Horizon, Summer 1971 – 2

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Part 2 of this issue:

In ‘How Not to Win a War’ the eminent British historian Correlli Barnett writes about the book that was a key influence on him, and which he says could help explain what he calls ‘the American defeat in Vietnam‘, though the end of the war was still four years away:

General Karl Maria von Clausewitz was the first man to make conceptual sense of war as a social and political activity and to deduce its governing principles. Clausewitz is the starting point of all later theorizing about war, and often the finishing point as well. He significantly influenced the German and French general staffs before 1914; he is the fountainhead of present-day Communist thinking about war; and he ought to be a part of every Western young man’s education. His great work On War (Vom Kriege), casts more light than any other single book on all the facets of collective human rivalry…

…Clausewitz’s philosophy of war has been garbled into dogma, with regrettable results.

Horizon caption: 'Who would have won the honors if Clausewitz had taught a seminar on war? In Edward Sorel's reunion portrait, the bright students sit up front below their master.' Front row, L-R: Marx, Mao, Frederick the Great, Bismarck. Second row, L-R: Elizabeth I, Lenin. 'Dunces' in the rear, L-R: Napoleon, Eisenhower, F.D. Roosevelt, Churchill, Wilson, Marshall.

Horizon caption: ‘Who would have won the honors if Clausewitz had taught a seminar on war? In Edward Sorel’s reunion portrait, the bright students sit up front below their master.’ Front row, L-R: Marx, Mao, Frederick the Great, Bismarck. Second row, L-R: Elizabeth I, Lenin. ‘Dunces’ in the rear, L-R: Napoleon, Eisenhower, F.D. Roosevelt, Churchill, Wilson, Marshall.

War for Clausewitz was no meaningless episode of violence, nor was it absolutely distinct and separate from peace. War, on the contrary,

‘belongs…to the province of social life. It is a conflict of great interests which is settled by bloodshed, and only in that is it different from others. It would be better…to liken it to business competition, which is also a conflict of human interests and activities; and it is still more like State policy, which again…may be looked upon as a kind of business competition on a grand scale.’

This simple proposition is Clausewitz’s greatest and most illuminating insight. In the words of his most quoted aphorism, “War is only a continuation of policy by other means.” Clausewitz returns again and again to this theme of the continuity of international relations, from peace via war to peace again, speaking of a diplomacy that (in war) employs battles instead of notes. It follows that the conduct of war ought to be constantly governed by political considerations.

In Clausewitz’s view, it is absurd to try to “win” wars by military means alone, because, as he says, no major plan of war can be made without political understanding and insight. The political setting not only determines the aims and decisions of war strategy but also colors the whole character of the war…

It was not the nature of nineteenth-century warfare that made the American Civil War so long and bloody but the irreconcilable political and social issues of secession and union, slavery and emancipation. And it is political, not military, considerations that have prevented the United States from using nuclear weapons in Vietnam – on the contrary, nothing would so economically and efficiently block the Vietcong supply routes.

In his study of Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Roy McMullen explores the hostile response to it:

Nervousness and defensiveness are, of course, unprovable, but they become at least a faint, mischievous possibility when we remember that viewers in 1886 were still uncowed by avant-garde art and were without our modern emphasis on the formal and abstract elements in painting, and were therefore more sensitive than we are likely to be to the figurative message – the moral, to use a nineteenth-century term – of La Grande Jatte.

Seurat 1Seurat 2

For there actually is such a message, or moral, in the picture, however much it is ignored by art historians intent on optical effects and spatial organization or by ordinary appreciators engrossed in summertime and bustles. And a similar message can be detected nearly everywhere in Seurat’s mature achievement, rising like a slightly corrosive odor from his characteristic mixture of loveliness, banality, delicacy, and pedantry.

Seurat 3

A whiff could have made a boulevardier at the Maison Dorée feel obscurely menaced. Consider, as an example, the pipe-smoking boater and his two elegant neighbors in the left foreground of La Grande Jatte…At first glance these impressively monumental figures – naked, the boater could be an antique river deity – seem drenched in the sedative bliss of a sunlit holiday; at second glance the bliss drains away. One of today’s veristic film directors could scarcely ask for more eloquent images of urban man’s loneliness in a crowd and his inability to communicate with his fellow men.

The same solitude seems to shroud, with a few doubtful exceptions, everyone in the picture, including the mysteriously motivated hornblower in the tropical helmet and even the “superb cocotte” despite her decorative pet and her evidently affluent protector.

‘The World of Samuel Pepys’ is a lavishly illustrated look at the life of the Restoration diarist:

Pepys 1

Pepys 2Pepys 3

Also included with this issue is a supplement: an eight-page panorama of London in 1647.

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Horizon, Summer 1971 – 1

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A bumper issue, in two parts.

This issue’s cover shows a detail from Georges Seurat’s  A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte:

7103 - Cover

It illustrates an article on the painting by Roy McMullen.

Also in this issue:

7103 - Contents

In an introductory letter, ‘Arab and Jew’, Contributing Editor Walter Karp writes about the special section on The Middle East:

Writings about Arabs and Jews these days strike a common note. The sound like the claims and counterclaims of litigants in a protracted lawsuit, the suit, of course, being the Arab-Israeli conflict. As in most protracted lawsuits, the rights and wrongs at issue have grown increasingly obscure. This being so, we thought it useful to step back from the contemporary fray and look at matters from a different standpoint. Instead of airing the dispute between the contending parties, we asked two authors to help us identify the contenders. What is an Arab? What is a Jew? What kind of history, what fundamental experiences, have made these two peoples what they are and brought them to their present impasse?

In ‘What is an Arab?’, James (later Jan) Morris gives a brief history of the Arabs and Islam, then sums up the position in 1971, reflecting on moves for Arab unity, before the rise of Islamism both in and beyond Arab countries in the wake of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution:

Oil also gave the Arabs new confidence. They discovered, through no merit of their own, a new importance in themselves. They were not born to be poor after all, but to be immensely rich. They did not inhabit a backwater, but rode the mainstream of world affairs. The possession of oil gave the Arabs a tremendously powerful instrument of persuasion – or blackmail.

