Neil Simon (July 4, 1927 – August 26, 2018) has established himself as a leading American playwright of the late twentieth century. As a master of domestic comedy and one-line humor, his popular appeal was established early in his career. Though considered by some to be lighter or less serious because of his comedic talents, as his career progressed, Simon infused his comedy with greater amounts of social relevance, autobiographical inspiration, and dramatic depth. Many of his plays explore the thin line that separates comedy from pathos, provoking audiences to laugh through their tears. His plays focus on character and personal relationships in primarily middle-class, urban settings in the United States. Nevertheless, the stories he dramatizes are about basic human problems and aspirations, and his plays have proven to have universal appeal.
Neil Simon’s plays have so set the standard for American domestic comedy that they almost form a subgenre in themselves. His work is certainly marked by a distinct style and mastery of certain principles of comic writing. Though the mood, subject matter, and focus of his writing have developed over the years, the Neil Simon signature can still be read throughout.
His plays tend to be domestic comedies focusing on family life and relationships. Almost all are set in New York City and, explicitly or not, depict the concerns and values of middle-class, Jewish family life, writers and show business people, and Americans in touch with the liberal movements of the 1960’s and 1970’s. As a keen observer of contemporary life, Simon fills his plays with recognizable topical references and details. Dealing with such themes as marriage, divorce, sexual liberation, and intergenerational conflict, his work effectively chronicles late twentieth century American lifestyles and values.
Coming as Simon did from a training ground in stand-up comedy and television writing, he is technically expert at coining and structuring one-line jokes. One-liners are not restricted to token “comic” characters; rather, they are distributed among all the characters in his plays. Furthermore, Simon is skilled at connecting the jokes and embedding them in the texture of the conflict in a way that reinforces the integrity of a scene. The jokes serve rather than divert the flow of action; they inform characterization rather than reduce characters to mere mouthpieces for the author’s wit. Simon supports his quick humor with characters who are clearly delineated, defined not only by their backgrounds, tastes, idiosyncrasies, and language but also by their larger objectives and outlooks on life. They are drawn with eccentricity and excess, but with sympathy and warmth as well. The tendency toward stereotypes and caricatures that Simon sometimes indulged early in his career gradually disappeared as he honed his craft.
Creating rich characters, Simon serves them well by carefully structuring his plays to maximize the potential for both conflict and humor. Knowing that the line between tragedy and comedy is a thin one, he heightens the stakes of his characters’ desires. Indeed, many a Simon play, drained of its wit, could easily be transformed into serious high drama, with situations worthy of Henrik Ibsen or August Strindberg. The people of Simon’s plays are frustrated, sometimes nearly neurotic; they take their problems head-on and search earnestly for solutions. Like William Shakespeare, Simon lets the meaning of his plays inhabit the surface, so there is rarely a deep subtext to unearth. As his characters are generally intelligent and perceptive, they police one another against emotional subterfuge. Unlike Shakespeare, however, Simon does not utilize subplots but rather provides a single, clear conflict to propel the action.
Through more than two dozen plays and nearly as many film scripts, Simon became the wealthiest dramatist in history and the most-produced playwright on the contemporary American stage behind Shakespeare. More important, in addition to his supremacy over the popular American theater, his devotion to craft, hard work, simplicity, honesty, and diligence as a playwright have secured him a primary position in its literary annals.
Simon’s techniques are clearly evident in his first two major successes, Barefoot in the Park and The Odd Couple. Both plays are simply constructed, consisting of four scenes in three acts, taking place in a single locale within a span of several weeks, and built on the conflict between two distinctly defined characters. Barefoot in the Park • Barefoot in the Park is about newlyweds Paul and Corie Bratter. The young lawyer and his wife are moving into their first New York apartment, a living space too small, cold, dilapidated, expensive, and high up to induce peaceful living. In the first scene, they take inventory of their new home, amid visits from Corie’s well-intentioned mother from New Jersey and a flamboyant older gentleman from the upstairs apartment. Corie hatches a plan to make a match between Mother and the exotic Mr. Velasco.
