THE FORTIES by Edmund Wilson

THE FORTIES

From Notebooks & Diaries Of The Period
Age Range: 1943 - 1944
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KIRKUS REVIEW

To an even greater degree than previous volumes of Wilson's notebook/diaries, this third installment is largely taken up with travel/reporter notes for future books and journalism: here he is visiting end-of-the-war Italy and Greece, postwar Haiti and the Zuni--and editor Edel scrupulously indicates, sequence by sequence, the sources of passages in Europe Without Baedeker and Red, Black, Blond and Olive. Disappointingly, however, there are only a couple of pages of notes for The Wound and the Bow. And there are fewer personal ruminations than before: ten pages of political "Thoughts," 1943-1944 ("Soon the globe will be known and a bore"); elaborate erotic descriptions of his courtship of fourth wife Elena; a touching visit to old-flame Edna Millay (some of which went into The Shores of Light); the funeral of John Dos Passos' wife Katy, killed in a car accident; and a visit to the home of an old Princeton friend--where nothing is quite what it seems. ("I went over to look at something which I fancied was a rare book in a glass case--it turned out to be a cheap green boys' book in a small empty aquarium.") Still, students of Wilson's oeuvre will, as always, find illuminating notes-into-essay clues here, as well as a few jottings re an unfinished novel; and the travel material includes offbeat run-ins with such contemporaries as George Santayana, Evelyn Waugh, and Felix Frankfurter--who told EW in 1949, at Tanglewood, that he approved of Hecate County.
Pub Date: April 28th, 1983
ISBN: 0374518351
Page count: 418pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1983




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