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Category: Essays

Essays 0

The Tragedy of Imagination: Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra”

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.

Essays 1

The Tragedy of Existence: Shakespeare’s “Troilus and Cressida”

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.

Essays 0

American Literary Culture: A Personal Perspective

Though I was writing and publishing before I came to live in Detroit in 1962, it was only in this city that I conceived of a personal body of literature in which the unique and the emblematic might be conjoined; and the private, the domestic, the idiosyncratic yoked to larger social and political concerns (in such Detroit-set novels as them and Do With Me What You Will, and such historically focused novels as Angel of Light, Wonderland, and You Must Remember This).

Essays 0

The Myth of the Isolated Artist

It is my conviction that all human beings “create” personality. Some do so passively, helplessly, and are in a sense created by others, whom they come to fear or hate; others create their personalities half-consciously, and are therefore half-pleased with their creations, though they suspect something is missing; a few human beings, gifted with the ability to “see” themselves as “other,” and not overly intoxicated with the selfness of the self, actually devise works of art that are autobiographical statements of a hypothetical, reality-testing nature, which they submit with varying degrees of confidence to the judgment of their culture.

Essays 0

Mike Tyson (1986)

Mike Tyson, a boy warrior, has become legendary, in a sense, before there is a legend to define him. And never has the collective will of a crowd—the very nearly palpable wish of a crowd—been more powerfully expressed than it is tonight in Las Vegas.