A great play deserves more than the mediocre revival The Heiress is getting at the Walter Kerr—and it’s too bad Walter Kerr is not around with a few well-chosen words to say so. It’s a great favorite of mine, adapted by Ruth and Augustus Goetz from the novella Washington Square by Henry James, and it’s nice to see how well the story holds up, even in a dull and dismally miscast production like the one currently on view. If you want to see perfection, drop in at the Paley Center and check out the “live” 1961 CBS-TV production with Julie Harris. You won’t see anything of that quality in the lackluster and utterly predictable version here.
Author photos are never on oath, but George W.S. Trow’s make you wonder. Trow, who died last week in Naples at 63, possessed one of the more indescribable sensibilities to adorn The New Yorker, that most sensibility-driven of magazines. He was snob, moralist, wit, cultural critic, aesthete, nostalgist, lost boy, citizen. “Wonder was the grace Read More
“I have a theory that your true psychological—even, in the deepest sense, metaphysical—age is the age you mostly are in your dreams,” said Cynthia Ozick, 77, in a fluttering voice as girlish and diffident as a college co-ed’s. She was speaking by phone from her home in New Rochelle, which she shares with her husband, Read More
The Line of Beauty, by Alan Hollinghurst. Bloomsbury, 438 pages, $24.95.
The title of Alan Hollinghurst’s new novel, The Line of Beauty, refers to, amongst other things: Hogarth’s theory of pictorial composition; the line of cocaine snorted by the book’s hero, Nick, from the back of a Henry James novel; and the snaking line Read More
“So here it is at last, the distinguished thing.”
Henry James was speaking of death, but were he alive today, he might also be speaking of the election: curious to see how it is going to turn out, but filled with apprehension nonetheless.
This voter is going to pull the lever for Kerry-Edwards.
Joshua Marston’s remarkable feature-film debut Maria Full of Grace , from his own screenplay, is itself graced with a marvelously charismatic performance by Colombian newcomer Catalina Sandino Moreno. In the harrowing and yet heroic role of 17-year-old Maria Alvarez, Ms. Moreno’s character is full not only of grace, but also water-soaked pouches of heroin concealed Read More
The Master , by Colm Tóibín. Scribner, 352 pages, $25.
In his new novel, The Master , the Irish writer Colm Tóibín has undertaken a triply difficult task. Historical fiction poses one set of challenges, fiction about fiction-writers poses another. To attempt a novel about no less a figure than Henry James might Read More
The great Thomas Eakins exhibition, which was reviewed here when it opened last fall at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (see The New York Observer for Oct. 15, 2001) has now come to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It hardly needs saying that everyone with an interest in the art of painting will want to Read More
In 1976, with a certain trepidation, I went to Iran as part of a female American delegation invited to participate in a women’s film festival. There was the feeling in some quarters that Americans shouldn’t lend their “prestige” to the Shah’s dubious campaign to impress the West with the social and cultural advances of his Read More
It is sometimes forgotten that the art of painting lends itself to a great variety of beguiling appeals. In skillful hands, it is capable of conferring high glamour on the most commonplace objects and fables and, in another veil, it is equally proficient in transforming what is beautiful into something utterly grotesque. Painting is, in Read More