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Category: Essays

Essays 0

Man Under Sentence of Death: The Novels of James M. Cain

There is perhaps no writer more faithful to the mythologies of America than Cain, for he writes of its ideals and hatreds without obscuring them in the difficulties of art.

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Mr. Rooster

By Joyce Carol Oates A shortened version of “Mr. Rooster” was published in The New York Times Magazine; the full version is published in Bearing Witness: Joyce Carol Oates Studies. […]

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Muhammad Ali: “The Greatest”

Who would have thought that Muhammad Ali’s defiant repudiation of American foreign policy, in the mid-1960s considered virtually traitorous by some observers, would come to be, in the decade to follow, a widespread and altogether respectable political position?

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Writing for the Stage

Well-intentioned, print-oriented people are forever asking, “Doesn’t it upset you to see your characters taken over by other people, out of your control?” My reply is generally a mild one: “But isn’t that the point of writing for the theater?”

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Pseudonymous Selves

In 1984 the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters awarded one of its distinguished fiction prizes to a new and presumably young Chicano writer named Danny Santiago, for his first novel, Famous All Over Town. Subsequent to the award it was revealed, with some embarrassment, that the newly discovered Chicano writer was not Chicano at all …

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My Father, My Fiction

Though frequently denounced and often misunderstood by a somewhat genteel literary community, my writing is, at least in part, an attempt to memorialize my parents’ vanished world; my parents’ lives. Sometimes directly, sometimes in metaphor.

Essays 0

Rape and the Boxing Ring

Mike Tyson’s conviction on rape charges in Indianapolis is a minor tragedy for the beleaguered sport of boxing, but a considerable triumph for women’s rights. For once, though bookmakers were giving 5-1 odds that Tyson would be acquitted, and the mood of the country seems distinctly conservative, a jury resisted the outrageous defense that a rape victim is to be blamed for her own predicament.

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Tyson/Biggs: Postscript

There is an unsettling air about Tyson, with his impassive death’s-head face, his unwavering stare, and his refusal to glamorize himself in the ring—no robe, no socks, only the signature black trunks and shoes—that the violence he unleashes against his opponents is somehow just.