Blood Meridian: The Epilogue

  Blood Meridian (or the Evening Redness in the West) is widely regarded as Cormac McCarthy’s finest work.  Though he won the Pulitzer Prize for The Road, and The National Book Award for All the Pretty Horses, it is Blood Meridian that critic Harold Bloom boasts is “worthy of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick”.  The novel is a rich […]

Sophocles’s Electra: The First Anti-War ‘Movie’?

  Though close to 2500 years old, Sophocles’ Electra remains relevant and speaks to several important social issues.  It is surprising, for instance, how pertinent the story is to issues related to war. In the face of the recent controversy surrounding his film American Sniper, Clint Eastwood has come out to suggest that the film […]

The Flies, by Jean-Paul Sartre: Orestes And Christ As Existentialist Heroes

  Jean-Paul Sartre’s The Flies (or Les Mouches) adopts the classic Grecian narrative of Orestes and frames the famous matricidal hero as an existentialist incarnation of Christ, whereby he takes the sins of the people of Argos upon his shoulders to relieve them of the burden of their past.  Though the Christ analogy is problematic at […]

Tom Stoppard’s Undiscovered Country: An Existentialist Society Play

  Tom Stoppard’s Undiscovered Country (not to be confused with the Star Trek film of the same name), is a loose translation of the play Das Weite Land by Austrian playwright, and the Teutonic answer to Oscar Wilde, Arthur Schnitzler (not to be confused with Arthur Schnitzel, the celebrated Austrian butcher) and source of the […]

The Fire Raisers: Willful Blindness and the Banality of Evil

    Max Frisch’s The Fire Raisers (alternately known as The Fire Bugs and The Arsonists) is a surrealist drama that serves as a metaphor (or perhaps a pataphor) for the growth of the Nazi party and fascism.  The narrative takes place in the home Gottlieb Beidermann and tells the tale of two men, Eisenring […]

Muriel Spark’s The Driver’s Seat: It’s All About Context

    Muriel Spark’s The Driver’s Seat touts itself as a ‘metaphysical shocker’.  What it reads as, though, is a deterministic holiday romance, not so much A Room With A View, but more like Daisy Miller mixed with a splash of The Talented Mr. Ripley.  The story centers around a woman named Lise whose behaviour seems […]

Torture, Tort Law and the Harm Principle in Carter Brown’s Tomorrow Is Murder

  Tomorrow Is Murder is a Carter Brown novel featuring his female detective Mavis Seidlitz.  In 1960, when it was published, the concept of a female detective was still a relatively new one, though Agatha Christie had already introduced the very popular Miss Marple.  Mavis, unlike Christie’s famous heroine, is no spinster, but lacks the […]