Horizon Caption: 'an Arab version of Virgo - the red dots represent the individual stars - adorns a Treatise on the Fixed Stars, written in 1009. By then, Arab universities thrived in Baghdad, Cairo, Cordoba, antedating Europe's by two centuries.'

Horizon Caption: ‘an Arab version of Virgo – the red dots represent the individual stars – adorns a Treatise on the Fixed Stars, written in 1009. By then, Arab universities thrived in Baghdad, Cairo, and Cordoba, antedating Europe’s by two centuries.’

Two more developments gave a new vitality to the Arabs. The first was the emergence, in the 1950s, of a remarkable young leader, the first Arab statesman of world importance since Saladin resisted the Crusades: Gamal Abdel Nasser, who made Egypt the epicentre of Arab progress and gave to all the Arab peoples, not prosperity, nor even serenity, but a new pride. The second was the existence of Israel, an alien body planted on the shores of the Arab world by the intervention of the West, which acted as a catalyst to the energies of the Arabs, spurring them on to a common cause and intermittently reviving their sense of camaraderie.

Horizon caption: 'Palestinian refugee children undergo guerilla training. They are the "lion cubs" of Fatah, the Arab paramilitary force dedicated to the destruction of Israel.'

Horizon caption: ‘Palestinian refugee children undergo guerilla training. They are the “lion cubs” of Fatah, the Arab paramilitary force dedicated to the destruction of Israel.’

All these factors have combined to bring the Arabs nearer to political unity than they have been since the heyday of their empire. The dream of unity is vivid and inescapable: it enters every Arab declaration and is a sine qua non of political respectability…

Somehow, it never works. Arab co-operation, let alone unity, remains fitful and unreliable. The leaders of the Arab world seldom trust each other – and not surprisingly, for each country’s leadership shifts from figure to figure, ideology to ideology, incessantly down the years.

In ‘What is a Jew?’, David Daiches considers ‘the criterion of Jewishness’:

If the Jews are, as is sometimes maintained, a “socio-religious group,” then neither Freud nor Marx could be considered Jews – nor could Spinoza after his expulsion from the Jewish community. One cannot solve the problem by arguing that Jewish identity is cultural rather than biological: there is a far greater cultural difference between an American Jewish businessman living in Westchester County and a Yemenite Jew then between an American Jew and a non-Jewish American. There is today no cultural unity among the Jews of the world, or even among the Jews of America: The Lubavitcher Rebbe and (shall I say?) Leslie Fiedler have no common language. To be Jewish does not necessarily involve membership in a specific race, a specific religion, or a specific culture. Yet a Jew remains a Jew until generations of assimilation have removed the memory of his origins.

 

Horizon caption: 'before the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, a youth in ritual shawl takes part in the ancient bar mitzvah ceremony initiating him into manhood. All that remains of the Second Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans, the wall was taken by the Israeli army during the 1967 war with the Arabs: after 1900 years, it belings to the Jews once again.'

Horizon caption: ‘before the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, a youth in ritual shawl takes part in the ancient bar mitzvah ceremony initiating him into manhood. All that remains of the Second Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans, the wall was taken by the Israeli army during the 1967 war with the Arabs: after 1900 years, it belongs to the Jews once again.’

He looks at the origins of current Jewish identity:

At the time of the rebellion against Rome, there were two main ideological groups in Judea, the Sadducees and the Pharisees. The former were conservative and priestly, concerned with temple worship, and the latter were concerned with the interpretation of the Law and its application to daily life. The Sadducees mostly perished with the destruction of the Temple; in a way this was fortunate for Jewish survival, for it meant that the Pharisaic interpretation of Judaism, which was in any case the more popular, became dominant. More than a mere profession of faith or a pattern of ritual was needed to maintain the identity of the Jewish people. But the Pharisees made the Law adaptable to circumstances widely different from those that had prevailed in earlier periods of Jewish history. It was their insistence on knowledge of the Law and in interpreting it far beyond its literal meaning that enabled Judaism to survive as a way of life in all parts of the world. From now on the rabbi – the scholar and interpreter of the Law – and not the priest, determined the nature of Jewish religious life.

 

Horizon caption: 'the frontispiece of a thirteenth-century Hebrew Bible is decorated with scenes from the Pentateuch, or first five books. In the center are the opening words of Genesis: "In the beginning..."'

Horizon caption: ‘the frontispiece of a thirteenth-century Hebrew Bible is decorated with scenes from the Pentateuch, or first five books. In the center are the opening words of Genesis: “In the beginning…”‘

Horizon, Summer 1965

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This issue’s cover shows a triple portrait of Cardinal Richlieu  by Philippe de Champaigne:

6503 - Cover

 

It illustrates an article on Richelieu by C.V. Wedgewood: ‘…the political power he built for France was ephemeral. His greater glory was that he laid the foundations for her intellectual and aesthetic leadership.’

Also in this issue:

6503 - Contents

In ‘Dante’s Pilgrimage’ (1965 was the 700th anniversary of Dante’s birth)  Morris Bishop writes about the Divine Comedy:

Suppose an ex-Senator in disgrace should write a giant book examining theories of government and  proposing a new national policy; suppose he should reveal Washington’s public and private scandals, exalting his friends and condemning evildoers to everlasting punishment; suppose he should establish a moral system for the purgation and perfection of the human soul; suppose his thought should lead him to theological science fiction, taking off into space to traverse the infinite universe, attaining to the very presence of God; suppose he should intersperse in his work profound comments on philosophy, science, language, music, art; suppose all this and you will have a modern parallel for Dante and his achievement.

 

6503 - Dante 1

Horizon caption: ‘This frontispiece of a late fourteenth-century manuscript pictures Dante, in a red robe, guided by Virgil, in blue, exploring the successive circles of Hell as described in the Divine Comedy.’

…Dante’s purpose was to save the world. He would display to men – particularly to Italians, and particularly to Florentines – all their burden of evil. He would reveal the reasons for the perversion of virtue, and he would demonstrate how the individual, and mankind, could trample evil underfoot and restore the operation of divine law on earth; and he would offer a heavenly vision of man’s possible, ultimate bliss. He presented a revelation, but a serviceable revelation, an attainable ideal for all times.

