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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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    Juliet's Nurse

    Lois Leveen 9781476757445

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Revolutionary Road (Movie Tie-In Edition) (Random House Movie Tie-In Books)

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Revolutionary Road (Movie Tie-In Edition) (Random House Movie Tie-In Books) Cover

ISBN13: 9780307454621
ISBN10: 0307454622
Condition: Standard
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Publisher Comments:

In the hopeful 1950s, Frank and April Wheeler appear to be a model couple: bright, beautiful, talented, with two young children and a starter home in the suburbs. Perhaps they married too young and started a family too early. Maybe Frank's job is dull. And April never saw herself as a housewife. Yet they have always lived on the assumption that greatness is only just around the corner. But now that certainty is about to crumble.With heartbreaking compassion and remorseless clarity, Richard Yates shows how Frank and April mortgage their spiritual birthright, betraying not only each other, but their best selves.

About the Author

Richard Yates was born in 1926. The author of several acclaimed works of fiction, including Revolutionary Road, Eleven Kinds of Loneliness, Disturbing the Peace, and The Easter Parade, he was lauded during his lifetime as the foremost novelist of the post-war "age of anxiety". He died in 1992.

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OneMansView, December 12, 2008 (view all comments by OneMansView)
Pseudo sophistication unravels

This book is concerned with the blandness, conformity, and pleasantness of the suburban landscape of the 1950s, as well as the bureaucratic stultification of corporations of that era where most men of suburbia worked, but is far more interested in how individuals, and more so couples, perceive themselves in terms of those environments and their ability to adapt to or to transcend them. Frank and April Wheeler, two thirty-year olds, live on Revolutionary Road next to a manicured suburb of pastels in Conn in a nice little house with two children. It was just two years ago that the smarmy real estate agent had judged them to be a charming couple, but of late their underlying psychological inadequacies, played out against their cultural backdrop, has created more and more discord in their lives.

Both April and Frank were mediocre college students, she in dramatic studies, he in a nondescript academic program at Columbia. Both April, an elegant beauty, and Frank, a gifted conversationalist about most any trendy subject, saw themselves as rising above the commonplace world and people. Any ambition they had was to be pursued in a distant, nebulous future; she settled for being first Frank’s live-in lover and then his wife, and Frank purposely pursued a job shuffling paper in a sales promotion department where he wouldn’t have to give up his “identity” and could “turn off [his] mind every morning at nine and leave it off all day.”

Eventually ending up in the suburbs they, along with their best friends, the Campbell’s, could scarcely contain their disdain for the predictability and mundane nature of their neighbors. Their reluctant participation in an amateur theater group, the Laurel Players, was intended to “teach” these culturally illiterate suburbanites. But a disastrous performance by the Players, with April in the leading role, proved to be unsettling to the Wheelers. Subtle doubts begin to creep into their inflated self-perceptions and their smugness towards their neighbors. Their lives fairly quickly begin to unravel. Even their unsophisticated neighbors sense that the wheels are coming off when the Wheelers reveal a spur-of-the-moment plan to move to Paris in a few months so that Frank can find himself without any prospects for a job. But that plan only masks their deeply rooted problems with the unraveling continuing from that point.

The author leaves it to the supposedly insane son of the real estate woman, on Sunday visits to the Wheeler’s that she regrettably arranged, to point out with withering questions and observations the Wheeler’s personal illusions and the overall absurdity of modern culture. Some have compared the book to Updike’s Couples, but this book is a more troubling critique of suburban culture and of psychological distress. It is concerned with more than suburban boredom. It is far more an examination of the devastating consequences of the combination of vacuous culture and deadening institutions and inadequate, if not culturally determined, personalities.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307454621
Author:
Yates, Richard
Publisher:
Vintage Books USA
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage Contemporaries
Publication Date:
20081131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
8.07x5.29x.78 in. .58 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Family Life
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Featured Titles
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

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