THE AUTHOR'S DIMENSION

SELECTED ESSAYS

Wolf's essays are interesting more for their circumstances than for what they have to say. As a preeminent, sanctioned East German writer before reunification, she was called on to accept state prizes galore, to award others, to pay birthday tributes to fellow members of the GDR's Writers' Union. The addresses obligated by these occasions have a welcome intimacy—the hallmark of Wolf's best fiction—but also a lot of fancy dancing to do. The earliest address here, from 1964, has Wolf playing simple Leninist parrot (``For art, the advantages of our society lie in the fact that by nature it is in tune with the objective laws of social development, with the objective interests of human beings''). She then has to move off that ``objective'' certainty to a 1987 plea for readmission to the Writer's Union of a number of banned, exiled writers as East Germany's ``advantages'' start to disappear like a mirage. To admirers of Wolf's fiction (most recently, What Remains), watching the ways in which an official writer must posture is a discomforting, even appalling spectacle. What ultimately seems to save Wolf here are a pair of appreciations of Max Frisch—the greatest German-speaking writer of his time, and a skeptical Swiss to boot. Wolf knows everything that makes Frisch major; and beneath her texts plays an honest agony, an inability to reconcile the utopian, then-calcified, myths of her own public life with the equally conscience-ridden doubts of the free man Frisch. These pieces exhibit a zeal for truth in Wolf that makes her trimming all the more grotesque. And doubtlessly self-painful, and thus touching.

Pub Date: March 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-374-12302-0

Page Count: 356

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1993

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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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