Morality of Everyman/Smiley and Lit/Prizes/Plagiarists

April 27, 2006

The Morality of Everyman
When I read the reviews of Philip Roth's new novel, Everyman, I had forgotten about the morality plays of that very name where death comes for Everyman and he must hunt for character witnesses. Adam Kirsch of the New York Sun, for which my grandfather was city editor in the 40s, did not forget in his essay “The Music of Self-Justification.”

Smiley Continues
In her exploration of literature,
Jane Smiley picks up a curious read: Taras Bulba by Nikolai Gogal. She writes that on the back of the 1962 edition, translated by Bernard Farbar, Ernest Hemingway said: “One of the 10 greatest books of all time!” Smiley adds: “Well, maybe yes. If not one of the 10 greatest, certainly one of the greatest, if by great we mean that much of the time a reader is reading Taras Bulba, she experiences a conscious and pressing feeling of pleasure and admiration, or if by great we mean that some of the feelings one experiences are simultaneously strange and profound, as if the author's take on things is not merely original, but unprecedented.”

Why So Many Prizes?
“The prize [Orange Prize] is necessary because the most prestigious prize-giving culture in Britain still often shows itself weirdly unable to recognize and reward the greatest writing, and for some reason books by women are still often the ones that lose out,” writes
Natasha Walter in The Guardian.

Flogging Plagiarists
In his essay “Why Plagiarists Do It? Because They Can,” which appeared in Slate.com,
Jack Shafer takes plagiarists to task.

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