Notes on Contemporary Literature

Articles from Vol. 39, No. 3, May

Allusions in Mary McCarthy's a Charmed Life
The allusions in McCarthy's A Charmed Life (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1955)--half of them from the Bible (especially the Gospels) and from Shakespeare--suggest the range of her reading and the quality of her mind. They reveal the novel's complexity,...
Cheever's Seaside Houses as a Remodeling of James's Jolly Corner
"The Seaside Houses," published by John Cheever in 1961, revisits the narrative structure, the search for ghostly alter egos, and the lament for what 20th century America is becoming that Henry James had depicted in his late masterpiece "The Jolly...
Cultural Memory and Circular Time in Suzan-Lori Parks's Betting on the Dust Commander
On the surface Suzan-Lori Parks's early play Betting on the Dust Commander (1987) is reminiscent of absurdist senex comedies such as Beckett's Endgame, Albee's Counting the Ways, or Tennessee Williams's Lifeboat Drill, but without their complexity....
Fin-De-Siecle Tourism in Michel Houellebecq's Lanzarote
Given the spike in media reports of narco-terrorism and criminal anarchy spreading from the streets of Mendellin to the motel parking lots of Nuevo Laredo, Michel Houellebecq's fictional portrayals of global dystopia seem ever grimmer, ever more plausible....
Queimada: The Deception of Freedom
The movie Queimada ("Burnt!" 1969) offers an insightful and at the same time universal picture of slavery, commerce and race conflict seen in many parts of the world since the establishment of colonial powers until today. Set on the somewhat fictional...