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In 1977, Bennington College alumna Edith Barbour Andrews established the Ben Belitt Lectureships in gratitude to her teacher Ben Belitt and dedicated the publication of the lectures (in the form of chapbooks) to the memory of William Troy, another of her beloved teachers. The collection, published here in one volume, comprises lectures by some of the most inspiring writers and keenest critics of our time. In his introduciton to The Ordering Mirror, Phillip Lopate contrasts the anticipations and the audience/lecturer dynamic inherent in attending yearly lecture, with the experience of reading them, and the opportunity for reflection and comparison. Lopate summarizes that, "It is enough to appreciate that we are watching masters of the game of essay-writing, who, even as they comment on the masterpieces of other writers, practice their own wizardry." The volume includes: George Steiner, "The Uncommon Reader" (1978) Frank Kermode, "Divination" (1979) Harold Bloom, "To the Tally of My Soul: Whitman's Image of Voice" (1980) Denis Donoghue, "The Politics of Modern Criticism" (1981) Irving Howe, "The Making of a Critic" (1982) Richard Ellman, "The Uses of Decadence: Wilde, Yeats, Joyce" (1983) Bernard Malamud, "Long Work, Short Life" (1984) Ben Belitt, "Literature and Belief: Three 'Spiritual Exercises'" (1985) Saul Bellow, "Summations" (1987) Hugh Kenner, "Magics and Spells (about curses, charms, and riddles)" (1987) Richard Rorty, "The Barber of Kasbeam: Nabokov on Cruelty" (1988) Rene Girard, "Collective Violence and Sacrifice in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar" (1989) Nadine Gordimer, "Three in a Bed: Fiction, Morals and Politics" (1990) Seamus Heaney, "Dylan the Durable?: On Dylan Thomas" (1992) Cynthia Ozick, "What Henry James Knew" (1992)
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