The second scene is the dinner gathering, pitting Mother’s tender stomach against Velasco’s gourmet hors d’oeuvres, Corie’s enthusiasm against Paul’s reluctance, and the foursome against a cold apartment and a catastrophic kitchen. In the third scene, the group returns from a dinner out, Mother leaves with Velasco, and Corie and Paul become embroiled in a fight that ends in a decision to divorce. In facing the challenges of the apartment and the evening, the newlyweds have come to believe that they have nothing in common. Paul considers his wife irrational and irresponsible; she thinks that he is a stuffed shirt incapable of enjoying life.
In the final scene, Mother is unaccounted for, divorce plans proceed apace, and Corie and Paul are miserable. Ultimately, Mother appears, no worse for wear from a night at Velasco’s, and Paul and Corie discover the importance of surrender and compromise. She recognizes her need for order, he relaxes enough to take a walk “barefoot in the park,” and they both realize the depth of their love.
From the start, Simon creates a situation rife with possibilities. The setting offers opportunities for visual jokes and offstage action: For example, there are ongoing references to the six-flight ascent to the apartment. As newlyweds adapting to a new home, job, and lifestyle, Corie and Paul are portrayed in the midst of major upheaval. The stolid Mother and the splendiferous Velasco are great foils for each other and for the younger couple as well. Furthermore, in Corie and Paul, Simon creates protagonists whose personalities, often in harmony, easily become diametrically opposed through their responses to difficult circumstances.
The Odd Couple
Even more than in Barefoot in the Park, the conflict in Simon’s next play, The Odd Couple, is built squarely on the collision of opposites. Oscar Madison is a divorced sportswriter living alone, who hosts five friends for a weekly poker game, including his good friend Felix Ungar. In the first scene, Felix, usually quite punctual, arrives hours late in emotional distress, with the horrific news that his wife kicked him out. Oscar invites Felix to become his roommate, and the “odd couple” is formed.
Simon established Felix’s sensitive and fastidious nature in the opening scene, so it is no surprise when, in the second scene, two weeks later, Felix is driving the slovenly Oscar crazy with his devotion to detail and cleanliness. Their relationship is implicitly a send-up of marriage in an age of rising divorce rates and precarious gender roles. The bachelor life is clearly threatened by Felix’s uxoriousness. To break the tension and salve their solitude, Oscar suggests a double date with their upstairs neighbors, the Pigeon sisters. Felix reluctantly agrees.
In the third scene, Cecily and Gwendolyn Pigeon come downstairs for dinner, straight out of an Oscar Wilde drawing room. As in Barefoot in the Park, however, the menu is sabotaged by circumstance, and, instead of succumbing to the double seduction that Oscar envisions, the Pigeons both take sisterly pity on the heartbroken Felix. The failed date precipitates a climactic conflagration between the two men, and, as in Barefoot in the Park, the only solution seems to be separation.
In the final scene, amid a cold war of silence and anger, Oscar and Felix vent their rage and passion, coming to understand that their conflict reflects an unhappy combination of personality types and the larger tragedies of failed marriages and solitary middle age. These themes reappear time and again in Simon’s work—the distance between people, the effects of time on relationships, and the different ways that men and women deal with emotion. In the end, Oscar and Felix reach a mutually respectful peace, forged of patience, humility, and a willingness to laugh.
Other Early Plays
The formula established by these early comedies provides the basis for many of the plays that followed. In 1966, Simon wrote the book for Sweet Charity, a Bob Fosse musical based on the Federico Fellini film Nights of Cabiria (1957). In The Star-Spangled Girl, he pitted liberal journalists against an old-fashioned southern belle. Both of these pieces met mixed response. Years later, Simon called The Star- Spangled Girl “simply a failure,” a play “where I did not have a clear visual image of the characters in my mind as I sat down at the typewriter.” Nevertheless, with the opening of The Star-Spangled Girl, Simon could claim the singular distinction of having four plays running simultaneously on Broadway.
In 1968, Simon tried something new: a series of three one-act plays set in the same hotel room. The result, Plaza Suite, is vintage Simon with an added bittersweetness. The first piece focuses on a stale marriage and a revelation of infidelity; the second, on high school flames reuniting in midlife; and the third, on a bride’s wedding day jitters and what they bring out in her parents’ marriage. That same year, Simon wrote the book for Promises, Promises, a Burt Bacharach-Hal David musical version of the 1960 film The Apartment.
