Recent links of note:
“The Kafka Papers”
Christoph Irmscher, The Weekly Standard
In Franz Kafka’s last short story, “Josefine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk,” a mouse worries that her legacy as a singer will not survive after her death, but the story suggests that it doesn’t matter; she has no talent at all. This could be read as a fictionalized version of Kafka’s views on his own work. He so feared leaving his writing to the public that, soon before he died of tuberculosis at age forty, he commanded his friend Max Brod to burn everything. Brod, blessedly, disobeyed. The battle for Kafka’s rescued manuscripts played out among a strange collection of people: his secretary’s daughter, the members of the German Literature Archive, and scholars at the National Library of Israel, as Christoph Irmscher recounts for The Weekly Standard. Look for an essay on reading Kafka by John M. Ellis in our forthcoming October issue.
“‘The Charterhouse of Bruges: Jan van Eyck, Petrus Christus and Jan Vos’ Review: Preparing for the End”
Peter Plagens, The Wall Street Journal
Thanks to artists in his workshop, the Flemish painter Jan van Eyck followed through on his commission to paint The Virgin and Child With St. Barbara, St. Elizabeth and Jan Vos (1441–43) for the Bruges Charterhouse, a Carthusian monastery. Van Eyck died the year he began the painting, but the piece was completed by his peers. The second work commissioned by Vos, the monastery’s prior, is a miniature of Van Eyck and Co.’s version, entitled The Virgin and Child with St. Barbara and Jan Vos (ca. 1450), by Petrus Christus. The works survived two attacks on the monastery in the Religious Wars of the sixteenth century, and now, for the first time, these exemplary paintings of the early Flemish period are on view together in a small exhibition at the Frick Collection.
“The Fat Lady is Singing”
Terry Teachout, Commentary
The composer Aaron Copland called opera “the form fatale,” and he wasn’t far off. The American operatic frontier has long been hostile to its small contingent of brave settlers, Terry Teachout claims. Five years after the closing of the New York City Opera, one of the country’s largest opera companies, Teachout examines the history of American opera and looks to its hazy future. Can the Met hang on with ticket prices and audience ages rising, and can opera houses in small American cities scratch out a living in the hard-packed dirt of the American music scene?
“America’s Biggest Battle, 100 Years On”
Dan McLaughlin, National Review
Thursday was the hundredth anniversary of the launching of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, led by the 1.2-million-man American Expeditionary Force. It was the beginning of a battle that would become the largest and most deadly in World War I and in American history. Dan McLaughlin provides a brief history of the battle, which ended with the armistice six weeks later.
“Hundreds of Artists to Take Part in This Weekend’s Bushwick Open Studios”
Deena ElGenaidi, Hyperallergic
This weekend, the burgeoning arts community in Bushwick presents a volunteer-run arts festival, featuring exhibitions, shows, and block parties throughout the neighborhood. Bushwick Open Studios will host more than 180 artists, with more registrations coming in as the three-day event, from Friday to Sunday, approaches.
From our pages:
Garden of earthly enigmas