More art inspired by Dante:

6503 - Dante 2

‘A Way of Seeing’ combines a selection of photographs taken by Helen Levitt on the streets of New York’s Spanish Harlem in the 1940s with quotes from a ‘poetic essay’ by the critic and novelist James Agee, intended for a book which remained unpublished until 1965, ten years after Agee’s death:

It is clear enough by now to most people that ‘the camera never lies’ is a foolish saying. Yet it is doubtful whether most people realize how extraordinarily slippery a liar the camera is. The camera is just a machine, which records with impressive and, as a rule, very cruel faithfulness precisely what is in the eye, mind, spirit, and skill of its operators.

It is, in fact, very hard to get the camera to tell the truth; yet it can be made to, in many ways and on many levels.

6503 - Levitt Agee 1

…Helen Levitt’s photographs seem to me as beautiful, perceptive, satisfying, and enduring as any lyrical work that I know…Most of the photographs reproduced here come as close to the pure spontaneity of true folk art as the artist, aware of himself as such, can come[.]

6503 - Levitt Agee 2

In ‘The Future as a Way of Life’, Alvin Toffler writes about ‘Future Shock’. He would later expand this article into his 1970 book. He bases the term on ‘culture shock’, the disorientation experienced by people who travel abroad:

Yet culture shock is relatively mild in comparison with a much more serious malady that might be called ‘future shock’. Future shock is the dizzying disorientation brought on by the premature arrival of the future. It may well be the most important disease of tomorrow.

…I believe that the malaise, mass neurosis, irrationality, and free-floating violence already apparent in contemporary life are merely a foretaste of what may lie ahead unless we come to understand and treat this psychological disease.

…The human ‘body’ in the future will often consist of a mixture of organic and machine components…How will it ‘feel’ to be part protoplasm, part transistor?…Such fusions of man and machine – called ‘cyborgs’ – are closer than most people suspect.

…Individuals now train for a profession and look forward to remaining in that profession for the entire period of their working life. Yet within a generation the notion of serving in a single occupation for one’s entire life may seem quaintly antique. Individuals may need to be trained to serve successively in three, four, or half a dozen different professions in the course of a career. The job will no longer serve as a man’s anchor and organizing principle.

 

In ‘Giotto and Duccio’, John Canaday explores the work of two revolutionary artists whose work gave birth to the renaissance:

There was nothing that Giotto would not try, nothing that he would not dare. He abandoned the safe conventions of a limited catalogue of formulas for drawing and cast his figures in the dramatic compositions that revolutionized not only techniques but the whole spirit of painting.

6503 - Giotto

…The brilliance of [Duccio’s] accomplishment seems less revolutionary than Giotto’s, for Duccio made his innovations within the limits of the medieval style. Yet he was the fountainhead of a school of late medieval painting – graceful and elegant, aristocratic and sometimes sophisticated, often intense to the point of neurasthenia – that flourished in Siena while Giotto’s revolution was spreading around it. And by way of later Sienese painters, echoes of Duccio’s influence carried northward to affect an international style that in turn contributed to the final miracle of medieval art – Flemish painting of the fifteenth century.

6503 - Duccio

…Duccio represents a refinement within the boundaries of tradition and Giotto represents a climactic explosion that bursts these boundaries. Giotto’s power and Duccio’s finesse are mutually intensified by juxtaposition; but Giotto’s humanistic clarity and Duccio’s mystical tenderness are seen to be shared, each by the other, to a degree not at first apparent. Each of the two painters achieved an expression so complete in itself that if one of them had never existed, or if none of his work had survived, it would have seemed to us that the other, whether Duccio or Giotto, had been the natural, the inevitable, the only possible and unapproachable master for that particular moment – a thought that could be a bit chastening to the art historian.

Horizon, Winter 1968

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This issue’s cover shows in a detail from Henri Rousseau’s  1910 painting The Dream

6801- Cover

It illustrates ‘The Toll Collector’s Riddles’, Robert Cowley‘s article on the artist who said ‘I have been told that my work is not of this century.’ Commonly known as Le Douanier (the customs inspector), he had in fact been a gabelou, or toll collector, ‘a far less exalted position in the French bureaucratic hierarchy,’ before giving up regular employment to paint without success for more than a decade:

At last even the Indépendants debated excluding Rousseau, and it was Toulouse-Lautrec who successfully defended him. The avant-garde were beginning to pay attention to his work. This association is the singular fact of his last years; it is through the artists and writers who came to know him that he begins to emerge from the shadows. The farceur Alfred Jarry, who was also born in Laval, was the first to recognize his extraordinary talent. Barely twenty, Jarry had just arrived in Paris, and he briefly lived near Rousseau in 1893; one supposes that their common background and Rousseau’s local notoriety brought them together. Jarry, the image of the bohemian poet with his shoulder-length hair and drooping mustache, publicised the old gabelou’s work, most notably War, and introduced him into Paris intellectual society.

From now on it is impossible not to name-drop. Rousseau is seen at the Sunday gatherings at Gauguin’s studio, playing a short concert on his fiddle or informing Degas that he will help him with his ‘artistic connections.’ Anecdotes about Rousseau’s naiveté began to multiply as the years went by; even in his life time a considerable legend had formed around the Douanier – the title conferred on him by his new friends was part of it. Rousseau was a natural victim; the pranks played on him were much celebrated. Once, a group of art students sent a man made up to look like the renowned academic painter Puvis de Chavannes to visit him. Rousseau never thought twice about the identity of his guest: ‘I was expecting you,’ he said.

More and more, the Douanier would have the last laugh. Malraux puts it so movingly: ‘Those…who thought they were making of him a figure of fun were to hear long after his death, sounding in their ears, the waltzes played to them by the ghost of one they could never forget…It was only in the manner of Dostoevski’s “Idiot” that the name fitted this man of genius. “There is a terrible power in humility.”

