talents and aspirations. After all, he is anman who strives for that formula ofnelegance which can be derived only fromna secret mixture of self-assurance andnself-deprecation—the quintessence ofnStyle. In Bauhaus, Mr. Wolfe is sometimesnon target in his pursuit of thatnelegance, but often he is not—which Indeplore, for he is one of my mostpreferrednpresences in today’s culturalnlandscape. He correctly punctuates thenmodern arts’ original sins—their bondsnwith totalitarian ideologies, their mentalnslaveries, their pomposities that pass fornidealism—but his polemical thrust occasionallynsuffers from indulgences of anskewed argument. It is improper to leavenout the warmth of art nouveau, the sensuousnessnand sinuousness of Secession,nbut it serves Mr. Wolfe well to ignorenthem. He does not dwell sufficiently onnthe relationship between the modernnarts’ depersonalization and their wicked,nantibourgeois absolutism. His choice ofncriteria and their practical applicationnbrings him dangerously close to socialistnrealism’s ukases: in the end, it’s as hardnto extrapolate aesthetic canons fromnpopular taste as it is to obtain them fromndemented bureaucratic communistnprecepts. Wolfe tiptoes toward the statusnof the chief American anti-European—anhealthy chauvinism to my mind, butnnot where it is most needed, namely, innpolitics. (Let’s hope this will come; whatnis necessary now to say about Europeansnis that they have squandered their ownncivilizational treasure—their sense ofnheroic commitment to rationality—nwhich makes them behave like sheepnboth in the arts and elsewhere.) Finally,nhe has yet to convince me, with a precisenquotation, that Dostoyevsky said “ideasnhave consequences,” as he claims onnpage 15; to the best of my knowledge, itnwas the eminent American philosophernof culture, Richard Weaver of Universitynof Chicago fame, who constructed thatnphrase.nJL hus the main problem with Mr.nWolfe’s subtle views of architecture isnthat one is not certain whether to acceptn24inChronicles of Culturenthem at face value or as bon mots. Andnwhich is the most desirable aim for ancreative intellectual: to emote a lastingnperception, a lasting verbal synthesis or anlasting truth? Much can be said about thenpossible dissections of the semantic,ncognitive and analytical worth of Wolfe’sn”radical chic,” the “me generation” orn”the right stuff”—but these phrasesnhave influenced contemporary culturalnambiances, are mightily alive in thenrealm of language and are here to stay.nAfter all, is “to be or not to be,” or “therenare things on earth . . .”more or less of anliterary achievement than Hamlet’s impactnon the literature of torment andnguilt? It would be hard to say, but thenimmediacy and clarity of a mot juste maynbe the most substantial contribution.nAnd that’s what is missing fromnBauhaus. As we all know, it is difficult tonproduce a flawless intellectual provocation,na classy stunt on a tightropenstretched between fact and interpretation,nan effort to make people bark atnone another and, at the same time, benhailed as the grand observateur. Mr.nWolfe’s argument is that the modal conceptnof the alleged modernity of architecturenwas conceived in Europe andnThe City of God & MannMalachi Martin: The Decline and Fall ofnthe Roman Church; G.P. Putnam’snSons; New York.nby Ellen WilsonnJtidward Gibbon’s monumentalnstudy of the decline of the Roman Empirenargued that Christianity contributednto Rome’s collapse. In Malachi Martin’snThe Decline and Tall of the RomannChurch, the Empire strikes back: Martinnshows that the great false step of thenpapacy was the acceptance of Constantine’snpatronage and the consequentnMiss Wilson is the author of An. EvennDozen.nnnimposed on the American ciilture by thenimpure tyranny of fashion, and thatnAmerica, as a nation, hated it and rebellednagainst it. He seems unaware ofnthe fact that, from the turn of the centurynuntil World War II, European architectsnwho preached constructivism, functionalismnand formalism were vehementlyndenounced as promoters ofnAmerican technological simplism, facelessnindustrialization, the massmanufacturednAmericanization of ancientncity landscapes. The universe ofncubes, lines and planes was abhorred asndemeaningly American. Mr. Wolfenhimself loses track of the consistency ofnfairness: he winces at the curvilinearismnof Mendelsohn’s Einstein Tower—admittedlyna Gaudi-like grotesquerie—butnhe sees no echoes of it in the curvilinearnconcept of Frank Lloyd Wright’s GuggenheimnMuseum.nI made my choice between syncretismnand fantasy, or eclecticism and tolerance,nlong ago. It was on the Rue Vaugirard innParis where I saw for the first time, withinna neatly composed row of 17th-centuryntownhouses, a gleaming glass-and-steelnstructure by someone from the Corbunschool. I liked it. Dncontamination of the Church of God bynthe things of Caesar. From the dme ofnPope Sylvester—when the newly ChristianizednConstantine began to load thenChurch with the trappings of a state religion—tonthe present, when, innMardn’s view, John Paul II is negotiatingnthe Church’s passage from a disintegratingnWestern order to a post-Western universalntechnocracy, there has been anlitany of botched opportunities and progressivendecay.nThe “hope” Martin holds out is that,nwhen the transition is completed and thenworld is managed by godless technocrats,nwhen religion is no longer a partner tonthe counsels of the mighty and no longerninforms the consciences of those who oc-n