A mid-career Simon focused on the romantic woes of a middleaged man in his next play, Last of the Red Hot Lovers. Then came The Gingerbread Lady, dealing with the subject of alcoholism; The Prisoner of Second Avenue, about the nervous breakdown of a man caught in the vertigo of urban life; and The Sunshine Boys, depicting the deteriorating relationship of a pair of old comedians. These plays signaled an attempt by Simon to move into issue-oriented material with a more serious tone. While still striking with characteristic wit and receiving popular acclaim, he sometimes overindulged in sentiment and high seriousness. Some critics lambasted the attempt and urged him to stay on familiar, lighter terrain.
In 1972 and 1973, during the period of his wife’s illness and death, Simon’s writing reflected his personal tragedy. The Good Doctor was his adaptation of the tragicomic stories of Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov. More penetrating was God’s Favorite, a modern reworking of the biblical story of Job, in which a man challenges God and the universe to help him understand the extremity of his sufferings. It was Simon’s attempt to find solace and peace through his writing.
California Suite, a Pacific Coast retake of the Plaza Suite concept, appeared in 1976. Like its predecessor, and much of the intervening work, it takes a more sophisticated approach to relationships and social situations. It consists of four short plays set in a two-room suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The first and third have definite pathos beneath their comic gloss; the second and fourth are lighter and broader.
The second of the four pieces is about Marvin and Millie, a husband and wife from Philadelphia who have come to Los Angeles for a nephew’s Bar Mitzvah. Marvin arrived a night early and returned to the suite to find a gift from his brother waiting for him: a prostitute. It is the next morning, and Millie arrives; the other woman, however, is still drunk and asleep in the bed, and for most of the play, Marvin scrambles to conceal her inert form. Eventually, he confesses his sin to Millie, and they face the crisis with equal guilt and stoicism. The play runs on frantic energy, physical comedy, and the audience’s discrepant awareness of the other woman’s presence.
The fourth play is also built on physical comedy emerging from a situation that is out of control. Mort and Beth and Stu and Gert are two couples from Chicago who have taken a three-week vacation together. Best friends at the start, their rapport has steadily eroded. At last, an accidental injury on the tennis court unleashes torrents of accumulated hostility; the feuding then triggers a series of freak accidents, a veritable comedy of mishaps. The barroom brawl-like mayhem ends in unresolved pandemonium. Simon here displays his ability to bring together one-liners, character conflict, and physical comedy into an orchestrated whole.
Set against these two lighter plays are the first and third pieces. In the first, a divorced couple negotiate where their daughter will live for her last year of high school. Billy and Hannah are both brashly intelligent and piercingly sarcastic. What begins as a brittle, venomous battle of words and wits subtly evolves into a deep struggle for pride and control. Knowing each other all too well, they ultimately bring their hopes, fears, and even some of their long-abandoned love into the open. While the characters use humor as a weapon throughout, their true feelings are always evident, and Simon allows and validates their enduring anger. Ultimately, a deal is struck, but the tone and outcome make it clear that there are no winners in this struggle.
The same is true of the third piece, in which a British actress and her husband have come to Hollywood for the Academy Awards. Dividing the action into two scenes, Simon contrasts their hopeful harmony before the ceremony with their bitter and drunken divisiveness after it. Diana has not won the coveted Oscar but instead has made a fool of herself at the ensuing parties. At the heart of her recklessness is a deep dissatisfaction with her marriage. Her husband, Sidney, an unassuming antiques dealer, is a “bisexual homosexual,” and his flirtation with a young actor over dinner has brought dangerous issues to the surface. In the end, Sidney will hold, soothe, and probably make love to Diana, but it is evident that the connection is only temporary. That they can come together at all is a sign of hope, but Simon allows no illusions about the sacrifices they are making and the evanescence of their union.
This mix of pieces and tones, all still focused on relationships, marriages, sex, and love, bespeaks an unapologetic honesty that cannot be found in Simon’s earlier work. Indeed, in 1979, Simon said that he believed the third play of California Suite was his best and most honest writing.
