Category Archives: Fiction

Cocteau on myth

“I’ve always preferred mythology to history. Because history is made up of truths which eventually turn into lies. Mythology is made up of lies that eventually become truths.”

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A Gloss of Royal Illusions in RICHARD II

I thought maybe it would be helpful to post an essay I wrote five years ago about Shakespeare’s Richard 2.   Stylistically, I wouldn’t write the same essay today, but the essay gets at a few important points, and it is … Continue reading

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On Protestant Elizabethans practicing Catholicism in the theater

The principle of  “the double” functions in Shakespeare on both a character’s interior and exterior.  As for the exterior: There are doubles such as the twins Antipholus, and a doubling of the doubles with the twins Dromio, and this is … Continue reading

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Sex, money, and art in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

The reason to be interested in Shakespeare’s comedies is because they offer Shakespeare’s most direct thoughts and critiques (and some funny jokes) about social dilemmas, particularly those of love and marriage and family and money.  With these matters, Shakespeare suggests, … Continue reading

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Some Ado about Shakespeare

“Much Ado About Nothing” isn’t a play that consistently delights me, and  I would say that it is significantly inferior to Shakespeare’s four or five best comedies. But I think “Much Ado” is a good play for actors. When I … Continue reading

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CHINATOWN, plot, and the Noir plot

I was looking at a long old essay I did in 2006 about the Polanski/Towne movie Chinatown, an example of neo-Noir.   Although I wouldn’t write the same essay today, some portions of the essay may contain some useful thinking about … Continue reading

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Thoughts re Notes From Underground

After reading this short Dostoevsky novel, I’m left wondering why anyone much cares for it.  It seems to me that the book’s finer moments are weak versions of what you mind find in Kafka or Beckett, for example.   It’s also … Continue reading

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On O’Neill’s Netherland

I finally got around to reading Netherland, and I enjoyed it a great deal.  I also read Zadie Smith’s somewhat-negative take on the book in her New York Review of Books essay of three years ago, “Two Paths for the … Continue reading

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A shame that Ellroy won’t tip his hat to a good shamus

I was just looking again at Ian’s post of July 20 on this blog.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that James Ellroy’s criticism of Raymond Chandler is frivolous, and is based purely on Ellroy’s … Continue reading

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What Woolf’s ‘The Waves’ Says About Anders Behring Breivik

Brian– Your mention of the Norway attacks reminds me of something I’d meant to post a while ago. I finished Virginia Woolf’s The Waves just a few days before I was called over to Oslo. I was very much taken … Continue reading

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