The title of this essay is not a reference to that enthusiastic but misguided shout from his friends in the audience at the St. James Theatre in 1895 that brought a reluctant Henry James to the stage at the end of his play Guy Domville, only to be greeted by whistles, shouts, and insults from the irate denizens of the gallery, one of whom had somewhat spoiled the dramatic effect of the actor’s climactic line—“I am the last of the Domvilles”—by shouting: “And a bloody good thing y’are!” My title is the rubric of an infuriating competition that appears every week in the pages of the London Times Literary Supplement; it offers three quotations, all dealing more or less with the same subject, and defies the reader to identify the authors. Since the fiends who concoct these puzzles have carefully avoided passages likely to turn up in anthologies, have, in fact, ransacked their authors’ lesser-known works for texts innocent of such clues as proper names, dates, or allusions to historical events, the reader unwise enough to take a hand in the game has to rely on indications of the personality of the author.
Not, obviously, the historical, biographical personality, but the literary personality: the characteristic attitudes and concerns, the rhythms, tones, and levels of discourse, the literary individuality that enables us to distinguish a paragraph of Jane Austen from one of Henry James, and either of them from one of Ernest Hemingway, or the epic blank verse of Milton from that of Keats or Tennyson. This literary identity is now the target of academic assaults from many quarters, of which I propose to single out two in particular—the Roland Barthes-Derrida denial of the author’s identity or even of his or her existence, and the New Historicism, which confines that identity to the stringent limitations of the author’s time and place.
The first aberration treats the author’s work as a “text,” material for the discovery of intertextuality, subtext, and—a word that I have not seen in print but that, if not yet born, is surely close to delivery from the womb of the goddess Terminologia—meta-text, which, on the analogy of “meta-theater,” would denote a text discussing its own textuality. In the deconstruction of the text the author disappears; Barthes in fact proclaimed the “death of the author.” But though such theories are usually thought of as French products of the Sixties and Seventies, their origins can be discerned in much earlier work done by Americans in the Forties, the years that saw the birth of that New Criticism which Norman Fruman recalls in his short history of our Association,1 reasserting its basic principle: that “there should be a primary focus on literature as literature and not as something else.” I am myself a child—an aging child—of the New Criticism; the first article I ever published had a title that sounds like a parody of the typical New Critical title—“The Serpent and the Flame.” The editors of the American Journal of Philology, who reluctantly accepted the article after several unsuccessful attempts to get me to tone it down, felt constrained to add to the title: “Patterns of Imagery in the Second Book of the Aeneid.”
But there was one aspect of the New Criticism that disturbed me: the influential idea, expounded by a formidable member of the Yale English department, William Wimsatt, called the Intentional Fallacy, which proclaimed that “the design or intention of the author is neither available nor desirable as a standard for judging the success of a work of literary art.” Though this pronouncement was hedged about with many limitations and provisos it still seemed to me to give rein to free-wheeling interpretations that eased the acceptance of the radical hijacking of the author’s work by Derrida, Barthes, Lacan, and hoc genus omne.
I was especially disturbed by this doctrine because, as a classical scholar, I had been very much concerned, as is every member of our discipline, with authorial intention at the basic level—the often vexed question not of what impression the author sought to make on the reader, but of what he intended us to read, of what, in fact, he actually wrote. For in the case of some of the greatest of our authors, the text has come down to us through two thousand years or so of handwritten tradition, some of it produced probably by slave labor, some by monks copying texts which became less intelligible for them as the centuries went by. When the texts of the Athenian tragic poets of the fifth century BC were finally printed in Venice early in the sixteenth century AD, they remained full of errors, sometimes of barely intelligible or even totally unintelligible passages, even after the editorial efforts of the printers. And sometimes the effort to establish the authentic text, the author’s intention, has involved more than technical matters of grammar, syntax, and meter, more than familiarity with the errors characteristic of the scribes of different times and places.
