California Literary Review

Literary Themes

Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong by Pierre Bayard

by

December 7th, 2008

These books are indeed a kind of witty parlor game, certainly. But though Bayard occasionally gallops into the high alpine meadows of literary and psychoanalytic theory, he still sticks closely to the text he’s given. And though he probably doesn’t believe half of what he’s saying, it does pass the logical plausibility test.

The Right Side of the Tracks

by

May 20th, 2008

Detective fiction revels in the possibilities offered by railway travel, but it also expresses some anxiety about them. The ability to travel across Britain at such speeds was exciting, but also potentially unsettling for a social system which still, in many ways, preferred that people remained “in their place”. When Sir Henry Baskerville is being followed by an unknown bearded man in London, he suspects it may be the butler from Baskerville Hall, and sends a telegram to check whether or not “Barrymore is at his post in Devonshire.”

Murdering Miss Austen

by

December 6th, 2007

Jane Austen, whose sharp tongue barely left her cheek during her short lifetime, and, whose caustic satire survived the intervening centuries of industrialization, through revolution and war, as well as the whirligig of literary fashions (whose onslaught took down others as great) may finally be deflated or drowned in the crazy waves of idiot’s delights!

Brontë in Brussels

by

June 11th, 2007

I recently stumbled upon a scene which would have appealed to Brontë’s eye for cross-cultural interactions: under the gaze of a watchful Sphinx, a group of Indians were struggling to teach some Belgian children the game of cricket.

Break, Blow, Burn: Camille Paglia Reads Forty-three of the World’s Best Poems

by

April 10th, 2007

Blest be anyone who, in this age of meretricious materialism, nascent narcissism, and hapless hedonism, returns us to poetry, to the joy of language for its own sake, for its distilled passion, and for its summons to discipline, in both writer and reader.

Between Alpha and Omega: Some Observations on Poetry and Poetry’s Task in our Time

by

March 26th, 2007

We lived heretofore in the multitude of villages scattered world-wide amongst the ruins of the Tower of Babel. Civilization’s tapestry, its complicated patterns interwoven from multitudes of poets and poetries, once covered their walls and held our attention. Will there come to be in the global village but one faceless, boring bard who speaks with the reduced, infinitely reductive voice the simplified and platitudinous messages of the Media?

Archival Culture(s)

by

March 26th, 2007

It is scarcely news that in a vast, pluralistic country like the United States, minorities should feel themselves threatened with absorption into the larger society, and that they should cling to some form of cultural identity. It begins poignantly when school children pledge allegiance to “ … one nation, indivisible, with freedom and justice for […]

Borges: A Poet’s Quest for Simplicity

by

March 26th, 2007

Simplicity requires oneness. If you want to be someone, you are two and you are not simple. If you want to be simple, you are also two and you are not simple.

No Heroes Need Apply

by

March 26th, 2007

By the time we come to T.S. Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway in the 1920’s, we find a hero characteristic of the period of entre les deux guerres: he is either passive and/or maimed in his masculinity; that is, fatally in his (phallic) heroism.

Stemming from … Nowhere?

by

March 26th, 2007

To sum up in a phrase the true and deepest character of Lawrence’s genius, it was given by his close friend Aldous Huxley in an introduction to the first collected letters shortly after his death: he was a mystical materialist. And thereon hangs the tale I shall unfold.

Lola! Lola! Lola!

by

March 26th, 2007

The notion of Art’s secular epiphany takes us to Vladimir Nabokov, a reader of Joyce. As I recall, it was about 1956 or so that an excerpt of his then unpublishable LOLITA appeared in an early number of Anchor Review.

The Life of R.K. Narayan

by

March 26th, 2007

R.K. Narayan Narayan’s fiction rarely addresses political issues or high philosophy. He writes with grace and humor, about a fictional town Malgudi and its inhabitants; and their little lives. Narayan is a classic teller of tales; an enduring appeal springs from his canvas where common men and women of all times and places are joined […]

Nick Bottom’s Blessing

by

March 26th, 2007

The relativism that relishes diversity for diversity’s sake is one that eschews æsthetic judgment or choice. Both however are necessary.

Festival of the Earth: Rabindranath Tagore’s Environmental Vision

by

March 16th, 2007

I knew it occurred every Autumn. And every Autumn I intended to go. And after many trials and as many errors, I finally made it one August. It was the festival of the earth.

Watchman, What of the Night?

by

March 16th, 2007

The novel as a perpetually-remade form of high style and sophistication is, in our commerce, scarcely recognized, let alone understood.

Get The Latest California Literary Review Updates Delivered Free To Your Inbox!

Powered by FeedBlitz

Recent Comments