Recent links of note: 

“The ends of history”
Michael Bonner, Antigone

Ever since the Enlightenment, humanity has been obsessed with the “new,” writes Michael Bonner for the classics journal Antigone. We have neglected the past as a source for civilizational renewal, and our virtues face a moment of reckoning. Yet a variety of civilizations over the course of history have relied on the revival of the past and the continuation of tradition for renewal. Bonner’s chief example, among many, is the Western world’s heavy “appropriation” and “assimilation” of Roman (and Greek) culture, which began during the Renaissance. From the beginning, civilizations and their products of “clarity, beauty, and order” have ebbed and flowed in moments of collapse and restoration. In the present moment, Bonner argues, we must “reexamine” that which we are “in danger of losing” and what must be done to preserve and renew it.

“‘Jacob’s Room’: A Young Man Etched in Absence”
Micah Mattix, The Wall Street Journal

In this week’s masterpiece column in The Wall Street Journal, Micah Mattix examines Jacob’s Room, the 1922 novel by Virginia Woolf. Jacob’s Room, eclipsed by other great works published that year by authors such as James Joyce, T. S. Eliot, and Marcel Proust, follows the story of the eponymous young man and his entrance to adulthood, told in an episodic narrative through “the impressions he made on the women he knew.” A work of “subtlety and clarity,” writes Mattix, Woolf’s novel captures the character’s youthful essence without “describing him directly” and with little dialogue. The novel also constitutes Woolf’s rebuttal to her contemporary Arnold Bennett and his book Hilda Lessways, a rivalry explored in depth by Richard Howells in The New Criterion’s September issue.

“English National Opera should move—but not all the way to Manchester”
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

Writing for The Telegraph, Rupert Christansen offers an alternative to Arts Council England’s plans to relocate one of the country’s great opera companies, the English National Opera. Earlier this month, ACE announced that ENO’s funding will be cut by April 2023. A rumored reconfiguration of the nearly one-hundred-year-old institution includes a change of scenery to Manchester, where Opera North is already struggling “to fill the house.” Though ENO “can’t say it wasn’t warned,” the opera company does have some options to stay afloat. A solution, Christiansen posits, may lie in relocating to Sadler’s Wells in Islington, the home of the company before central London, which has a theater suitable for high-quality opera.

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