March 28, 1999 |
About a year ago, having nothing new to read, I picked up Henry James' "Portrait of a Lady," which I hadn't read in 20 years, and began rereading it. It was an astonishing experience. The book was much better than I had remembered it; more to the point, I was a much better reader of it. Isabel was infinitely more appealing to me than she had been when I was her age: I felt I understood, finally, what she thought she was doing with her life.
April 17, 2005 |
Howard PHILLIPS LOVECRAFT fans -- including August Derleth, who co-founded a press, Arkham House, in part to posthumously publish Lovecraft -- have always argued that Lovecraft's weird tales belonged squarely in the center of American literary tradition, that his style was a natural descendant of 19th century writers such as Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Besides, Lovecraft was given the literary stamp of approval in 1928 when Edward J.
August 7, 2005 |
PITY the poets of the mid-20th century. Dead for only a few decades, Berryman, Bishop, Lowell and Merrill -- to name but a few -- sit in libraries gathering dust. Time and familiarity have silenced their voices. The world has sped beyond them. What does it matter, then, to say that Theodore Roethke was one of the most honored?
March 25, 2007 |
THOSE who've sat through high school productions of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" might find it amusing to learn how daring the play seemed when it premiered in 1938 on Broadway. Yes, the old chestnut was once considered avant-garde. But that shouldn't come as a complete surprise: Devoid of props and realistic scenery and indulging more in direct address than dialogue, the play departed radically from the naturalistic model that had dominated mainstream theater since the late 19th century.
March 3, 1985 |
The Library of America continues to be the most astonishing, ambitious and admirable publishing venture in many a year. Its aim is nothing less than to present the complete works of preeminent American writers from the beginnings until now, in uniform, usable and enduring volumes. The books are at that marvels of mass printing, with sewn bindings that let the books lie open although they run to as many as 1,500 pages.
March 6, 2005 |
Six generations of "Little Women" readers, most of them female, have believed they know all about Louisa May Alcott. Of course she's Jo March, the narrating tomboy, the sister most reluctant to accept her domestic fate, the rebellious one who wanted to write and did write -- the March sister with whom fond readers (and even fonder re-readers) have most identified over all these years. To take the guided tour at Orchard House, the Alcott family homestead in Concord, Mass.