Stochastic Bookmark

abstruse unfinished commentary

about correspondence



Continuing with novels by American poets (such as Robert Creeley, Barbara Guest, or more approximately W.S.Merwin; Randall Jarrell's Pictures from an Institution remains foremost among these, as well as among academic satire), I filled in a preterition with A Nest of Ninnies, a satire of manners by John Ashbery and James Schuyler. While involving a larger cast of characters, it might be taken as a transposition of Bouvard and Pécuchet to a New York suburban setting, receiving ideas from culture rather than science, except that where Flaubert was venting anger, Ashbery and Schuyler vent bemusement. It ages less well: The late 20th century middleclass argot and fashion-following may be precise in the dialogue (also infecting the narration), but it lacks an edge, blunted with some sympathy towards its subjects, not quite as incapable of growth as B&P, though insufficiently for redemption. Riddled with clichés, the punchlines remain ambivalent.


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