The Lying Game: Edward Albee’s [Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?]

Originally performed in 1962, Edward Albee's dark comedy, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, centers on the collapsing marriage of George, a middle-aged history professor who works at a university in New England, and Martha, the daughter of the university's president who is six years older than George. The play opens with George and Martha arriving home at 2:00 … Continue reading The Lying Game: Edward Albee’s [Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?]

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Truth and Mendacity in Tennessee Williams’ [Cat on a Hot Tin Roof]

What do you know about this mendacity thing? Hell! I could write a book on it! Don't you know that? I could write a book on it and still not cover the subject? Well, I could, I could write a goddam book on it and still not cover the subject anywhere near enough!!--Think of all … Continue reading Truth and Mendacity in Tennessee Williams’ [Cat on a Hot Tin Roof]

John Barth’s “Lost in the Funhouse”: A Postmodern Critique of the Developmental Narrative

"Lost in the Funhouse" is a short story in John Barth's book of the same name, originally published in 1968.  The stories within this collection are typically approached as postmodern due to their self-reflexivity, their self-awareness, and their use of self-reference. The short story "Life in the Funhouse," in particular, is known for its active … Continue reading John Barth’s “Lost in the Funhouse”: A Postmodern Critique of the Developmental Narrative

John Guare’s [Six Degrees of Separation] and the Postmodern Schizophrenic

If we are unable to unify the past, present, and future of the sentence, then we are similarly unable to unify the past, present, and future of our own biographical experience of psychic life. With the breakdown of the signifying chain, therefore, the schizophrenic is reduced to an experience of pure material signifiers, or, in … Continue reading John Guare’s [Six Degrees of Separation] and the Postmodern Schizophrenic

J.D. Salinger’s [The Catcher in the Rye]: A Brief Analysis

Experience is the greatest enemy of meaning and significance. When I first read J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye during my late teens, I was absolutely captivated by the novel's passive anti-hero, Holden Caulfield. I felt his loneliness, his distaste towards all of the "phoniness" present in the world, and his constant state of utter helplessness … Continue reading J.D. Salinger’s [The Catcher in the Rye]: A Brief Analysis

Daniel Keyes’ [Flowers for Algernon] – On Disability, Animality, and Structure

I think I'll begin by stating that Flowers for Algernon is perhaps one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking books that I've read recently. In the narrative, Algernon is the name of a laboratory mouse who successfully underwent an operation to increase its intelligence. The main focus of the novel, however, is Charlie Gordon,  a man suffering … Continue reading Daniel Keyes’ [Flowers for Algernon] – On Disability, Animality, and Structure

My Ultimate Reading Challenge – The Reading List for My PhD Candidacy Examinations

Part of the requirements for the doctoral degree in English at the University of Notre Dame are written and oral exams (which I will take in March of 2014). The exams are a requirement that demonstrate that all doctoral students have in-depth knowledge of a major field, a secondary field, and a literary theory/methodology, in … Continue reading My Ultimate Reading Challenge – The Reading List for My PhD Candidacy Examinations

The Perils of Religious Stagnancy: Herman Melville’s “Clarel”

In today's post, I will briefly discuss my interpretation of the character of Nehemiah in Melville’s epic poem Clarel, and I will contrast him with David Fenimore Cooper’s “parallel” character, David Gamut, in The Last of the Mohicans. At first glance, Nehemiah seems to be a typical stock character that serves as a foil to … Continue reading The Perils of Religious Stagnancy: Herman Melville’s “Clarel”