This post will be a brief update on some developments that I have had on my dissertation as the second term comes to a close. During the process of compiling my sources for my Literature and IT Review, I have discovered two more fictional representations of Huston that I will need to engage with.
During my Pecha Kucha, I used a photo from the episode of Ray Bradbury Theater titled “The Banshee,” but I had not had time to watch it before the conference. This is why I omitted any discussions of the television series from my presentation. The episode aired six years before the novel Green Shadows, White Whale was published, but it is based on the same story that Bradbury included in the novel (which I discussed in my Pecha Kucha). One of the things I argued during my presentation, and elaborated on after Haley’s great question, was the idea that Bradbury connects “John” to the Protestant Ascendancy. Fascinatingly, in “The Banshee,” Peter O’Toole stars as John and keeps his English accent. The entire episode takes place in his grandiose “Big House.” John’s accent is the only major change in characterization from the story, which may have been because Huston was still alive when the episode aired. Yet it does make a stronger case to read Bradbury’s John in connection to the Ascendancy class.
Norman Mailer and The Deer Park
This week, I also came across the article “John Huston and Hemingway” by Jeffery Meyers, who is one of the preeminent critical sources on Huston. In the article, Meyers includes one sentence in his introduction that contends that John Huston is represented fictionally in Norman Mailer’s novel The Deer Park as the character Charles Eziel. I quickly searched through online databases to see if any other critical sources had made this identification, and I found another article that made the same claim. Neither essay completed an analysis of the character, which means it fits the pattern of the lack of scholarship on his fictional representations. At first, I was overjoyed that there was another fictional representation of Huston. However, this pithy moment of excitement was preceded by the stress of realizing that there is another fictional representation of Huston that I need to consider including in my dissertation. As a result, my second internal reaction was much like the character Michael Scott in this famous scene from the American version of The Office:
NBC sitcom references aside, after the initial shock of these discoveries wore off, I felt reinvigorated to begin seriously working my dissertation in April. These texts might complicate my current structure a bit, but I realized that it is better that I learned about these now rather than months into my writing process.
Meyers, Jeffrey. “John Huston and Hemingway.” The Antioch Review, vol. 68, no. 1, 2010, 54–66.