A Contributing Editor of The New York Review of Books, Lieberson here gathers together a collection of eclectic reviews and...

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A Contributing Editor of The New York Review of Books, Lieberson here gathers together a collection of eclectic reviews and essays on art, science, and cultural trends. As suggested by the title, Lieberson's collection engages a wide range of relatively unrelated topics, crisscrossing disciplines and touching on matters as disparate as medieval cookery and contemporary psychoanalysis. The bulk of Lieberson's work centers on personalities of varying degrees of intellectual legitimacy. He is particularly adept at applying systematic and rational inquiry to the claims of schools and movements, including psychoanalysis (is it a ""real"" science?), est, and the logic of Karl Popper. While Diane Arbus, for example, shines under the glare of Lieberson's probe, the founder of est--Werner Erhard (a.k.a. Jack Rosenberg, a.k.a. Jack Frost)--withers. However, despite length and erudition, most of these pieces aren't full-fledged essays in the sense of broadly conceived arguments; they are book reviews anchored in a discussion of single texts. So the parameters of Lieberson's discussion of, say, Diane Arbus, are largely limited by Patricia Bosworth's biography of the photographer. Many of these pieces previously appeared in The New York Review of Books and almost all have the quick-fade aspect of (unfortunately) book reviews everywhere. Best in small doses, in the spirit of their original, isolated journal appearances.

Pub Date: March 24, 1988

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1988