FROM SENSIBILITY TO ROMANTICISM

ESSAYS PRESENTED TO FREDERICK A. POTTLE

A brilliant collection of twenty-six essays from various academic hands, votive offerings presented to the eminent Boswell scholar, Professor Frederick Pottle. Oddly enough there's nothing at all on Boswell, though there are two studies of Johnson. The underlying theme investigates the changes in England's literary temper during the 18th century and the early years of the 19th, ranging from the urbane didacticism of Pope to the more oracular moods of Wordsworth and the other Romantics. The best pieces are general appreciations: Martin Price on the playfulness and preciosities of the "picturesque" in art, nature, and poetry, and M. H. Abrams' concluding paper on the style and structure of the lyric meditation. Blake's subversive metrics and unorthodox Christianity, the varying modes of self-consciousness in Coleridge, Byron, Shelley and Keats, the diction of Words-worth and Burns, reconsideration of Collins and Gray's Elegy, the development of the dramatic line in Pope and Johnson- these make up the more particularized excursions, each in its way showing how an elegant melancholic sensibility took on certain crises, what's usually termed "dejection" or the loss of a spiritual or personal wonder. A must.

Pub Date: June 15, 1965

ISBN: 0195008022

Page Count: 585

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1965

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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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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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