Sat. 9-10:30 Cont.
characters/ politics/ mathematics/ sanity/ music/
style/ society; in Professional Foul, soccer/
politics/ philosophy/ academics/ characters.
DAVID NIXON, Palm Beach Junior College, "Dimensions
of Reflexiveness in Tom Stoppard's Travesties."
An interplay between fixed and open attitudes
toward meaning becomes the focus in Tom Stoppard's
Travesties. The problem of meaning in the play is
manifest in its many reflexive dimensions. Here
we find a metaphor for an issue larger than yet
not so far removed from the spotlights, the
greasepaint, and the well-worn boards.
LUCINA P. GABBARD, Eastern Illinois University, "Tom
Stoppard: Escape Artist."
Two principal functions of fantasy have been
recognized as to escape from the here and now and
to explore personal identity. Tom Stoppard's
imaginative works perform these functions on two
levels — fictional and personal. First, three of
his little-known plays — If You're Glad I'll Be
Frank, A Separate Peace, and Albert's Bridge —
demonstrate the fanciful escapes of his characters
and the lessons they learn about themselves and
their worlds. Second, parallels between these
plays and Stoppard's life mark them as personal
flights of fancy by which he escapes and explores
the perplexities of his private world.
GORDON E. SLETHAUG, University of Waterloo, "Mirrors
and Multiple Heroes: Lord Malquist and Mr. Moon."
As Mr. Moon of Tom Stoppard's novel, Lord Malquist
& Mr. Moon, brings some scotch whiskey to Lady
Laura Malquist, who is just about to disprove his
imagined impotency, he sees his reflection in the
mirror: "At the top of the first flight of stairs
was a pair of large, double doors painted cream
with gilt mouldings...He opened them to a narrow
gap and saw himself in a mirror opposite, looking
at himself through a gap in a large pair of double
doors painted lilac." This image, the doubling of
Moon in the mirror, presents in miniature both the
main idea and the fundamental structure of the
novel — the guest for heroism by six characters,
five of whom are in some ways the doubles of Moon.
SEXUALITY & FANTASY I:
DEATH & FEMINISM
CHAIR: Donald Palumbo, Northern Michigan University.
DAVID J. BOND, University of Saskatchewan, "The
Function of Eroticism and Fantasy in the Fiction
of Andre Pieyre de Mandiargues."
Two apparently different strands of Andre Pieyre
de Mandiargues' work, the fantastic and the
erotic, are interwoven in his fiction, and both
serve the same purpose: both are linked to an
attempt, on the part of Mandiargues' characters,
to escape the self, to loosen the bonds impressed
by life on the individual. One of the obvious
restraints on us is time, but Mandriargues
presents sexual activity as something that
suspends time. Also, he presents eroticism as a
means of escaping personal identity, not into
nothingness, but into the world of nature. The
final escape comes with death; while aware that
eroticism and death are inextricably bound
together in the human consciousness and have clear
similarities, Mandriargues depicts the erotic as
the antidote to death. For him eroticism is, like
the fantastic, a search for something beyond this
life, for a dimension where we are liberated from
the constraints of society, official doctrines,
ideologies, and life itself.
ANN R. MORRIS, Stetson University, "Death-Cunt-Prick
Songs, Robert Coover, Prop."
To judge by Robert Coover's two best books, it is
not baseball but sexual fantasy that is the great
American game. In The Universal Baseball
Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. ana
Pricksongs and Descants, Coover shows the sexual
fantasizing of his characters, young and old, rich
and poor, male and female. The Universal Baseball
Association implies that baseball can be traced
back to ancient religious and fertility rites.
Thus sex, linked through baseball with religion,
becomes part of existential man's answer to
meaninglessness and death. Pricksongs and Descants
explores further this possibility of using sexual
fantasy to impose order on chaos and emptiness.
In both books Coover is reaching through sexual
fantasy to ultimate values.
PATRICIA FRAZER LAMB, Westminster College, "The
Romantic Myth and Transcendence: A Feminist
Interpretation of the Kirk/Spock Bond."
The Star Trek phenomenon has given rise to a genre
of fan magazine that examines the relationship
between Kirk and Spock through a psychic and sexual
bonding that "mates" them. These "zines"
constitute a modern form of the romantic novel,
despite the fact that the psychic bond and
homosexual relationship exists between two
apparently ultra-masculine figures. Yet Spock
plays the female role in two important respects:
his is the object of discrimination as an alien,
and he must suppress his protectiveness. And any
traditional elements of a romantic story are
intensified by an admixture of mysticism and
The Kirk and Spock of these zines
androgynous. Each is allowed to
masculine and feminine
each is a whole human being. And
sacrifice their unique
loved nor to sacrifice
are, in fact,
neither is required to
identities in order to be
the work that brings them together. Thus their
relationship is romantically appealing but
non-threatening to the professional woman.
MARLEEN BARR, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and
State University, "Suzy McKee Charnas' Motherlines
Exemplifies and Justifies the Permissive Portrayal
of Sexuality in Feminist Science Fiction: Or,
What's a Nice Character Like You Doing in a Plot
Not everyone will welcome a novel that depicts
interracial lesbianism among women who mate with
horses. Thus, it is useful to understand why these
potentially disturbing plot elements are present
in Charnas' Motherlines. The novel portrays an