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The Accursed de Joyce Carol Oates
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The Accursed (edição: 2013)

de Joyce Carol Oates (Autor)

Séries: Gothic Saga (5)

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
8293220,397 (3.25)56
In 20th century Princeton, New Jersey, a powerful curse, which besets the wealthiest of families, causes the disappearance of a young bride, and when her brother sets out to find her, he crosses paths with the town's most formidable people, including Grover Cleveland and Upton Sinclair.
Membro:emwilliams
Título:The Accursed
Autores:Joyce Carol Oates (Autor)
Informação:HarperAudio (2013)
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

Work Information

The Accursed de Joyce Carol Oates

  1. 00
    Goethe's Faust: Part One and Sections from Part Two de Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (WSB7)
    WSB7: The protagonist of The Accursed makes a deal with God. How does this compare with Faust's deal with the devil?
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Mostrando 1-5 de 32 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
J-Co's done it again.
She has created a world so complete, that even the supernatural seems plausible -- and she's given the reader an extraordinary amount of information about turn-of-the-last-century Princeton, NJ, without any infodumps.

Her cast of characters includes the sickly neurotic, Woodrow Wilson, an ascetic and idealistic Upton Sinclair, and unflattering cameos of Mark Twain and Jack London, all centered around the story of how the Devil came to Princeton and did some nasty work. The Devil, who took human form, but who manifested himself in racial, class, and sexual violence among the Princeton Brahmins -- beginning with the rape and murder of a young black girl fifty years previously by a pious, upstanding, and frightened young man, called Winslow Slade.

J-Co's role of "historian," as she casts herself, is never, ever compromised. Even her footnotes are done in the impeccable (though wordy) style of an aged (and antisemitic) historian writing in 1984 (who may...but I won't spoil it here.)

Enjoyable, first-class writing. ( )
  FinallyJones | Nov 17, 2021 |
The Indescribable

What a wonderment Joyce Carol Oates has wrought: an enigmatic gothic wrapped in a historical period piece plopped down in the middle of a quintessential university town populated by elitists, and her home for the past 35 years, Princeton, NJ. Her imagination has never been darker, her prose has never been more tuned to a period and purpose of a novel, her characterizations have never been more engaging or more satirically biting, and her observations on perennial issues — classism, racism, feminism, corporatism, and spiritualism — has never been more provocative. In particular, her recasting of the accepted belief system in the final chapter, "The Covenant," rendering fire and brimstone mere warm ash by comparison, will surely set some readers spinning and gyrating as if stuck with St. Vitus Dance.

Mr. M. W. von Dyck II, lifelong of Princeton, of the town's old families, introduces us to his new history of the disturbing and startling events overtaking the town in the first decade of the 20th century, variously known as the Crosswicks Curse and the Vampire Murders, criticizing the extant histories, putting forth his credentials, and inadvertently revealing his prejudices and his imperial tone. Then he launches into his recounting based on primary source documents available to or understood only by him.

Many things happen, puzzling things, not just by their nature but also in how we readers are to assemble them into a tale with meaning. Outlined, so as not to spoil your own discovery, a mysterious stranger appears, Axson Mayte (also Count English von Gneist and François D'Apthorp, maybe), who abducts Annabel Slade from the altar as she is about to marry Dabney Bayard, transporting her to the horrifying Bog Kingdom, a gray hell of decay and abuse. The abduction sets in motion terrifying consequences for the Slade family, among them deaths and startling revelations that evolve into something of a unified theory of everything bizarre transpiring in Princeton between 1905 and 1906.

As the Slades contend with their hardships, Woodrow Wilson does battle with Professor Andrew West, a demonic foe in Wilson's view, over the separation or integration of the graduate school onto the main campus, in addition to warring to end the university's dining clubs tradition, while contending with his multitude of aliments, his distaste of many people, among them Samuel Clemens, fretting over mixed race relations in his family's history, and resisting the seduction of Cybella Peck, presenting herself first as temptress and finally as his devi (or an ally of the Count?).

Living on the outskirts of town, Upton Sinclair extols the socialist principles he knows will transform the world into something like heaven, only to suffer terribly at the hands of the great god of socialism who proves himself a drunken and pugnacious buffoon, Jack London, and his "pug face" bride, Charmian.

Then there's among the oddest person of the bunch, though not in the least peculiar to us 21st century denizens, but an anomaly among her set. That is Wilhelmina Burr, "Yearning, yet headstrong Miss Wilhelmina Burr!" A handsome young woman, but not a flower like Annabel, she lacks suitors. Untroubled, for the most part, since her affection lies with a seemingly unattainable Slade, the rampaging, peripatetic, and ultimately traitor to his class, Josiah. Truly, though, she wishes more than marriage; she wishes a career; she wishes to be fulfilled by social usefulness.

