August 9, 1987
I must respectfully disagree with Jack Miles' statements regarding the historical fiction of Gore Vidal, namely, that "history must be knowledge already held in common if the central, poignant effect of historical fiction is to work properly." While this would be ideal, to limit subjects to those with which readers are already familiar would be to limit them greatly indeed, since there is an incredible historical ignorance in our country, even among those who are considered "educated."
January 24, 1993
I suggest that it was a mistake for the Book Review editor to lump so many poetry reviews, five long, five short, into one issue, Dec. 27. Why not have at least one good long review per issue? Putting all of them together suggests that they'd piled up over the past few months and that "Poetry for a New Year" was a clever and convenient way of getting rid of them. Also problematic is the choice of five major white Establishment poets published by four major publishers plus New Directions.
January 27, 1991 |
Jack Schaefer, Western novelist best known for his 1949 classic "Shane" which was made into a movie starring Alan Ladd, has died. He was 83. Schaefer died Thursday in St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe, N.M., of heart failure. When he wrote "Shane," his first novel, Schaefer had never been west of his native Cleveland. He researched the book by reading old newspapers and diaries at Yale University.
September 3, 1987 |
The tall, stately Jack Miles, a bon vivant of fashion whose imprimatur of good taste has been sprinkled upon thousands of Los Angeles women, will be in the spotlight Sept. 17. He will be honored for 50 years of service and style and will accept the Mary Ann Magnin Award for fashion excellence from his own I. Magnin, where he is southern regional couture buyer. The occasion is being labeled "ParIs Verve!"
December 9, 2001 |
Imagine that at the front of every Christian church the icon in the stained glass or cast in bronze showed a lynched figure, "the body of the victim swollen and distorted, his head hanging askew above a broken neck," writes Jack Miles. Then imagine that the victim was God. That's the horror implicit in the Crucifixion, he says. Seen afresh, it is a shocking image, and Miles knows it. To explain it, he proposes a theory that's equally shocking: God is a sinner who decides to repent.
December 9, 2001 |
Did you hear the joke about Carl Jung, Rene Girard and Jacques Derrida going into a bar, downing five bottles of Byron Reserve Pinot Noir and proceeding to rewrite the four Gospels? Jung keeps pounding the bar as he insists that God be both good and evil. "In the New Testament plot, the violent, vengeful God of the Old Testament repents of his maltreatment of Israel and turns into a merciful God, who sacrifices himself for his people." Girard interjects, "But keep the sacred violence.
July 4, 1999
Here lies the royal purple in repose, The elegance, the carriage, and the flair, The voice, a clarion whose sweet fanfare Was tempered in its time by kisses, blows. Love's page, love's bugle girl, her cry once froze, Once summoned to the fray. Back then. Out there. Her stilling binds in prison past despair A crowd of sorry echoes, fans, lost souls. The smile, the pout, the legendary leer-- But do we sense a stirring in the dark? Bravisima, comedienne of scorn: King Death applauds, then stops confused, unsure If you are playing dead just for a lark Or dying live, defying us to mourn.
April 29, 1998 |
An undergraduate at Caltech can actually sign up for a New Testament class this semester. And at this intensive science institute in Pasadena, religion courses can have an odd appeal: "One student said he enrolled because he kept losing at 'Jeopardy!'," says Jack Miles, a visiting professor teaching courses in the Bible and world religions.
April 9, 1995 |
DEAR JACK: The galley proofs of your new book about me arrived a while back, and I've finally finished it. What with all the requests, complaints and reports I have to sort through, it's hard to get any sustained, serious reading done. Know the problem? And yours is a Book of the Month Club selection, no less. Nice going. Still some interest in me down there, obviously. But I noted it was only an "alternate selection"--does that mean they're interested, but only alternately?