Posts by Madison Smartt Bell

From the Sublime to the Hilarious: On Damascus Gate by Robert Stone (part 4) photo
February 28, 2020 | Nonfiction

From the Sublime to the Hilarious: On Damascus Gate by Robert Stone (part 4)

Madison Smartt Bell

Part 1 of 4
Part 2 of 4
Part 3 of 4

 

Apart from all these violent events, Raziel, De Kuff, and the other cult members have been moving between Jerusalem, Safed (site of the ancient

From the Sublime to the Hilarious: On Damascus Gate by Robert Stone (part 3) photo
February 21, 2020 | Nonfiction

From the Sublime to the Hilarious: On Damascus Gate by Robert Stone (part 3)

Madison Smartt Bell

The story of religious mania and the story of political violence look very likely to converge on each other.  Having consciously elected the first, Lucas keeps being drawn, sometimes unwillingly, sometimes unwittingly, toward the other. Both feature his new inamorata, Sonia Barnes.

From the Sublime to the Hilarious: On Damascus Gate by Robert Stone (part 2) photo
February 14, 2020 | Nonfiction

From the Sublime to the Hilarious: On Damascus Gate by Robert Stone (part 2)

Madison Smartt Bell

If Lucas is the most obvious Bob Stone avatar in Damascus Gate, Adam De Kuff might also be a contender, sharing with his author an improperly managed mental illness (it’s made very plain that De Kuff has stopped taking his prescribed bipolar meds a long while back)

From the Sublime to the Hilarious: On Damascus Gate by Robert Stone (part 1) photo
February 7, 2020 | Nonfiction

From the Sublime to the Hilarious: On Damascus Gate by Robert Stone (part 1)

Madison Smartt Bell

Stone had two modes of handwriting: one a gnarly cursive he used to talk to himself and the other block capitals, more easily legible. On a scrap of torn paper in a crate of Damascus Gate research material is a draft of a self-mocking doggerel poem...