Jonathan Miller has directed operas and plays throughout the world, most recently Pelléas and Mélisande at the Metropolitan Opera. His many books include The Body in Question, States of Mind, On Reflection, and Nowhere in Particular. The article that appears in this issue is based on a talk given at the New York Public Library. (May 2000)

Doing Opera

One of the more amusing hazards of producing opera in Great Britain is the occasional backstage visit of a royal patron. As she makes her way down the awkwardly curtseying line of principals, often more lavishly dressed than the titled visitor, aides and equerries who bring up the rear politely …

Going Unconscious

It was in a mood of irritable skepticism that the Scottish surgeon James Braid attended a public demonstration of Animal Magnetism—in which people were said to fall into trances—on the night of November 13, 1841. From everything he had read and heard about the trances that occurred at the bidding …

The Call of the Wild

In the fifth year of the new Republic a group of peasants in a small rural district of southwestern France reported that they had seen a naked youth scampering through the woods apparently searching for acorns and roots. After a series of captures and escapes the child was finally secured …

TV Guide

Marshall McLuhan has the peculiar notion that television has very strange properties which set it apart from almost every other medium that human beings have ever used for communication. He holds rather para-doxically that television, in spite of its name, is not a visual medium at all but what he …

On Lenny Bruce (1926–1966)

It is hard to write fairly about Lenny Bruce now that he’s dead. At least it is difficult to be just, in the way that he, in his more realistic moments, might have preferred. For Bruce became an issue in the last years of his life. He became the focus …

Broken Blossoms

There is a sort of lower intestinal theory going about these days to account for and perhaps excuse the current fiasco at the Theater of the Lincoln Arts Center. The argument being that After the Fall must be regarded as something which Arthur Miller had to get out of his …

3 1/2

Three movies about competition, property, and rank. Knife in the Water from Poland, Mad Mad Mad Mad World from the USA, and Billy Liar from England. All three are chases and each with a beast in view but only the American film actually runs away with itself down a nightmare …

Off-Centaur

This is a poor novel irritatingly marred by good features. The title, grindingly reinforced by the tasteful Hellenic fragment on the cover, sounds the warning note of “significance” and the severe intention is further signaled by a dark quotation from Karl Barth on the title page: something about man being …