All stories by John Simon on BroadwayStars

Monday, June 17, 2019

Gozzoli! by John Simon

I’ve always been fond of tiny triumphs that seem to come out of nowhere to score surprise effects. Let me evoke three such incidents. One long ago day some of us were cruising the labyrin…

Linked From John Simon at 12:48PM
Monday, May 20, 2019

Name Fudging by John Simon

I can’t help it but I am an entrenched traditionalist—or, if you prefer, conventional soul—about names. I have no serious quarrel with those who invent names for themselves, but if you…

Linked From John Simon at 01:36PM
Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Old by John Simon

The British novelist L. P. Hartley is remembered chiefly for the novel and movie version of “The Go-Between,” beginning with “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently …

Linked From John Simon at 05:14PM
Saturday, March 2, 2019

Fashion by John Simon

Fashion matters. Consider haute couture designer Karl Lagerfeld’s recent obituaries, extensive enough to be worthy of a prince or president. To be sure, Lagerfeld was, in uniqueness and in…

Linked From John Simon at 03:40PM
Sunday, February 17, 2019

Great Performances by John Simon

What exactly is a great performance by an actor or actress on stage or screen? Or if not exactly, because it involves something words seem unable to express fully, at least approximately.It …

Linked From John Simon at 11:12PM
Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Curse Words by John Simon

Persons of extreme sensitivity or puritanical leanings might as well stop reading right here; others might find, as I do, each language ‘s choice of curse words and  purported profani…

Linked From John Simon at 11:48AM
Thursday, January 24, 2019

Apologia by John Simon

“Through more than thirty years of writing and behavior, Simon has shown us how easy it is to be a snake.” So ends an attack on me of a good many years ago on Salon by Charles Taylor, sh…

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Friday, January 4, 2019

Of Love and Food by John Simon

In a recent blog post I enumerated poems or parts of poems that have been amiably haunting me all my life. Yet there is one of tem that, though frequently recurrent, I did not mention. It ru…

Linked From John Simon at 04:36PM
Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Death by John Simon

Herewith a number of lyric verse quotations about death or dying from books in my collection. Where the source is formal, rhyming verse, I tend to include the original; where it is prose or …

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Saturday, November 10, 2018

Favorite Quotations by John Simon

Some of what follows may be repetition, but a good thing bears repeating, especially in an age when so much bad stuff is prevailing. So what I am discussing and explicating are touchstones a…

Linked From John Simon at 11:42PM
Monday, October 29, 2018

Foot Fetishism by John Simon

A fetish is, according to one definition, an object or body part, that elicits adoration or sexual arousal, and may in extreme cases be needed for complete sexual gratification. It is usuall…

Linked From John Simon at 12:36AM
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

IRONY by John Simon

The text today is irony, from the Greek for dissimulation, as I learn from J. R. Cuddon’s marvelous book (more about that anon), from which I quote the following, enough for an initial def…

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Saturday, September 1, 2018

Questions by John Simon

Some questions may be hard to answer, yet they must be asked. And answering is not enough: they must , when answered, also be acted upon. They are like potholes on the roads, so numerous tha…

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Monday, August 20, 2018

Lapses by John Simon

Under the rubric “Lapses, let me start with two flagrantly poor specimens of usage, which I find particularly painful. Both are exemplars of redundancy, excess verbiage that can and should…

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Cultured Person by John Simon

This is about what qualifies an individual as a cultured person. It is perforce so from my particular point of view; from someone else’s, it may well differ. According to Bryan Garner’s&…

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Abortion by John Simon

This little essay was composed before the wonderful news from Roman Catholic Ireland: a thunderous yes to legitimizing abortion. Now if only other Catholic countries would share the pluck of…

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Titles by John Simon

Titles do matter, at the very least in garnering desirable tables in restaurants, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. By this I mean titles both of people and of literary works, amon…

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Saturday, April 21, 2018


My time as a graduate student in Comparative Literature was as good as can be, and a pleasure to recall. Who would have thought that it would be this enjoyable?Since I could no longer stay i…

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Names, Again by John Simon

Here I am again with a blog post on names, names that I find variously interesting. Take, for example, Dove. It is the name of a very good chocolate and a very good soap, and a worthy but no…

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

by John Simon

Eeminism etc.The American Heritage Dictionary defines feminism as "Belief  in or advocacy of women's  social political, and economic rights, especially with regard to equality of t…

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Jokes Etc. by John Simon

Jokes are our friends that accompany us through life—at least he good ones are. They made us laugh when we first heard or read them, and they make us smile as we summon them up from our me…

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Monday, January 22, 2018

Critics and Criticism by John Simon

“Are critics necessary?” a good many people ask, not a few of them the butts of some kind of criticism. Certainly if dray horses, victims of he whip, could speak, the answer would be No.…

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Same Sex by John Simon

I have sometimes been called (wrongly) a homophobe. But let’s start with the word “homosexual.” The “homo,” per se, has nothing to do with homosexuality. It comes from the Greek …

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Names by John Simon

Names are more significant than one might offhand assume.  I am thinking of first (or given, or Christian names) names, whose bearers may or may not be concerned with, or even aware of,…

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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Onomatopoeia by John Simon

There is a salient aspect of language that I haven’t handled hitherto--not alliteration, as in these consecutive h-words, but onomatopoeia, Greek for name-making. What it really means is w…

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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Languages by John Simon

Be prepared for vehement disagreement with what follows, but mind that I am not proposing it as a binding universal truth, only as my own certainly arguable private views. What I am assertin…

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Monday, November 6, 2017

MYTHS by John Simon

Some stories are, or ought to be, mythic. I may have already adduced them before and will try not to repeat myself, though these days my memory Is far from reliable. Now does it much matter …

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Danielle Darrieux by John Simon

A very smart ex-girlfriend of mine always began reading the Times with the obituaries. The obits, to give them their nickname, are the important epilogue to a life, a summing-up that may sli…

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

GOD by John Simon

Sooner or later the question of God raises its troubling head for most of us. Does he exist or doesn’t he? Or has he died, as Nietzsche postulated? And if he exists, where exactly does he?…

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Sunday, October 8, 2017

VARIOUS by John Simon

A popular miscalculation in my view is the notion of a first and last in literature. Presumably to enhance their subject’s importance, scholars and critics have made out a writer to be the…

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Who Killed Poetry? by John Simon

I write as an occasional verse writer and constant poetry lover. Also one-time teacher of poetry in a writing course. Further, poetry reciter of great distinction according to my wife, thoug…

Linked From John Simon at 02:48PM