BACKING INTO THE FUTURE

THE CLASSICAL TRADITION AND ITS RENEWAL

Essays, articles, and reviews from the past few years by scholar and classicist Knox (The Oldest Dead White European Males, 1993, etc.). The ancients, Knox remarks, thought of themselves as looking into the past, which was visible, and as standing with their backs to the future, which was invisible for not yet existing. How this intriguing idea (people seem to have turned around sometime in the Middle Ages) manifests itself in the present volume may not be fully clear, although it's true that one does come away with an awakened sense of the past, if not always a highly excited one. Essays on Homer, Pindar, Euripides, Catullus, and Ovid—often the reviews of books on these figures—have less lift for the nonspecialist than they might have had at their first publication (in Grand Street, for example, The New Republic, and The New York Review of Books). A speech made on the subject of democracy's first origins, however (``The Athenian Century''), is full both of fact and fascination, as is a review of I.F. Stone's The Trial of Socrates; but a long review, on the other hand, of an academic book on Plato and Aristotle (``How Should We Live'') is unremittingly demanding, and a long essay on Sophocles is touched by Lethe. These pieces, though, have different characters just as they had different origins, and an essay on T.E. Lawrence's Odyssey is filled with interest, as are essays on the present status of philology (constituting a grand call to arms for humanities teaching), on historical American views of Rome, and a lyrically celebratory review, from a classicist commanding the entire long tradition, of Derek Walcott's Omeros. Not all things to all readers, but a varied pasture for literate browsers.

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 1994

ISBN: 0-393-03595-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1993

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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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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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