In Sophocles’ Antigone, for example, as Antigone, condemned to death by Creon, stands silent facing him, her sister Ismene enters to remonstrate with Creon, pleading for Antigone’s life. She reminds him that Antigone is betrothed to his son Haemon but she is brutally rebuffed, told that “there are other fields for him to plough,” and that Creon hates “evil wives” for his son. At this point, according to all our existing manuscripts, Ismene exclaims: “Dearest Haemon, how your father dishonors you!” But the first printed edition, Venice 1502, gave the line to Antigone. We do not know if the printer Aldo Manuzio, to give him his real name, had manuscript authority for the change; in view of the unanimity of the surviving manuscripts, that seems unlikely. But many modern editors have followed the Aldine edition, among them Sir Richard Jebb, the great Edwardian editor of Sophocles. “To me,” he writes, “it seems certain that the verse is Antigone’s, and that one of the finest touches in the play is effaced by giving it to Ismene…. The taunt ‘I hate an evil wife for my son’ moves Antigone to break the silence she has kept since v. 560…. This solitary reference to her love heightens in a wonderful degree our sense of an unselfish devotion to a sacred duty.” And Jebb, of course, is not the only editor to feel that Antigone ought to mention her royal fiancé at least once in the course of the play.
The manuscript attribution of the line to Ismene is not conclusive evidence; in such matters we can have little confidence in the tradition. There is for example a passage in another Sophoclean play, The Women of Trachis, where in all our surviving manuscripts the attributions are so plainly wrong that you wonder how anyone can have gone on copying them, not to mention printing them for so many centuries; the mess was finally cleaned up by an English scholar, Thomas Tyrwhitt, in the eighteenth century. The reason for the confusion is the ancient method of indicating a change of speaker. Instead of writing an abbreviated form of the character’s name before each new speech, the ancient editors used such an abbreviation only once, before the character’s first speech in the scene; after that a change of speakers was indicated by a simple dash ahead of the line, or, if a new speaker came in before the end of a line, by the sign that we use to denote a colon. The horrendous confusion that can result from a few mistakes in such a system—if indeed it deserves that name—is not hard to imagine, and when later the scribes changed over to the system we still use, old errors were retained and new ones introduced.
So the question of the author’s intention here has to be settled on the basis of his literary identity, his characteristic practices and procedures, his dramatic style. Does Sophocles elsewhere interrupt a dialogue between two actors by the unexpected and unprepared intrusion of a third?
It was Sophocles, we learn from a typically curt sentence of Aristotle—“Three and scene-painting Sophocles”—who added a third speaking actor to the dramatist’s resources. But he used this third actor very sparingly. Though he often has three actors on stage, a three-cornered conversation—Dreigespräch, to give it its convenient German name—is rare; the norm is still dialogue between two actors—speech and counter speech or line-for-line rapid exchange. When such an exchange is interrupted by a third speaker, Sophocles takes extraordinary precautions to make sure that there will be no confusion; the words he writes for his actors make it perfectly clear who is speaking, and to whom. He writes as if his audience were blind, as if for them, identification of the speaker can be conveyed only though the spoken word. And in fact, compared with a modern theatrical audience, they were blind. Not only did the actors wear masks, they were also, for most of the spectators, very far away.
For the size of the audience we have no reliable figures; Plato’s figure of thirty thousand for a performance of a tragedy of Agathon in 417–416 BC can only be explained as a flattering exaggeration (thirty thousand was the conventional number of the male citizen population). But when the theater of Dionysos was renovated by Lycurgus late in the fourth century BC it could hold, so archaeologists have calculated from the traces that remain, some fourteen to seventeen thousand. In the Opera House of the Kennedy Center in Washington the number of rows of seats from front to rear is thirty-two; in the theater of Dionysos, the rows of stone benches, farther apart than the folding seats of the modern theater, numbered seventy-eight.
In the Antigone there is no preparation for, no indication of, a sudden change of speaker, and the line is quite appropriate for Ismene. On this ground alone, the manuscript attribution seems to be the correct one. But there is another question to be answered, one suggested by Jebb’s phrase “this solitary reference to her love.” Could Sophocles create a female character so obsessed with her self-imposed heroic mission that she could be impervious to any other emotion, in this case, totally indifferent to Haemon’s love for her? (Jebb’s ambiguous “her love” suggests that she might be in love with him, but there is no support anywhere in the text for such a notion.)
Since we have only seven of the 120 plays Sophocles wrote (and one of them, Philoctetes, has no female parts) we have not much to go on, but it so happens that we do have one play, Electra, which presents us with a young unmarried woman who is as obsessed with her determination to avenge her father as Antigone is with hers to bury her brother, who denounces the mother who murdered her father, denounces her sister for not joining her in her resistance, and later, when she hears the false report of Orestes’ death, tries to enlist that same sister in a suicidal attack on her oppressors and, rebuffed, announces that she will do it alone. She finds relief from her heroic rage only with the recognition of Orestes, and even then her outpouring of joy is prompted by the realization that at last her avenger has arrived. And when she hears Clytemnestra’s cry inside the house—“I am struck!”—she screams to Orestes: “Strike twice as hard, if you have the strength.”
