Redux: Everything Is a Machine



Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter.

In this week’s Redux, we’re in a reflective mood. Read Wallace Stegner’s 1990 Art of Fiction interview, Joy Williams’s short story “Jefferson’s Beauty,” and Mary Jo Bang’s poem “Self-Portrait in the Bathroom Mirror.”

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Wallace Stegner, The Art of Fiction No. 118
Issue no. 115 (Summer 1990)

I don’t think straitjackets are the way to get at fiction. I would rather define the novel as Stendhal did, as a mirror in the roadway. Whatever happens in the road is going to happen in the mirror too.



Jefferson’s Beauty
By Joy Williams
Issue no. 45 (Winter 1968)

“Jeffie,” he said to the face in the mirror, “is going to do something special for you today.” He smiled. The vision in the mirror smiled. He crooned at it, opened his mouth still wider and grinned. He thought again of the whale and of his own wonderful idea, pleased that something so eminently his own could be put to such good and fragrant use.



Self-Portrait in the Bathroom Mirror
By Mary Jo Bang
Issue no. 216 (Spring 2016)

Some days, everything is a machine, by which I mean
remove any outer covering and you will most likely
find component parts: cogs and wheels that whir just
like an artificial heart …


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