THE LOVE AFFAIR AS A WORK OF ART

Stylish, insightful narratives of exemplary love affairs- -liaisons conducted in French, during the Romantic period and the Belle Epoque, when intellectual talk and passionate correspondence lent formal brilliance to the work of love. The luxurious prose that New Yorker contributor Hofstadter (Goldberg's Angel, 1994, etc.) crafts here provides the perfect medium for transmitting the extravagant stylings of his subjects, French literati active during the years 17961834 and 18871915. Presenting evidence drawn from their public and, moreover, their private writings, Hofstadter shows how their romantic effusions shaped their lives to aesthetic ends. His story begins with the sentimental novelist Madame de Charriäre, who fairly late in her life established a deep yet apparently platonic relationship with the youthful Benjamin Constant. Constant left her for the celebrated author Madame de Staâl. Later, after emerging from de Staâl's influence, he would write an extraordinarily misogynist novel, Adolphe—based, ironically enough, on his mentor Madame de Charriäre's Caliste. Madame de Staâl's protegÇes also included Juliette RÇcamier, who fell for the Vicomte Chateaubriand, whose Memories from Beyond the Tomb Hofstadter presents as a brilliant achievement of memory and of lying. Hofstadter moves on to develop a second, similar picture of literary romance. This time the work of Marcel Proust, who modeled many of his characters on his contemporaries, provides the focus. Key actors include the novelist Anatole France; his lover, the salonniäre LÇontine de Caillavet; and her son, Gaston, who competed with Proust himself for the affections of Jeanne Pouquet. Like Chateaubriand, Proust inevitably brings the topic around to memory and its vicissitudes. Hofstadter, for his part, hesitates to draw any resolutions from them for our time. He stresses instead the gulf that lies between these worlds of letters and our own society. Hofstader's recreation of French romanticisms exemplifies the art of collective biography. But without larger conclusions, his tale, however artfully crafted, remains a mere melodrama of literary life.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-374-19231-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1995

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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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