END: Hamlet is the culmination of Shakespeare's expansion of the marginal, malcontent-Vice character. By creating the archetype of the tragic sidekick, he was able to show a view of the world which neither a hero nor a more narrowly-conceived malcontent could provide; he could also explore ideas of heroism and tragedy which more stable, hero-centered plays could only suggest. Falstaff and Mercutio introduce ambivalence into plays which, without them, would have dismayingly simple plots; because … [Read more...]

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"LONE STAR": Another recent Netflix gem. I don't have the mental energy to put together a nicely-structured post, so here are some scattered thoughts, in no real order: 1. This movie made me realize how much I love the "investigating a long-past crime" storyline. Several of my favorite Agatha Christie novels have some variant on this plot; so does Josephine Tey's wonderful Richard III apologia The Daughter of Time. With this plot you get an easy, suspenseful storyline that will pretty much force … [Read more...]

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"THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER": Just watched this. (The French one, not the American.) It's terrific. Yes, it has some of the same over-the-top hyperventilating as most silent movies (the mystic power of magnetism...slow-motion fainting...rutting toads), but mostly it's intense, menacing, and feverishly beautiful. I was spellbound. Small humans lost in big sets reminiscent of Giacometti's "The Palace at 4 a.m."; a banister made of branches and chains; a corpse (possibly) in a wedding dress; … [Read more...]

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POETRY WEDNESDAY (FOR CERTAIN VALUES OF WEDNESDAY): From Ernest Dowson, "Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae."Last night, ah, yesternight, betwixt her lips and mine There fell thy shadow, Cynara! thy breath was shed Upon my soul between the kisses and the wine; And I was desolate and sick of an old passion, Yea, I was desolate and bowed my head: I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.All night upon mine heart I felt her warm heart beat, Night-long within mine arms in … [Read more...]

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Did you think I would stand here and lie While our blogwatch was passing us by?Angevin: THE GASHLYSPEARE TINIES. Gorey + Shakespeare = pure twisted genius. A is for Antigonus, lunch for a bear B is for Banquo (but not for his heir)... you know you must click.New York finally begins moderating its insane drug laws. Orin Kerr, at the Volokh Conspiracy, points out why this is a very good thing even if you don't support legalization. (First link via Hit & Run.)And more good news, from … [Read more...]

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Every true apprentice writer has, however he may try to keep it secret even from himself, only one major goal: glory. --The Art of Fiction … [Read more...]

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Searching for Mr. Right, Blogwatching half the night...Amptoons on a couple whose son was taken by Protective Services solely because the couple is blind. (The child is home now, due to an outcry by disability activists.) This article includes another blind couple describing how they are raising their two children.Oxblog: "Sickened as I was like other observers by the scenes which appeared over the summer from Abu Ghraib, I'm left by the onset of Charles Graner's trial by court-martial in … [Read more...]

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