Monday, August 22, 2005

A Short Review of The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova

During the early years of The Simpsons (and perhaps now as well), the annual Halloween episodes were among the best. In 1994 or thereabout, Groening and co. dedicated an entire episode to Poe's "The Raven." The episode commences with Bart, Lisa and Maggie sitting in the treehouse as Lisa reads them The Raven by flashlight. Her voice shortly fades, to be replaced by James Earl Jones at his sepulchral best. The remainder of the episode is Jones' voiceover of an animated Homer's search for the lovely Lenore. Bart frequently interjects (e.g., "Quoth the raven 'Eat my shorts'"). Funny stuff.
Anyway, Bart becomes increasingly frustrated both with the slow pace of epic poetry and with 19th century conventions of horror. This classic and highly topical exchange follows the passage in which Poe's increasingly frightened narrator opens his chamber door to find ... nothing there:
Bart: "Hey, Lisa, you know what's scarier than nothing?"
Lisa: "No, what?"
Bart (yells in frustration): "Anything!"
Amen, brother, amen.

1 comment:

Tripp said...

Thanks for saving me 700 pages of disappointment.