While parts of his earlier plays are drawn loosely from personal experience, by the late 1970’s Simon was ready to take on autobiographical material more directly. Chapter Two was the first play in this direction. It tells the story of a recently widowed man who meets and falls in love with a woman, a story the playwright had known firsthand several years before. During this period, he also wrote a second version of The Odd Couple, this time with two women in the leading roles (produced and published a decade later); the book for a Marvin Hamlisch-Carole Bayer Sager musical called They’re Playing Our Song; a play called I Ought to Be in Pictures, about a screenwriter and his daughter; and Fools, a comic fable based on a Ukrainian folktale. This last was Simon’s only unequivocal flop.
Brighton Beach Memoirs
The real breakthrough came with Brighton Beach Memoirs, which, with Biloxi Blues and Broadway Bound, forms Simon’s acclaimed autobiographical trilogy. In these plays, the playwright’s own past is clear and unmistakable. The plays center on Eugene Morris Jerome, a teenage writer and baseball enthusiast growing up in Brighton Beach, New York, in the 1940’s. Eugene has an older brother, unhappily married parents, and great aspirations. These aspirations lead him to chronicle his family’s trials and tribulations, and his writings become a vehicle for narrating and commenting on the action directly to the audience. As Eugene is representative of the young Simon, his direct address offers an intimacy between playwright and audience that Simon had never before attempted or allowed.
In the trilogy, Simon also effectively explores dramatic structure. “I really made a quantum leap in Brighton Beach as a playwright,” Simon said in 1985, “because it was the first full-bodied play I had ever written, in terms of dealing with a group of people as individuals and telling all their stories.” Before, he would focus on a central character or conflict; now, though Eugene was the connecting thread, Simon was portraying a more integrated and balanced world. In Brighton Beach Memoirs, Eugene’s adolescent fascination with his cousin Nora, his aunt Blanche’s quandary over reestablishing her independence, his older brother Stanley’s moral crisis at work, Nora’s dreams of a show business career, her sister Laurie’s fragile health, and Jack and Kate Jerome’s precarious marriage and difficult economic straits are all woven together into a delicate tapestry of events and emotions. The play, suffused with characteristic wit but a deeper sense of poignancy, won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the first truly critical recognition of Simon’s work.
The New York Times critic Frank Rich wrote that he would love to see a “chapter two” to Brighton Beach Memoirs, so Simon decided to continue Eugene’s story. Biloxi Blues takes place at an army training camp in Biloxi, Mississippi, no doubt the camp that Simon had attended four decades earlier. It is one of his few plays set outside New York City and one of the few that feature a group of strangers. Like its predecessor, it balances the stories of several characters. Simon introduces Arnold Epstein, a tender Jewish youth with a will of steel; Sergeant Toomey, a career military man facing his mortality and determined to make soldiers of the last group assigned to him; Wykowski and Selridge, the company bullies; and Carney and Hennesey, who bring other colors of adolescence to the complete picture. Outside the barracks, there are Rowena, the weekend prostitute who takes Eugene’s virginity, and Daisy, the lovely schoolgirl who wins his heart.
The play gains steady momentum through a variety of means: the rigors of training, the competitive banter of the barracks, the young men’s unrelenting fears and hormones, the often blatant bigotry and anti-Semitism, the lurking suspicions of homosexuality, and the implicit challenges to pride and manhood. In the climactic scene, Simon distills all the play’s themes into a tense confrontation between the old soldier Toomey and the unwilling hero Epstein, in a way that seals the play’s uncanny, but human, logic.
In Biloxi Blues, Eugene again takes the audience into his confidence, sharing his process of maturing as both man and writer. The one-liners are ever-present, but the world of the play is darkened by the shadow of World War II, establishing a type of meaningful historical context that is unseen in Simon’s work before the trilogy. The fourteen scenes, spanning months and moving through a variety of settings, are also unusual for Simon. Biloxi Blues is a rite-of-passage play, and Simon treats the inherent issues—adolescence, manhood, fear, sexuality, separation—with deep warmth, sensitivity, and subtlety.
Broadway Bound completed the trilogy in 1986. Eugene is back in Brighton Beach, and the tapestry interweaves his fledgling career, writing comedy with his brother Stanley, with the quickly unraveling threads of his parents’ marriage. Past and family are inescapable even as the future looks bright, and, when their homegrown skit actually comes across the radio waves, Eugene and Stanley learn an important lesson about the dangers of mixing humor and autobiography. It is no doubt an issue that had crossed the playwright’s mind as well.
