Notes on Contemporary Literature

Articles from Vol. 39, No. 5, November

Allusions in Bellow's Mr. Sammler's Planet
Saul Bellow introduced the European novel of ideas into American literature. Like a brilliant talker, he takes all human knowledge for his province. Mr. Sammler's Planet, Bellow's Decline of the West, contrasts the ideal standards of the past with...
Literary Allusions in Sam Shepard's Buried Child
The "dark elm trees" (p. 11) beyond the screened porch in Sam Shepard's Buried Child (Urizen, NY: 1979) are a reminder of Eugene O'Neill's Desire under the Elms (1924), which, like Shepard's play, focuses on a father-son rivalry and one son's desire...
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...
Transition from Modernist to Postmodernist: Lawrence Durrell's and Vladimir Nabokov's Musico-Literary Quartets
One effective way to see the transition from modernism to postmodernism in literature is to examine musico-literary quartets published between the 1920s and the 1960s. Since Empedocles claimed that four elements--earth, water, fire, and air--organize...