A gravure portfolio of Rousseau’s works includes the rest of The Dream:

6801 - Rousseau

Also in this issue:

 

6801 - Contents

In ‘The Tower of London’, Francis Leary writes about its history from its building under William the Conqueror, though its many noble and royal prisoners, and its executions up to the Earl of Essex. It is illustrated by Rowland Emett, with the ghost of Henry VIII  hovering over many legendary events that took place there:

Tower of London 1Tower of London 2

In ‘Joseph Needham and the Science of China’, the historian of science Derek J. de Solla Price writes about Needham and his multi-volume Science and Civilisation in China

Needham’s Science and Civilisation in China, though only half complete, has become a definitive classic for our age, one of the exquisitely rare points of confluence that provides a radiant of departure for all new work.

Needham has set out to relate in seven giant volumes the whole story of the history of science and technology in China in all its social and cultural setting, from the earliest times through the coming of the Jesuits. He is engineering a transmission from one civilisation to another, the like of which has never been attempted. Not even for Western science and technology do we have such a comprehensive account, even though we live in a generation that has begun to realise that global history is dominated by that science and technology, among the most potent productive forces of man, and not just effete, if noble, cultural decorations.

…Never before has a culture other than our own been so meticulously exposed on the dissecting board of history, and never has a teacher been so keen to make us perceive the comparisons and the contrasts in underlying structure.

6801 - Needham 1

6801 - Needham 2

In ‘The Last Waltz in Vienna’, S.C. Burchell looks at the culture of the city in the decades leading up to World War I, where an outward appearance of ‘gaiety and charm and elegance’ hid a far darker reality, experienced by Trotsky ‘in the cafes’, Hitler ‘in the slums’ and Freud ‘by the couch’.

The events at Mayerling [when Crown Prince Rudolf shot his mistress and then himself] did not grow out of love but out of desperation – and neurosis. That Sigmund Freud was a product of the Vienna of this period shows, as few things can, the uncertain mood of the times…The surface of life, in Freud’s view, counted for little; what lay concealed meant everything. It is surely no accident that the discoverer of the unconscious was a Viennese, for where else in the world did the glittering surface conceal so many dark unmanageable forces?

Vienna 1
Horizon caption: ‘A gold-braided captain of hussars spins his partner through the intricate steps of a Viennese waltz at the Hofball, a gala dance given annually at the court by Franz Josef.’

Another aspect of pre-WW1 Vienna that would have future repercussions:

It was in Vienna that the impoverished Hitler discovered the political appeal of anti-Semitism. On one hand, the city in the late nineteenth century was a hospitable haven for Jews, who drew comfort from the knowledge that Vienna’s upper classes looked with disdain on the vulgarity of anti-Semitism. On the other hand, Karl Lueger, the city’s mayor from 1897 to 1910, had built his power on blatant anti-Semitic appeals to the Viennese lower classes – the people who, after all, took little part in the graces and pleasures of the visible Vienna. In later years Hitler would praise Lueger for his ‘correct estimate of social forces’ and for understanding that the ‘political fighting power of the upper classes is quite insignificant.’

Vienna2

Horizon, Winter 1973

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This issue’s cover shows a detail from Thomas Gainsborough’s 1748 painting Mr and Mrs Andrews:
7301 - Cover
It illustrates ‘Lordly Pleasures’, J.H. Plumb’s article describing the way of life of the 18th century English landed gentry. Including vignettes about such individualists as Charles James Fox, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, Lord Rokeby, and Sir John Lade, he concludes:

But their most important legacy, perhaps, was what they prized most – their freedom to be themselves. Few societies until modern times have given such freedom to individuals. The old feudal concepts of the role of aristocracy had broken down in the revolutionary years of seventeenth-century England, and by the time aristocracy re-established its social status, it had freed itself from traditional patterns of behaviour. True, it still possessed power, still regarded itself as the natural companion of royalty, still retained a patriarchal attitude to the tenants of its estates, but there was no fixed image of itself. Individualism – the hallmark of a bourgeois society – combined with aristocratic confidence, allowed every variety of human temperament to flourish untrammelled. What they desired they sought, and fortunately, they were literary, scholarly, artistic, and scientific as well as frivolous. Their passion for a well-groomed countryside changed the face of England; their love of building adorned it with an extraordinary architectural heritage; their mania for collecting endowed England with an incomparable artistic heritage; their addiction to sport enriched the world. And of all societies until our own, the aristocracy of eighteenth century England was the most permissive. Theirs was the pursuit of happiness.

7301 - Fulham

Horizon caption: ‘On a floating pleasure barge, the numerous kinsmen of William Sharp (topmost figure), surgeon to George III, hold a musical party on the Thames opposite Fulham, now an unfashionable London neighbourhood.’

7301 - Stubbs 1 7301 - Stubbs 2

Also in this issue:

7301 - Contents

‘An Inquiry into Bigness’ is a special section dealing with the American belief that ‘Bigger is Better’. Anthony Lewis writes that:

Most of us have been brought up to believe that bigness brings efficiency in business and government. The result is that most of us in advanced societies are, in the words of Dr Michael Young, a British sociologist, ‘surrounded and controlled by impersonal, remote bodies – giant states, giant trade unions, giant corporations.’

But now the belief in bigness is being challenged on all sides. Too many ordinary people…have suffered the frustration of trying to correct the mistakes of some huge anonymous body, a company or a government. Or they have assumed that large organizations are needed to run the infrastructure of society and then found, as New Yorkers have, that the telephone system does not work and the electricity goes off.

What could be called a philosophical school of smallness is developing…

Some examples of bigness:

7301 - Bigness

In ‘The Raft of the Medusa’, Frederic V. Grunfeld writes about Théodore Gericault‘s  most famous painting:

When the picture was first exhibited, the catalog, in deference to the censor, listed it simply as a Shipwreck Scene. But no-one had to be told who these men were, or of what disaster the victims. The shipwreck of the frigate Medusa had precipitated a great political scandal, which the government of Louis XVIII had vainly tried to suppress. People saw it as far more than just a maritime disaster: it was symptomatic of everything that was wrong with the Bourbon Restoration and the émigré officials who flocked back to France after the fall of Napoleon.

