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Trying it out in America : literary and other performances (edition 1999)
Trying it out in America : literary and other performances by Richard Poirier
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374279411, Hardcover)Among the figures Richard Poirier takes on in this collection of book reviews and critical essays are titans of America's queer literary tradition such as Walt Whitman and Gertrude Stein (plus, among more modern writers, Truman Capote and Frank O'Hara). But Trying It Out in America is not queer criticism, though the chapters on Balanchine's choreography and Bette Midler's 1975 Broadway musical revue certainly make such an interpretation tempting. There's a broader concern at stake, in that the objects of Poirier's attention are "in an always precarious, quite often faltering equilibrium. They hope to appeal to a large contemporary audience who buys, reads, and spreads the good word about books. At the same time they write in a fashion meant to be taken as original and likely to be thought difficult." Thus there are chapters on Gore Vidal's historical sagas and Norman Mailer's Ancient Evenings (deemed his "strangest book"), and a consideration of outsider perspectives on America, including those of Jean Baudrillard and Martin Amis. The collection is hampered somewhat by the time-specific nature of many of the essays, which were first published as book reviews in journals such as The New York Review of Books. But as a time capsule of literary concerns of late-20th-century America, it is a sophisticated and intelligent read.
(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 22 Feb 2013 08:22:38 -0500)
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