Tuesday, September 16, 2014 Elul 21, 5774
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It's quite remarkable how a single book can take a writer's career and transform it, giving it a whole new tenor that somewhat obscures, if not obliterates, much of what came before. Take John Updike's novel Couples, for example. Literary gossip has it that at a party one night the late Norman Mailer, in his inimitable cheery manner, cornered Updike...
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A poet seems simple, but his depth is undeniable
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Charles Reznikoff's poetry has a mystery about it unlike anyone else's. He was, determinedly, a Modernist, but if you were to compare him to T.S. Eliot or Ezra Pound -- two of the undisputed Modernist masters, at least of the American canon -- his language and imagery would seem simple, uncluttered, clear-cut, not in the least obfuscatory. He is not...
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Earlier this year, I wrote a piece about Thomas Eakins -- the occasion was the appearance of a fine new biography by William S. McFeely -- and I described him as the greatest painter this city ever produced, as well as one of many artists that our fair metropolis also saw fit to abuse (in saying this, I was thinking...
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You hear about Jewish influence in all of the arts, to say nothing of other areas of expertise; and, though you sometimes think of it as a pleasant exaggeration -- when it's not being posited as a subtle slur -- you can still run across evidence of such influence, and be amazed at just how far and wide and deep...
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Some very well-known people speak of a lofty subject
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It's been noted by certain reviewers and pundits that God's been having a rough time in the bookstores recently. In what seems a concerted response to the zealousness of the Religious Right -- especially its effectiveness in politics -- a spate of books has appeared proclaiming atheism as a more potent and realistic creed to live by than any expression...
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