7301 - Medusa 1

In the end it was the artist who triumphed over the documentarian. His central problem was the ancient and perpetually novel one of how to transform reality into art…

After many experiments he fixed on the critical moment that describes the horror and at the same time offers the promise of salvation (There are, for that matter, a great many allusions to the Crucifixion and the Resurrection as the baroque painters envisaged them.) This is the psychological instant when hope and despair are evenly balanced; it is almost as though he had wanted to illustrate, not the iron law of Darwin, but Das Prinzip Hoffnung, the ‘Hope principle,’ which the philosopher Ernst Bloch  has identified as one of the great themes of nineteenth-century social thought.

7301 - Medusa 2

In ‘Leptis Magna’ (an excerpt from his 1972 book Cities in the Sand) Aubrey Menen writes about one of the best-preserved Ancient Roman sites:

Theatre of Leptis Magna

Theatre of Leptis Magna

I would recommend that any student of the past save up Leptis Magna to the last. As a sight, as an experience, there is nothing to equal it: it satisfies completely. The Parthenon is very fine, but coming back to it, time and again over the years, I find its very perfection boring. After twenty years of looking at the ruins of Rome, I have come to agree with the most ignorant tourist – they are sadly battered. Leptis Magna is perfect. It has splendour; it is as complete as any reasonable man could wish for; the restorers have been happily hampered by political convulsions and lack of funds; and above all, you can walk in its ruins for days on end, as I have done, and see nobody. I say this now, and I am only too aware that, in a decade, I could sound ridiculous.

Leptis Magna mosaics showing gladiatorial combat.

Leptis Magna mosaics showing gladiatorial combat.

As it turned out Libya would remain isolated for many years.

Horizon, Autumn 1965 – 2

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Part 2 of the Autumn 1965 issue.

‘A Museum with a Mission’ focuses on the newly-opened Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City’s Chapultepec Park.

With more than one hundred thousand exhibits, it joins the ranks of the world’s great museums…Vast as the total area is, the sensitive scaling of such elements as stairways and doors, the interplay of gardens and glass-walled galleries, serve to invite rather than intimidate visitors, many of whom will be entering a museum for the first time…Mexicans are coming away from Chapultepec Park with a new understanding of their culture. It is, indeed, an accomplishment unsurpassed elsewhere in the museum world.

The central courtyard is seen here:

6504 - Mexico 1

The section devoted to the Aztecs includes the Calendar Stone and the goddess Coaticue:

6504 - Mexico 2

In ‘Some Non-encounters with Mr. Eliot’, Francis Russell writes about his several near misses with T.S. Eliot, who ‘made poets look like board chairmen’ with what Virginia Woolf called his ‘four-piece suits.’ The first was in 1932, when Eliot give a lecture at Harvard as Norton Professor of Poetry. It was his first trip back to America after eighteen years away:

I think most of us were there that evening not so much to hear what Eliot had to say as out of curiosity about his person…And though few of us would have admitted it, one of the things we were all wondering was what sort of accent he would now have.

…The former United States citizen, now a British subject, had certainly absorbed his later surroundings. There was nothing American about him. I suppose he was the last Norton lecturer who ever appeared in white tie and tails.

During the year Eliot was at Harvard, Russell used to see him at High Mass at the Episcopalian (Anglican) Church of St John the Evangelist. He later saw Eliot when both were staying at the Society of St John the Evangelist’s monastery in Cambridge, Massachusetts:

I suppose I could have met him easily enough just by speaking to the Father Superior. But I never did. Somehow, I could never think of anything I wanted to say to him.

Years later he discovered that his college friend Dick was Eliot’s cousin – he described Eliot’s mother:

‘…a terrible bluestocking. I remember her all right. She was forty-four when he was born. Not many people know it, but he really left this country to get away from her. He loved her, I guess. He always wrote her and used to send her all his books. But he never really felt safe unless he had the Atlantic between them.’

6504 - EliotAfter the war, Russell moved to London and was living in Chelsea, where he often saw Eliot on the Number 11 bus, on his way to the Faber & Faber office at Russell Square. By then he had then written Four Quartets:

Within the aspects of this extended poem, Eliot attempts to come to grips with the deepest problems that human beings have to grapple with: his own and human destiny, life and death, life or death, the mystery of time passing and time to come, the ultimate meaning of his religious beliefs.

In ‘The Marble Cottages’, Mary Cable writes about the grand nineteenth century mansions of Newport, Rhode Island including Cornelius Vanderbilt II’s The Breakers:

6504 - Newport 1

Ships arrived from Europe with entire cargoes consigned to Mr Vanderbilt. The Breakers’ music room was designed and executed down to the last detail in France and shipped in packing cases, like a prefabricated house, along with the workmen to put it up. To make this palace supremely fireproof, no wood was used in its construction and the furnace room was placed underground some hundreds of feet away…

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The greatest difficulty with these brand-new palaces was to keep them from looking new…Thirty-ton trees were, therefore, hauled in and planted at a cost of nine hundred dollars per tree, but they often failed to thrive in the continual sea wind. It was a difficulty shared by all Newport ‘cottagers’, and when property changed hands, a departing owner often took his trees with him, for they represented a separate and considerable investment.

In ‘The Spanish Inquisition’, Henry Kamen describes the practices that gave rise to the ‘Black Legend’, which he himself would later criticise:

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A feature on Lake Geneva, ‘The Thinking Man’s Lake’ with text by Associate Editor Norman Kotker describes how ‘in the sixteenth century, John Calvin and his followers strove to construct the kingdom of heaven on earth. To Calvin’s holy city came exiles and visionaries from all the lands of Europe, followed – in succeeding centuries – by others who were merely seeking a refuge.’ As a result:

…for centuries it has attracted to its shores a constellation of literary talents astonishing for an area so small and so relatively remote from the great capitals of Europe. Here lived Rousseau, Voltaire, and Byron, whose names have been closely identified with the lake ever since; and in their wake came scores of others – novelists as diverse as Dostoevsky and Louisa May Alcott; romantic poets in exile, from Shelley to Mickiewicz the Pole; and numerous literary hangers-on, Boswell and the beauteous Mme Récamier among the most prominent. The auspicious influence of the Genevan shores is reflected in the work of most of these writers; and among the products of their stays are such masterpieces as The Social Contract and The Prisoner of Chillon, Frankenstein and The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

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The castle at Chillon which inspired Byron:
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Horizon, Autumn 1965 – 1

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Another issue with so many goodies that I’ve split it into two.

