Notes on Contemporary Literature

Articles from Vol. 41, No. 5, November

Herodotus and the English Patient
The story of King Candaules of Lydia in Book I:8 of Herodotus' Histories (5th century B.C.), which describes a domineering and monomaniacal husband who proudly but tragically shows off his beautiful wife, combines two eternal literary themes: illicit...
"How Can Everything Come from Four Simple Bases?": Perceptions of the World through Richard Powers's the Gold Bug Variations
Richard Powers's The Gold Bug Variations (NY: HarperCollins, 1992) highlights a question about our perceptions of the world, "how can everything come from four simple bases?" (445). From the very beginning of the book, such expressions as "four seasons,"...
The Politics of Desire in Thomas Pynchon's V
Thomas Pynchon's V.: A Novel (1963. London: Picador, 1975) maps an intricate field of libidinal dynamics in which the subjectivities of the protagonists, Herbert Stencil and Benny Profane, occupy opposing extremities. Further, in focusing on the social...
Thomas Mann and Walt Whitman
Thomas Mann, though married and the father of six children, had strong homoerotic urges, which he obliquely portrayed in Tonio Kroger's love for Hans Hansen, Gustav von Aschenbach's love for the Polish boy Tadzio in "Death in Venice" and Hans Castorp's...

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