THE SHOCK OF RECOGNITION by Edmund Wilson

THE SHOCK OF RECOGNITION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An Interesting collection of literary documents, which provides a chronicle of the progress of literature in the United States as recorded by its creators through essays, critical works, memoirs, journals, letters and so on. Not a collection of literary criticism by men whose job is criticism; but writers writing about each other. Again and again, certain controversial figures emerge,- Poe, Whitman, Hawthorne, Thoreau, Coopers one senses the mood of the times, in a way that would not emerge from stereotyped criticism. Occasionally, a creative writer has done a series of critical commentaries on his contemporaries, as for example, when Poe writes of Brainard, Longfellow, Ward Canning, Bryant, Margaret Fuller, Hawthorne; or Emerson writes on Whitman, Lowell, Cabot, Carlyle. Turnabout is fair play, and Whitman writes on Emerson; Emerson on Thoreau; Thoreau on Emerson, Lowell on Poe. Biographical, to some extent (and Wilson contributes some biographical notes of his own), but for the most part, an opportunity to see the reflection of great figures in our literature in the thoughts of their fellows. There are a few comments by Europeans on Americans -- H.G. Wells on Stephen Crane; D.H. Lawrence on numerous writers. Stimulating reading, but for students of literature primarily.
Pub Date: June 4th, 1943
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1943




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