Impeccable, fanciful/polemical tidbits of Christian-oriented journalism—including one unpublished essay—from the author of The Screwtape Letters and The Narnia Chronicles. A cheerful introduction from editor Hooper (Oxford don and old friend of lewis) mentions Lewis' pronounced aversion to newspapers—he rarely wrote for them, read them next to never—and gives detailed publication sources for the 14 anomalous, previously uncollected essays that follow. Written between 1940 and 1962, most of these pieces employ a particular current event or concern (a government report on higher education; the publication of a book challenging logical positivism; the obscenity trial of Lady Chatterly's Lover) as a springboard for probing commentary on man's spiritual state. For example, in the longest essay, "On Living in an Atomic Age" (1948), Lewis uses increasing worry about the bomb as an occasion for illuminating man's place in the universe, quickly and surgically excising hedonism and existentialism as untenable philosophies and making a strong case for the moral necessity, at least, of faith in something beyond the visible. What saves all this from deadly gravity is Lewis' quietly aristocratic dry humor (an essay on "Sex in Literature" concludes, "Four-letter words may soon be as dated as antimacassars"); his astonishing command of the English language: and some startlingly unexpected views (e.g., arguing in Prudery and Philogy" that authors avoid using obscenities in order to preserve the originality of the "last folk art" left: the dirty joke). Although not Lewis at his very best, still representative of his polished profundity, and more provocative than most journalism collections.

Pub Date: March 25, 1987

ISBN: 0156027852

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1987



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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