Adventures at a Woody Allen film festival.

  1. There is a Japanese word for it, I am sure. A word I probably even knew at one time (now there’s money well-spent on my East Asian Studies major). It had to do with poetry and a kind of punning resonance, a use of certain characters or phrases that made reference to ancient and classic Chinese poems. The reader or reciter would come upon these familiar stones in the river of words and a host of associations would be called up. The past briefly bubbling forth, thus enriching the experience of the here and now. Kind of like sampling from an older song, I suppose. Watching Manhattan is a similarly layered and muddy experience at this point. It’s not just having seen it so many times. It’s also its function at one time in my life as a touchstone of what it would be like to live here, then what it would be like to be older than I was living here, then to be essentially the same age as the characters themselves. In ways somewhat embarrassing to admit, it was for a time when I was green and s...

The complete text of “Manhattan” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on

Originally published in Tablet, January 2007

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