ONE MAN'S CHORUS

THE UNCOLLECTED WRITINGS

While this posthumous collection of essays, articles, and occasional pieces from the last two decades of Burgess’s life hardly ranks with his more signal works such as Byrne, (1997), and Clockwork Orange, (1962), its erudition, deftness, and polymathic range make it an exceptionally good read. Though he was one of the last, great expatriate British writers, Burgess never quite found his audience. His reputation as a novelist has whipsawed wildly and is still far from secure (there are strong partisans on both sides of the issue), but few dispute his acuity and fine-honed judgments as a literary critic. In this collection, certainly, it is where he is at his very best. His pieces on Joyce, Waugh, Flann O—Brien, and more are without exception full of fresh insights and provocative elucidations. Still, he is almost as good when he ranges farther and farther afield. From composers to architects such as Gaudi to movie stars to cultural differences, great cities, and any number of other subjects, his sheer, informed range and the breadth and play of his ideas are truly daunting. Burgess disciplined himself to write 1,000 words a day, and given that kind of productivity and the momentary nature, frankly acknowledged by Burgess, of these pieces, the occasional misfire is excusable. His pieces on his boyhood in Manchester are particularly weak. There are also a number or repetitions and recyclings, particularly his musings on the life of the novelist and the differences between the French and the English (one intellection—a second-hand one at that—on the saving stupidity of the Brits, appears at least five times). Though the whiff of Grub Street wafts across many of these pages, they are far more thought-provoking, polished, and richly readable than the usual harried, written-for-money pieces most writers crank out. We can only hope that this is not the last of Burgess’s literary remains.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-7867-0568-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Carroll & Graf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1998

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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