Photography Session —in memory of Jim Jacobs You died on Wednesday. On Friday I’m hauled by limousine to be photographed for a magazine feature, Charles Street near Varick, a garbagey […]
Full Lists of Awards & Honors: Awards for Individual Works Works in Award Anthologies Career Awards Recent Awards & Honors Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, 2018 — Mystery / Thriller nomination: A […]
2017 Bilbao BBK Ja! Prize The International Festival of Literature and Art with Humour, Ja! Bilbao is a cultural event that aims to highlight the importance of humour -understood in […]
The Best American Essays 2016: “The Lost Sister: An Elegy” 2000: “They All Just Went Away” : (The Best American Essays of the Century) 1999: “After Amnesia” 1996: “They All […]
American Academy of Arts and Letters, Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award For that work of fiction published during the preceding twelve months, which, although not a commercial success, is […]
Tanya Tromble writes on the relationship between fiction and fact in the latest article published in Bearing Witness: Joyce Carol Oates Studies. Joyce Carol Oates draws extensively on news stories, […]
By Joyce Carol Oates Originally published in Michigan Quarterly Review, Fall 1998, and reprinted in Where I’ve Been, And Where I’m Going “He’s a man way out there in the blue, riding on […]
That so prodigiously long and so luridly convoluted a novel as The Possessed evolves, nevertheless, with the structural coherence of a tragedy of Aeschylus or Euripides is a testament of Dostoyevsky’s unparalleled genius. It has always been known that he is a marvelous creator of character—he is the equal of Dickens, and perhaps even the equal of Shakespeare, in this regard. But that he is a genius as a craftsman is perhaps less well known.
One is driven, then, again and again to a reassessment of this novel: is it an affirmative work, a kind of divine comedy that successfully answers the questions it asks? Or does it mock its very intentions, containing within it an antinovel, a tragic vision of life that bitterly opposes the joy of the ending?
By Joyce Carol Oates Originally published in The Georgia Review, Fall 1978; Reprinted in Contraries. Somehow it has happened—no one knows quite how, or why—that the incidence of violence and robbery has […]
Cordelia, with her unearned kiss, symbolizes that moment of grace that forces the tragic action to a temporary halt, and allows a magical synthesis of the bliss of eternity and the tragedy of time that is so powerful in Shakespeare, because it is so rare.
It is moving, yes, but bitterly moving, and our emotions will be turned against us shortly, for the visionary experience of a timeless love cannot compete in Shakespeare with the tragic vision, the grim necessity of history.
Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra shares with Troilus and Cressida the obsessive and self-consuming rage of the tragic figure as he confronts and attempts to define “reality.” But, more extravagantly than Troilus and Cressida, this reality is layered with masquerade; forms that are often as lyric as brutal shift and change and baffle expectation. The constant refinement of brute reality into lyric illusion is the work not simply of Antony, Shakespeare’s hero, but the lifelong work of Shakespeare himself.
Troilus and Cressida, that most vexing and ambiguous of Shakespeare’s plays, strikes the modern reader as a contemporary document—its investigation of numerous infidelities, its criticism of tragic pretensions, above all, its implicit debate between what is essential in human life and what is only existential are themes of the twentieth century.
Jane Eyre: An Introduction One of the reasons for Jane Eyre’s authority over her own experience, and the confidence with which she assesses that experience, is that, as the romantically […]
By Joyce Carol Oates Originally published in Critical Inquiry, Winter 1983. Reprinted in The Profane Art Once upon a time, it seems, an English clergyman born Brunty or Branty, self-baptized the more […]