Bloom's Literary Themes: The Trickster

Overview

The great literary themes reappear continually throughout the world's literature. Bloom's Literary Themes is a new series that examines these themes as they function in classic literary works, from the Bible to the novels of Toni Morrison and Philip Roth.

The trickster, whether in the form of a benign practical joker or a malevolent charlatan, has been a popular character in literature for centuries. This volume contains 19 essays that explore the role of the trickster in such ...

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Overview

The great literary themes reappear continually throughout the world's literature. Bloom's Literary Themes is a new series that examines these themes as they function in classic literary works, from the Bible to the novels of Toni Morrison and Philip Roth.

The trickster, whether in the form of a benign practical joker or a malevolent charlatan, has been a popular character in literature for centuries. This volume contains 19 essays that explore the role of the trickster in such works as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Midsummer Night's Dream; On the Road, "The Wile of Bath's Tale," and many others. Some essays have been written specifically for the series; others are excerpts of important critical analyses from selected books and journals.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Following a brief introduction, each book presents 18 essays, all critical analyses on specific authors and their works. Half of the essays are reprints from journals or books and date as far back as 1675, and as recently as 2007; the other articles were written for the series. The theme of dark, or black, humor is discussed in the plays of Aristophanes, Joseph Heller's Catch-22, Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, T. S. Elliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," Sherman Alexie's Reservation Blues, and a number of other works. Each essay is directed to an academic audience, and, at times, the ideas are expressed in literary jargon. For example, "Metahumour teases disorder into parodic order in its own borderland, in the play of re-creative fictivity" (Patrick O'Neill, in Canadian Review of Comparative Literature). Likewise, in The Trickster, the motives of this ubiquitous character are sometimes difficult to understand. The essays on this topic suggest that some authors such as William Shakespeare and Mark Twain are themselves tricksters. The choice of works discussed includes Homer's "Odyssey," Jack Kerouac's On the Road, William Golding's Lord of the Flies, Toni Morrison's Tar Baby, and Joel Chandler Harris's "Uncle Remus" stories. The essays presume some background knowledge and an interest in serious literary criticism. These fascinating themes offer material for research papers, but due to the scholarly nature of the writing, they would best serve honors and AP students.—Peggy Fleming, Churchville-Chili High School, Churchville, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781604134452
  • Publisher: Chelsea House Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/1/2010
  • Series: Bloom's Literary Themes Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 270
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Series Introduction Harold Bloom: Themes and Metaphors xi

Volume Introduction Harold Bloom xv

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain: "The Trickster Tricked: Huck Comes Out of the Fog in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" Robert C. Evans 1

The Works of Sherman Alexie: "Futuristic Hip Indian: Alexie" Kenneth Lincoln, in Sing With the Heart of a Bear: Fusions of Native and American Poetry, 1890-1999 (2000) 9

The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade (Herman Melville): "The Confidence-Man: The Con-Man as Hero" Paul Brodtkorb in Studies in the Novel (1969) 19

Decameron (Giovanni Boccaccio): "Games of Laughter" Giuseppe Mazzotta in The World at Play in Boccaccio's Decameron.(1986) 37

The Novels of William Golding: "The Prometheus Myth in the Novels of William Golding" Sohana Manzoor in BRAC University Journal (2007) 63

Hamlet (William Shakespeare): "The Grave Diggers in 'Hamlet'" Frederick Warde in The Fools of Shakespeare: An Interpretation of their Wit and Wisdom (1915) 77

House Made of Dawn (N. Scott Momaday): "The Trickster Discourse of House Made of Dawn" Susan R. Bowers 89

"A Hunger Artist" (Franz Kafka): "Making the Incomprehensible Incomprehensible: The Trickery of Kafka's 'A Hunger Artist'" John Becker 101

A Midsummer Night's Dream (William Shakespeare): "'This Sport Well Carried Shall Be Chronicled': Puck as Trickster in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream" Robert C. Evans 109

Odyssey (Homer): "A General View of the Epic Poem, and of the Iliad and Odyssey" Ren? Le Bossu in The Odyssey of Homer, A New Edition (1675) 121

On the Road (Jack Kerouac): "Faith on the Run" Gary Lindberg in The Confidence Man in American Literature (1982) 137

Orlando (Virginia Woolf): "With Orlando in Wonderland" Rossitsa Artemis 151

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Tom Stoppard): "Tom Stoppard as Trickster in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" Daniel K. Jernigan 159

Tar Baby (Toni Morrison) and Praisesong for the Widow (Paule Marshall): "The Journey as Crossing" Alma Jean Billingslea-Brown in Crossing Borders through Folklore: African American Women's Fiction and Art (1999) 169

The Tempest (William Shakespeare): "The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream" Hermann Ulrici in Shakspeare's Dramatic Art: History and Character of Shakspeare's Plays, Vol. II(1839) 187

A Thousand and One Nights: "Seven Times a Trickster: The Tale of Sindbad" Inciarte Monique Dascha Inciarte 209

Uncle Remus (Joel Chandler Harris): "Tricksters in Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings" Robert C. Evans 219

"The Wife of Bath's Tale" (Geoffrey Chaucer): "Transforming the Trickster in Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Tale" Dean Swinford 229

Acknowledgments 241

Index 243

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