Responding to traumatic events remains one of art’s most problematic undertakings. Horrific events are often beyond articulation and this sense of inadequacy is enhanced when the creative work, with its overtones of pleasure and even whimsy, enters the fray.
A Catastrophe Not Foreseen
Russia’s handling of its client Serbia in the run-up to the First World War was an object lesson in how not to do it. While it is a mistake to assign exclusive culpability for the outbreak of the war to any single state actor, equally none can be absolved of responsibility.
A Massacre of Art?
A stimulating new study, focusing on one painting and its contemporary critical reception, illuminates the French painter Eugène Delacroix, a man who, ‘reactionary in his ideas, romantic in his talent’, was, according to Victor Hugo, in contradiction with his own works.
It’s That Man Again
Banville’s heroes are by now familiar to us. Remote, middle-aged elitist types, tortured by the burden of existence and the shadow of death, they may not be hugely wealthy but are never poor. Often they are on the margins of a declining gentry that exudes old-world mystique.
Most groups wrongfooted by the advent of Irish independence in the 1920s have since made their peace with it: the state’s Protestant minority, Trinity College, even diehard republicans. But the Jesuit order, it seems, is still dragging its feet and hankering after what has been lost.