Two magazine pieces of mine have just appeared:
• “Confessions of an Aesthete,” my latest monthly essay for Commentary, is a longer version of the remarks I made in Washington earlier this year after receiving a Bradley Prize:
Not long ago I was introduced to an audience as an “intellectual.” This was a well-meaning choice of word, and a flattering one, but it was slightly off. An intellectual is a person who is mainly interested in ideas. I am an aesthete—a person who is mainly interested in beauty. Nowadays the word aesthete carries with it the musty reek of high Victoriana. Still, there remains no better word to describe the way certain people—people like me—view the world….
Read the whole thing here.
• In National Review, I write about the Library of America’s new omnibus volume containing Happy Days, Newspaper Days, and Heathen Days, H.L. Mencken’s three volumes of autobiographical essays:
Being a journalist, I like Newspaper Days best. Nowhere has the experience of seeing your words in print for the first time been better described: “I was up with the milkman the next morning to search the paper, and when I found both of my pieces, exactly as written, there ran such thrills through my system as a barrel of brandy and 100,000 volts of electricity could not have matched.” But all three volumes of the Days books are jammed full of like nuggets, and to start quoting them is to find it exceedingly hard to stop….
Online subscribers can read the whole thing here.