Monday, August 29

in and out and in

Novels are free to diverge, to digress, to reflect, to accrete. Proust is a gargantuan soliloquizer. Tolstoy encompasses whole histories. George Eliot pauses for psychological essays. A novel is like the physicist's premise of an expanding universe -- horizon after horizon, firmament sailing past firmament. But a play is just the reverse: the fullness of the universe drawn down into a single succinct atom -- the all-consuming compactness and density of the theorist's black hole. Everything converges in the dot that is the stage.

-- Cynthia Ozick, from "On Being a Novice Playwright" Washington Post Book World (15 Jan 1995)