English majors, arise: Your field has been satirized, and well. Enjoy this in small doses, for it may be Crews’s last Pooh,...

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POSTMODERN POOH

A delightful sequel to the 1963 bestseller The Pooh Perplex that, like its predecessor, both skewers and synopsizes contemporary lit-crit approaches.

Comprised of “methodologically acute papers on Pooh from leading figures in our field” presented at a Modern Language Association forum (or so the tongue-in-cheek preface informs us), the volume aims to examine Pooh in ways that generate “usefully conflictual” comments. This goal was achieved, says youthful-gadfly-turned-ironist-emeritus Crews (English/Berkeley). There’s so much more to laugh at in literary criticism now than in 1963: while the first Pooh volume spoofed Freudian and Marxist academics, this one offers an even riper lot of ideologies for delectation. In 11 essays, including “Why? Wherefore? Inasmuch as Which?” and “The Fissured Subtext: Historical Problematics, the Absolute Cause, Transcoded Contradictions, and Late-Capitalist Metanarrative (in Pooh),” the Bear with Very Little Brain is dissected in light of gay studies, gyn crit, new historicism, meme studies, cultural studies, psychoanalytic studies, postcolonialism, poststructuralism, and more. Deliciously named imaginary contributors include N. Mack Hobbes, Sisera Catheter, and Calcutta-born Das Nuffa Dat. Identifying these characters is one of the many pleasures here: Could they be Stanley Fish, Judith Butler, Edward Said? At least Orpheus Bruno, writing on “The Importance of Being Portly,” definitely appears to be Harold Bloom (clues to identity can be found in the footnotes). The essays display such erudition that they provide a backhanded overview of modern critical theory. More important, they reveal the author’s humanistic faith even as “our humanism itself, by this late date, has become full of Pooh.”

English majors, arise: Your field has been satirized, and well. Enjoy this in small doses, for it may be Crews’s last Pooh, and you'll want to savor every semiotics joke that comes along.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-86547-626-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: North Point/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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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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