J. O. Tate
If Sidney's Astrophel and Stella had been composed by Urquhart of Cromarty; if Poe's "To Helen" had been written by the Melville of Moby Dick; if the cookie-cutter form of the Harlequin romance had been glossed by Boethius—then the result might have been the sublime mulligan [satura>satire] served up to us by Alexander Theroux. (pp. 620-21)
The substance of Darconville's Cat is Boy Meets Girl, Boy Loses Girl. The end is Death in Venice. But the "novel" or "romance" breaks off into the form of Menippean satire, or anatomy, and proceeds by way of encyclopedic recapitulation of forms: a sonnet, a blank-verse dialogue, a formal oration, a formal essay, a vulgar sermon,...
(The entire section is 434 words.)