companion of George III, while the best the artists we knowncan hope for is to share a beach house with Bianca Jagger;nrather, we feel that somewhere along the road to liberty,nfraternity, and equality, more than decorous titles were leftnby the dusty and flowerless wayside.nA personal antidote to such feeling is the recollection thatnSoviet guides conducting tours of the Tolstoy estate atnYasnaya Polyana, near Tula, explain to visitors that while innthe old days there was but one writer—Count Lev Tolstoyn—today there are hundreds of writers in the Tula region.nThe recollection acts as an antidote because it reminds onenthat the political opposites of a free society are not onlynlacking in its blessings, but have all of its shortcomings in anmonstrously magnified form. In other words, the Sovietnequivalent of George III, speaking symbolically, is also anBianca Jagger, except that there she probably heads thenMinistry of Gulture and holds the rank of Colonel in thenstate security apparatus. Likewise, if for Tolstoy style was anprivate, or personal, matter, for every one of his Tula regionnbrethren today the least stylistic frivolity may put annunambiguous end to the privileges of electricity and hotnwater.nI hasten to point to my swift recovery from the nostalgianinduced by the West anecdote because I fear that mynreading of American culture may be confounded with thengrumbling that is the hallmark of critics of democracy onnboth the “left” and the “right,” from California’s HerbertnMarcuse to Vermont’s Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. In particular,nSolzhenitsyn’s God-of-our-fathers brand of culturalncriticism seems to have put our enlightened intelligentsianon the defensive. “Our Will Endures,” Archibald Mac-nLeish proclaimed in a hurried rebuttal of the Harvardnspeech.nOf course, all that fuss was not about our will or anynother rhetorical appurtenances of contemporary Spengleriana.nThe scourge of Harvard had made some rathernopaque pronouncements in that famous high-pitched voicenof his; but indistinct and ante-Tocquevillian though thesenwere, they made the larger audience realize, for the firstntime in modern American history it seems, that therenexisted the Problems of Culture; and that, unlike any of thenproblems with which the audience was familiar, this onensimply did not have a political solution.nTheoretically, cultural life under the conditions of economicnand political freedom should have a lushness, and ansplendor, beyond a poet laureate’s most sycophantic, ornegotistical, dreams. Sure there is neither court nor academy;nsure there is no one “sacred canopy”; sure there is onlynan empty shrine. But there are myriad enclaves, each with anseparate system of values, each with a poet, a king, andnperhaps a god of its own choosing, all joined together in anpaean to liberty. “Theoretically” is the key word here.nInstead, in reality, a well-dressed man named LeonCastelli is quoted, in an issue of a magazine on the cover ofnwhich he appears, as saying, “I read Freud,” adding by waynof explanation: “I wanted to be a Renaissance man.”nInstead, we get “poetry by and about women.”nConversely, the cultural climate of a nation whosenwriters may get their hot water shut off because of andisagreement over syntax must indeed be chilling. And yet,nthe sense that the poem you are reading in manuscript maynbe the poet’s last creates a remarkable subterranean atmosphere.nPoets want to be loved; and what is a greater showingnof love, paying ten bucks for a book of verse or risking yournlife by reading it?nIt takes the patient labor of generations to cast the clichesnof history (though sometimes but a few moments of geniusnto turn them back into lumps of lead). The merging ofnnotions like “freedom” and “culture” into one concept hasngiven the world a cliche as enduring as “national character,”nand all the other old favorites. Now that the relevantnstereotypes have been dismantled, the women of our timenno longer tremble at the approach of a lecherous Frenchman,nand few men are affected by the plight of a capturedntrout—unless, of course, they are members of the SierranClub. (Real men, however, don’t belong to the Sierra Club,nso that doesn’t count.)nBut we are still not content to think that the Declarationnof Independence, combined with the freedom of speech,nmunicipal zoning laws, Monday garbage collection, andnthe nonprofit corporations act, has given us the relativenparadise in which we actually dwell. We want to think thatnbecause it’s a paradise it will be known to posterity as anSchubert’s Vienna—rather than the Norman Mailer NewnYork which it actually is. And when we are asked why, wenblink and answer in all earnestness: “Because there isncultural freedom.”nI will admit that under certain extreme conditions, then”absolute zero” of political freedom, such as existed innChina in the 20th century A.D., under Mao, or in the 3rdncentury B.C., under a man named Ch’in, the forbiddennwalls separating the official culture from the subterraneannare blasted away, and all independent intellectual activitynends. But in what can be described as merely a harshnpolitical climate—Schubert’s Vienna, as Sir Ernst Gombrichnreminded us in a recent issue of The Yale LiterarynMagazine, was also Metternich’s Austria—culture hasnThe Ingersoll PrizesninnLiterature and the Humanitiesn1985nThe T.S. Eliot Award for Creative Writingn£ugene lonesconParisnThe Richard M. Weaver Award for Scholarly LettersnRobert NisbetnClayton Gaylord, ChairmannJohn A. Howard; PresidentnWashington, D.C.nRockford, IllinoisnThe Ingersoll FoundationnThomas Fleming,nExecutive Secretary,nThe Ingersoll PrizesnThe awards, in the amount of $15,000 each, will be presented at a formal banquet at the Ritz-Carlton Hotelnin Chicago on November 22,1985.nnnOCTOBER W85119n