10 billion St. Gotthard tunnel, at 57 kilometers through solid rock the world’s longest and most ambitious. This six-hour-long theatrical spectacle had been choreographed by a German called Volker Hesse,...

9

Wednesday’s Child: Question of the Century

I had intended to stay out of politics for a while, what with the Sicilian peach season in full swing and all the rest of nature’s palliatives to hand, but then it occurred to me that unless I have my say on this particular subject, nobody in the whole wide world will.  It’s really the question of the century, as far as I’m concerned, and consequently I find few things more astonishing than the unbroken silence surrounding it.

0

Wednesday’s Child: This Portside of Paradise

When a Negroni cocktail is properly made, it is just the thing to drink sitting in the shade on a sunny day.  But when the humble Negroni is made with Punt e Mes instead of ordinary red vermouth, it is more than the cocktail you drink in the shade on a sunny day, it is how you set sail for paradise.

1

Wednesday’s Child: Brownlow’s Razor, Part Two

In short, something like a late Romantic.  Had Pasternak been born in England, he would now be remembered as the culmination of Romanticism, a poet taking to modern extreme that “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” which, famously, Wordsworth mentions in the preface to Lyrical Ballads.  And politics, it would seem, had as little to do with any of this as automobile manufacturing or Olympic sports. Yet this was the same poet who, aged 41 in 1931, published an autobiography entitled Okhrannaya gramota, its title usually, and not incorrectly, translated into English as Safe Conduct.  In speaking of a man who,...

8

Wednesday’s Child: The Artist at 60

This is essentially a letter from Munich, where my wife and I flew last week – I to celebrate the composer Vladimir Genin’s sixtieth birthday, Olga to take part in a grosse Jubiläumskonzert in honor of the occasion. This took place on Sunday evening in Munich’s Gasteig, incongruously – for anyone familiar with Genin’s music – a modernist monstrosity along the lines of London’s Barbican and the new Seine Musicale in Paris.