Notes on Contemporary Literature

Articles from Vol. 41, No. 4, September

Author, Reader and Text in Italo Calvino's If on a Winter's Night a Traveller
More than its story elements, Italo Calvino's If on a Winter's Night a Traveller explicates two key postmodern concepts--death of the author, and Intertextuality. Written mostly in an accosting mode, the text, with its predominantly 2nd person narrative,...
"En Avant Route!" by Alix De Saint-Andre: Saint-James Way Pilgrimage in the 21st Century
Alix de Saint-Andre's En avant, route! (Let's hit the road!) (Paris: Gallimard 2010) just won a literary prize (April 2011) and has been a French bestseller ever since its debut. This work, whose title echoes a line from the (in)famous French poet...
Ethnic Identity in Sandra Cisneros's Caramelo
In Sandra Cisneros's novel, Caramelo (NY: Vintage Contemporaries, 2003), the concept of Latina/o ethnic identity is shown to be far more complex than the "Hispanic" or "Non-Hispanic" dichotomy of United States census categories. At one point in the...
From Death in Venice to Death in Davos
Thomas Mann said that he began The Magic Mountain (1924) as a short, comic counterpart to "Death in Venice" (1912). Mann's comment has been ignored, and the setting and characters of the novel and story seem to be very different. But the techniques...
Lou Salome and the Magic Mountain
Clavdia Chauchat, the heartbreaking heroine of Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain (1924), bears a striking resemblance to the cultured femme fatale Lou Salome (1861-1937). Lou's biographer H.F. Peters rapturously wrote that "her silver-blond hair [Clavdia...
Sartre's "The Wall" and Beckett's Waiting for Godot: Existential and Non-Existential Nothingness
Although the idea of waiting in Waiting for Godot has been discussed in numerous articles, it is productive to compare Beckett's existential text to another that focuses on waiting, Jean-Paul Sartre's "The Wall" (which was published in 1948, the same...