THE LETTERS OF CARL SANDBURG by Herbert--Ed. Mitgang

THE LETTERS OF CARL SANDBURG

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KIRKUS REVIEW

These letters, which begin in 1898 when Sandburg was a private during the Spanish-American War and end in 1962 about five years before his death, may explain how he changed from a dissenting minstrel of the poor and the blighted, like Whitman, to his popular and official eminence as a sort of Norman Rockwell in verse. Certainly when we read his early correspondence with Amy Lowell or Ezra Pound or Vachel Lindsay, or learn of his Socialist campaigning for Eugene Debs, and then follow his slow but sure rise through the Twenties and Thirties (the Lincoln biographies, The People, Yes, the letters to Franklin Roosevelt or Henry Luce), and finally catch him in Hollywood as consultant on the mammoth Biblical spectacle. The Greatest Story Ever Told, one does observe some sort of peculiar metamorphosis above and beyond the simple outsider/insider mechanism. The letters --buoyant, spunky, readable--do not, alas, present any particularly introspective or intimate portrait. They do show that Sandburg always felt he remained true to his ideals.

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1968
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World