Sam Coale, Professor of English at Wheaton College, reviews The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates in The Providence Journal. “In this dazzling, forthright and revealing record of her life from ages 34 to 44, … Oates feels herself existentially marooned between the polarities of work and life, public image and private reality, obsession and community, the self in all its guises and the self as some elusive, smoldering center.” Unlike some reviewers who seem bitterly disappointed that the Journal isn’t a literary TMZ, Coale appreciatively notes that “[editor Greg] Johnson has masterfully excised gossip and focused on Oates as a writer.”

Coale’s more in-depth writings on JCO include “Psychic Visions and Quantum Physics: Oates’s Big Bang and the Limits of Language” (which JCO found “brilliant” and “fascinating”), published last year in a special issue of Studies in the Novel devoted to JCO’s works; and a chapter of his 1985 book In Hawthorne’s Shadow: American Romance from Melville to Mailer focusing on an early JCO masterpiece, Bellefleur, and reprinted in the Modern Critical Views series edited by Harold Bloom.

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