So the answers to both questions about the literary personality of the author support the manuscript reading, and in the latest edition of the Sophoclean text, the Oxford Classical Text of Sir Hugh Lloyd-Jones and Nigel Wilson, the line is rightly assigned to Ismene.
I have gone into what may well seem unnecessary detail simply to demonstrate that for classical scholars the question of the author’s intention is a vital concern, since we often have to divine it in order to reconstruct his or her text. It is understandable that those of us involved in such problems take a dim view of those who blithely propose to deconstruct it. And of course we are not alone. Critics of Shakespeare have to wrestle with the two versions of King Lear and the three versions of Hamlet, and there are controversies about the texts of Ulysses and A la recherche du temps perdu. To the deconstructionist the text is no great matter since the author’s intention is irrelevant in any case and since he or she is mining deep below the textual surface with Freudo-Lacanian, Lévi-Straussian, Derridean, or Pauldemanian machinery for base metal on which to practice verbal alchemy. But for us it is all-important, for in it we can through devoted study come to know that literary personality the Times Literary Supplement competition challenges us to detect, the true literary not the biographical personality, and so to be sensitive to the artistic intention of the work.
The author has of course a life apart from his or her creations, and that life is of keen interest for us. Often it is written by a biographer who is a sensitive critic, and who is deeply concerned with and skilled to assess those aspects of the life that throw light on the work—R.W.B. Lewis’s biography of Edith Wharton, for example or, more recently, Jon Stallworthy’s life of Louis MacNeice. Too often these days, however, biographers focus on the trivial and scandalous aspects of their subject and produce books like a recent biography of Graham Greene, which was characterized by one highly respected reviewer as “fueled by a virulent hatred of its subject”—an attitude not uncommon in biographers lately. But the facts of the author’s life should not be allowed to obtrude their presence into judgment of the work, especially if, as so often happens, perfection of the work is not matched by perfection of the life.
For classicists however this is a minor problem, since we have very little biographical material to go on, and even that little, as one of our members, Professor Mary Lefkowitz, has pungently demonstrated, is for the most part later invention, based on fancied self-reference in the author’s text and sometimes on the grotesque caricatures offered by comic poets.2 So we do not have to deal with revelations like the recent suggestion, proffered in all seriousness, that the relationship between Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra “had its unconscious homo-erotic dimension.”3
We are, however, like the rest of you, a target for the New Historicism, which strives to view literary masterpieces through the spectacles of their own time and place, to relocate them firmly in the social, political, and religious context of their age.
Many years ago, in 1954 to be historically correct, the English Department at Yale organized a week-long Shakespeare festival under the banner “He was not of an age, but for all time.” A series of lectures by local and invited experts started off with a Drama School performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor, played by actors who, diligently coached by a famous specialist on English linguistics, delivered their lines in what we were assured was the authentic pronunciation used by The Chamberlain’s Men in the original performance in 1597. It was not a great success. The cast was so intent on getting its vowels right that it had little time for acting, and, as for the result, an Irish colleague told me that if he closed his eyes and just listened, he could easily imagine that he was listening to a bunch of American actors working on their accents for a performance of The Playboy of the Western World. Toward the end of the week we were getting a little weary of the Bard, and at lunch one day someone produced a diversion by informing us of the death in New York of the poet Maxwell Bodenheim, known to us only for one poem, or rather, since we couldn’t remember the poem, for one title—Naked on Roller Skates. Someone at the table (I think it was Martin Price) said wistfully: “Maybe next year we could have a one-day Maxwell Bodenheim Festival under the banner: Of An Age.” It is the banner under which the New Historicists march.
There can be no doubt that in their delving into the details of life on all social levels, especially those left unexplored by the standard historians, they are providing a welcome and long overdue correction to the elitist emphasis of their predecessors. But in their approach to the great literary figures of the past they tend to turn reductive, to limit the insights of the writer to the level of consciousness general for the age. The picture of the creative artist that emerges from their reexamination is of one “cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in” to the prejudices, ideologies, and ignorance of his age. Succeeding generations, even centuries, may see in the great works of the past the mirror of their own predicaments, discontents, and fears, but they are under an illusion, and those illusions are charted and analyzed in what is known as Rezeptionstheorie.
