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By Amos Oz

An unnamed writer waits in a bar in Tel Aviv on a stifling sizzling evening. he's there to offer a analyzing of his paintings yet as he sits, bored, he starts off to conjure up the lifestyles tales of the folk he meets. Later, while the studying is finished he asks a lady for a drink. She declines and the writer walks away, simply to climb the stairs to her flat, later that evening. Or does he?

In Amos Oz's beguiling, exciting tale the reader by no means particularly is aware the place truth ends and invention begins...

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Sample text

However, movies were always being mentioned, especially the ‘old’ movies of Frank’s youth, in regard to which he often demonstrated his now legendary enthusiasm and expertise. (52–53) To some extent, O’Hara’s insistence on breaking down spatial and social hierarchies between student and teacher and his expansion of the sites of pedagogy from the classroom to the apartment, poetry reading, and bar anticipate some of the demands of the nascent student movement of the 1960s. Obviously O’Hara’s power and authority did not simply evaporate in these newly configured relationships and sites.

The names are recalcitrant matter — designating identities from which we (and here this “we” includes O’Hara) are held at a careful distance. To universalize them is therefore not adequate; instead, they are strategic remainders that block our easy identification. The effect of these names depends upon a version of the contextual loss — at the double levels of speaker and reader — that Marotti and most readers of coteries seek earnestly to overcome. Though O’Hara is continually supplying context, he seems to be interested in what happens when it breaks down, when we encounter markers of identity that we cannot recuperate.

Though such an “enactment” (or a kind of living out of intertextuality) is latent in O’Hara, it perhaps takes Berrigan to draw it out into something like a lifestyle. That Berrigan is “more obviously ‘genial’” in this context may be one way of understanding how he attempts to transform the more defined edges of O’Hara’s model of coterie — with its reliance on effects of distanciation and alienation — into a more explicit figure of community, one that relies on a rhetoric of accessibility. The two positions on the spectrum are, however, far from opposites.

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