Magazine August 26, 2019, Issue

Robert Menasse’s Messy EU Novel

(Neil Hall/Reuters )
The Capital: A Novel, by Robert Menasse (Liveright, 416 pp., $27.95)

In an age when cultural appropriation is “problematic,” the EU is a repeat offender. Not content with stealing a continent’s name and rewriting its history, the engineers of “ever closer union” have spent years squeezing centuries of art into a “European” (as they abuse that term) straitjacket, a maneuver anticipated by General de Gaulle during a press conference over half a century ago. Dante, Goethe, and Chateaubriand, he agreed, “belonged to Europe” insofar as they were Italian, German, and French. But they would not have done much for Europe had they lacked a nationality and written in some sort of

This article appears as “Crass Capital” in the August 26, 2019, print edition of National Review.

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