Paul Robeson’s famous production of Othello, for example, with its obvious relevance to the scourge of modern racism, has been dismissed as anachronistic, since there was no racial problem or black presence in Jacobean England and in any case the Moor is not a descendant of African slaves. But the text speaks eloquently against such a dismissal. Time and again the marriage of Othello and Desdemona is described as “against all rule of nature,” her acceptance of him as her husband as “a gross revolt,” a flight “to the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor,” who is in turn labeled “the thick-lips” with a “sooty bosom.” As if all this were not enough, Othello’s realization that Desdemona’s acceptance of his hand in marriage is a unique gesture, made in defiance of contemporary prejudice, is the weak point in his defenses against which Iago aims his poisoned arrows: “Not to affect many proposed matches/of her own clime, complexion and degree… Foh, one may smell in such a will most rank/Foul disproportion, thoughts unnatural.” And Iago, shouting from the dark up to Desdemona’s father, uses language that resonates with the virulent hatred of the white racist for the marriage of a black man and a white woman—“an old black ram/Is tupping your white ewe…. You’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse….” The Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan could hardly do better.
In my own field the New Historicists have imposed some long overdue corrections on the way we view Athenian democracy. Though slaves, on a conservative estimate, made up one third of the population of Athens in the late fifth century BC, the index to Werner Jaeger’s three-volume work on Greek and especially Athenian culture, Paideia, contains, as Sir Moses Finley maliciously pointed out, no entry for Slave or Slavery. Sir Alfred Zimmern’s classic Greek Commonwealth of 1914, still a valuable resource for historians, has an entry for Slaves, and even one for Women, but it lists only ten page references and among them are: 50 (washing arrangements for) and 347 (cannot throw). But the nineteenth-century illusory vision of Athenian democracy as comparable to British parliamentary government has now been replaced by realistic analysis of how an exclusively male polity, based on slave labor, actually functioned.
This is of course a healthy and welcome development, though some of its practitioners seem, in their corrective enthusiasm, to forget that, limited though it was, Athenian democracy provided its male citizens over the course of nearly two centuries with a full participation in the political process and an untrammeled freedom of speech that was not to be seen again in the world for more than a millennium. They seem to forget, too, that modern democracies were slow and stubbornly reluctant to extend the franchise to women; France took that step as late as 1946.
This reevaluation of the Athenian social and political scene has given rise to a new critical approach to the greatest artistic achievement of the democracy—Athenian tragedy. This first theater of the Western world is a remarkable phenomenon from many points of view, not least in its creation and presentation of female characters that dominated the Greek stage and have haunted ours ever since—Antigone, Medea, Helen, Clytemnestra, Electra, Hecuba, Phaedra, Iphigenia, to name only the most prominent. In a city where its most loved and famous statesman proclaimed that the greatest glory for a woman was to be least talked about by men, whether in praise or blame, this is unexpected, to say the least, and even more unexpected is that all of them, even the great criminals like Clytemnestra and Medea, are treated with respect and sympathy, so that though we may be appalled by what they do, we admire their heroic will.
Some of them have done more than retain their pride of place on the world’s stages; they have become, like Antigone and Medea, icons for ideologies, a focus for the aspirations and fears of the modern world. Medea’s speech to the chorus, with its recital of woman’s wrongs and its defiance of the male claim to mastery on the basis of his role as warrior, has long served as a primal text for feminism, and Antigone, as George Steiner demonstrated in his brilliant book Antigones, “is one of the enduring and canonic acts in the history of our philosophic, literary, political consciousness.” The last sentence of the book reads: “New ‘Antigones’ are being imagined, thought, lived now; and will be tomorrow.”
