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The Insanity Defense

1 rating: -2.0
A compilation volume by Woody Allen

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Author: Woody Allen
Genre: Comedy
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Date Published: 2007.6.12
ISBN: 0812978110
1 review about The Insanity Defense

Not at all what it purports to be

  • Jun 27, 2011
Two anthologies of Allen's tripartite output were issued in 1989 and 1992, respectively: a handsomely typeset trade paperback edition plainly titled Without Feathers/Getting Even/Side Effects and the hardbound Complete Prose of Woody Allen. The former omnibus comprised the entirety of Getting Even, Without Feathers and Side Effects. The Insanity Defense's subtitle of "The Complete Prose" is a disingenuous disclaimer: Allen's comic stageplays Death Knocks, God and Death (on which his 1992 homage to Weimar expressionism Shadows and Fog is based) are omitted from the contents of this anthology...as are those of Mere Anarchy, publication of which was postponed for a year to assure both maximal sales for both. For those who aspire to amass the majority of Allen's oeuvre in print (excluding numerous dramatic works), both the original collections and aforementioned anterior compilations of this material are affordable at a paltry expense, and sport tasteful cover designs far more attractive than this volume's unsightly face.

The rating assigned this book hardly denotes the excellence of its content. Much of Allen's superlative authorship may be observed in his less recognized works; two examples of inspired, relatively neglected spoofs are If the Impressionists Had Been Dentists (what the author accurately describes as "a fantasy exploring the transposition of temperament") and The Gossage-Vardebedian Papers, which consists of correspondence in which two haughty, duplicitous chess participants engage one another in an exchange of passive-aggressive, cumulatively delusive one-upmanship. Though peppered with non sequiturs, Allen's humor is uniquely subtilized, nigh-erudite; it deserves a better presentation than this book affords.

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