Are There Things a Novelist Shouldn’t Joke About?: An Interview with Kurt Vonnegut

Article by Harry James Cargas

Novelist Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., first gained a following on American college campuses as a cult figure for young readers who identified with his comic and pessimistic view of the world. In recent years a wider audience has come to know his books — Player Piano; Cat’s Cradle; Slaughterhouse-Five; Sirens of Titan; Mother Night; God Bless …

Auden’ s Moral Comedy: A Late-Winter Reading

Article by William F. French

The trouble with W. H. Auden’s poem For the Time Being is that in subtitling it “A Christmas Oratorio,” Auden condemned it to being treated primarily as an inspirational holiday ritual — akin to watching “Charlie Brown’s Christmas” on television with the kids or spiking the eggnog. A hurried Christmas reading tends to misconstrue Auden’s …

Bellow’s Gift

Article by Paul Elmen

The Nobel Prize is only the latest honor for Saul Bellow, who has already won three National Book Awards and so now becomes the most rewarded American novelist, as he has long been the most rewarding. The Stockholm committee said that he deserved the award “for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture …

Beware of the Scribes

Article by Peter B. Rodgers

A review of Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. The book reviewed gives a thorough introduction to New Testament textual analysis. It challenges the reviewer to do research in biblical criticism. Book Review: Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why, by Bart D. Ehrman. HarperSanFrancisco, 256 …

Brideshead Revisited: A Twitch Upon the Thread

Article by Paul Elmen

The recently completed 11-and-one-half-hour Public Broadcasting System series based on Evelyn Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited proved a smash hit. Across the country bridge parties and pancake suppers were rescheduled so as not to compete with Charles Ryder’s memories. Americans beginning to feel Poverty her Pinch have thought it great indoor sport to watch plover eggs …

Control as Original Sin

Article by James M. Wall

It isn’t until several days after the accident that Lottie lets herself—makes herself—think about it. Think about how it was for all of them, for Cameron and Elizabeth, and for Jessica." The opening paragraph of Sue Miller’s novel For Love hints at the answer to the novel’s central question: "Where are the 20th-century love stories?" …