“Belle Rêve” was in “Streetcar” years before it was in “Gladiator-at-Law.” Live and learn.
In reference to my post on the development of instant suburban slums as a result of the housing crunch, my sister points out that years before Pohl and Kornbuth made “Belle Rêve” (aka “Belly Rave”) the prototype fictional slum of that sort it was the name of Blanche Dubois’s lost home in A Streetcar Named Desire. Pohl and Kornbluth would have known that, even though I didn’t.
Now I saw Streetcar once, years before I read Gladiator-at-Law, and if you’d asked me two days ago “Who is Blanch Dubois?” I might well have come up with the right answer. And yet the allusion went right over my head. It makes you wonder how much you’re missing when you read an older text, whose author was familiar with a whole literature you’ve never read, much of it no longer extant: Shakespeare or Plato, for example.
Author: Mark Kleiman
Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out.
Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken)
When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist
Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993)
Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989)
View all posts by Mark Kleiman