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Works by
Bruce Benderson
(Writer)
[August 6, 1946 - ]

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Profile created June 9, 2008
Essays
  • Sex and Isolation: And Other Essays (2007)
    Bruce Benderson has gained international respect for his controversial opinions and original take on contemporary society. In this collection of essays, Benderson directs his exceptional powers of observation toward some of the most debated, as well as some of the most neglected, issues of our day.

    In Sex and Isolation, readers will encounter eccentric street people, Latin American literary geniuses, a French cabaret owner, a transvestite performer, and many other unusual characters; they’ll visit subcultures rarely described in writing and be treated to Benderson’s iconoclastic opinions about culture in former and contemporary urban society. Whether proposing new theories about the relationship between art, entertainment, and sex, analyzing the rise of the Internet and the disappearance of public space, or considering how religion and sexual identity interact, each essay demonstrates sharp wit, surprising insight and some startling intellectual positions.

    This is the first American volume of Benderson’s collected essays, featuring both new work and some of his best-known writings, including his famous essay “Toward the New Degeneracy.”

  • Toward the New Degeneracy: An Essay (1997)

Fiction
  • The Romanian: Story of an Obsession (2006) -- Winner Prix de Flore (Note:  Bruce Benderson is the first American to receive the Prix de Flore.)
    History follows a trail of sputtering desire, often calling upon the delusions of lovers to generate the sparks. If it weren't for us, the world would suffer from a dismal lack of stories," writes Bruce Benderson in this brutally candid memoir.

    "What astonishes and intrigues is Benderson's way of recounting, in the sweetest possible voice, things that are considered shocking," wrote Le Monde. What's so shocking? It's not just Benderson's job translating Céline Dion's saccharine autobiography, which he admits is driving him mad; but his unrequited love for an impoverished Romanian in "cheap club-kid platforms with dollar signs in his squinting eyes," whom he meets while on a journalism assignment in Eastern Europe.

    Rather than retreat, Benderson absorbs everything he can about Romanian culture and discovers an uncanny similarity between his own obsession for the Romanian (named Romulus) and the disastrous love affair of King Carol II, the last king of Romania (1893-1953). Throughout, Benderson-"absolutely free of bitterness, nastiness, or any desire to protect himself," wrote Le Monde-is sustained by little white codeine pills, a poetic self-awareness, a sense of humor, and an unwavering belief in the perfect romance, even as wild dogs chase him down Romanian streets.

  • User (1994)

  • Pretending to Say No: A Novella and Eleven Stories (1990)

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