Eccentric Individuality in William Kotzwinkle’s the Fan Man, E. T., Doctor Rat, and Other Works of Fiction and Fantasy

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This is the first full-length critical study of an unusually versatile and accomplished author, discussing at length all the most ambitious novels of William Kotzwinkle. In addition to individual analytical examinations of his most prominent work, including The Fan Man and his exceptionally successful adaptation of the film E. T. The study identifies patterns of coherence, recurring themes and subjects, and strategies of comic invention.

“If the critical void concerning the career and writings of contemporary author William Kotzwinkle has been inadequately noted, Leon Lewis’s study demonstrates that such attention is overdue. His book goes far toward filling this void, and it should inspire further research into this author’s significant work. . .in a worthy display of the uses of criticism, Lewis briskly and judiciously assumes the promotional role renounced by Kotzwinkle, highlighting the author’s accomplishments and identifying themes, issues, and images that unify his diverse productions into a consistent and conscientious career. . . . Lewis draws delightful examples especially from his subject’s comic writing, and his critical style often enlarges, combines, or riffs on these examples in the style of a humorous yet helpful kindred spirit. . . . Lewis crafts a field of reference as fresh as it is serious, ranging from Rimbaud to Rambo, from the high-cultural icons of Joyce, Valery, Cocteau, and Davenport to Hollywood’s Aliens and a redemptive review of Kotzwinkle’s characterization of Clark Kent ( in his screenplay for Superman III) as ‘everyklutz’. Lewis’s prose is vigorous yet measured, shifting from essential quotation to characteristic paraphrase and commentary, without the theoretical clutter that in many similar studies distracts from the textual subject. . . . This confluence of primary texts, authorial commentary, contemporary review, and a willingness to acknowledge yet question critical assumptions makes Lewis’s ground-breaking study a conscientious foundation on which future scholarship will build.” – Craig White

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Foreword; Preface
1. Authority and Identity: Lunatic Humor, Wild Things, The Surreal City and A Serpent in the Garden
2. The Book of Love: Origins of Artistic Consciousness in Jack in the Box
3. The Realm of Childhood: Visions of Paradise and an imagination of the ideal in E. T., The Leopard’s Tooth and Hearts of Wood
4. The Life and Times of a Good-Natured Zany: The Artist as musician, mystic, beatnik and freak in The Fan Man
5. The Emergence of Evil: Darker dimensions of existence in Doctor Rat, Fata Morgana and The Exile
6. The Artist at Work: Sexual awareness as psychic transformation in Nightbook and The Queen of Swords; limitless childhood as an adult enterprise in The Midnight Examiner and The Hot Jazz Trio
7. Jimmy McShane and a Bear from Maine: Life beyond the ‘failure’ of the alternate vision of The Sixties in The Game of Thirty and The Bear Went Over the Mountain
8. The Far Shore of the Secret Sea: Refiguring the cartography of coherence in Superman III, Great World Circus and Swimmer in the Secret Sea
Bibliography; European Editions; Index

Other Literature - Twentieth Century Books