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This week: Mockingbirds and Moonlighters.
Fiction: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (Grand Central Publishing): Who knew that your tattered, underlined, and highly marked-up paperback copy of To Kill a Mockingbird might some day be a collector’s item? Perhaps that’s going a step too far, but, in any case, there will someday be a scarcity of the standard-issue middle school paperback version of Harper Lee’s best known—and, until recently, only—book. Included in Lee’s will was a provision that Hachette’s paperback be produced no more; all further copies are to be of HarperCollins’s hardcover variety. Better stock up now. —BR
Nonfiction: Good and Evil in the Garden of Art: Discrimination as the Guarantor of Civilization, by Anthony Daniels (Criterion Books): Criterion Books, an imprint of The New Criterion, is delighted to introduce Good and Evil in the Garden of Art: Discrimination as the Guarantor of Civilization, a new collection of essays from Anthony Daniels, available now on Amazon. In Good and Evil in the Garden of Art, Daniels tackles the complex relationship between art and ideas. The essays, collected from the pages of The New Criterion, argue that judgment and discrimination—whether tackling Flaubert’s simple heart, Mailer’s pugilism, or Solzhenitsyn’s endurance—are intrinsic to any conceivable human existence, indeed to thought itself. The pretense that judgment is avoidable, that one can indefinitely suspend it, is merely a means by which bad or false taste is smuggled into public life. —BR
Art: “Van Dyck: The Anatomy of Portraiture,” at the Frick Collection (Through June 5): New York is in the midst of a strong run of shows surrounding portraiture. This summer brought the Met’s major Sargent exhibition while the Morgan organized a show of portrait drawings from its permanent collection. Not to be outdone, the Frick has just debuted what might be the best of the lot: a collection of more than one hundred works by Anthony van Dyck, culled from collections the world over. As befits the Frick, the show promises pictures of many of the great and good, all with van Dyck’s signature flattering style. Look for Marco Grassi’s review of the show in the forthcoming issue of The New Criterion. —BR
Music: Eric Simpson in WQXR’s “Moonlighters Competition” (Through March 20): New York’s classical music radio station is doing its part to promote amateur musicianship throughout the metropolitan area. WQXR’s first ever “Moonlighters Competition” invited amateur singers and instrumentalists to submit audition videos, and audiences are now welcome to vote on thirty semi-finalists to determine who will reach the final round, judged by a live panel at WQXR’s Greene Space. My own entry, a selection from H. W. Ernst's variations on “The Last Rose of Summer,” is in the running—listen here and vote once every twenty-four hours through March 20 to help send me to the next round. —ECS
From the archive: Harper Lee’s loving-kindness, by Anthony Daniels: Anthony Daniels offers personal reflections on Harper Lee’s original novel, written just before the publication of her second.
From our latest issue: The soul of Florence, by Marco Grassi: On the reopening of the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence.