Diversions and Animadversions: Essays from The New Criterion
- Publish Date: 2005-09-30
- Binding: Hardcover
- Author: Alexander Coleman
This volume contains nearly all the criticism that Alexander Coleman wrote for The New Criterion between 1994 and 2003. A specialist in Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American literature, Coleman was also a superb essayist on music, and his wide erudition, as revealed in these writings, demonstrates an easy mastery of the entire modernist tradition. Diversions and Animadversions is divided into three parts. The first contains Coleman's literary essays including a lengthy piece on Eba de Quieros, the great master of Portuguese realism, and shorter pieces on the Argentinian writer and Borges disciple, Adolfo Bioy Casares, as well as a review of the most recent translation of the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca. Coleman's greatest passion, however, was for music, and part two contains essays, concert and book reviews, and reports on the cultural situation of music. Among the subjects examined here are the operas of Schoenberg, Berg, Richard Strauss, the recently published letters of Toscanini, the music criticism of Virgil Thomson, the fluctuating critical reputation of Jean Sibelius, and the authentic performance practice movement, along with considerations of such instrumentalists as Sviatoslav Richter and Alicia de Larrocha. The book concludes with Coleman's travel writings, which are both evocative mood pieces and incisive social and political commentary. Graced with personal appreciations by Roger Kimball and Denis Donoghue, this volume encapsulates the work of a writer of rare wit, capacious learning, and eager, if gently ironical, curiosity.