Cover image for A Terry Teachout reader.
A Terry Teachout reader.
Teachout, Terry.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven : Yale University Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xxvi, 438 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NX504 .T43 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Terry Teachout, one of our most acute cultural commentators, here turns his sharp eye to every corner of the arts world--music, dance, literature, theater, film, TV, and the visual arts. This collection gathers the best of Teachout's writings from the past fifteen years. In each essay he offers lucid and balanced judgments that invariably illuminate, sometimes infuriate, and always spark a response--the mark of a critic whose thoughts, however controversial, cannot be ignored.
In a thoughtful introduction to the book, Teachout considers how American culture of the twenty-first century differs from that of the last century and how the information age has altered popular culture. His selected essays chronicle America's cultural journey over the past decade and a half, and they show us what has been lost--and gained--along the way. With highly informed opinions, an inimitable wit and style, and a genuine devotion to all things cultural, Teachout offers his readers much to delight in and much to ponder.

Author Notes

Terry Teachout is drama critic for the Wall Street Journal, music critic for Commentary, and a contributor to the Washington Post, for which he writes "Second City," a column about the arts in New York City

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Woe to be an artist, writer, musician or fellow critic who incurs Teachout's wrath. In this hefty, erudite collection of essays and reviews from the last 15 years, Teachout (The Skeptic) turns his scathing wit on some of high culture's most sacred cows. Postmodernism is a theory "so patently absurd as to need no refuting"; black studies is a "pitiful and preposterous burlesque of scholarship"; and Norman Mailer is a "nostalgia act" whose work of the last three decades is "noteworthy only for its flaccid awfulness." Hardly pausing for breath, Teachout goes on to blast jazz critic Stanley Crouch for "musical ignorance" and accuse Wynton Marsalis of fostering "reverse racism." Whew! Of course, if all Teachout did was attack, he'd be a pit bull, not a critic. Fortunately, he also takes pride in resurrecting the forgotten and underappreciated artists of eras past and present. He applauds the talents of cartoon magnate Chuck Jones (creator of Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner), praises the moral center of Randolph Scott's Western B-movies and explores the surprising spiritual underpinnings of Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full. Teachout speaks fearlessly on just about every genre under the sun (though he claims to be just a "well-informed amateur" on all subjects other than music), employing a voice that is unapologetically contrarian and morally focused. Many of these essays first appeared in neoconservative magazines like Commentary, National Review and the Weekly Standard; some readers may find the political edge to Teachout's criticism irritating, though always ruthlessly consistent. This book is an impressive testament to Teachout's talents, eloquence and integrity. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Jerome Robbins
Introduction: Across the Great Dividep. xiii
Part 1 American Wayfarers
Far from Ohio: Dawn Powellp. 3
Father Babbitt's Flockp. 7
The Conversion of Tom Wolfep. 16
Merce Cunningham: Pale Horse, Pale Riderp. 20
Notes Toward the Definition of Paul Taylorp. 30
Stephen Sondheim's Unsettled Scoresp. 35
What Randolph Scott Knewp. 47
That Wascally Pwofessorp. 55
Louis Armstrong, Eminent Victorianp. 58
Bill Monroe and His Discontentsp. 64
Citizen Sinatrap. 68
Part 2 Midcultists
Seven Hundred Pretty Good Booksp. 75
Sentimental Journeyp. 91
Norman Mailer: Forgotten but Not Gonep. 95
Real Cool Killersp. 99
Crosby Major, Crosby Minorp. 102
That Nice Elvis Boyp. 112
High Anxiety: Martha Grahamp. 116
Choreographyp. 124
How Good Was Leonard Bernstein?p. 134
Brand-Name Operap. 147
The David Helfgott Showp. 154
Classical Barbiep. 162
Angelic Disordersp. 167
The Land of No Contextp. 171
The Myth of "Classic" TVp. 174
Battle of the Browsp. 178
Good Night, Davidp. 185
Part 3 Down to the Crossroads
Inner Chambersp. 193
The Great American Composerp. 201
The Man Who Watched Bogartp. 211
Scoundrel Timep. 218
Cradle of Liesp. 221
Willa Cather: No Way to Treat a Ladyp. 231
Another Sun Person Heard Fromp. 235
The Color of Jazzp. 244
(Over) praising Duke Ellingtonp. 255
Sins of the Fathersp. 263
The Anti-Victim: Arlene Crocep. 267
Part 4 Post-Postmodern
Life with Camillep. 273
Tolstoy's Contraptionp. 277
Is That All There Is?p. 281
Beasts and Superbeastsp. 285
Whit Stillman, Class Clownp. 289
Pictures of Words: John Saylesp. 294
The Tilt-a-World of David Ivesp. 298
The New New Musicp. 303
Death of the Concertp. 312
Life Without Recordsp. 320
Three Roads to American Operap. 335
After Mr. Bp. 343
Going a Lot to the Mark Morris Dance Groupp. 354
At Full Blastp. 361
Part 5 Personals
The Importance of Being Less Earnestp. 371
I've Got a Crush on Youp. 376
Elegy for the Woodchopperp. 380
Close to Homep. 394
My Friend Nancyp. 398
About the Authorp. 409
Indexp. 411