The New Historicists, however, dismissing all this as Rezeption, readings which have nothing to do with the original, point out that the plays were performed at a civic festival of a democracy which excluded women from public life, that the plays presented had been chosen by a male official, were written and directed by men and acted by men. While there were women in the audience (though some have gone so far as to deny this) the ten judges who awarded first, second, and third prize to the poets whose plays had been chosen for performance were men. Given such a context, it is claimed, the presentation of women on the Attic stage must have conformed to, and could certainly not have defied, the fundamental Athenian belief in the inferiority of the female. Froma Zeitlin, one of the most judicious and fair-minded of the feminist critics of Greek tragedy, sums up their case as follows:
Even when female characters struggle with the conflicts generated by the peculiarities of their subordinate social position, their demands for identity and self-esteem are nevertheless designed primarily for exploring the male project of selfhood in the larger world.4
The argument based on the exclusion of women from every stage of the play’s progress, from the mind of the poet to its performance in the theater, is of course quite invalid, for the theater that gave us Portia, Cleopatra, Beatrice, Viola, Juliet, Mistresses Page and Ford, Lady Macbeth, Gertrude, and the Duchess of Malfi, was also a completely male enterprise; plays were licensed or refused by the Lord Chamberlain and were written, produced, and acted by men. And although the “demands for identity and self-esteem” of Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew may be seen as “designed primarily for exploring the male project of selfhood in the larger world” the formula will hardly fit Cleopatra, Lady Macbeth, and company.
And it will not do for Antigone and Medea, either. Nor will the further elaboration by Professor Zeitlin that “though they may occupy center stage and leave a far more indelible impression on the spectators than do their male counterparts…they play the role of catalysts, agents, instruments, blockers, spoilers, destroyers and sometime helpers for the male characters…functionally women are never an end in themselves.” The generalization is contradicted by at least one item in the list of roles played by female characters—“destroyers.” Medea destroys Jason’s royal bride-to-be, her royal father, and Jason’s two sons, leaving him no future but the ignominious death she prophesies for him as she escapes from Corinth in a flying chariot sent by her grandfather the sun-god. Antigone, by her decision to kill herself in the tomb before Creon arrives to free her, destroys Creon: his son spits at him, tries to kill him, and failing to do so kills himself, and Creon’s wife also kills herself, her last words a curse on Creon for causing the deaths of both her sons. Deianira destroys Heracles by sending him what she imagines is a magic cloak which will restore his love for her but which instead condemns him to an agonizing death. If these actions are not “functional,” what is?
Nor do these female characters seem “designed primarily for explaining the male project of selfhood in the larger world”; in fact, both Medea and The Women of Trachis contain passages that seem intent on explaining the female project of selfhood. Deianira eloquently laments the sad fate of the wife whose husband brings home a younger mistress to live with him in the home.
Now the two of us remain under one blanket for him to take in his arms—such is the reward that Heracles, whom men call trustworthy and noble, has sent me for keeping his house for so many years…. What woman could live together with this girl, sharing a marriage with the same man? I see her youth advancing, mine fading…. I fear that Heracles may be called my husband but this young woman’s man….
And Medea, in her first speech to the chorus, presents a famous litany of women’s wrongs that wins their promise of conspiratorial silence as she plots her revenge. Later, after they see Medea ordered into exile by the King of Corinth, they sing an extraordinary (and beautiful) ode, its theme the reversal of traditional roles: men, not women, are the deceivers.
Legend now shall change, to proclaim woman’s life glorious; honor comes to the female sex. Women will be the target of vile report no more. The muses of the poets of old shall cease to sing of woman’s infidelity. It was not on us that Apollo, Lord of poetry, conferred the heavenly power of the lyre. Otherwise I would have sung my counter-strain in answer to the male sex.
But this is precisely what they have done. And even before this direct challenge to the whole misogynist tradition of Greek song—Hesiod, Archilochus, Semonides—Medea had made a statement that must have given the men in the audience the shock of their lives. “They say we live a life at home without danger, while they face combat with the spear. They’ve got it wrong. I’d rather stand shield by shield three times than give birth to a child just once.” These lines, in the context of the male world of Athenian democracy, its highest value courage in the city’s battle line, its highest glory death in battle before the city walls, its Bible Homer’s Iliad, are sheer blasphemy, something like speaking up for abortion in the Vatican.
The Medea was first produced in Athens in 431 BC. Euripides offered two other tragedies with it—the Philoctetes, of which we have a plot summary and a few fragments, and the Dictys, of which we have only fragments—and a satyr play about which we know nothing. Euripides was awarded the third prize; ahead of him was Sophocles, who won second prize (we do not know the titles of the plays), and first was Euphorion, a son of Aeschylus, of whose work we do not have a single fragment.
The wonder is not that Euripides did not receive first prize for a masterpiece that can still thrill and terrify audiences, as it did when Diana Rigg played the role on Broadway recently; the wonder is that the Athenian magistrate in charge of play selection gave it the green light in the first place. Though that wonder diminishes in light of the fact that Sophocles, too, wrote and produced a play about a woman who, to revenge herself on her husband for his rape and ghastly mutilation of her sister, not only killed their son but also fed his father the cooked flesh. The play, Tereus, has not survived but we have a sizable fragment, which is, like Medea’s speech, a complaint by the wronged wife about the female condition. “Women,” she says, “are nothing.