This issue’s cover shows in a detail from an 1891 poster for the Moulin Rouge by Toulouse-Lautrec, featuring the performer La Goulue.

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Inside an article on the exclusive Jockey Club of Paris is a portfolio of Belle Epoque posters:

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Also in this issue:

6504 - Contents.

In ‘The House of Lords’, Sybille Bedford writes about that institution’s history, its then-present, and uncertain future. The main issue about the Lords at that time was ‘the hereditary element’, which ended up being almost completely removed in 1999, leaving the Life Peers:

It is not the very small and active, but very large and dormant, membership that gives concern: the prospect of some hundreds of Colonel Blimps and Uncle Matthews stomping unbidden into Westminster whenever an issue stirs them, sitting in glowering silence through the debate – backwoodsmen never speak – and stubbornly crowding into the ‘No’ lobby.

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The failure of the abolition of the death penalty in 1956 was an example of this. But:

G.K. Chesterton once noted that the Lords are really more representative of England than the Commons, for politicians are all more or less of a type while peers vary among themselves as widely as other men.

…[Is] there not something to be said for having in Parliament a proportion of men who admittedly owe their position to chance, but not to favor (birth knows no political debt), who do not have to scramble for nomination and election, who do not have to consult anyone but their own sometimes eccentric selves, who will not have to change with every shifting wind nor please on every television screen? Is the hereditary lottery – under a constitutional rule of law – really so much more hazardous and scaring than the bottomless lottery of the polling booths? Perhaps, to paraphrase Bagehot and someone else, the nobility is of great use, too, in what it prevents. It prevents the rule of ambition, the religion of the bitch-goddess popular success.

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‘Irish Time’ features pictures of Irish life by Henri Cartier-Bresson, with lengthy captions by Lord Kilbracken:

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There is always time in Ireland. Or, if you prefer, time has no existence. Both statements are true to the point of being interdependent, and only a mere purist would call them contradictory…The black-shawled Connemara woman, making her way to town on a misty winter’s morning, has time to cover the five or six miles on foot, and will think nothing of it, if no neighbour with car or cart is heading her way.

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There’s time to talk in Ireland (let no one call it gossip) whenever two or more persons congregate…In an unknown tobacconist’s it would be a breach of good manners to say without preamble: ‘A packet of Aftons.’ A relationship should first be established with the man behind the counter as a fellow member of the human race. A meeting of the eyes, a remark about the weather, a line or two of dialogue; then, almost as an afterthought, ask for cigarettes. The four Dublin cronies on their brickish street corner will give the camera a moment; then they will be back at it hammer and tongs.

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Of animals in Ireland, the horse is undoubted king; in no other country, surely, are there more equine experts to the furlong…Horseplayers in the United States are not noted for their acquaintance with the saddle; the great majority, indeed, have never sat on a horse. In Ireland it’s different: every racegoer (it seems) is jockey, trainer, tipster, tout, owner, breeder, stableboy or bookie – or maybe a bit of each. This apprenticeship to the turf starts at a very early age, as these two young gentlemen bear witness. And when the elder has finished marking his card (a serious business) and has appraised the runners through his outsize binoculars, they are likely to go off together to put half a crown on their fancy. And it will very probably win.

In ‘A Pearl on the Toe of India’, Santha Rama Rau writes about Sri Lanka, then known as Ceylon:

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Of all the heady and inviting names that have been given to Ceylon in the course of its twenty-five hundred years of history, perhaps the one most in keeping with the island’s reputation for allure is the old Arab name Serendib. Indeed, so pleasing was the name and the promise it held, that Horace Walpole evolved from it the word ‘serendipity,’ which came to mean a faculty for making delightful chance discoveries. This air of happy surprise fills so many of the accounts of Ceylon left by travelers through the centuries that all the various names and sobriquets given to it carry some feeling of its unfamiliar marvels, and in themselves chart the island’s exotic and diverse history.

Included are pictures of the hilltop fortress of Sigiriya, now a World Heritage Site:

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Horizon, Autumn 1973

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This issue’s cover shows Saint Sulpice, a 1965 collage by Max Ernst, pioneer of Dada and Surrealism. It illustrates ‘An Irresistible Force Called Max Ernst’, a survey of his work by the British art critic John Russell. Ernst was then 82.

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Also in this issue:

7304 - Contents

In a special section on ‘The Good Life’, Walter Karp writes that in the America of 1973:

A divisive war has ended, a youth rebellion has petered out, the college campuses are silent as burnt-out volcanoes, yet there has been no return to ‘normalcy.’ Instead there is abroad in the country a strangely unquiet spirit, a spirit of secession from society-at-large.

…The past few years have seen the rise of an extraordinary social phenomenon: the creation of thousands of planned communities, devoted, to one degree or another, to providing a few million Americans with alternative modes of living, alternatives, that is, to the common life.

In true Horizon fashion, he sees the present in the light of the past:

That so many Americans are willing to flee from each other seems an unmistakeable sign of social disintegration. Yet even Americans forget, in Jefferson’s words, that the sea of liberty is supposed to be turbulent. For better or worse, the proud refusal to accept the common lot, the courage to turn away from the given conditions of life, and the willingness to create new communities through covenants with one’s chosen companions constitute one of the grand themes of American history, beginning, indeed, with the Mayflower Compact.

