Black Oxenunites such unlikely topics as medical rejuvenation treatments, eugenics, American youth culture, and cross-generational relationships. The beautiful American widow of a Hungarian count, Mary Zattiany is fifty-eight years old; after receiving experimental "rejuvenation treatments" and returning to America, however, she is mistaken for a woman in her twenties, and falls in love with a much younger man. Set in an era fixated on youth, beauty, and pleasure, but focusing on the experiences of an aging woman, Black Oxenoffers a unique and unsettling view of the Jazz Age. Black Oxenwas written in a burst of mental energy after Gertrude Atherton herself received an experimental anti-aging treatment; the introduction and appendices to this edition explore parallels between Atherton's medical treatment and that of her rejuvenated protagonist, as well as provide selections from other contemporary writings on aging, science, and the role of women in the 1920s. Stills and posters from the 1924 film adaptation are also included.… (more)
The years like Great Black Oxen tread the world And God the herdsman goads them on behind. —W. B. Yeats.
"Talk. Talk. Talk. … Good lines and no action … said all … not even promising first act … eighth failure and season more than half over … rather be a playwright and fail than a critic compelled to listen to has-beens and would-bes trying to put over bad plays. … Oh, for just one more great first-night … if there's a spirit world why don't the ghosts of dead artists get together and inhibit bad playwrights from tormenting first-nighters?… Astral board of Immortals sitting in Unconscious tweaking strings until gobbets and sclerotics become gibbering idiots every time they put pen to paper?… Fewer first-nights but more joy … also joy of sending producers back to cigar stands.… Thank God, no longer a critic … don't need to come to first-nights unless I want … can't keep away … habit too strong … poor devil of a colyumist must forage … why did I become a columnist? More money. Money! And I once a rubescent socialist … best parlor type … Lord! I wish some one would die and leave me a million!"
And as the driver was listening, he added: "A pleasant journey."