Helen

Beautiful as He Did It
December 20, 2004

ELECTED FRIENDS: ROBERT FROST AND EDWARD THOMAS TO ONE ANOTHER Edited and with an introduction by Matthew Spencer (Handsel Books, 216 pp., $24) I. I. For two poets, two facial expressions. One is simple enough: the blankness with which I, as a graduate student, and every one of the thousand or so graduate students I have taught, first received the words "Edward Thomas." Since this is wrong, and dismaying, I try to have some fun with it.

The Mystic Smile
July 22, 2002

Becoming Mona Lisa: The Making of a Global Icon by Donald Sassoon (Harcourt, 337 pp., $30) One of the most extraordinary but least remarked upon features of paintings and sculptures is their persistence as actual, physical objects from other times and places.

Stanley Kauffmann on Films: Unflinching
September 24, 2001

Comparisons and pigeonholes are first aids for critics. Examples: "Mr. A's film treats the same theme as Mr. B's, but it doesn't [or does] surpass it." And: "Mr. A's film is one more of the line that began with Mr.

The Lost Lesbian
May 23, 1994

Sappho: A Garland The Poems and Fragments of Sappho Translated by Jim Powell (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 65 pp., $15) The Laughter of Aphrodite: A Novel about Sappho of Lesbos By Peter Green (University of California Press, 274 pp., $22) The "garland" of Jim Powell's felicitous translation of Sappho is a tattered remnant. It might well have been subtitled The Poem and Fragments of Sappho, for there is only one poem in the book that we can be reasonably sure is complete, the playful summons to Aphrodite that stands at its head. There is one other poem—the famous description of the physical