Along with a Christian commune, the artisan community of Sugar Loaf, New York, a retirement village in Connecticut and people living on boats off Manhattan are the Videofreex:

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‘Poetry in Hand’ is an extract from the book Autograph Poetry in the English Language, an anthology of facsimiles of original manuscripts compiled by P.J. Croft. Among them is this poem by Edward Lear:

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In ‘Crime Against the Person’, part of his series ‘In the Light of Past’, J.H. Plumb reflects on his own recent mugging on Brooklyn Bridge:

By the standards of England or France in the eighteenth century even modern New York is relatively crime free. Highwaymen infested London, robbing coaches in Hyde Park in broad daylight with impunity; travelers making the journey to Yorkshire without being robbed blessed their luck. Rape, often of the very young, was depressingly commonplace. Housebreaking ran neck and neck with mugging in prevalence and audacity; late in the century even Buckingham Palace was broken into and robbed. Gang violence and mob violence were endemic. Compared with the Gordon Riots in London in 1780, the ghetto riots of the late 1960’s in America appear like a fiesta of unruly children…

Violent crime has always been a young man’s game…Perhaps what industrial society has failed to do these last three hundred years is to provide adequate activities for aggressive adolescents, particularly those – mainly the poor – whose social lives provide none for them. Since the sixteenth century, affluence dangled before the poor and deprived has excited both cupidity and hate; the growth of great urban centers has created opportunity for anonymous violence; so crime has been endemic, becoming epidemic as the adolescent population has grown.

Soon the proportion of our own adolescent groups, which have swollen so greatly since World War II, will decline. And with that, doubtless, the mugging and raping will decline. At least for those who are violently robbed there is one mild consolation: it was worse in earlier times. This is not the first age in which the young poor have taken their personal revenge on the elderly rich.

In ‘How to Weigh an Elephant (and Solutions to Other Tough Problems)’, Edward De Bono, inventor of ‘Lateral Thinking’, gets children to solve problems and studies how they approach the solution:

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Though some of the problems may seem frivolous at first glance, each involves essentially serious concepts. The cat-and-dog problem is ‘the basic political problem,’ requiring an understanding of psychology and of motivation…In short, amusing as their ideas are, children often go directly to the heart of the matter.

 

 

Horizon, July 1977

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This issue’s cover shows Mikhail Baryshnikov and Christine Sarry in Eliot Feld’s ballet Variations on “America”, illustrating an article on modern dance:

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A Message from the Publisher, Rhett Austell, announces that Horizon is now going from bi-monthly (which began in January 1977) to monthly publication in September. This was the last hard-cover issue. It was the beginning of the end: American Heritage would eventually sell it off in 1978 and it would live on as a monthly, focusing more on current events in the arts, until 1989.

Also in this issue:

7704 - Contents

In ‘Ferment in Georgetown’, William Barry Furlong writes about Washington, DC’s oldest suburb, one of the first examples of ‘gentrification’:

…one could work in Washington, if one chose to do that sort of thing, but if one wanted to live, one had to go to Georgetown.

Nobody took this more to heart than the liberals of the Roosevelt era and their followers. They first came to town in 1933, and when they began looking for a place at a remove from the city, they found Georgetown, then a run-down neighbourhood – sleepy and forgotten. It didn’t bother them – as it did a lot of other people of the time – that many of the townspeople were black. ‘When we first moved here forty years ago, there wasn’t a white neighbour in two blocks around us,’ says Jean Friendly, whose husband, Alfred, later became managing editor of the Washington Post.

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What the newcomers saw was not the color of people but the grace of living. ‘It was a countrified little place,’ says Jean Friendly. ‘You could have a yard and a garden and yet you were only five to seven minutes away from the office.’ Many homes could be bought for one thousand to three thousand dollars. Of course, the buildings were old – mostly from the Federal and Victorian eras – and dilapidated. But the newcomers felt that they could remodel and restore them quite attractively. ‘It was a place,’ says Mrs Friendly, ‘for people with more taste than money.’ Today some people in Georgetown wonder whether the reverse is not true.

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In the Roosevelt years, Georgetown became established as a special place, with qualities in common with other fashionable enclaves that grew up in other American cities: it was in touch with history, and there was a major effort within the community to preserve and restore some of the very old structures; and it had a commercial shopping district that attracted a great many outsiders. Most of the blacks who lived in Georgetown forty years ago are gone today, although a few black families – themselves well-to-do – live at the eastern end of Georgetown, near the border with the city. Georgetown may be politically democratic and philosophically liberal, but it is anything but racially or economically integrated.

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In 1977 it had been two years since the end of the Vietnam War. In ‘America after Viet Nam’, Lance Morrow analyses why ‘predictions of continuing national tensions have not come true’ and comes to a surprising conclusion:

All analyses of the healing of America assume that it was deeply wounded in Viet Nam. Many journalists and other observers of the United States during the period do not believe that Americans were all that profoundly affected by the war. Gloria Emerson, who covered Viet Nam for the New York Times from 1970 to 1972 and then wrote a post-mortem on the war called Winners and Losers, declares: ‘The country was not particularly shattered by the war – so it is not surprising that a healing is occurring now. We are an inattentive and self-absorbed people. I suppose that inattentiveness is also a protection of sorts.’

Ward Just, who covered the war for the Washington Post, believes that the United States is divided into ‘two nations where Viet Nam is concerned – those deeply touched by what happened there (a minority) and those not affected (a very large majority).’ Just remembers visiting a Lake Forest, Illinois country club to give a lecture after he had been wounded in Viet Nam. The audience’s questions betrayed an astonishing ignorance. ‘They had simply tuned out the war,’ says Just.

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Former Briarcliff College President and Viet Nam veteran Josiah Bunting III notes that the students of 1977

‘…have turned inward, they have lost their idealism. The idea now is to get ahead, to get jobs. The war, McGovern’s defeat, Watergate, the recession  – all these remind me of what Disraeli said about Gladstone’s ministers: “a range of exhausted volcanoes.’”

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In ‘The Impudent, Magical Silicon Chip’, Kenneth Lamott predicts the future:

 

An all-electronic mail system to take the place of the present, old-fashioned post office…The familiar hand-delivered, first-class sealed envelope would survive, one hopes, for that segment of the correspondence in which privacy will still be of some value…

A fully portable personal phone is predicted by RCA. People who have a phobia about talking on the phone will not be cheered by the microminiaturized version’s ability to go where you go.

