Friday, March 10, 2006

Is it just me, or is there some "Oprah Book Club" link-up with Somerset Maugham's "Of Human Bondage"? Last week, every day when coming into Manhattan, someone was on the subway, reading "Of Human Bondage". (And it was never the same person.) Today, coming back from Manhattan, i was stuck in a subway carload of Hassids, all rushing home before sundown. Is Purim this weekend?

Last week, i was thinking of the whole tradition of the bildungsroman (is that the spelling?): in Angloamerican letters, the progression starts with Dickens ("David Copperfield" and "Great Expectations"), then Samuel Butler ("The Way of All Flesh"), then J.D. Salinger ("Catcher in the Rye"), then D.H. Lawrence ("Sons and Lovers") and then James Joyce ("Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man"). Now, of course, we're littered with these damned "confessionals" about my-life-as-a-frat-boy or my-life-as-a-marine or my-life-as-a-truckstop-tramp... please!

One (idiot) note: The Whitney Biennial this time has a "title" and it's "Day for Night", based on the film by Francois Truffaut. But the actual title of the film (since it is French) is "La Nuit Americane", and THIS Biennial is one which is NOT restricted (as per the actual charter of the museum) to "American" art.


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