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James D. Julia's February Fine Art, Asian & Antiques Auction Produces Over $3.3 Million

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Gently Mad

Nick’s Picks for the Holidays

Till I End My Song: A Gathering of Last Poems
edited by Harold Bloom
published by Harper
hardcover, 377 pages. $24.95
To suggest that this remarkable selection of poetic works is the literary equivalent of “famous last words” would be misleading, since they are not necessarily the final thoughts penned by such notables as William Shakespeare, John Keats, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Herman Melville, Elizabeth Bishop, or Dylan Thomas, but the sentiments the eminent critic Harold Bloom believes they intended to stand as the “imaginative conclusion to a poetic career.” It is the kind of concept that only someone of Bloom’s intellectual stature could hope to attempt, and he pulls it off brilliantly, his comments on each of the one hundred choices as appealing as the poems themselves. “Knowledge, not pathos, is my purpose in gathering this anthology,” Bloom writes. “Lastness is a part of knowing.”
Showtime: A History of the Broadway Musical
by Larry Stempel
published by W. W. Norton
hardcover, 826 pages. $39.95
This exhaustive history of the Broadway musical embraces a colorful heritage that has its roots in the years leading up to the Civil War, and reached full flower a century later with such iconic productions as Oklahoma, Show Boat, and West Side Story. A professor of music at Fordham University—and a one-time songwriter himself—Stempel has pored through mountains of archival documents to produce a much-needed examination of a distinctively American art form. All the important names and productions are here, in full context, along with many marvelous illustrations, making for a most bountiful book.
Compass and Rule: Architecture as Mathematical Practice in England, 1570-1750
by Anthony Gerbine & Stephen Johnston
published by Yale University Press
hardcover, 208 pages. $65
The somewhat intimidating title notwithstanding, this is an accessibly written scholarly work that has the added advantage of being agreeable to behold. Issued to accompany an exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art, the book focus primarily on the work of Sir Christopher Wren and Inigo Jones, principal figures in the Renaissance culture that emerged in England during the sixteenth century, and demonstrates how the idea of architecture as an artistic exercise began to take shape, with particular emphasis on the role played by the mathematical arts and sciences.
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