Bachelorhood (Magill's Literary Annual 1982)
Phillip Lopate is an engaging and refreshing writer who departs from the mainstream of serious contemporary literature in several ways. Although he is a perceptive and thoughtful person, he approaches life with a certain zest and he tends to celebrate the human condition rather than to deplore it. Lopate views himself as a realist and finds little validity in surrealism, savage pessimism, or the clichés of existentialist absurdity. He is sensitive to both the comic and the tragic in everyday life and he translates his perceptions into prose of commendable warmth and energy. He does not subscribe to the accepted axiom that serious writing must be an act of depression, that it must convey a sense of hopelessness, that in order to be meaningful it must assert that life is meaningless. Ritual despair is not part of Lopate’s nature. He is a man who enjoys living; he likes other people and seems to understand them very well. His vision is a true one in terms of life as it is actually lived, the good together with the bad, joy and sorrow providing respites from each other. As he suggests in one of his essays, boredom would be inescapable in Utopia.
These positive and sometimes ingenuous qualities are found in Lopate’s first published work, Being with Children (1975), a delightful account of his experiences as a teacher of creative writing in one of the New York public schools. Now considered something of a classic, it has been followed by a related...
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1982)
Booklist. LXXVIII, October 15, 1981, p. 272.
Kirkus Reviews. XLIX, September 1, 1981, p. 1139.
Library Journal. CVI, October 1, 1981, p. 1927.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXVI, October 11, 1981, p. 7.
Publishers Weekly. CCXX, August 21, 1981, p. 48.
Village Voice. XXVI, October 14, 1981, pp. 44.
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