Books

World Books: ‘Pornografia’ translation earns an award

July 4, 2010
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By Bill Marx In English, Polish novelist, playwright, short story writer, and brazen, metaphysical gadfly Witold Gombrowicz remains under appreciated, a modernist who was never pulled into the highbrow bandwagon. Part of that neglect is thanks to bad translations that, in some cases, bowdlerized the Polish text or were translated from a French version of…

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Culture Vulture: A Theatrical Wonder in the Berkshires

July 2, 2010
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Reviewed By Helen Epstein Molly Sweeney by Brian Friel. Directed by Michael Dowling. Staged by the Chester Theatre Company, Chester, MA, through July 11. This summer Chester Theatre Company (CTC) Artistic Director Byam Stevens is exhorting theatergoers to “free the inner audience” within them. Theatergoers, he says, have become like critics, losing a sense of…

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Book Commentary: Summer Reads for Adventurous Minds

June 24, 2010
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Poetry’s secret, it seems to me, consists of two ingredients: a love of this world and a curiosity about metaphysics. – Durs Grünbein, The Bars of Atlantis I resist the idea that books for the beach have to go down as easy as piña coladas. My eccentric and eclectic list of fiction and non-fiction in…

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Book Review: ‘Chuck Close: Life’ ignores the Big Questions

June 15, 2010
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The narrative turns out to have the blandly cheerful tone and slightly stilted prose of an official biography: the sort of thing with the CEO’s picture on the cover, given out at stockholders meetings. Chuck Close: Life, by Christopher Finch. Prestel, 352 pages, $34.95. Reviewed by Peter Walsh In these media-saturated, image-obsessed times, every public…

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Book Review: Working with Bernstein

June 14, 2010
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Working with Bernstein: A Memoir by Jack Gottlieb. Amadeus Press, 370 pages, $24.99. Reviewed by Caldwell Titcomb A strong case can be made that the late Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) was the all-round greatest musician our country has produced—virtuoso pianist, composer of both classical and popular music, the most charismatic conductor of his century, acclaimed educator…

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Theater Interview: Writing about the American Stage

June 12, 2010
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As a theatrical event, The American Stage anthology would have to be classified as a rousing vaudeville show: there are literary routines for all brows—high, middle, and low. The American Stage: Writings on Theater from Washington Irving to Tony Kushner, edited by Laurence Senelick, Library of America, 867 pages, $40. By Bill Marx “There is…

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Popular Music Review: Light and Darkness in The National

June 8, 2010
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Perhaps independent music’s biggest “it” band right now, The National have recently released their fifth album, and appear on the brink of crossing the threshold from well-kept secret to mainstream sensation, if their recent back-to-back sold out shows at Boston’s House of Blues are any indication. By Justin Marble In college, I took a comparative…

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Coming Attractions in Theater: June 2010

May 31, 2010
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By Bill Marx Summer has never been a time for theaters taking chances and the sluggish economy only encourages the hot weather drift to safety. But there’s some funky activity around the margins as well as encouraging news about Shakespeare & Company’s finances. Also, the Gloucester Stage Company has forsaken last year’s geriatric lineup and…

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Theater Review: A Timely ‘Timon of Athens’

May 28, 2010
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This Shakespearean drama is savage and sour, its astringent vision of anger as the sole motive for living anticipating the death’s head satire of Swift, Céline, Thomas Bernhard, and Samuel Beckett. Timon of Athens, by William Shakespeare. Directed by Bill Barclay. Presented by Actors’ Shakespeare Project at the Midway Studio, Boston, MA, through June 13,…

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Book Review: Getting Closer To Walt Whitman

May 26, 2010
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Walt Whitman is an exuberant poet, and fellow versifier C. K. Williams is exuberant about Whitman in this wonderfully perceptive introduction to his poetry. On Whitman (Writers on Writers) by C. K. Williams. Princeton University Press, 208 pages, $19.95 Reviewed by Anthony Wallace On Whitman is a meditation on the life and work of the…

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