Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

The relish with which Israel Horovitz approaches language has found its way into two novels, Cappella (1973) and Nobody Loves Me (1975), and a book of poetry, Spider Poems and Other Writings (1973). None of these works, however, has approached the effectiveness of his drama. Cappella does show a dramatist’s flair for vivid monologue, but the Samuel Beckett-like stream of consciousness that pervades much of the novel is rather irritating and often impenetrable. Not surprisingly, it is Horovitz’s work in film that comes closest to the level of his stage works. His first produced film script, The Strawberry Statement (1970), based on the book by James Simon Kunen, conveyed the atmosphere of the Columbia University student riots in the late 1960’s with shrewd social and psychological observations. His next major screenplay was the frankly autobiographical Author! Author! (1982), one of his most humane and least ironic works. It depicts the problems of a playwright whose second wife leaves him for another man and who must then deal with five children as well as the preparation for his first Broadway play, entitled The Reason We Eat (one of Horovitz’s own, lesser-known plays). Ivan Travalian’s life and work mirror Horovitz’s quite closely, but Horovitz can view his own experience with much humor, giving some satiric insights into theater production. The screenplay is filled as well with a great deal of warmth and love between Ivan and the five children (four of whom are not even biologically his). Horovitz has also written a number of plays for television, sometimes with a social message (VD Blues, concerning venereal disease, in 1972; Play for Trees, on the importance of saving trees, in 1969). His television adaptation of Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener (1977) effectively captured the gloom and poignancy of the original. In 1978, Horovitz wrote a cycle of plays for television called Growing Up Jewish in Sault Ste. Marie, adaptations of Morley Torgov’s novel A Nice Place to Come From. Also, Horovitz has contributed to a number of periodicals, most notably as a lively, refreshing, and personal art critic for Crafts Horizons from 1968 to 1970.