Return to Rome

The hardest city to know, and probably also the hardest to know again after a lapse of years, Rome in the last two and a half decades might seem to have had the single aim of making its lovers “all untrue.” It takes a while to remember, or care if …

Bad Housekeeping

She had a Greek phase, along with brother Raymond, dressed and danced in Greek tunics, poured a small fortune in early box-office receipts into Raymond’s illusion of a well to go with their temple on a dry hill facing the Acropolis. And long and ardent study of Greek vases, in …

“Angel of Devastation”

To say that there is something troubling about the current Edith Wharton revival, in so far as it is that, is not to say that the new flurry of interest in her is either inappropriate or unwelcome. Far from it. It is very refreshing indeed to be sent back to …

Audubon: The Last Days of Nature

To take a fresh look at the whole phenomenon of Audubon just now is almost as difficult as it is painful. A single print, even in the best of modern reproductions, as in the lovely folio brought out now by Harry N. Abrams (a selection of thirty from the 435 …

Commonweal or Common Woe

This is a centennial worth some meditation and prayer. In 1864 Congress passed and President Lincoln signed a bill preserving Yosemite Valley “for public use, resort and recreation.” In the present nightmare condition of our land, both city and country, this may not sound like much. The valley, as Secretary …

Berenson’s Last Years

“Few are the survivors to whom I can say, ‘Can you remember?”‘ Berenson was only eighty when he remarked on that particular sadness of old age. He lived thirteen years more, and up to the last eighteen months, with what he deplores in these final diaries as a more and …