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The Hollins Critic - December 2005

  • Issue Number: Volume 42 Number 5
  • Published Date: December 2005
  • Publication Cycle: Five issues per year
The Hollins Critic publishes a single, digestible piece of criticism in each of its five issues per year. This issue George Garrett examines the genre of the Hollywood novel with special attention paid to the work of Bruce Wagner. The journal’s economy and presentation, rather like a chapbook, makes the sometimes unenviable task of reading criticism more palatable. This is only aided by Garrett’s easy-going prose and obvious love of Wagner’s work. Garrett argues that the Hollywood novel, defined as “stories about movies and movie people,” is a “conventional, self-reflexive, allusive arrangement and rearrangement of various versions of itself.” However, amid all this re-shuffling of the deck, Wagner “has managed to go his own way, working variations on the classic Hollywood novel, while transcending the parameters of the genre he has so adroitly exploited.” Like John Updike, Garrett is a true fan of Wagner and his compelling argument is sure to win over a few nay-sayers or at the very least bring a few new readers to Wagner’s Hollywood. Also included in this brief volume of 25 pages are books reviews and poetry. The insightful reviews, written mostly by the editorial staff, are a little less than a page in length but, like the magazine, are not to be judged by their size. The journal concludes with five poems by Russell Edson and one poem by James Tate. In Tate’s poem the speaker is solicited to speak at a nursing home. The nurse in charge of booking him tells him “It just gives them something to look forward to, and then they can argue about it later.” While the speaker in Tate’s poem ends up as an absurd account of a made-up trip to Newfoundland, the words of the nurse are true to The Hollins Critic, as each issue is something to anticipate and always leaves room for discussion.
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Review Posted on June 07, 2016

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