Erudition lightly worn, eloquence finely crafted.



A veteran novelist (Heir to the Glimmering World, 2004, etc.) and essayist (Quarrel and Quandary: Essays, 2000, etc.) expatiates on the lives and works of literary figures as diverse as Helen Keller and Isaac Babel, Sylvia Plath and Azar Nafisi.

In these rich and varied essays, Ozick displays not only the wide range of her reading but also the impressive capaciousness of her imagination. The title essay is a brief, eloquent plea for the novel (threatened by movies and memoirs), which Ozick claims is “the last trustworthy vessel of the inner life.” A prominent presence throughout is Henry James (Ozick says she kept The Ambassadors on her desk while she wrote her own first novel, Trust), no more so than in the final essay, an ironic “interview” in which James endures and counters questions about his sexuality from a 21st-century interviewer. Another of Ozick’s interests is the conflict between high and low culture. In “Highbrow Blues,” she recalls the Franzen-Oprah contretemps and comments with some sadness that Philip Roth’s Shop Talk (2001), which in more literary times might have made a splash, instead caused barely a ripple. Ozick greatly admires Roth and Bellow but has little use for Mailer, whose work she dismisses in a couple of places. In the rare Sylvia Plath item with nary a mention of Ted Hughes (a review of Plath’s The Unabridged Journals, 2000), she quips, “She was both Emily Dickinson and Betty Crocker.” But it’s a long, reflective and personal piece about Lionel Trilling that is the book’s payoff.

Erudition lightly worn, eloquence finely crafted.

Pub Date: June 2, 2006

ISBN: 0-618-47050-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2006

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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