Geoffrey O'Brien's new book charts the terrain for "Castaways of the Image Planet."
By Tim Riley
Boston, MA –
Twenty years ago, the stately "New York Review of Books" didn't deign to cover much pop culture, aside from analytic examinations of boxing (via Joyce Carol Oates) or the peculiar ruminations of John Updike on his crushes for such movie stars as Doris Day. The exceptions prove the rule: Joan Didion got a free pass on pop subjects, but that was because she turned in rigorous pieces on cultural politics.
A Broadway hit, "Wit" revolves around a female professor's tragicomic battle with cancer.
By Bill Marx
Providence, RI –
Samuel Johnson said that death concentrates the mind. In our touchy-feely age, mortality is also expected to do wonders for the heart. In our movies and plays, death provides more of a lesson in humility than a tussle with the spiritual.