< Guy Davenport Home Page >

Guy Davenport: Periodicals   

National Review
(1961 -- 1962)


  A-B C-F G-H I-K L-M N-O P-R S-Z  


Back to National Review (main)

National Review

(1961 -- 1962)




"Toulouse-Lautrec: Fact and Fancy," National Review 11:12 (September 23, 1961) 198-199.

  • Henri Perruchot, Toulouse Lautrec, trans. by Humphrey Hare.  First volume of a trilogy to be called Art and Destiny: Toulouse-Lautrec, Cezanne, Manet

*  *  *

"The nineteenth century is an image in paint, as the century before exists in the cooper engraving and ours in photography. The realist preoccupation of the century took a special form in Toulouse-Lautrec. If he is the visual counterpart of Zola and de Maupassant, he is also a student of Goya and Hokusai. His satire, like Goya's and Hogarth's has compassionate roots. No romantic world fooled his sense of reality. Puvis de Chavannes, his contemporary and a 'classicist' whose murals were pure enough even for the Boston Public Library, he paradoied in a large canvas of pastoral vapidity and sighed Pubis de Cheval."

*  *  *

"The fine collection of hitherto unpublished photographs provides another advantage for knowing the man Lautrec. Obsessed by his comic ugliness, he liked being photographed; the first close-up in photography is of his face.  . . .  His great subjects are art and play, the exultant activities. A cripple, he drew legs with loving envy. He drew energy. His accurate record of prostitutes is an honest extension of the task he set himself, to paint a human comedy. He had not a trace of sentimentality in him. He painted intelligently, allowing all that was implicit in subject to become eloquent through clarity alone. 'Van Gogh was all charity; Lautrec all lucidity.'"

*  *  *

Biography, a severe art crucial to civilization, would seem to have a perfectly clear objective, to record an interesting life. Yet biographies are peculiarly vulnerable to every failure of the writer's and scholar's craft. There is the problem of keeping imagination and and fact in perfect relation, of keeping to the obvious business of biography while that very business itches to ape fiction, to rise to eulogy, or, as usually happens, to take the guise of another literary form: novel, homily, diatribe. M. Perruchot constructs his book quite fittingly as if it were a novel by Zola. His Toulouse-Lautrec is a genius ravaged by inexplicable forces (presumably by Society and Ambition). Realism has not particular theory to explain such a life, and the biography, despite the word 'destiny' in its title, assumes the shape and scrupulous organization of a case history. . . ."


"Notes on the Decline of the West," National Review 11:18 (November 4, 1961) 310-311.

  • Thomas Mann, The Story of a Novel: The Genesis of Doctor Faustus, trans. by Richard and Clara Winston
  • Kurt W. Marek, Yestermorrow: Notes on Man's Progress, trans. by Ralph Manheim

*  *  *

In 1949 Thomas Mann made a record of the novel which came upon him unexpected, like a child of old age, Doctor Faustus. He had just finished the fourth and last volume of his Joseph epic; his wife wanted him to finish Felix Krull, and the idea of returning to this novella of his youth as a possible last work tickled his mystical love of symmetry. Mann had predicted his death at the allotted three score and ten, and when Time upbraided him for being alive at 71 he hedged and said that he meant the death of his imagination. But that imagination was to surprise Mann and create his greatest novel. The Entstehung des Doktor Faustus which he wrote in 1949 as an incredulous glory-be has now been translated . . . as The Story of a Novel. It is more: it is a journal of the years in which he wrote Faustus, a record of an intellectual adventure, and a sly parody of the Mann novel, full of Germanic jokes and totemistic leitmotivs. Its narrator-protagonist is an exile in an imperiled Egypt whose Joseph is Roosevelt, whose chariots are flung at the Hyksos Nazis, and whose lonely wastes and gaudy people befriend a nucleus of representative intellect from which, if Europe is so crushed that only misery can emerge, a second mundus novus can be begun -- Stravinsky, Einstein, Brecht, Adorno, Maas, Tillich.

*  *  *

If Mann's Faustus is a parable of Western man's troubles, conceived in the spirit of Nietzsche and ot attendant romantic ideas of a tragic end to our civilization, Kurt Marek's Yestermorrow is a sequence of notes on that decline. Spengler is not read a great deal any more, and the essay on technology less than the Decline [of the West]. The only thing to say here is that Spengler is more germinal for historians of scope than his etiolation by Toynbee, and that until Frobenius is translated and got into the curriculum, better raw Nietzsche than Spengler, better Spengler than Toynbee's tepidity as an appetite whetter in comparative culture.  . . .  It is not so much the decline of the West, Marek says, which should engage our attention as the metamorphosis of all cultures into technocracy. All history since Gibbon has been written with nostalgia; sentiment has blinded our scrutiny. Truer historians are those folk artists who extrapolate hints into fantasies and give us utopias and science fiction, for whatever our dismal future, it will be a time of automata.  . . .  Mr. Marek has no solutions; his notes constitute an up-to-date Erewhon in which machines, not nature, evolve in a metamorphosis more fantastic than that described by Ovid or Darwin."



