Joyce Carol Oates has a preeminent place among the novelists and short story writers of our time, but she is also a poet, a playwright, and a brilliant writer of nonfiction as the present collection amply confirms.

(Woman) Writer: Occasions and Opportunities
Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Publisher: Dutton
Year: 1988
Pages: 402

The thirty-five essays in (Woman) Writer were originally published in the most diverse of sources—from Antaeus and Art & Antiques to The New York Times and Life—and the subjects show an astonishing breadth of interests—from “Moby Dick: An American Book of Wonders” to “State-of-the-Art Car: The Ferrari Testarossa.” There are significant studies of Emily Dickinson, Kafka, Robert Louis Stevenson, Hemingway, Charlotte Bronte, and Mary Shelley. There are dissenting opinions on Nature and on Food (the gourmet version). Appreciations of the watercolors of Winslow Homer and the boxing paintings of George Bellows. Vivid evocations of Budapest and Detroit. A portrait report on Mike Tyson and his chapionship bout in Las Vegas. And certain to provoke a variety of reactions, an astringent but objective consideration of the difficulties that confront a (woman) writer—among them (men) writers, from whom Oates quotes with quite devastating effect.

The quality of these essays is such as would make the reputation of any writer. In fact, Joyce Carol Oates is already a major literary presence entering upon her greatest period of fame and achievement, and this book should prove indispensable.


Contents

Preface: Occasions and Opportunities

1. Does The Writer Exist?

  • Beginnings
  • (Woman) Writer: Theory and Practice
  • The Art of Self-Criticism
  • The Dream of the “Sacred Text”
  • Does the Writer Exist?
  • Literature as Pleasure, Pleasure as Literature
  • Against Nature

2. Wonderlands

  • Wonderlands
  • Frankenstein’s Fallen Angel
  • Jane Eyre: An Introduction
  • Moby Dick: An American Book of Wonders
  • Looking for Thoreau
  • “Soul at the White Heat“: The Romance of Emily Dickinson’s Poetry
  • Pleasure, Duty, Redemption Then and Now: Susan Warner’s Diana
  • Jekyll/Hyde
  • Kafka as Storyteller

3. In The Ring

4. A Miscellany

5. Selves and Pseudonymous Selves

Acknowlegements


Reviews

  • Booklist, June 15, 1988, p1704
  • Publisher’s Weekly, June 17, 1988, p52
  • Library Journal, July 1988, p81
  • New York Times Book Review, July 17, 1988, p21
  • Washington Post Book World, July 31, 1988, p10
  • Antioch Review, Fall 1988, p522
  • Chicago Tribune Books, September 4, 1988, p4
  • World Literature Today, Winter 1990, p28

Image: Winslow Homer, Adirondack Lake


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