Contraries : essays by Joyce Carol Oates
New York : Oxford University Press, 1981. First American Edition. Hardcover. 187 pages ; 21 cm. $15.00 dust jacket. Pages are unmarked and binding is firm.
"Contraries contains some of her most brilliant essays to date, valuable not only as the work of an extraordinary critical mind but also for the light they throw on
Oates's fiction." -JOHN GARDNER
JOYCE CAROL OATES
"It has never been a fashionable critical technique, to my knowledge, to fantasize structures for works of art other than those they contain; but the practicing writer knows how eerily fluid these structures are, at the very outset of a work ... so the question why is asked, why this and not that, impulsive questions ... fueled by the spirit of contrariety that lies at the heart of all passionate commitment."
From the Preface
In seven provocative essays, Joyce Carol Oates confronts the contradictions to which readers respond emotionally in great works of literature. Previously published but never before collected in one volume, these essays were written over a period of seventeen years. Imbued with her own emotional responses and enlivened by her personal experiences as a writer, the book takes a fresh approach to readings of familiar works. She reappraises the paradoxes in Conrad's Nostromo; the parable of the fall in Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray; tragic rites in Dostoevsky's The Possessed; the appeal of ballads as a literary genre in English and Scottish traditional ballads; the apocalyptic vision of Lawrence's Women in Love; tragic vision in King Lear; and comedy in Joyce's Ulysses.
About the Author
Joyce Carol Oates, whose latest novel is Bellefleur, is Visiting Professor in the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University. A Guggenheim Fellow in 1967-1968, she received the National Book Award in 1970 for her novel Them. She is a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.
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