John Pistelli


Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus

Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe My rating: 4 of 5 stars I am neither a Marlovian scholar in particular nor an early modernist in general, but as far as I … Continue reading

15 October 2018 · 2 Comments

Eugene O’Neill, Long Day’s Journey into Night

Long Day’s Journey Into Night by Eugene O’Neill My rating: 4 of 5 stars Long Day’s Journey into Night, often considered one of the finest American dramas and as its … Continue reading

7 July 2018 · Leave a comment

William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Hamlet by William Shakespeare My rating: 5 of 5 stars Why is this bizarre, disorderly, long, and poorly transmitted tragedy from the turn of the seventeenth century the central work … Continue reading

23 February 2018 · 4 Comments

Herman Melville, Pierre; or, The Ambiguities

Pierre; or, The Ambiguities by Herman Melville My rating: 4 of 5 stars What was left of Melville’s early audience was killed off by the dreadful Pierre, a year after … Continue reading

18 June 2017 · 6 Comments

William Shakespeare, King Lear

King Lear by William Shakespeare My rating: 5 of 5 stars What is King Lear about? “[T]he fierce dispute, / Betwixt damnation and impassion’d clay,” wrote Keats, but both terms … Continue reading

18 February 2017 · 1 Comment

Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville My rating: 5 of 5 stars [Note: all quotations from essays, letters, and reviews below come from documents included in this Norton Critical Edition.] In his … Continue reading

11 December 2016 · 5 Comments

Muriel Spark, The Driver’s Seat

The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark My rating: 4 of 5 stars Murlel Spark’s 1970 short novel The Driver’s Seat, recommended to me by a friend and former student, reminds … Continue reading

17 June 2016 · 1 Comment

William Shakespeare, Timon of Athens

The Life of Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare My rating: 4 of 5 stars [For Shakespeare’s birth/death day. Also a good day to revisit my essay on Shakespeare’s detractors … Continue reading

23 April 2016 · 1 Comment

T. S. Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral

Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot My rating: 5 of 5 stars I should not like to close without attempting to set before you, though only in dim outline, … Continue reading

7 January 2016 · Leave a comment

Sophocles, The Complete Plays

The Complete Plays by Sophocles My rating: 5 of 5 stars It is never a bad time to get right with the classics. After having read Oedipus and Antigone several … Continue reading

27 October 2015 · 2 Comments