ON STORIES

AND OTHER ESSAYS ON LITERATURE

A minor but occasionally stimulating collection (nine of the 20 pieces originally appeared in Of Other Worlds) on fiction, fantasy, and related topics. Some of the items look suspiciously like fillers (a one-paragraph tribute to E. R. Eddison, for example, or the transcript of a chat on science fiction with Kingsley Amis and Brian Aldiss); and none of them is truly memorable. But Lewis' wide reading and sturdy common sense (in some ways he was a scaled-down version of Dr. Johnson) make him a rewarding, if not illuminating, critic. Even when his case is dubious ("bad art never enraptures"), his debating skills are formidable. And while not steadily eloquent, Lewis can hammer out a well-turned phrase: "We must not listen to Pope's maxim about the proper study of mankind. The proper study of man is everything." Lewis has no all-encompassing system to offer, thank goodness. He praises the work of his friend J. R. R. Tolkien indiscriminately, and he often fails to substantiate his prejudices (against The Arabian Nights, for instance). Still, when it comes to fundamentals, to showing why Animal Farm is a classic and 1984 is not, to defending H. Rider Haggard's creative importance despite his wretched style, to explaining the appeal of The Wind in the Willows, Lewis does a more than satisfactory job. The book won't stir up a great deal of interest except among his admirers, but their number seems to be large—and growing larger.

Pub Date: April 30, 1982

ISBN: 0156027682

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1982

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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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