Drawing on personal interviews, manuscript collections, and the author's unpublished writings, Judie Newman offers a comprehensive study of the work of Alison Lurie from her early involvement in the Poets' Theatre to the AIDS comedy of her most recent novel, The Last Resort (1988).
In her profound social and intellectual engagement with American Utopianism, from its historical origins through such contemporary manifestations as Walter Benjamin's Hollywood, the American University, feminist theorisations, the religious cult and the gay heterotopia, and in her intertextual reworkings of folk and fairy tale, biography, diary novel, the ‘International Theme’ and the classic ghost story, Lurie maintains an uncanny ability to serve critical aesthetic purposes within a popular fictional form.
Semiotic comedies - comedies of the sign - rather than novels of manners, Lurie's fictions place her squarely within a radical American tradition.
Preface. Acknowledgements. Chapter One. Biographical Introduction. Chapter Two. Hell Week with Emerson and Thoreau: Love and Friendship. Chapter Three. Walter Benjamin Goes to Hollywood: The Nowhere City. Chapter Four. The Revenge of the Trance Maiden: Imaginary Friends. Chapter Five. The Ghost-Writer: Real People and Women and Ghosts. Chapter Six. Vietnam Domestic: The War Between The Tates. Chapter Seven. The Uses of Enchantment: Only Children. Chapter Eight. Paleface into Redskin: Foreign Affairs. Chapter Nine. Truth, Secrets and Lies: The Truth About Lorin Jones. Chapter Ten. The Gay Imaginary: The Last Resort. Bibliography. Index.