Recent links of note:
“Brideshead Revisited, Revisited”
Alexander Larman, The Critic
On the eve of a new turn at Brideshead Revisited from the BBC, Alexander Larman writes for The Critic on the history of Evelyn Waugh’s fraught relationship with cinema—he repeatedly refused to allow adaptations of his novels for film—as well as the challenges of bringing Waugh’s work to new audiences today. Oddly enough, Waugh had a youthful dalliance with filmmaking while a student at Oxford, writing and starring in his own motion picture, 1925’s slapdash farce The Scarlet Woman: An Ecclesiastical Melodrama. I am unable to locate a clip, but Larman assures us that Waugh stars as the bedraggled dean of Balliol College, hideous wig and all.
“‘The Woman in White’ Review: Inspiration for a Symphony”
Gioia Diliberto, The Wall Street Journal
To what extent can a model participate in the creation of a painting? One needn’t drift into Barthesian postmodernism to consider the collaborative process that takes place within the walls of an artist’s studio. Take Joanna Hiffernan, the model and companion to James Abbott McNeill Whistler in the 1860s and the subject of his famous Woman in White (1861–62). In an article for The Wall Street Journal, Gioia Diliberto shows how Hiffernan, herself an amateur artist, was an indispensable catalyst for Whistler’s career during his early years and beyond. A striking, red-haired Irish beauty, Hiffernan was Whistler’s ticket to enter the world of the Pre-Raphaelite painters he so admired—a group of men with similarly torrid attachments to their model-muses.
“What the cat saw”
Kathryn Hughes, Literary Review
Reading Kathryn Hughes’s article for Literary Review, I must admit I was surprised at the amount of ink spilled over cats in the eighteenth century alone. This ranges from Dr. Johnson’s “very fine cat” Hodge, to Horace Walpole’s Selima, to the poet Christopher Smart’s “My Cat Jeoffry,” to whom Smart dedicated a long section of verse—from his cell in an insane asylum, mind you—in praise of this “servant of the Living God.” Read on for more oddities, including one decidedly less famous elegy by Thomas Grey (of “Country Churchyard” renown), “Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes.”
“Music for a While #37: Over the moon,” by Jay Nordlinger. Jay Nordlinger, The New Criterion’s music critic, talks music—but, more important, plays music.
“Night & day,” by Timothy Jacobson. On England’s fleeting answer to The New Yorker.