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March 16, 2014


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The great irony of Harbach's horseshit is that his novel, "The Art of Fielding", reads like a very accomplished MFA thesis. It's an enjoyable book, but not exactly a daring act of artistic bravery.

Jack Worthing

It is fair to say that Brown's 'house style' under Paula Vogel has deeply influenced or infected American playwriting.

I think you know what word I'd choose there.


For some reason, I cut the paragraph where I talked about that, Jack. Or maybe I dreamt I wrote it. But what I was going to say was that one of the few remaining recent examples of a writing MFA with an (at least perceived house style) was Paula Vogel at Brown. And even then, quite a bit of that had as much to do with which writers were admitted than anything else. It's actually THAT issue (who gets admitted) that's way more determining of an MFA program's stylistic range than what happens to the students once they're there.

I'd also say that I know a lot of playwrights who studied at Brown during Vogel's tenure, and I think quite a bit of the perceived "house style" of that program has as much to do with industry gatekeepers (ADs, lit managers, granters etc.) then it does with her. And either way, Vogel doesn't run a playwriting MFA program anymore, and was more the exception that proved the rule.

Jack Worthing

Fair points all.

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