Recent links of note:
“Robert Conquest’s muses”
Cynthia Haven, The Times Literary Supplement
The twin gifts of long life and an undying work ethic enabled Robert Conquest to erect a tower of good works during his seven-decade career. And yet, the fact that Conquest continued to write and publish until his death last August also ensured that critics got a late start reckoning with his legacy compared to his contemporaries like Philip Larkin and Kingsley Amis. Writing in the Times Literary Supplement, the literary critic Cynthia Haven suggests that movement to secure Conquest’s place of esteem is finally underway. Among the many vignettes she offers to summarize Conquest’s style and the activities that marked his late career, Haven describes the current plight of Elizabeth Conquest, the widow of the poet and historian who is editing the complete collection of her late husband’s verse. Although Robert Conquest’s reputation as a chronicler of Soviet crimes will likely form the bulk of his long-term legacy, those who do pick up his poems will discover in them a concentrated form of the same frankness and humanism that drove Conquest’s career as diplomat.
“What Comes After the Uprising?”
Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal
If not for the experience and prestige attached to the author’s name, the title of Peggy Noonan’s latest essay might make it come off as just another shard of confused writing in the sea of post-election thinkpieces. When Noonan in particular asks, “What comes after the uprising?” however, readers can be sure that what follows will leave them with some answers to hold onto about America’s future—the question mark in the title merely being Noonan’s gesture of humility. Noonan’s predictions, delivered with confidence, include her hope that the president-elect will build on his acceptance speech with more signals of good will, and that his former opponents throughout all areas of government will be humble enough to offer him their support and expertise. In its tone and intent, the article approaches a prayer—a set of hopes and expectations for the coming administration without certainty, per se, but offered up by a writer with unwavering faith in American endurance.
From our pages:
“A prison of ideas”
On the unintentional farce of Underground Railroad Game.