“Terry Castle: The Anti-Paglia”: Helen Andrews

“Terry Castle: The Anti-Paglia”: Helen Andrews July 30, 2015

alerts us:

…Like Paglia, Castle’s entrée into the literary tradition of sexual inversion was a teenage fascination with Oscar Wilde—she dreamed of being “male, dandified, and in some sort of filial relationship to various 1890s Decadents.” Unlike Paglia, her grown-up persona is less flamboyant, more Jamesian. Indeed, the two ladies juxtaposed remind me a little of Wilde and Henry James circa Guy Domville: Wilde the crowd-pleaser reigns supreme over the London stage, for now; James, no less of a genius, finds himself tragically short-changed by a lack of subtlety in the public taste. Then goes home and writes “The Turn of the Screw.”

In Castle’s case, the masterpiece she produced while her rival was glittering away was The Professor and Other Writings (2010). What is it that makes The Professor the best American essay collection since Consider the Lobster?


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