Emdashes—Modern Times Between the Lines

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New Year's New Yorker Short Story Resolution: Installment II

Filed under: The Squib Report   Tagged: , , , ,

More dispatches from my short story resolution:

Kay Boyle, “Kroy Wen,” July 25, 1931
Plot: Movie mogul harrasses poor Italians on a cruise.
Noah Webster alert: “repine” means both to complain and to pine.

George Milburn, “The Apostate,” June 4, 1932
Plot: Rotarian learns there’s more to life than the club.
Just wait forty years: “longhairs”
Excellent term of endearment: “you mangy old son of a hoss thief”
Excellent term of abuse: “sourbelly”

Jerome Weidman, “Chutzbah,” February 29, 1936
Plot: Charming boy from the old neighborhood is a bit of a shyster.
Inscrutable reference: Anyone know what “Leevio” means?
Good question: Is this story anti-Semitic?

J.F. Powers, “Death of a Favourite,” July 1, 1950
Plot: Parish priests in Minnesota perform an exorcism on a very unlikely subject.
Worthy of note: Title is likely a Thomas Gray reference.
Hot quotation: “Then they were gone, and after a bit, when they did not return, I supposed they were out killing poultry on the open road.”

Daniel Fuchs, “The Golden West,” July 10, 1954
Plot: Hollywood people suffer during a garden party.
Censorious Shawn alert: “whatsis” used to denote female posterior.
Hot quotation: “Mrs. Ashton was an intensely serious person, and as she lunged and flung herself about, she clearly had no idea of the violent effect the game was having on her bosom.”
A crank would say: The Osterman Weekend without the machine guns. Or possibly L’Avventura on Benzedrine.

Best story: “Death of a Favourite”

—Martin Schneider

Previously: Installment I


Even better.

I agree—heady stuff, MS! More, please!

Delightful, Martin. (You’re quite effectively distracting me from my essay-reading project.)

I went back to the Feb. 29, 1936 issue to see the context for the word “Leevio” in “Chutzbah,” learned it was a type of game, and then Googled “Leevio” and “game.” Came up with lots of nostalgic references to a game called “ring-a-leevio,” which sounds a lot like tag.

Oooh, well done! Thank you!

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