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Category Archive for 'Steven Millhauser'

This semester I’ve been learning not only how to write, but how to live. Sure, there have been a lot of great metaphors, similes, and stories that exemplify what I wish I could write. Millhauser has a way with endings, which are the most infuriating portion of any story I’ve ever attempted to write. Johnson […]

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The Wizard

Mimicry and invention. Splendor of the haptograph. Not just the replication of familiar tactile sensations, but capacity to explore new combinations–pressures, touches, never experienced before. Adventures of feeling. Who can say what new sensations will be awakened, what unknown desires? Unexplored realms of the tangible. The frontiers of touch (231).  Millhauser’s story “The Wizard of […]

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On the advice of a friend, Crane filed suit; the case was decided against him, but the product was withdrawn after the parents of children with Animate Paint sets discovered that a simple stroke of chrome-yellow or crimson lake suddenly took on a life of its own, streaking across the page and dripping brightly onto […]

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New Beginnings

First of all, authors of the fantastic have some sort of clinical aversion to exclamation points. The Millhauser stories, in particular, are fantastic in that they are told in a rather cut-and-dry way; the dresses covered everything, the tower touched heaven, the paintings were moving. An element of the fantastic is that it tries to […]

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Conceal or Not to Conceal

“Women, it was argued, were never more naked than when concealed from view (174).” When we consider the lengths in which a Muslim woman in Iraq, for example, might go to cover her body, this line is particularly intriguing. The implications of this line could be that a woman’s choice of dress speak to her […]

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It was as if, after half a century of reckless exposure, a weariness had overcome women, a yearning for withdrawal, a disenchantment with the obligation to invite a bold male gaze.  In every skirt fold and blouse button, one could sense the new longing for hiddenness.   I’ve found that Millhauser’s imagined histories have quickly […]

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The Tyranny of the Body

Fashion is an expression of boredom, of restlessness, the successful designer understands the ferocity of that boredom and provides it with new places in which to calm its rage for a while. Millhauser takes style obsession to the extreme in “A Change in Fashion” and comments on art in the process. Art, especially the fantastic, […]

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The fantastic element of this story seems to follow the pattern of much of Millhauser’s work in that it contains a plausible attempt to explain scientifically or logically something that doesn’t actually exist. Rather than introducing the fantastic without explanation but with enough surety to keep readers from questioning it, Millhauser spends a great deal of time examining how […]

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There is also a third way, which is the one I like best. That’s when you can stop for a moment, midway along the path, and turn your head in both directions: toward the other town, which shimmers through the thick branches of oak and pine, and toward our town, almost obscured by the woods […]

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Even among people who believed firmly that the Tower would one day reach heaven, the early expectation of a rapid and almost miraculous success had long been abandoned. It was therefore natural enough to feel that the rise toward heaven was, in a sense, part of the unchanging essence of the Tower, that the act […]

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The Hawthorne Effect

Millhauser’s “The Other Town” left me with a lot of feelings. The plot feels strangely familiar, like the The Other Town is a place that I’ve been a part of, though of course I haven’t. The entire story is one long, rambely blog post just waiting to happen, but I procrastinated so my focus will […]

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1. Small things and tedious attention to detail 2. Humans chewing off their arms 3. Many, many other things For whatever reason, ever since I was a child, extreme attention to detail has made me queasy. This means that while I was growing up I could never bead a bracelet, the mere act of trying […]

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Not only were the objects of his strenuous art pleasing to look at, but the pleasure and astonishment increased as the observer, bending closer, saw that a passionate care had been lavished on the smallest and least visible details. It was said that no matter how closely you examined one of the Master’s little pieces, […]

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In “In the Reign of Harad IV,” Millhauser told a story of a maker of miniatures. The master of miniatures had  a passion for making tiny things and was a perfectionist for every detail, even the details that people could barely see.  He created a miniature Royal castle for the King that was noted as […]

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Miniature

Besides, wasn’t it plain that the tiny palace, though but partially visible to the unaided eye, revealed itself too readily, without that resistance which was an essential part of aesthetic delight? And he proposed to himself a plunge beneath the surface of the visible, the creation of a detailed world wholly inaccessible to the naked […]

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Enclosed

The Dome, in a single stroke, has abolished Nature. The hills, the streams, the woods, the fields, all have become elements in a new decor, an artfully designed landscape–designed by the mere fact of existing under the Dome. While reading Millhauser’s “The Dome,” I couldn’t help but imagine putting a cup over a captured spider […]

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This is my favorite story. I remember articles I read how famous magicians such as Lance Burton would walk around day after day carrying coins and cards palmed in his hands just so he could have his hand look nature when he did a trick, and no one would be the wiser to the fact […]

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Pullulating

I did not find “History of a Disturbance” to be fantastic. It read more like the history of a mid-life crisis, perhaps more extreme than what usually comes to mind when we think of one, but not anything magical or weird. The way the narrator describes looking at his hand and watching it become an […]

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One evening I looked for a long time at my hand. Had I ever seen it before? This story made me think of the descent into madness. The character seems to be aware of two worlds at one time. One world is the normal world. The other world is a place where words no longer […]

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“Dangerous Laughter” was one of my favorite short stories that we have read this semester.  Millhauser took a common behavior, laughter, and turned it into something deviant and bizarre.  The teenagers from the story used laughter to subside their boredom, but it became an unsafe game that eventually became tiresome.  His language and descriptions throughout […]

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