Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Susan interviews John for Newsweek

Here is a link to the March 14, 1977 Newsweek interview of John Cheever conducted by his daughter Susan.

Friday, January 21, 2011

snack schedule

January 24: Ross

January 31: Sanae

February 7: Kate

February 14: (Cheever visit) Ari, Zoe and Marisa

Feburary 21: James

February 28: Jocelyn

March 14: Amaris

March 21: (Albee visit) Rachel, Daniella

March 28: Lance

April 4: Holden

April 11: Gareth

April 18: Kim

April 25: (Perloff visit) Amelia, Lara, and Sam

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

YouTube video recordings of performances of Albee's plays

Thanks to Julia Nelson, we now have a list of - and links to - YouTube videos of performances of Edward Albee's plays. Here is your link to that document.

Monday, January 10, 2011

allegory in Albee's "The American Dream"

An essay called "Allegory in Edward Albee's THE AMERICAN DREAM," by Ervin Beck, Professor of English at Goshen College, is available on the web here. Here are the first two paragraphs:
Our understanding of Edward Albee's achievement in The American Dream (1960) has come a long way since 1961 when Martin Esslin hailed it as a "brilliant first example of an American contribution to the Theatre of the Absurd"1 and 1966 when Nicholas Canaday, Jr. labeled it America's "best example of what has come to be known as `the theatre of the absurd.'"2

The shrewdest assessment of absurdism in Albee is by Brian Way, who shows convincingly that, although Albee has successfully mastered the techniques of theatrical absurdism, he has nevertheless shied away from embracing the metaphysics that the style implies.3 That is, Albee knows that Theatre of the Absurd is "an absorption-in-art of certain existentialist and post-existentialist philosophical concepts having to do, in the main, with man's attempts to make sense for himself out of his senseless position in a world which makes no sense."4 But Albee nevertheless "believes in the validity of reason--that things can be proved, or that events can be shown to have definite meanings."5 Structurally, the chief evidence for this claim is that Albee's plays, including The American Dream, move toward resolution, denouement and completion rather than the circularity or open-endedness typical of Theatre of the Absurd.6

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

papers & other responsibilities

Here are some notes on papers and other responsibilities:

CLASS SESSIONS: They are 99% pure discussion--a real, honest-to-goodness seminar--and thus it's completely and utterly crucial that you attend every week. You are also required to attend the Monday evening presentations by the Fellows themselves, and--no exceptions!--the Tuesday morning programs in their entirety. If you can't attend the Tuesday morning programs, tell us now so we can (alas!) drop you from the class.

POSITION PAPERS: You will write a response to the readings every week (well, you may skip one). These are informal "position papers." They are to be 300-400 words in length and must be sent to the Fellows listserv any time before 6 AM on the Monday morning of the week's class. Four of these papers will be evaluated closely--at least one each on Cheever, Albee & Perloff. Each week, bring a printed copy of your position paper to class. At the end of class you can decide if the paper you hold in your hands is one of the four you will turn in for evaluation.

LISTSERV RESPONSES: Each week you will respond to one of the position papers sent to the listserv by your fellow Fellows seminarians. Send your response before noon. Your response should be sent to the listserv and should make a rejoinder to one point in one paper. These responses should be one short paragraph in length, about 100 words. Be sure to make it clear which point in which person's position paper is the one to which your response is responding. The listserv address is whfellows11 [at]

PROJECTS: A special project will be assigned to you--after you give us your top three choices. These, too, should be sent to the listserv--any time before 6 AM on the date indicated on the projects list. Length: whatever is appropriate for fulfilling the purpose of the project but no less than 750 words. These need not be fancy or high-toned, but, rather, straightforward and lucid and, if apt, organized into short titled sections to make for easy reading. If you are not assigned a project, see Al or Jamie-Lee ASAP so that we can devise one.

OBLIGATIONS DURING FELLOWS' VISITS: As an absolutely vital part of the seminar, you will be called upon to volunteer during the two-day visits of the Fellows. Fulfilling this (mostly pleasurable) function is as much a requirement as the others listed here. If Jamie-Lee has not asked you to take on a role during the visits, be sure to ask her what you can do to help.

FINAL EXAM: There will be a wildly comprehensive, personalized final exam. It will be sent to you by email, to be written at your convenience ("take home") any time during the exam period.

Above, at right: Vince Levy introducing Robert Coover in 2009.

from Marjorie Perloff's memoir

For our first session we are reading a short excerpt from Marjorie Perloff's memoir, The Vienna Paradox: PDF.

excerpt from Albee's "The American Dream"

An excerpt from Edward Albee's The American Dream, to be discussed at our first meeting: PDF

excerpt from "Home before Dark"

A few pages from chapter 8 of Cheever's Home before Dark--to be read for our first class session: PDF.