Online Essays

“Bothering the Sleeper” (1992), print by Estonian artist Reti Saks. Courtesy of Heili Einasto.

Here will appear PDF versions of old essays, a few of which did not find a home in the scholarly publications to which I once submitted them, for reasons that I describe briefly below. I post them here because they still seem to contain ideas and perceptions that are original and relevant to their themes and subjects.

Asta Nielsen in Den sorte Drøm (The Black Dream, 1911), directed by Urban Gad.

Words and Stardom: Modernist Poetic Responses to Asta Nielsen

I submitted this essay to Comparative Literature in 1992, but the journal decided not publish it because the editor believed the piece belonged in a film journal rather than a literary journal. But I felt that film journals would say the piece belonged in a literary journal rather than a film journal. Now, after all these years, maybe it just “belongs” on the web.

Words and Stardom (PDF)

“Violist and Timpanist” (2020), drawing by Karl Toepfer, from “Pandemic Sketchbook.”

Strategies of Temporal-Spatial Appropriation in Postmodern Aesthetic Performance, Parts I and II.

This long essay appeared in the Spring and Fall 1989 issues of Theater Three.

Strategies of Temporal-Spatial Appropriation (PDF)

A moment from from the dance Marche Fúnebre (Moscow, 1921), choreographed by Kasjan Goleizovsky, music by Nikolai Medtner, photograph by Daniil Demutsky. Depicted: K. Kuznetsova, Tat’iana Miroslavskaia, and L. Gai. From: Nicoletta Misler, The Russian Art of Movement 1920-1930, page 211.

Voice and Obsession: A Rhetoric of Anonymity in The Revenger’s Tragedy (1607)

This paper began as a paper for a wonderful 1982 graduate seminar at UCLA guest-conducted by the prominent Shakespeare scholar Gareth Lloyd Evans of the University of Birmingham in England. After much revision, I submitted the paper to PMLA in 1984, but the journal rejected it, apparently because I did not sufficiently discuss the work of other scholars of The Revenger’s Tragedy and instead relegated discussion of the previous scholarship to a lengthy endnote. Back in those days, the future of literary studies seemed to depend on emphasizing the role of scholars (and specialized readers) in shaping literary discourse. The primary text functioned to clarify dialogue between scholars and “theoretical” tensions within the discipline. I didn’t quite understand that at the time, and moved on to other projects. But I have always been fond of The Revenger’s Tragedy, so posting this essay is a way of honoring this very strange play.

Voice and Obsession (PDF)

Ingmar Bergman: Persona (1966), establishing shot for the confession scene. 
Cinematographer: Sven Nykvist. Criterion Collection. Liv Ullman (left) as the actress and 
Bibi Andersson as the nurse. 

Ecstasy, Confession, Image, and Silence in Buber, Bergman, and Godard

I began this complex essay back in 1990, but never got around to finishing it until now (January 2022).

Ecstasy, Confession, Image (PDF)