From Pnin: How much care, skill, inventiveness have gone to devise those marvelous techniques! What a shame that certain patients refuse to cooperate! There is, for instance, the Kent-Rosanoff Absolutely Free Association Test, in which little Joe or Jane is asked to respond to a Stimulus Word, such as table, duck, music, sickness, thickness, low, deep, long, happiness, fruit, mother, mushroom. There is the charming Bievre Interest-Attitude Game (a blessing on rainy afternoons), in which little Sam or Ruby is asked to put a little mark in front of the things about which he or she feels sort of fearful, such as dying, falling, dreaming, cyclones, funerals, father, night, operation, bedroom, bathroom, converge, and so forth; there is the Auguata Abstract test in which the little one (das kleine) is made to express a list of terms ("groaning," "pleasure," "darkness") by means of unlifted lines. And there is, of course, the Doll Play, in which Patrick or Patricia is given two identical rubber dolls and a cute little bit of clay which Pat must fix on one of them before he or she starts playing, and oh the lovely doll house, with so many rooms and lots of quaint miniature objects, including a chamber pot no bigger than a cupule, and a medicine chest, and a poker, and a double bed, and even a pair of teeny-weeny rubber gloves in the kitchen, and you may be as mean as you like and do anything you want to Papa doll if you think he is beating Mama doll when they put out the lights in the bedroom.
"Yet it is not the heady obscurity of literary theory that he blames for “killing off” the critic. The culprit, as he sees it, is Cultural Studies, which requires that any cultural artefact be evaluated politically rather than aesthetically (aesthetics being revealed to be covert politics). Cultural studies may have been anti-elitist, refusing distinctions between high and low, proper and popular, but it doomed the academic to irrelevance outside the academy." John Mullan reviews Ronan McDonald's new book on lit crit or the lack of it.
My friend and tennis partner Leonard Nash has won the Silver Medal for General Fiction in the 2007 Florida Book Awards. My friend Jim Hall got the Silver Medal for Popular Fiction. Other friends who won include David Kirby, Chrissa-Jean Chappell, Julianna Baggott (twice, once under her nom de plume, N. E. Bode), and Diana Abu-Jaber. Congratulations to all.