OGIC and I spent a few idle hours tweaking the right-hand column this past weekend. Not only are the Top Fives updated, but we undertook a radical reorganization of “Sites to See,” our blogroll, in the course of which we added some new blogs and dropped some old ones. Scroll down and take a peek.
You’ll also find something fresh in the “Teachout Elsewhere” module, a link to an essay about Anthony Powell that I wrote for Sunday’s New York Times Book Review. If you haven’t read it yet, click here to do so.
Today, by the way, is the official publication date of All in the Dances: A Brief Life of George Balanchine, which is already humming along very nicely, thank you, though I did take a hit the other day in the Los Angeles Times (no free link, heh heh heh). The reviewer actually accused me of political correctness, which has to be a lifetime first….
More interesting, and far more readily available: Maud Newton
interviewed me for her blog! We “talked” at length via e-mail about all sorts of things having to do with my work as a critic and biographer.
Here’s a taste:
How often do you find yourself modifying your initial critical perspective on a work of art?
Not infrequently, at least over the course of the life cycle, and sometimes with breathtaking speed. I occasionally quote on my blog a great line by the music critic Hans Keller: “As soon as I detest something I ask myself why I like it.” But you’re talking about something else, something different, and I think it has a lot to do with growing older. If you’re paying any attention at all, increasing age brings with it the shedding of youthful illusions, along with a detachment that also affects your aesthetic requirements. It’s harder to be romantic in middle age–you’ve seen too much death, too much failure, too much injustice–and you also lose your taste for a certain kind of effusiveness. At 48, for instance, I now find that my favorite opera is Verdi’s Falstaff. I would never have said that at 28. By the same token, I think I also appreciate certain authors more, in some cases much more. I liked Conrad when young; I love him now. I would never have appreciated a novel like Death Comes for the Archbishop when I was in my twenties. And I didn’t get Mauriac at all back then, whereas I’m now quite passionate about him….
Read the whole thing here.
I’ll try to post more today, but this is a three-deadline, three-show week, so if I should fail to deliver the goods, please be kind.
UPDATE: Go to the “Teachout in Commentary” module of the right-hand column to read my newly posted essay for Commentary, in which I talk about the life and lyrics of Johnny Mercer.