Matthew Arnold

The Rushdie Affair and the Struggle Against Islamism
December 07, 2012

The persecution of a prophetic novel and a pompous novelist.

Homer Now
June 07, 2012

The Iliad of HomerTranslated by Richmond Lattimore (University of Chicago Press, 599 pp., $15) Homer: The IliadTranslated by Anthony Verity (Oxford University Press, 470 pp., $29.95) Homer: The IliadTranslated by Stephen Mitchell (Free Press, 466 pp., $35) Memorial: An Excavation of the IliadBy Alice Oswald (Faber & Faber, 84 pp., £12.99) The Song of AchillesBy Madeline Miller (Ecco, 378 pp., $25.99)  English Translation and Classical Reception: Towards a New Literary HistoryBy Stuart Gillespie (Wiley-Blackwell, 208 pp., $110.95)   I. "Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus’s son Achilleus/an

Another Kind of Atheism
May 11, 2010

About 2-1/2 years ago I wrote an essay for TNR in which I criticized the so-called new atheists (primarily Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens). A few months later, I followed up with a critical take on Bill Maher’s Religulous. In both cases, my focus was politics. There was, I argued, something deeply illiberal about the new atheists’ intolerant hostility to the spiritual beliefs of their fellow citizens. I still believe that, as readers of my forthcoming book will discover.

A Victory For Social Justice, Hallelujah!
March 21, 2010

I don’t mean to poach on Jonathan Cohn’s turf, or Jonathan Chait’s either. For all the hysteria of the Republicans and the shady deals of the majority party, the passage of universal health care is a triumph of the democratic idea and of the democratic ideal. “Choose equality and flee greed,” Matthew Arnold urged the nineteenth-century British. Still, from the vantage point of class stratification, England remains a rigidly layered society.

Lifting the Shadow Off the Tax System
August 20, 2009

The fact is that it did not happen until Barack Obama became president. It was a standing offense to American tax justice that probably hundreds of thousands of our very rich countrymen brazenly avoided the reach of the Internal Revenue Service simply by transferring (much of) their wealth to foreign banks in Switzerland and about 15 other countries, which protected the identities of these depositors by their laws. We know why this long-time structural injustice was of no interest to either of the Bush administrations. Let's say roughly that both George H.W. and George W.

Heroes and Echoes
July 04, 1988

Tragedy: Shakespeare and the Greek Example by Adrian Poole Everyone assumes that they know what tragedy means; the problem comes in trying to define it. One thing is certain: it is a uniquely Western phenomenon.