The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 180

Mid-Fall 2008

The greats of western literature
are constantly being reinvented
as audio disks and tapes,
new translations and
scholarly editions.
Here are a handful
that have recently
caught our attention.

How Having Breast Cancer
Can be Really Distracting

"It is hard
not to fall completely
in love with Norton,
especially with the way
she twists passages around:
'All doctors are people,
even though we wish
they were something better.'"

Martinique: Snake Charmer
"He was lucky to escape
Vichy France with his life:
fascists do not take kindly
to weirdos in any form,
especially those who spout
Valéry and de Sade
and Oscar Wilde."

A Woman's Work
"Even if she never got it ---
died an unfulfilled woman
as Korman claims ---
she left us some wonderful quotes,
including Bhagavan telling her,
How can you meditate
to get peace of mind
if you don't know
what mind is?"

The Love of Impermanent Things
"Mary Rose O'Reilley is probably
one of the few American writers
you'll come across who is
working on becoming a saint,
in the style of David Henry Thoreau,
Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day.
But, unlike the three of them,
she hides nothing."

Intercourse: Stories
"There are the couplings
that we might expect:
Bonnie and Clyde,
Adam and Eve,
Anthony and Cleopatria,
Paris and Helen:
and he is beautiful in face
and neck and hands and
chest and thighs,
but not as
beautiful as me."

My Ántonia
"As we forged ahead,
we thought it to be somewhat like
you and me and old faithful Dobbin
plowing a furrow there in
the hard Nebraska topsoil.
Which is to say that
if it was up to us and
a print copy of Cather's book,
we may never have gotten past
Chapter Four."

"It is a fact manual:
random, interesting,
often funny facts:
'Who can tell
Jesus wept from
Jesus swept?'"

The Irregulars
"We also learn that
Roald Dahl was a writer,
and a spy during WWII,
spying neither on the Germans
nor on the Japanese,
but on the supposed allies,
the Americans."

Great Reviews of the Past
A Doll's House
"Now we call it
a dysfunctional family.
And Nora's decision to become
a late Victorian hippie,
on the road,
children left behind,
makes for
a rambling good melodrama."

Two World Wars:
A Reading List

Disability, Deafness and

Philip Roth

Down Syndrome & Charles De Gaulle
Robert Daley & The Enemy of God

Hurricanes from 1945
"We'd light the candles,
bring out the Sterno,
boil water and make
Campbell's tomato soup,
served with Ritz crackers.
We'd play Chinese Checkers and
watch the oaks or camphor
trees out the window,
branches rolling across
the yard."

Letter to the President
"Please why cant they
help the Little Guy like me
and my wife and all seven of
the kids who sometimes dont
have enough to eat even
with the foodstamp program &
the gov't cheese etc."

Great Articles from the Past
The Uses of Rubber Bands
or Var Är Min Paraply

"I was thinking the other day,
when I was briefly
away from my computer,
that being without e-mail
must feel like
Napoleon felt on Elba.
Actually in his first
exile, on St. Helena,
they left him his PC
and modem, which is
how he managed to
start all that trouble."

Grandmothers in my Hebrew Class
"I looked at her,
hunched over in front of me,
the pages pressed up close to
her wrinkled face so that
she could read them.
If any of my friends ---
investment bankers and
medical students ---
knew how I passed my days,
I would never
live it down."

After the Mastectomy
"On the left side
sat my smashed flat,
deflated boob, and on
the right side, nothing,
just a thin line of
steri-strip tape
over the actual incision.
Flat as a wall.
There were no black stitches,
no gruesome scar.
It was just gone."

The Door to the Ocean
"You think nothing is happening
but you and your mother are
locked in conversation still.
It will go on and on
until you are both healed.
When you love somebody
you sit by their deathbed
year after year."

The Book of the Eton Cow
"This is the book of the dun cow.
It is to be treated with reverence.
Stowed bound in silk, in silver.
The book is revered for the skin
from which its pages are made.
Skin of the dun cow."

The Lonely Planet Visits the Dead
"Why not a memorial to the kids
who played between the wars?
Made goalposts of the memorial,
and a play house of the scaffold.
Who took the stones for hopping,
the burnt fuselage for pedal cars,
and the hangman's rope for

E-Mail You
"The server said
There can be no response.
And when I tried to call
A man's voice said,
If you want to make a call
Hang up and try again."


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including titles of books under review,
along with author, subject, and publisher,
plus links to readings, articles, and poems
that have appeared on-line
since 1994.

of our most notorious reviews
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