In Broadway Bound, Eugene still narrates and comments, and audiences who followed him through the first two plays can appreciate his ripening maturity. The most powerful scene of the play is remarkably simple: Eugene dances with his mother, Kate, amid the disarray of the kitchen and her crumbling marriage, to her lyrical reminiscences of a girlhood infatuation with a dashing celebrity and a magical night when she danced with him. The intimacy of the story embarrasses even Eugene, a fact that he candidly confesses to the audience. The Oedipal implications of the scene magnify both the young man’s coming-of-age and his mother’s life of pain and frustration. By using details taken directly from his own youth, Simon frankly investigates his filial memories and feelings, and the result is powerful. The writing shows a level of dramatic achievement of which the author of Come Blow Your Horn could only have dreamed.
The trilogy was followed by Rumors, Simon’s first attempt at all-out farce, and Jake’s Women, a whimsical play about a writer and the women who populate his mind. Jake’s Women endured many rewrites and an aborted out-of-town trial before finally coming to Broadway, a process that testified to Simon’s power and diligence as a playwright.
Lost in Yonkers
In 1991, continuing in the spirit of the trilogy, Lost in Yonkers appeared on Broadway. Portraying the sojourn of two boys with their brusque grandmother and eccentric aunt and uncle, it earned Simon critical praise, his second Tony Award for best play, and a prestigious Pulitzer Prize in Drama. The play continues in the spirit of the Brighton Beach trilogy, but with less sense of nostalgia as Simon wrings comedy from the anguish of five deeply disturbed people. Critic David Richards noted that “Were it not for his [Simon’s] ready wit and appreciation of life’s incongruities, Lost in Yonkers could pass for a nightmare.”
As in the trilogy, there are two young boys, clearly based on Simon and his older brother, but the other characters and the action are inventions. The place is the apartment over Kurnitz’s Kandy Store in Yonkers, where Grandma Kurnitz lives with her thirty-five-year-old, brain-damaged daughter Bella. Grandma Kurnitz’s experiences with anti-Semitism as a child in Germany convinced her that to succeed in this world you must be hard as steel. Ignoring her four surviving children’s emotional life, she rigidly disciplined them.
The time is 1942, and son Eddie has come to beg his mother to take in his two boys while he travels as a salesman. Having borrowed from loan sharks to pay the medical bills of his recently deceased wife, he desperately needs to earn money. Grandma reluctantly agrees. Following his mother’s advice to be hard, a second son, Louie, became a small-time gangster and now comes home to hide from the associates he has cheated. An older daughter Gert also stops by; she suffers from a breathing problem whenever she visits her mother and cannot finish a sentence without gasping for breath.
The emotional center of the play is the struggle of Bella to fashion a life of her own, against the opposition of her mother. Bella falls in love with a mentally retarded movie theater usher and is determined to marry him, despite the grim disapproval of her mother and the skepticism of her siblings, but the usher is too timid to leave the protection of his parents and the romance fails. At the play’s end Eddie returns to claim his sons, and Bella asserts herself. She tells her mother she is going to the movies with a new girlfriend who likes her. Further, the girlfriend has a brother, and Bella plans to invite them both for dinner later that week.
Simon continued to send new plays to Broadway, though none repeated the critical or monetary success of Lost in Yonkers. Laughter on the 23rd Floor, based on Simon’s years as a writer for Sid Caesar’s television shows, portrays activities in the writers’ room as eight conflicting personalities and egos struggle to put together a new comic script every week. London Suite echoes Plaza Suite and California Suite with four one-act dramas, this time taking place in an elegant London hotel. Proposals, set in the 1950’s at a summer cottage in a resort area of eastern Pennsylvania, revolves around the disagreements between a retired businessman, his former wife, his daughter, and his daughter’s various boyfriends, one of whom is the son of a Mafia baron. The Dinner Party occurs in a private room at an expensive Parisian restaurant as six diners explore the various reasons their marriages have failed. 45 Seconds from Broadway takes its title from the time needed to walk from theaters to a coffee shop, familiarly known as the Polish Tea Room, that is a favorite hangout of theater folk. Ten actors exchange banter and good-natured insults with each other and the restaurant’s owners.
