Arthur M. Eckstein

Home Arthur M. Eckstein
Post

The Ten Deadly Sins

This book, originally published in Czech in 1973, is based on an amusing literary conceit. Ronald Arbuthnott Knox, an English Catholic priest and important early 20th-century theologian, was also a distinctive figure in the development of the genre of detective

Post

“Enemies of Society”

“The essential matter of history is not what happened but what people thought or said about it.”

—Frederic Maitland

In the late summer of 1985, the San Francisco Bay area celebrated the 40th anniversary of VJ Day and the end

Post

Burned but Never Consumed

The first writer known to have made the outrageous accusation of ritual cannibalism against the Jews was a pagan Greek named Apion. But it was the Christians who established prejudice against and hatred for Jews as a fixture of Western

Post

A Prince of Our Disorder

“Very few care for beauty; but anyone can be interested in gossip.”
—C.S. Lewis

In 1982 The Village Voice published an article accusing the famous Polish emigre writer Jerzy Kosinski of being a fraud. The authors (Geoffrey Stokes and Eliot

Post

Revenge of the Nerd

“He can be compelled who does not know how to die.”
—Seneca

“That’s IT. I’ve HAD it with bourgeois-liberal guilt!” In disgust, my friend slammed Lillian Rubin’s new book back across the table at me. We had been reading a

Myths of Imperialism
Post

Myths of Imperialism

“The day of small nations has long passed away. The
day of Empires has come.”

—Joseph Chamberlain

In a rational world, the term “imperialism” might have been a carefully defined and useful tool of political and social analysis, part of

Post

Lillian Hellman, True and False

“Female murderers get sheaves of offers of marriage.”
—Shaw

In a recent issue of The Nation, John L. Hess complains about the current flow of books demythologizing the venerated martyrs of the American left. So what if new historical

Post

The Glory and the Myth of John Ford

A year ago, the University of Maryland held a special screening of John Ford’s The Searchers (1956), followed by a two-hour discussion of the film led by representatives of the departments of history, English, philosophy, and communications. John Ford would

Post

Germania Tremens

“What wonders I have done, all Germany can witness. . . . “
—Christopher Marlowe

Anyone who has lived in Germany eventually realizes that Germany is a nation of hypochondriacs. Germans spend far more than Americans on nostrums, vitamins, tranquilizers,

Post

Inside Jokes

From August 1941 until November 1943, George Orwell served as the producer and writer of a radio talk show beamed by the BBC out to India. Physically unfit for army duty, he considered the job to be his way

Post

Sympathy for the Devil

Abbott Redux

One would have thought to have heard the last of Jack Henry Abbott. Back in the early 1980’s, you’ll remember, Jack Abbott was a literary cause celèbre: here was a great, lost writer, condemned to an unending

The Mystery of Arthur Koestler
Post

The Mystery of Arthur Koestler

“It is notgood to look too long upon these turning wheels of vicissitude, lest we become giddy.”
    –Sir Francis Bacon

It was apt that 1984, the Orwellian Year, should see the reissue of Ar­thur Koestler’s two-volume autobiog­ raphy (first published

Our Orwell, Right or Left
Post

Our Orwell, Right or Left

“Tyranny is always better organized than freedom.”
—Charles Peguy

In Moscow in 1963, there was a saying: “Tell me what you think of Solzhenitsyn and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and I’ll tell you who you