Magical Mystery Tour

One should not be deceived by Frances Yates’s disclaimer that she has been only an ardent reader. She is a person of immense learning. When in May, 1966, she claimed in these pages that she had found in an illustration by Robert Fludd the secret of the structure of the …

Art and Revolution

In the evil Stalinist days when the arts fell under “the social command” the Congress of Soviet Writers announced that “a-political literature does not exist,” and the On Guardist Group of the Left Front summoned authors to be allies of the Revolution. The journal October proclaimed in 1936 that “the …

The Great Amateur

Thirty-odd years ago when psychiatric terms seemed so helpful R. H. Wilenski remarked that Ruskin was always victim of a manic-depressive malady. The diagnosis still seems relevant to Ruskin’s five love affairs, with Adèle Domecq. Charlotte Lockhart, Euphemia Gray, Rose La Touche, and Kathleen Olander. But the despairing letters he …

Action Critic

Nietzsche predicted that when science reached the limits of its logic it would curl about to bite its own tail, forcing the scientist back upon the only remedy—art. What Nietzsche did not foresee is that the artist, too, would reach the limits of art, which would then, in turn, curl …

The Language of the Dead

These four lectures—a “little series” Panofsky modestly calls them—were not intended for publication when they were given in 1956, but they have been made an occasion for printing, with 471 lavish black-and-white illustrations, one of his most meditative examinations of the contradictions inherent in art-forms. The topic could be desolating, …

The Heresy of William Blake

The study of Blake’s sources is now a heavy industry, established in 1924 by S. Foster Damon and expanded by Northrop Frye, David V. Erdman, and others who have the academic capital to invest. In 1961 George Mills Harper explicated Blake’s platonism; in 1962 Kathleen Raine devoted her Mellon Lectures …

A Late Romantic

While others have been making criticism a logical discipline, Sir Herbert Read has been carrying on a kind of Bahai operation, freely acknowledging his pluralist methods and frankly drawing upon such incompatibles as T.E. Hulme, T.S. Eliot, Ruskin, Morris, Eric Gill, Marx, Freud, Jung, Kretschmer, Strzygowski, Worringer, Frobenius, Gestalt psychology, …