THE EDGE OF IMPOSSIBILITY

TRAGIC FORMS IN LITERATURE

In nine extraordinary explications — from Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida to Ionesco's Dance of Death — Miss Oates investigates tragedy as literary form. She takes account of the criticism of Steiner, Abel and others who suggest tragedy can only exist within a fixed historical context; but she believes that the true content of a great work of tragedy is not history but "dreams, ahistorical dreams." The God of the past, bearing on human limitations, is redefined as "the furthest reaches of man's hallucinations." Within domestic order there is the wilderness; within the possible, the unthinkable. Miss Oates then turns to her models: the melancholy commentary on the pretensions of tragedy itself in Troilus and Cressida; the conquest of reality by "nature's own imaginings" in Anthony and Cleopatra; Chekov's wavering symbolism; Yeats' meld of human and inhuman in death and consummation; Mann's "hero," a role self-created; the shifting multiplicity of the absurdists; and the "terror of the white whale" dissolving good and evil and life itself. Miss Oates pays tribute to Dostoevski as one "who can leave nothing left unsaid," an echo perhaps of her own compulsion to (as Kazin has mentioned) exorcize her characters and ideas rather than invent. Here, however, she moves with brilliance and agility along the edge of impossibilities where "sometimes we see a cloud that's dragonish," and endure Hamlet's bad dreams bounded in a nutshell.

Pub Date: March 1, 1972

ISBN: 0814906753

Page Count: -

Publisher: Vanguard

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1972

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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