Günter Grass’s The Flounder (1977)

Günter Grass’s The Flounder (1977)

Grass’ novel The Flounder is a picnic, a weird combination of friendship and betrayal, rage and murder, grilled meats and alcohol. The ingredients, according to Grass of the German psyche on the national celebration of “Father’s Day” and...
Émile Zola’s Madeleine Férat

Émile Zola’s Madeleine Férat

Zola’s Madeleine Férat is dedicated to Édouard Manet. Defying the critical mainstream, Zola accepted Manet’s visual realism and his frank sensualism of Le déjeuner sur l’herbe and Olympia, which Zola defended against negative criticism. Zola’s...
Thomas Hart Benton’s Persephone (1938)

Thomas Hart Benton’s Persephone (1938)

Persephone’s abduction by Hades, aka Pluto, is rife with sexual predation and seasonal change. In Theogony, Hesiod says that while gathering asphodels with the daughters of Oceanus, Persephone is abducted and taken to Hades, where she rules as the Iron Queen. After...
James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake (1939)

James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake (1939)

A hodge-podge of wordplay. Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake (1939), links picnics with lust. You won’t need be lonesome, Lizzy my love, when your beau gets his glut of cold meat and hot soldiering or wake in winter, window machree, but snore sung in my old Balbriggan surtout....