The hand-held calculator will be succeeded by the hand-held computer. Besides becoming programmable, the personal calculator/computer will have a memory and will work with alphabetical words as well as with numbers…

By far the biggest changes the new electronics will bring to the average family will come from the home computer center…As a start, libraries will evolve into storehouses of microminiaturized information available to every home in response to a touch on a keyboard…

One of the most far-reaching consequences of the new electronics will be the liberation of workers in many occupations and professions from the central office.

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In ‘Miró’s  Latest Works’, Edmund White writes about ‘the most famous of living modern painters’, who as a surrealist

…evolve[d] a style that was whimsical, gently erotic, and instantly identifiable as his own. This is the Miró most familiar to his American audience. More recently, however, he has been painting surprisingly brusque, even brutal pictures that, nevertheless, are as true to him as his earlier, gentler style.

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Horizon Caption: ‘At the Artigas cermics workshop, the artist, with José Artigas, paints unglazed tiles for the IBM mural.’

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Horizon, Winter 1966

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My copy of this issue has its cover on backwards – the title and date are on the other side:
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The cover shows Portrait of a Lady by Rogier van der Weyden illustrating the major article ‘The Flowering of Flemish Art’, by John Canaday, art critic of The New York Times. He describes the background of early 15th century Flanders, with the best Flemish artists no longer being lured away to France after the 1415 French defeat at Agincourt, and painting in a locale that was ‘now bourgeois rather than princely…this tough-minded, practical society’:

The new society was not homely. If it was bourgeois, it was not provincial. Representatives of the great banking and merchandising firms went back and forth across all Europe, and foreign houses maintained their commercial ambassadors in the Low Countries. This was cosmopolitanism of a new kind, and was so conducive to growth, variety, and experiment that any suspicion of provincialism might better be attached to the preciously cultivated, closed society of the feudal courts.

He describes The Arnolfini Portrait:

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The textures of metal, glass, and wood, of velvet and linen, of the fur of the little dog, all accepting the light to reveal their own natures; the consistency of this light’s flow from its sources (one window seen, and one unseen in the foreground beyond the picture frame but revealed by the fall of light on the floor and on the bridal couple); the continuity of the space as we look into the picture, and the unquestionable truth with which each object assumes its distance from the eye and its proper relationship to the other objects in the painted room – all this description of light, space, and the solid volumes unifies the picture in ways that are explicable technically even if they are all but superhuman in technical execution. We have already said that at this level craftsmanship becomes genius, but the picture is also held together by the unanalyzable factor of the artist’s sensitivity to psychological unity.

‘The Flemish Eye’ is a gravure portfolio of details of paintings, including Quentin Matsys’s The Money Changer and his Wife:
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Also in this issue:
6601 - Contents

In ‘Masada’ the Israeli archaeologist, soldier and politician Yigael Yadin writes about his excavation of the fortress, site of the mass suicide at the end of the Jewish Revolt in the years 73-74:

The Masada excavations were perhaps the biggest archaeological enterprise ever attempted in the Holy Land, and their yield has been enormous. We undertook two campaigns – seven months in 1963-64 and four months in 1964-65 – and by the first of May, 1965 we had excavated almost all of the entire built-up area of Masada. A small section was intentionally left excavated to give future visitors a “before and after” impression…

As important as the discoveries are, Masada will remain for all of us primarily a symbol for those who prefer death to spiritual and physical bondage.

There are photographs by Life Magazine’s Eliot Elisofon.

A cistern at the southern tip of Masada, excavated by Herod’s engineers:

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An aerial view shows the Hanging Palace, with ruins of its circular pavilions in the foreground:

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In ‘Art and Taxes’, Jerome S. Rubin writes about the role of the taxman in the building of America’s greatest public art collections:

The combined effects of the income tax which limits the accumulation of wealth, and of estate and gift taxes, which limit its transfer to the private objects of the taxpayer’s affection, have been to sharply inhibit the private collecting of art on the grand scale in the United States. Other factors and influences aside, there has been a striking parallel between the rise of the role of the tax collector and the decline of the great private art collector in the United States…

The difficulty of accumulating capital or transmitting it to the next generation is, however, but half the story. The corollary of the eclipse of the private collector has been the refulgence of the public collector; the spectacular growth of museums and other public collections in the United States, especially over the past three decades, is also demonstrably linked to the brooding omnipresence of the tax collector…

The very origins of the National Gallery of Art, one of the most splendid repositories of works of art in the world, directly involved a brush with the tax collector [by US Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon], and the story illustrates, in rich Renaissance colors, the felicitous union of public benefaction and private tax saving.

David Levine provides the illustrations:

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In ‘The Making of a Cynic’, Morris Bishop tells the story of François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, 17th century author of maxims and memoirs. How does one write a maxim?

A maxim is an observation on behaviour, abstracted and generalized, laid to the account of humanity at large and expressed with the utmost concision. A perfect maxim is compounded with careful art; it requires a discovery of the only exact words, and sound structure of thought, and verbal harmony, rhythm, and balance. Its brevity is the product of long labor. It is the great achievement of the literary miniaturist.

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In ‘Light in a Thousand Dark Places’, J.B Priestley writes about H.G. Wells, seen here against a background of skyscraper images during the 1935 filming of his novel The Shape of Things to Come:

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I reread The War of the Worlds after an interval of many years [to write an introduction], during which science fiction had become a recognized and widely popular genre. Scientific discovery and our technological triumphs have given contemporary writers a jumping-off platform, already almost out in space, that the young Wells of 1897 could not command. Nevertheless, he is easily their master. If you want science fiction at its best, then the early H.G. Wells is your man. Nobody has beaten him yet. One reason is that even here he is a novelist, not only discovering scientific wonders and menaces but also giving us people, not cardboard figures but real people in whom we can believe…

[His early science fiction was followed by] Kipps, Tono-Bungay and Mr. Polly, which represent his most personal and lasting contribution to the English novel. He stands or falls by them. And I think he stands.