Against the Times

Rilke: Love Letters to us All

In Reviews on February 14, 2010 at 8:35 pm

My dear sir, your letter reached me just a few days ago. I want to thank you for the deep and loving trust it revealed. I can do no more. I cannot comment on the style of your verses; critical intent is too far removed from my nature. There is nothing that manages to influence a work of art less than critical words. They always result in more or less unfortunate misunderstandings. Things are not as easily understood nor as expressible as people usually would like us to believe. Most happenings are beyond expression; they exist where a word has never intruded. Even more inexpressible are works of art; mysterious entities they are, whose lives, compared to our fleeting ones, endure.

Shall We Dance?

In Musings on February 3, 2010 at 12:57 pm

A question too rarely asked!

Dance is one of the great popular art forms. Where there is music, there is dance–or ought to be. To dance in public involves a twofold pleasure: that of the audience, and that of the dancer. Where the latter dominates, dancing becomes a communal activity. The pleasure of dancing by oneself is dwarfed by that of doing so with others, so it is no surprise that partner dancing evolved as the simplest form of dancing-together. The two-person dance, like the two-person marriage, is easier to maintain than its more plentiful alternatives.

A Modern Tailor for the Immodern Gentleman

In Reviews on January 24, 2010 at 5:00 pm

An anachronist, we might say, is a person who does not fit the modern world. This is accurate, but metaphorical. Yet there is an important sense in which the modern world–mass produced for mythical “average people”–literally does not fit. This problem shows up in many domains, but nowhere is it felt more personally than in the case of clothing. The Anachronist wrote previously about the benefits of tailoring, and now, dear reader, he will share with you his first experience with budget bespoke.