THE OLIVE OF MINERVA OR THE COMEDY OF A CUCKOLD by Edward Dahlberg

THE OLIVE OF MINERVA OR THE COMEDY OF A CUCKOLD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Say what you will about Dahlberg's originality, we call it overwriting. Dahlberg writes books like Fellini makes bad movies. Garish. Hypertrophic. This particular item picks up where The Sorrows of Priapus (1958) and The Carnal Myth (1968) tailed off, the theme being that ""grievous are all earthborn men with puissant testicles."" The Olive of Minerva is similarly larded with Biblical and classical conceits, a sustained quasi-Elizabethan diction (e.g., ""I beseech you, proffer a carease dotard a drachma of grace""); gorged on the rhetoric of proverbs, adages and homilies and filled out with catalogues of exotica. This makes for some heavy slogging and if you persevere you will eventually find it much of a sameness. Abel, a writer looking for to ""physic my fallow intelligence,"" betakes himself to No Hay Nada where a Midas named Don Pablo Williams is about to die, while his abogado, medico, padre, Dona, a brother named Dolly Patch and other carrion-eaters are scavenging the remains. Cometh one Lais O'Shea, a Celtic doxy, to horn the erstwhile adulterer and more important, give Abel/Dahlberg something to wax thesauritic over. He has, nevertheless, a longstanding cult who will take all of it quite seriously as a literary tour de force.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1975
Publisher: T. Y. Crowell