Looming over everything, visited upon different folks, but in particular Annabel, the model of young womanhood, is what our historical shaman calls The Unspeakable. There are several unspeakable acts committed throughout the telling, among them how the proper citizens ignore a downstate lynching, how some addled men delude themselves with suspicions about their wives, a concealed sin of a principal character, and other unsavory incidents.

Unspeakable acts can lead to absurdity in straight-laced upper crust Princeton society, as the chapter "The Unspeakable II" illustrates, absurdity and humor. As in calling a meeting that cannot be recorded or spoken of, at which Woodrow Wilson concludes, "We are agreed, what is unspeakable cannot be articulated, yet, it must be acted upon — swiftly. 'Justice delayed is justice denied.'" Wilson reveals his expulsion of the miscreant students, fiat. A professor asks about defense. Wilson replies, "What is unspeakable is also indefensible. I think we are in agreement?"

If it sounds as if Oates has jammed the novel with a confusion of events and large cast of characters, your ears deceive you not. You may have to reference back to earlier characters to renew your knowledge of who is who. You'll find the effort worth it. And never fear. While Oates excels at mayhem, she's not adverse to Hollywood happiness.

In addition to many fictional characters, she has embellished the novel to great effect with a cast of contemporaneous luminaries. None come off very well, though often drip with sardonic humor: Woodrow Wilson: hidebound and a hypochondriac. Upton Sinclair: whiney and tone death. Jack London: an alcoholic, self-absorbed bully. Grover Cleveland: an obese glutton. Teddy Roosevelt: blustery and crude. Samuel Clemens: a mischievous demon.

Highly recommended for ranking among Oates best outings, featuring some of her best prose, and as a terrific tale of either the supernatural or the delusions of society or both, and especially for the "The Covenant," a head-spinning take on a wrathful god.

As a final note, Oates references Wieland (1798) by Charles Brockden Brown. His first novel and purported to be the first American gothic, Brown offers up a cautionary on religious zealotry, interesting in light of the religious aspects of Oates's novel. More to the point of her book, however, might be The Private Memoirs (1824) by Scottish author James Hogg. It is a psychological mystery of a sort that focuses on a troubled young man who either hears and acts on the suggestions of his alter ego or the devil. What makes it most compelling is how Hogg attacks the Calvinist doctrine of predestination. Though more nuanced a doctrine than simply they who are saved cannot undo their salvation with evil deeds, it is this popularized feature of Calvinism Hogg assails. Oates certainly fills her novel with the Presbyterian righteous acting without righteousness. And Presbyterianism derives from Calvinism and also originated in Scotland.

Well, that's the kind of novel The Accursed is: one that sets you musing in all sorts of ways. ( )
  write-review | Nov 4, 2021 |
The Indescribable

What a wonderment Joyce Carol Oates has wrought: an enigmatic gothic wrapped in a historical period piece plopped down in the middle of a quintessential university town populated by elitists, and her home for the past 35 years, Princeton, NJ. Her imagination has never been darker, her prose has never been more tuned to a period and purpose of a novel, her characterizations have never been more engaging or more satirically biting, and her observations on perennial issues — classism, racism, feminism, corporatism, and spiritualism — has never been more provocative. In particular, her recasting of the accepted belief system in the final chapter, "The Covenant," rendering fire and brimstone mere warm ash by comparison, will surely set some readers spinning and gyrating as if stuck with St. Vitus Dance.

Mr. M. W. von Dyck II, lifelong of Princeton, of the town's old families, introduces us to his new history of the disturbing and startling events overtaking the town in the first decade of the 20th century, variously known as the Crosswicks Curse and the Vampire Murders, criticizing the extant histories, putting forth his credentials, and inadvertently revealing his prejudices and his imperial tone. Then he launches into his recounting based on primary source documents available to or understood only by him.

Many things happen, puzzling things, not just by their nature but also in how we readers are to assemble them into a tale with meaning. Outlined, so as not to spoil your own discovery, a mysterious stranger appears, Axson Mayte (also Count English von Gneist and François D'Apthorp, maybe), who abducts Annabel Slade from the altar as she is about to marry Dabney Bayard, transporting her to the horrifying Bog Kingdom, a gray hell of decay and abuse. The abduction sets in motion terrifying consequences for the Slade family, among them deaths and startling revelations that evolve into something of a unified theory of everything bizarre transpiring in Princeton between 1905 and 1906.

