SELECTED NON-FICTION

Familiar essays and lectures by the great Argentine fantasist, plus many hitherto uncollected pieces. Borges (1899—1986) first appeared on the American scene in 1962, when his Ficciones abruptly made it plain that a major foreign writer had escaped our attention for quite a while. Since then, our publishing houses have been briskly making up for lost time, issuing a wide variety of anthologies and collections. This one, honoring the author’s centenary, comprises no fewer than 150 separate nonfiction pieces: essays, lectures, book and movie reviews, magazine articles, journalistic commentary, prologues to Spanish translations of books from other languages. This is a lot of Borges, and the volume’s bulk runs counter to the spirit of his creativity. A modest and always fastidious writer, he cultivated short forms with great success; consequently, to have so much of his occasional writing deposited in one clump may not have been to his taste. Still, it’s good to reread familiar pieces and discover a few new ones. Curiously, the expanded Borges does not open new vistas on this writer. Instead, it serves to confirm that his imagination circled back continually and always fruitfully to topics and figures that preoccupied him: De Quincey, The Arabian Nights, Chesterton, Schopenhauer, the Kabbalah, Nietzsche, Argentine identity, Buddhism, and the idea, variously ramified, of infinity. His characteristic pose is that of slightly pedantic bookishness, as in this opening: “I read, a few days ago, that the man who ordered the building of the almost infinite Chinese Wall was that first Emperor, Shih Huang Ti, who also decreed the burning of all books that had been written before his time.” Apart from a little new information about this or that, what we always come away with is a deepened understanding of how passionate and rich the literary life can be. Fresh translations, useful and unintrusive notes (editor Weinberger has also translated the poetry of Octavio Paz), several new pieces of writing, but not a leap into an altered vision of Borges. (First serial to Grand Street)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 1999

ISBN: 0-670-84947-2

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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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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