380 Chapters
Medium 9781574415933

Ship of Fools

Edited by Thomas Austenfeld UNT Press ePub

Ship of Fools

Alexandra Subramanian

When Ship of Fools was published on April Fool’s Day, 1962, Porter knew that her honeymoon with the critics was over. "[L]et it [come]," she had told her publisher, Seymour Lawrence.1 Indeed, since its publication Ship of Fools has invited admiration but also biting criticism from friends, critics, and biographers alike. Some of the criticism, moreover, has been highly personal, highlighting Porter’s own faults, prejudices, and shortcomings, at times disregarding her complex humanity, which included a capacity for kindness that cannot be easily dismissed. Theodore Solotaroff, writing a review of Ship of Fools in Commentary in 1962, summed up the prevailing feeling against the novel. He virtually decimates it from almost every angle, claiming that the "soul of humanity is lacking."2

This paper argues against those who have judged Ship of Fools as marred by cynicism, prejudice, and the author’s darkened view of humanity. The novel will be analyzed, rather, in light of Porter’s debilitating sensitivity, deep understanding of human behavior and motives, and acute awareness of the consequences of casual or calculated cruelty, misogyny, and violence. Porter was attuned to the suffering of the vulnerable, whether afflicted by poverty, parental cruelty and neglect, or disability. To Porter’s mind, acts of unkindness, insensitivity, and a failure to take responsibility, especially regarding the weak and vulnerable, created a tragic and unnecessary cycle of violence, alienation, and despair.

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Medium 9781574412420

Roller Skates

Richard Carr University of North Texas Press PDF
Medium 9781574415643

Blind King

Stefanie Wortman University of Northern Texas PDF
Medium 9781574415643

The Transparent Fabulist

Stefanie Wortman University of Northern Texas PDF
Medium 9781574415643

Assez Vu

Stefanie Wortman University of Northern Texas PDF

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