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In this elegant collection of essays mostly from the New York Review of Books, NBCC award-winning author Mendelsohn reveals intellectual breadth in his ability to draw on his training as a classicist to look at contemporary culture, from movies like Kill Bill to Broadway musicals like The Producers, and the novels Middlesex and Everyman. They are springboards for Mendelsohn's agile mind to examine subjects like gender, homosexuality, war and peace. In "Victims on Broadway I" he eloquently peels back layer after layer of Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie and criticizes not only the 2005 Broadway production as "stripped of the nuances of character and sensibility" but also the audience for what he sees as their inability to perceive pathos. In a magisterial essay, Mendelsohn finds the same flaw in the blockbuster movie Troy that he believes marred the ancient, lost Greek epics the Cypria and the Little Iliad: unlike Homer's Iliad, they have not "a single unifying action, but a single unifying notion" lacking in epic grandeur. These essays richly repay the time readers spend in their company. (Aug. 12)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.