Often intricate and lovely leaves from the author’s literary tree.

CRITICS, MONSTERS, FANATICS, AND OTHER LITERARY ESSAYS

A veteran and venerated literary essayist, critic, and novelist collects some recent (some previously unpublished) reviews and essays.

For each of the terms in her title, Ozick (Foreign Bodies, 2010, etc.), a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, offers a brief essay of explanation and even elaboration, and throughout, she delights with her almost Emersonian aphorisms. In her section on “Monsters,” for example, which deals with the oddness of writers, she writes (alluding to Flaubert) that she will be considering “the condition of the writer as a deformed outlier.” Virtually every page of this strong collection features something memorable, and several significant figures appear more than once, mostly writers and fellow critics whom she admires: Kafka, Harold Bloom, Saul Bellow, and William Gass (whose sentences “are most exhilaratingly ingenious when they venture into unexpected and dizzying keys, diving from vernacular directness into an atonal Niagaran deluge”), among others. Ozick also deals with some key issues in the literary world—the difficulties of translation, the differences between a critic and a reviewer (she places herself firmly among the former and goes off on what she sees as facile and ignorant “reviews” posted on Amazon and on other sites—and notes with sadness how quickly literary figures pass away from the public mind when they die. More than once, she mentions Norman Mailer as a case in point. She doesn’t think Bellow has suffered such a fate, but this may be more her wish than a fact. Ozick’s pieces are also rigorously intellectual. Readers will need some patience and considerable knowledge to keep up with her in her essays about Kafka and Auden and Gass.

Often intricate and lovely leaves from the author’s literary tree.

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-70371-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more