As the Slades contend with their hardships, Woodrow Wilson does battle with Professor Andrew West, a demonic foe in Wilson's view, over the separation or integration of the graduate school onto the main campus, in addition to warring to end the university's dining clubs tradition, while contending with his multitude of aliments, his distaste of many people, among them Samuel Clemens, fretting over mixed race relations in his family's history, and resisting the seduction of Cybella Peck, presenting herself first as temptress and finally as his devi (or an ally of the Count?).

Living on the outskirts of town, Upton Sinclair extols the socialist principles he knows will transform the world into something like heaven, only to suffer terribly at the hands of the great god of socialism who proves himself a drunken and pugnacious buffoon, Jack London, and his "pug face" bride, Charmian.

Then there's among the oddest person of the bunch, though not in the least peculiar to us 21st century denizens, but an anomaly among her set. That is Wilhelmina Burr, "Yearning, yet headstrong Miss Wilhelmina Burr!" A handsome young woman, but not a flower like Annabel, she lacks suitors. Untroubled, for the most part, since her affection lies with a seemingly unattainable Slade, the rampaging, peripatetic, and ultimately traitor to his class, Josiah. Truly, though, she wishes more than marriage; she wishes a career; she wishes to be fulfilled by social usefulness.

Looming over everything, visited upon different folks, but in particular Annabel, the model of young womanhood, is what our historical shaman calls The Unspeakable. There are several unspeakable acts committed throughout the telling, among them how the proper citizens ignore a downstate lynching, how some addled men delude themselves with suspicions about their wives, a concealed sin of a principal character, and other unsavory incidents.

Unspeakable acts can lead to absurdity in straight-laced upper crust Princeton society, as the chapter "The Unspeakable II" illustrates, absurdity and humor. As in calling a meeting that cannot be recorded or spoken of, at which Woodrow Wilson concludes, "We are agreed, what is unspeakable cannot be articulated, yet, it must be acted upon — swiftly. 'Justice delayed is justice denied.'" Wilson reveals his expulsion of the miscreant students, fiat. A professor asks about defense. Wilson replies, "What is unspeakable is also indefensible. I think we are in agreement?"

If it sounds as if Oates has jammed the novel with a confusion of events and large cast of characters, your ears deceive you not. You may have to reference back to earlier characters to renew your knowledge of who is who. You'll find the effort worth it. And never fear. While Oates excels at mayhem, she's not adverse to Hollywood happiness.

In addition to many fictional characters, she has embellished the novel to great effect with a cast of contemporaneous luminaries. None come off very well, though often drip with sardonic humor: Woodrow Wilson: hidebound and a hypochondriac. Upton Sinclair: whiney and tone death. Jack London: an alcoholic, self-absorbed bully. Grover Cleveland: an obese glutton. Teddy Roosevelt: blustery and crude. Samuel Clemens: a mischievous demon.

Highly recommended for ranking among Oates best outings, featuring some of her best prose, and as a terrific tale of either the supernatural or the delusions of society or both, and especially for the "The Covenant," a head-spinning take on a wrathful god.

As a final note, Oates references Wieland (1798) by Charles Brockden Brown. His first novel and purported to be the first American gothic, Brown offers up a cautionary on religious zealotry, interesting in light of the religious aspects of Oates's novel. More to the point of her book, however, might be The Private Memoirs (1824) by Scottish author James Hogg. It is a psychological mystery of a sort that focuses on a troubled young man who either hears and acts on the suggestions of his alter ego or the devil. What makes it most compelling is how Hogg attacks the Calvinist doctrine of predestination. Though more nuanced a doctrine than simply they who are saved cannot undo their salvation with evil deeds, it is this popularized feature of Calvinism Hogg assails. Oates certainly fills her novel with the Presbyterian righteous acting without righteousness. And Presbyterianism derives from Calvinism and also originated in Scotland.

Well, that's the kind of novel The Accursed is: one that sets you musing in all sorts of ways. ( )
  write-review | Nov 4, 2021 |
Interesting premise but it went on too long - I lost interest.
  scoene | Jul 13, 2021 |
This pandemic has brought its fair share of surprises, not the least of me having time to once again pick up a damn book. I won't tax you with tales of the woes that led to this, only with the results: Having finally read a book I purchased in 2013 thanks to a Stephen King review in the New York Times - Joyce Carol Oates' The Accursed.

