assumes the voice of his most recent girlfriend, Laura, in order to
condemn his part in their recent split. Having persuasively presented the
evidence of his own guilt, he comments that ‘[h]e could only hope that she
wouldn’t be able to make the case against him as well as he himself could’
4 For a detailed discussion of the reception of these stories, see Roth’s essay
‘Writing About Jews’ (Roth 2001a: 193–211).
5 In ‘Writing About Jews’, he quotes from a letter from an irate reader
who sets Roth a series of questions about his story, ‘Epstein’, including:
Rewriting history and retreating from trauma in The Plot Against America
sections of The Counterlife, Roth has no
more sought to combat anti-Semitism in his fiction than to fuel it, the
accusations of some Jewish critics notwithstanding (Roth 2001b: 114).
In his essay ‘Writing About Jews’, written some forty years before the
publication of The Plot Against America, Roth had suggested that
‘repeating . . . “It can happen here,” does little to prevent “it” from
happening’ and in an interview with Alain Finkielkraut in 1981 he
insisted that ‘however much I may loathe anti-Semitism . . . my job
in a work of fiction is not to offer consolation to
Benedettii observed that essay-writing was comparatively weak in Cuba
(Benedetti, 1971: 26). The question of political awareness was, however,
fundamental, and Portuondo, unsurprisingly, stressed the duties and
rigour demanded of the ‘new critic’, starting with the perennial need
1961–89: Radicalisation and consolidation
Mantener, sin perjuicio de esta absoluta libertad de ensayo y de búsqueda,
de creación, y precisamente como acicate a la misma, una constante
actitud criticista, favoreciendo la labor de los críticos y sometiendo esta
Generic experimentation in My Life as a Man, The Counterlife, The Facts, Deception and Operation Shylock
1960 essay ‘Writing American Fiction’, on the
extraordinary improbability of reality itself as an implicit defence of
the extravagant hyperbole of his book. As Mark Shechner puts it:
‘Operation Shylock commits its excesses in order to keep pace with a
world in which the excessive is the commonplace and the outrageous
the ordinary’ (Shechner 2003: 135). In other words, if life is stranger
than fiction, then fiction has the licence to be very strange while still
being true to life. Rather than quoting his younger self (as he might well
have done, given the extensive
individuals educated in French or French-influenced education systems, on which Cousin had a considerable impact. The very title of Foucault’s Surveiller et punir is taken from Cousin’s definition of the state, for example. It is Cousin’s philosophy of history that gives us the intellectual pattern of thesis, antithesis, synthesis – often wrongly seen as Hegelian – and pervasive in French school-level essay-writing of a certain vintage.
In this chapter, the tension between centres of Being and distraction is evoked solely as a family resemblance across multiple
that secret, which escapes. 9
Away, ‘in a way that is vital’. This-a-way: the vital, the quick as lightning, the ‘living instant’, ‘right away’. As she observes in ‘Writing Blind’, ‘Without words as witnesses the instant (will not have been ) is not’ (146). Writing. Awaywithwords. As she says at the start of that essay, ‘writing is first of all a departure, an embarkation, an expedition’ (139). Irreducibly multiple, growing and dying (‘But dying is not what we think’ ), every piece of writing is a sortie, a departure, a launch and release, a raid, an
on the Present Condition of the
Female Sex; With Suggestions for its Improvement (London: J.
Johnson, 1798), pp. 69–70. Subsequent references will be given
parenthetically in the text.
37 Vicesimus Knox, ‘On Novel Reading’, in Essays Moral and Literary,
5th edn, 2 vols (London: Charles Dilly, 1784), i, 70. Knox’s Essays
were originally published in 1778, but new editions, containing new
material, were frequently published in the subsequent years.
38 Knox, ‘On EssayWriting’, in Essays Moral and Literary, i, 4.
39 The Autobiography of Francis Place (1771–1854), ed