Some Picture-Books of the Season," National Review 11:26 (December 30, 1961) 456-457.

  • Werner Hofmann, The Earthly Paradise: Art in the Nineteenth Century
  • S. J. Freedburg, Painting of the High Renaissance in Rome and Florence
  • Robert Cantwell, Alexander Wilson: Naturalist and Pioneer
  • Albert Gardner, Winslow Homer
  • Chinese Art Treasures
  • James Cahill, Chinese Painting
  • Akiyarna Terukazu, Japanese Painting
  • Fujio Kayama, Chinese Ceramic Art
  • David Douglas Duncan, Picasso's Picassos
  • Jaime Sabartes, Picasso: Toreros
  • The Art of the Middle East
  • The Art of Ancient America
  • John Rewald, The History of Impressionism
  • Margaret Bieber, The Sculpture of the Hellenistic Age, rev. ed.
  • Werner Haftman, Painting in the Twentieth Century
  • Gaston Diehl, The Moderns
  • The Horizon Book of the Renaissance
  • Björn Landstrom, The Ship



"No, But I've Read the Book," National Review 12:6 (February 13, 1962) 100.

  • Essay on Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Tarzan saga

[Untitled review] National Review 12:6 (February 13, 1962) 104.

  • Robert Warshow, The Immediate Experience: Movies, Comics, Theatre and Other Aspects of Popular Culture

"Genesis 2:7 and the New Zoology," National Review 12:10 (March 13, 1962) 171-172.

  • Robert Ardrey, African Genesis

[Untitled review] National Review 12:12 (March 27, 1962) 220.

  • Hesketh Pearson, Conan Doyle

"Invisible Characters," National Review 12:14 (April 10, 1962) 251-252.

  • John Knowles, Morning in Antibes
  • Edward Loomis, The Mothers
  • Dorothy Baker, Cassandra at the Wedding

"Beckett and Kenner, Tandem," National Review 12:18 (May 8, 1962) 330-332.

  • Hugh Kenner, Samuel Beckett: A Critical Study

[Untitled review] National Review 12:18 (May 8, 1962) 336-337.

  • Andrew Turnbull, Scott Fitzgerald

"Romances and Rabelais Reviv'd," National Review 12:22 (June 5, 1962) 336-337.

  • Gertrude von LeFort, The Judgement of the Sea
  • Aldous Huxley, Island
  • Thomas Berger, Reinhart in Love

[Untitled review] National Review 13:6 (August 14, 1962) 110.

  • Arthur and Barbara Gelb, 0'Neill

"Magic Realism in Prose," National Review 13:8 (August 28, 1962) 153-154.

  • James Baldwin, Another Country
  • Philip Roth, Letting Go
  • Herbert Gold, The Age of Happy Problems

[Untitled review], National Review 13:12 (September 25, 1962) 238.

  • John Pairman Brown, The Displaced Person's Almanac

"Jungles of the Imagination," National Review 13:14 (October 9, 1962) 273-274.

  • James Jones, The Thin Red Line
  • William Gelding, The Inheritors
  • John Wain, Stroke the Father Dead

[Untitled review] National Review 13:16 (October 23, 1962) 325.

  • Jack Kerouac, Big Sur

"Violin, Meerschaum and Bradshaw," National Review 13:18 (November 6, 1962) 257-358.

  • William S. Baring-Gould, Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street: A Life of the World's First Consulting Detective.

[Untitled review] National Review 13:20 (November 20, 1962) 404.

  • Elspeth Huxley, On the Edge of the Rift: Memories of Kenya

[Untitled review] National Review 13:22 (December 4, 1962) 450.

  • Van Wyck Brooks, Fenollosa and His Circle with Other Essays in Biography

"A Masterpiece and Some Christmas Books," National Review 13:24 (December 18, 1962) 480-481.

  • Eliot Porter, In Wildness is the Preservation of the World
  • Alexander B. Adams, ed., Guide to Cape Cod
  • Marion Morehouse, Adventures in Value
  • The Horizon Book of Lost Worlds
  • Siegfried Giedeon, The Eternal Present: Volume I, The Beginnings of Art
  • Patricia Coyle Nicholson, ed., Architecture: Man in Possession of His Earth
  • John Lynch, Coffee Table Book of Astrology
  • W. Somerset Maugham, Purely For My Pleasure
  • The Concise History of Painting from Giotto to Cezanne
  • Praeger Encyclopedia of Art (1958)
  • Alice Elizabeth Chase, Famous Paintings
  • Rene Huyghe, ed., Larousse Encyclopedia of Prehistoric and Ancient Art
  • Ivor B. Hart, The World of Leonardo da Vinci: Man of Science, Engineer and Dreamer of Flight

"The Dust Witch, the Red October Moon," National Review 13:26 (December 31, 1962) 515-517.

  • Richard G. Stern, In Any Case
  • Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
  • Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes
Back to Periodicals (All)
  A-B C-F G-H I-K L-M N-O P-R S-Z  


Copyright 1998-2005, Charles A. Ralston. All rights reserved.
Send comments to: < [email protected] >

Last revised:  2005-03-28
Hosted by www.Geocities.ws