This week: Heidegger’s legacy, Donizetti, The Saviour, Hopper by the sea, the tube & more from the world of culture.

Edward Hopper, Tall Masts, 1912, Oil on canvas, Whitney Museum of Art, New York. On view in “Edward Hopper & Cape Ann: Illuminating an American Landscape” at the Cape Ann Museum, Massachusetts, through October 16. 


Martin Heidegger’s Changing Destinies: Catholicism, Revolution, Nazism, by Guillaume Payen, translated by Jane Marie Todd & Steven Rendall (Yale University Press): “Do we ultimately have to burn Heidegger, or at least pull all his works from the libraries of philosophy?” So asks Guillaume Payen in the introduction to his award-winning biography of Heidegger, now translated into English for the first time. In recent years, the response to Payen’s question of Heidegger’s condemnation has been in the affirmative. Including the German as a stated interest on graduate-school applications is a fast track to rejection. Payen seeks neither to fan nor douse the flames rising around Heidegger; instead, by tracing the interplay between the philosopher’s life and thought, he critically examines how a man possessed of such reprehensible anti-Semitism could also carry on multiple affairs with Jewish women, how a man so obsessed with providence could also be such an ardent atheist. This treatment brings into sharp relief the breadth of Heidegger’s thought in addition to its horror and hubris. —LL


Edward Hopper, (Jo Sketching at Good Harbor Beach), 1923–24, Watercolor and fabricated chalk on paper, Whitney Museum of Art, New York. On view in “Edward Hopper & Cape Ann: Illuminating an American Landscape” at the Cape Ann Museum, Massachusetts, through October 16. 

“Edward Hopper & Cape Ann: Illuminating an American Landscape,” at the Cape Ann Museum (through October 16): Following last winter’s exhibition on Edward Hopper’s New York (reviewed in our January issue), the summer is the right time to join the painter as he heads out of town. Opening this week at the Cape Ann Museum, “Edward Hopper & Cape Ann: Illuminating an American Landscape” brings together sixty works from Hopper’s sojourns around Gloucester, Massachusetts. Curated by Elliot Bostwick Davis, the exhibition makes the case for a “period and place that imbued Hopper’s paintings with a clarity and purpose that had eluded his earlier work,” one that “set the stage for his monumental career.” With loans from the Whitney Museum, the exhibition includes related paintings by Josephine Nivison, Hopper’s wife, and reveals the couple’s interest in the challenges of modernity among the fishing community of Cape Ann. —JP


Anonymous, Detail from Polyeuctus of Meletine in Armenia (Menologion of Basil II), 985, Manuscript, Vatican Library, Rome. 

Poliuto, by Gaetano Donizetti, performed by Teatro Nuovo at Jazz at Lincoln Center (July 19): Gaetano Donizetti was a bit of a history buff. From Lucrezia Borgia and Peter the Great to Anne Boleyn and Mary Stuart, the prolific composer mined the past for interesting figures to populate his seventy-five-odd operas. The majority of that vast oeuvre has fallen by the wayside, so it’s always a delight when one of these bel canto gems gets excavated and brushed off for a revival, often for the first time in decades, if not more. This Wednesday, Teatro Nuovo will perform a one-night engagement at Lincoln Center of Poliuto (1838), Donizetti’s telling of the ancient Roman St. Polyeuctus, a martyr in third-century Armenia. This opera, one of Donizetti’s personal favorites, was once performed by Franco Corelli and Maria Callas to thunderous acclaim. Nonetheless, the rare bird has only crossed the Atlantic two or three times over the last 150 years. Jakob Lehmann conducts the Teatro Nuovo Orchestra and Chorus, and a preperformance lecture commences at 6:30 p.m. —IS


Marie Mullen in The Saviour, by Deirdre Kinahan, directed by Louise Lowe at the Irish Repertory Theatre, New York. Photo: Carol Rosegg.

The Saviour, by Deirdre Kinahan, directed by Louise Lowe at the Irish Repertory Theatre (through August 13): Deirdre Kinahan’s The Saviour begins as a showcase for the magnificent Marie Mullen, an aging widow relishing a cigarette in bed. It becomes a two-hander when her son (Jamie O’Neill) walks through the door, instead of her new lover whom she’s been awaiting. But what really makes the play tick is the inclusion of a third, silent interlocutor: the Jesus she addresses repeatedly and familiarly, now praying for forgiveness, now invoking judgment. This Jesus is not, she’s at pains to remind us, the one favored by the cruel nuns at the convent of her childhood; what she can’t see is that her own Jesus is coming to resemble the new man she’s so enamored of. The consequences are disastrous and inevitable. In a brisk seventy minutes under the direction of Louise Lowe, The Saviour is a riveting experience. —RE


London Tube Stations, 1924–1961, by Joshua Abbott, with photographs by Philip Butler (Fuel): Charles Holden (1875–1960) is hardly a household name in the annals of British architecture. If he is known for anything, it is for having designed Senate House (completed 1937), the library and administrative hub of the University of London that is said to have served as the sinister inspiration for the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. That building seems to me unfairly maligned, a victim of its associations, for it is a severe (I mean that approvingly) exercise in classical restraint with clean but traditional forms used on a monumental scale. Much of Holden’s work, however, was more modest, for he was responsible for various tube stations of the London Underground, introducing a recognizably modern style that still nodded to English architecture’s glorious past, even reworking the London Underground’s globe logo as a column capital. A new book, London Tube Stations, 1924–1961, gives a snappy illustrated overview of Holden’s quiet revolution in transit architecture. —BR

From the Archives:

“A politicized Plath,” by Richard Tillinghast (March 1993).  A review of The Haunting of Sylvia Plath by Jacqueline Rose.


“The new secession,” by James PieresonOn the decline of American pride.

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