Category Archives: Literary Criticism

All Out of Proportion: Alice Munro’s “Leaving Maverley”

Charles May’s recent blog post (Part One) comparing Margaret Atwood’s “Stone Mattress” and Alice Munro’s “Leaving Maverley” had me trying once again to find something I like about an Alice Munro short story.  I enjoyed “Stone Mattress.”  I have yet … Continue reading

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Robert Coover’s “Matinée”: Projection, Distortion, and Just Maybe, Infection

This morning (with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony spilling out of my desktop MP3 player, because the Wagner was interesting but when it’s playing I can’t think), I’m sipping at a cooling cup of coffee and trying to decide whether or not I liked … Continue reading

Posted in Leo Tolstoy, Literary Criticism, Reading, Stories | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

What Art Isn’t – Tolstoy Disses Beethoven and Wagner

Leo Tolstoy at Yasnaya Polyana, May 1908. Color photograph by Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky. I spent a considerable chunk of last week reading Leo Tolstoy’s lengthy post-conversion essay What Is Art? In the essay, Tolstoy pontificates on aesthetic questions that are still being wrestled over in the … Continue reading

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Information vs. Storytelling: What We Know, and What We Want

I love bumblebees.   But last weekend, on the first day of Cub Scout camp, one crawled into a fold of the beach towel I’d tossed on the poolside grass before I took the mandatory swim test.  After a refreshing swim, unaware of my … Continue reading

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The Hidden Agenda(s) of Storytelling

I’m doing my laundry from Boy Scout camp tomorrow & putting it right back in the duffel – I’m accompanying my younger son to a five-day resident Cub Scout camp this Thursday.  Lacking any real direction in my personal and … Continue reading

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The Devil Is in the Details

In a recent blog post, Charles E. May describes two kinds of detail that can be found in short fiction: “One of the most powerful conventions of short fiction is the convention of selection of details. Every story is made … Continue reading

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Diving Deep and Engaging with the Enemy – I Mean, with the Text

This week I’ve been reading Charles May’s book The Short Story: The Reality of Artifice.  I thought it might fill in some of the gaps in my background knowledge of literature. It’s an intimidating book.  I actually had to look … Continue reading

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