R A L P H
The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy and the Humanities
Volume XXIX, Number 1
Early Spring 2002
Being a selection of
the most interesting, beguiling,
beautiful, or original books
that have come to us over the last
half-year or so.
Luisa and the Silence, and
Buddhism: The Illustrated Guide
Jigsaw: An Unsentimental Education
"Sybille Bedford had the growing up
that you and I would die for.
Winters in the south of France.
Summers in England.
A charmed golden cultured easy life among those
who had enough money to not be worried about money."
The Museum of Unconditional Surrender
"With the ten or so million characters available
on your standard computer, there are still no
carats around to stick above an 's', no accents for a 'c'.
So I did what --- I am sure --- the author
would want me to do. I took a picture
of her name, reversed it, gave it a tiny frame
--- and I present it to you forthwith:"
Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me
"Marías is not only doing a Henry James,
he's also spinning a traditional Shaggy Dog story,
one that goes on and on, much to the irritation
of not a few of the literary low-lifes
who go about calling themselves critics."
Great Reviews of the Past
In Sam We Trust
"The great American dream.
Destroy your competition, and you become
super-rich. Keep your employees underpaid.
Get your merchandise made overseas,
in places like Bangladesh, where boys
and girls, some as young as nine years old,
become your workforce."
The Wildlife of Madagascar,
Healing Your Past to Free Your Soul, and
The Decorative Arts of the Prairie School
Terrorist Hits Mexicana Airlines
"Her eyes were bugging out;
she yelled, for all to hear:
I'm an old lady. I've lost my ticket.
Why don't you let me on the plane.
Why must you do this to me?"
The $12,000 Baby
"When you get to the point
where you can't or don't want to work anymore,
with eight or ten kids there will be at least
a couple around to care for you, feed you,
clean you up --- as you once did for them.
Social Security with a heart."
My First Sexual Experience --- 1920
"In a few minutes I would be
sitting down to lunch with my mother and Alessandro.
What if they suspected, what if they guessed?
How would I be able not to give something away?
Now I felt fear as well as guilt."
My First Driving Lesson --- 1920
"The three of them were
standing about laughing to split their sides.
She's a clown, they cried, un cloon.
That's how the French pronounce it."
A Purchase of Porcelain
"Because the king
decrees that every Jew
must buy his wedding-right
in unsold porcelain
from the royal china works.
he stands, an amorous Jew,
gazing at luminous
suns and moons arrayed
on cloths of velvet blue..."
Great Poems of the Past
The Chocolate Soldier
"Lymphoma in the afternoon,
Salmonella at night.
And for our last winter together:
Candidiadis, Kaposi's, and...ah...
My brainless love...progressive dementia.
The uniform vocabulary of our dying
Was quite lovely, wasn't it love?"
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