Come Blow Your Horn, pr. 1960, pb. 1961; Little Me, pr. 1962, revised pr. 1982 (music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Carol Leigh; adaptation of Patrick Dennis’s novel); Barefoot in the Park, pr. 1963, pb. 1964; The Odd Couple, pr. 1965, pb. 1966; Sweet Charity, pr., pb. 1966 (music and lyrics by Coleman and Dorothy Fields; adaptation of Federico Fellini’s film Nights of Cabiria); The Star-Spangled Girl, pr. 1966, pb. 1967; Plaza Suite, pr. 1968, pb. 1969; Promises, Promises, pr. 1968, pb. 1969 (music and lyrics by Hal David and Burt Bacharach; adaptation of Billy Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond’s film The Apartment); Last of the Red Hot Lovers, pr. 1969, pb. 1970; The Gingerbread Lady, pr. 1970, pb. 1971; The Comedy of Neil Simon, pb. 1971 (volume 1 in The Collected Plays of Neil Simon); The Prisoner of Second Avenue, pr., pb. 1971; The Sunshine Boys, pr. 1972, pb. 1973; The Good Doctor, pr. 1973, pb. 1974 (adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s short stories); God’s Favorite, pr. 1974, pb. 1975 (adaptation of the biblical story of Job); California Suite, pr. 1976, pb. 1977; Chapter Two, pr. 1977, pb. 1979; They’re Playing Our Song, pr. 1978, pb. 1980 (music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager; adaptation of Patrick Dennis’s novel); The Collected Plays of Neil Simon, pb. 1979 (volume 2); I Ought to Be in Pictures, pr. 1980, pb. 1981; Fools, pr., pb. 1981; Brighton Beach Memoirs, pr. 1982, pb. 1984; Biloxi Blues, pr. 1984, pb. 1986; Broadway Bound, pr. 1986, pb. 1987; The Odd Couple, pr. 1985, pb. 1986 (female version); Rumors, pr. 1988, pb. 1990; Jake’s Women, pr. 1990, pb. 1991; Lost in Yonkers, pr., pb. 1991; The Collected Plays of Neil Simon, pb. 1991 (volume 3); Laughter on the 23rd Floor, pr. 1993, pb. 1995; London Suite, pr. 1994, pb. 1996; Three from the Stage, pb. 1995; Proposals, pr. 1997, pb. 1998; The Dinner Party, pr. 2000; 45 Seconds from Broadway, pr. 2001.
Other major works
Screenplays: After the Fox, 1966 (with Cesare Zavattini); Barefoot in the Park, 1967; The Odd Couple, 1968; The Out-of-Towners, 1970; Plaza Suite, 1971; The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, 1972; The Heartbreak Kid, 1972; The Prisoner of Second Avenue, 1975; The Sunshine Boys, 1975; Murder by Death, 1976; The Goodbye Girl, 1977; California Suite, 1978; The Cheap Detective, 1978; Chapter Two, 1979; Seems Like Old Times, 1980; Only When I Laugh, 1981; I Ought to Be in Pictures, 1982; Max Dugan Returns, 1983; The Lonely Guy, 1984; The Slugger’s Wife, 1985; Brighton Beach Memoirs, 1987; Biloxi Blues, 1988; The Marrying Man, 1991; Lost in Yonkers, 1993; The Odd Couple II, 1998.
Teleplays: Broadway Bound, 1992; Jake’s Women, 1996; London Suite, 1996; The Sunshine Boys, 1997.
Nonfiction: Rewrites: A Memoir, 1996; The Play Goes On: A Memoir, 1999.
Henry, William A., III. “Reliving a Poignant Past.” Time, December 15, 1986, 72-78.
Johnson, Robert K. Neil Simon. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1983.
Konas, Gary, ed. Neil Simon: A Casebook. New York: Garland, 1997.
Koprince, Susan. Understanding Neil Simon. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2002.
McGovern, Edythe. Not-So-Simple Neil Simon: A Critical Study. Van Nuys, Calif.: Perivale Press, 1978.
Richards, David. “The Last of the Red Hot Playwrights.” Review of Lost in Yonkers, by Neil Simon. The New York Times Magazine, February 17, 1991, 30.
Simon, Neil. “The Art of Theater X.” Interview by James Lipton. The Paris Review 34 (Winter, 1992): 166-213.