Category Archives: Books and Culture

O’Brian’s game of composers

Having just had a capital meal of lasagna to celebrate a removal of sutures from the gap left by an extracted tooth, I am reminded of a passage I marked years ago in Patrick O’Brian’s The Nutmeg of Consolation, 1991, … Continue reading

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Capt. Aubrey’s dad’s house

Here is a May 2016 post, quoting from the late Patrick O’Brian’s The Surgeon’s Mate, written in 1979. His novels are – and I truly hate to say this, as it verges on sacrilege – as good as those of … Continue reading

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Classical Alex Trebek, R.I.P.

Alex Trebek died the other day. I heard the news in the half-time report of a televised pro football game. Jeopardy! and I had drifted apart of late, but I and my wife, Victoria, watched the show with some fervor … Continue reading

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Going wild over beauty

Beauty is a form of Genius – is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation. It is one of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or spring-time, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver … Continue reading

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A deliriously lovely chapter

One of the most beautiful passages in contemporary literary history will surely be, when it is published on May 5, chapter 20, “Sunlight on the Furniture,” in Villa of Delirium, by the French author Adrien Goetz. Its English translation by … Continue reading

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Tale of a Greek villa rebuilt

I was recently sent a novel, Villa of Delirium, about the lives of the historical inhabitants of a villa on the Côte d’Azur built at the turn of the last century as a copy of a palace in ancient Greece. … Continue reading

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Sir Roger Scruton, RIP

Death took Roger Scruton today. He was the world’s deepest thinker on architecture and aesthetics, which were embedded in the conservatism of his broader philosophy. Scruton embraced tradition, holding that “the tried and true” are a stronger foundation than novelty … Continue reading

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Curl’s American lecture tour

Professor James Stevens Curl, author of the pathbreaking Making Dystopia: The Strange Rise and Survival of Architectural Barbarism, will be visiting on our side of the pond to receive a Ross Award from the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art. … Continue reading

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The mods’ survival explained

They cut the feedback loop. Nobody has done a better job of explaining the persistence of modern architecture than does Roger Scruton in his review of James Stevens Curl’s new book, Making Dystopia. In his review, Scruton sums up with … Continue reading

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More on ‘Making Dystopia’

A book whose vile subjects have grown used to shucking off well-framed attacks for decades, and yet whose stranglehold on establishment thinking has loosened in recent years, is naturally offended by what could be their coup de grâce. So it … Continue reading

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