Carravagio and the Unseen

Carravagio and the Unseen

Carravagio and the Unseen (first published as an essay in Antaeus in 1989, and republished in Writers on Artists, edited by Daniel Halpern, by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (1990). When the poet Daniel Halpern, then the editor of the great literary magazine, Antaeus,...
The Guilty Sex

The Guilty Sex

Esquire Magazine, July 1, 1975 I worked hard on this one. It was a response for the first wave of the new feminism, which was under discussion everywhere, all the time. It started as a mere book review and metamorphosed into what you see here. I think it stands up to...
An Afterword to The Portrait of a Lady

An Afterword to The Portrait of a Lady

An Afterword to The Portrait of a Lady (Henry James, 1881) July 1987, Columbia University This essay about Henry James’ great novel just might be the best criticism I’ve ever written. It was commissioned as an afterword for a...
The secret Kafka

The secret Kafka

The New Criterion, 1984 In 1983, the art critic Dore Ashton asked a number of writers to speak at a not-very-memorable conference on Kafka. When asked, I said, “Sure. Why not?”   The conference was held shortly after the wedding day of a woman I had cared about...

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