Young, we live a most pleasant life in our fathers’ households. But when we grow up…we are thrown out of our home, away from our parents and the gods of our fathers,—we are sold, some to strangers, some to barbarians, some to joyless homes, some to worse. And once we go under the yoke, in one single night, we have to praise our lot and pretend that all is well.
This accident of survival reminds us that we have too little evidence on which to make sweeping generalizations about the limits within which the tragic poets were constrained to work. Sophocles is said to have written 120 plays, of which we have seven; for Euripides the figures are eighteen out of ninety-two and for Aeschylus seven out of eighty or ninety. For all we know the Medea and the Tereus may have been just two examples of a type of wronged-woman tragedy that became fashionable in the last third of the fifth century BC.
“…Not of an age, but for all time.” The great writers are of course of an age, but also for all time. If ever there was a poet of his age, fully steeped in its philosophy, cosmology, and theology, fiercely partisan in its fratricidal politics, it was the Florentine Dante Alighieri, who crowds his great poem with figures whose history and background, familiar to his original readers, and necessary for a full understanding, await the modern reader in the footnotes. It sounds like a recipe for going out of print overnight, yet if you go into any good bookstore and check the literature section (or if it is a very good one, the medieval section) you will find not one but three paperback translations of Dante: those of Mark Musa, Allen Mandelbaum, and, best of the three, John Ciardi. They will eventually be joined by a paperback edition of the latest and best of all, the translation of the Inferno by one of our members, Robert Pinsky. The masterpieces of our literature retain their hold on the mind and emotions of generation after generation; created for their time, they outlast it, winning new readers and audiences in a world unimaginably different from their own. They can still move us to tears or laughter, shock or beguile us; they remain contemporary because they present us with a unique vision of their own time that addresses our own deepest hopes and fears. They often seem more powerful, more meaningful, more modern than what is being written by and for our age.
Let me conclude with one instance of the contemporaneity of an ancient classic that will also bring me back, in Homeric style, to my beginning, the author. Some time in the early months of 1917, as the German Imperial Navy resumed unrestricted submarine warfare and began sinking American merchant ships en route to Europe, and President Wilson began preparing the American public for a declaration of war on Germany—a move more popular in the eastern states than in the western—an experimental theater group in San Francisco decided to mount a production of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata. The only possible translation available at the time was the Victorian version of Benjamin Bickley Rodgers, a clever transposition into Gilbertian comic verse which manages to disguise or suppress most of the frank and hilarious obscenity of the original—what a modern translator renders “We want to get laid” (which is still a little more genteel than the Greek) turns up as “The girls are husband-sick.” Still, it was a pretty raunchy show for 1917, and soon the group was playing to full houses—until the city fathers, prompted by the local clergy and some self-appointed patriot groups in favor of going to war, closed the theater down.
As the cast sat glumly around on stage watching the stagehands take the sets apart, a police officer walked in. The director was in no mood to be polite. “What the hell do you want?” he said. And the officer replied politely: “I want to speak to the author.” The director was a man who knew a good joke when he saw one so he said: “Well, he’s not here just now. He went down the street to get a drink—back in an hour or so.” But the police officer drew up a chair, sat down, and said: “O.K., I’ll wait.” “Oh, come on,” said the director. “What the hell is going on here? What do you want?” And the officer, producing a large envelope, replied: “I told you. I want the author. I have a subpoena to serve on him.” “A subpoena?” said the director. “Let’s see it. What name does it have on it?” “Well,” said the officer, squinting at the envelope. “It’s one of them funny foreign names, you know…. It says here Mr. A.R. Stophanes.”
November 16, 1995
The Association of Literary Scholars and Critics. This essay is based on the opening address given at the Association’s first national convention in Minneapolis on September 22. Norman Fruman’s account of the association was published in the first issue of its newsletter, and also in the Times Literary Supplement of June 23, 1995. ↩
See The Lives of the Greek Poets (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981) ↩
Terry Castle, “Sister-Sister,” The London Review of Books, August 3, 1995. ↩
Nothing to Do with Dionysus? (Princeton University Press, 1990), p. 69. ↩