In all honesty, until this morning I could not remember why I had purchased this hefty and confusing novel while it was still in its infancy, and therefore an expensive hardcover. It wasn't until I started checking in with the web to see how other readers had handled this sprawling para-naturalistic story that I ran across King's review, and the Tomer Hanuka illustration at the top, that I remembered quite vividly my initial interest and desire to read what promised to be a strange pastoral gothic anti-romance.

In fact I can tell you for certain that I probably hit BUY right after reading this line:
Joyce Carol Oates has written what may be the world's first postmodern Gothic novel: E.L. Doctorow's Ragtime set in Dracula's castle.
I only wish that I could tell you that the book lived up to even that; unfortunately it proves to be more American Gothic than Gothic.

There are definitely shades of Ragtime - the characters of the two novels are contemporaries, yet do not cross paths (save for one mention in passing of Emma Goldman); both have a cast of historical figures corralled into a specific city block of time and space and are forced through a conspiratorial web to interact both with each other, and with original characters; and one gets a sense that Oates, like Doctorow, might be interested in highlighting the causal but deliberate racism that is almost as prevalent in 2020 as it was one hundred and twenty years ago, but she doesn't go nearly as far with it.

Unlike Ragtime, however, it's not the realities of society's systemic flaws that'll kill you, it's a vengeful god. Or demon. Or vampire? Or avenging angel. Or what have you. And that's my biggest problem with the novel - the what have you.

We're presented with a narrator who is purportedly gleaning information from stacks of diaries and records, and yet we get scenes that cannot have been illuminated by said diaries in any way, shape, or form. An example is a scene in which the narrator's own father is confronted by a demon dressed up as Sherlock Holmes (presumably a manifestation of the character's paranoia and determination), after which the character (spoiler alert for many a character in the novel) dies.

We're presented with a depiction of then-Princeton University-President President Woodrow Wilson's character that is too tepid to be interesting, and yet too scathing to be ignored; yet in the end, he proves so irrelevant to the story that you wonder why on earth he was included at all, except perhaps to give the town of Princeton in 1905 some weight on this side of reality.

The goings on of the university were the least interesting part of the entire novel and did not help characterize the main themes or plot of the novel except to say "Woodrow Wilson was at such a place when such a thing happened to happen to some other person." The book all-but opens with Wilson being begged by his cousin (who, it is revealed to him subsequently, has mixed parentage) to publicly denounce the lynching of two Black siblings that took place two towns over. Wilson, unsurprisingly, does nothing, the effect of which is also practically nothing. His presence is nothing less than frustrating, and the author's casual throwing-in of a hate crime is maddening.

There are two passages that I saw as noteworthy in this novel, and neither had to do with Woodrow Wilson, despite his unrelenting presence. The first was Upton Sinclair finally meeting his Marxist hero Jack London and being irreconcilably disappointed in the odious man. The other is such a classic trope and manages to be the best thing that Oates writes in the entire novel - a simple game played by a child and a demon, with life on the line. If the book were a painting, these would be the only bits in color. The latter is the only passage where you can believe that the stakes are real, and where you care about the outcome. I could do without nearly everything that comes before, and just about everything that comes after.

Coincidentally, both are scenes that occur outside of the locus of our attention, the latter in an otherwold, and the former in New York City. And perhaps there's something to be said for that. I don't think Oates set out to say that Princeton, New Jersey was the worst place in the world, but I do think she did an awfully good job making the case for it.

www.theliterarygothamite.com ( )
  laurscartelli | Jun 14, 2020 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 32 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Some novels are almost impossible to review, either because they’re deeply ambiguous or because they contain big surprises the reviewer doesn’t wish to give away. In the case of “The Accursed,” both strictures apply. What I wish I could say is simply this: “Joyce Carol Oates has written what may be the world’s first postmodern Gothic novel: E. L. Doctorow’s ‘Ragtime’ set in Dracula’s castle. It’s dense, challenging, problematic, horrifying, funny, prolix and full of crazy people. You should read it. I wish I could tell you more.”
adicionado por ozzer | editarNew York Times, Stephen King (Mar 14, 2013)
 

» Adicionar outros autores

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Oates, Joyce Carolautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Boldini, GiovanniArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Chong, Suet YeeDesignerautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Danielsson, Ullaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Dziekonski, KarenExecutive producerautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Eljin ProductionsProducerautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Gardner, GroverNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Saltzman, AllisonDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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In 20th century Princeton, New Jersey, a powerful curse, which besets the wealthiest of families, causes the disappearance of a young bride, and when her brother sets out to find her, he crosses paths with the town's most formidable people, including Grover Cleveland and Upton Sinclair.

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