WAGNER NIGHTS

AN AMERICAN HISTORY

An expert blend of musical and social history, illuminating one of the cultural cores of America's ``Gilded Age.'' In the 1880s, as accurately depicted in Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence, the upper echelons of New York society flocked to Faust (a scene carefully retained in Martin Scorsese's recent film version). But by the 1890s, Wagner fever had overtaken America's most ardent opera patrons, and not in New York alone. This is the world that Horowitz (The Ivory Trade, 1990, etc.) reveals in his fascinating, gracefully written study of American Wagnerism. Currently executive director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, formerly a New York Times music critic, and a long-time student of the interplay between musical art and national culture, Horowitz orders his narrative around the parallel careers of the conductor Anton Seidl and the New York Tribune critic Henry Krehbiel. He evokes an era when issues of aesthetics and musical philosophy were the common currency of middle-class discussion. From the viewpoint of today's world, in which the column inches devoted to serious arts criticism in the daily papers have shrunk to virtually nothing, fin-de-siäcle America was, musically and intellectually, an enviably lively place. Wagner's works dominated the stage, and his music and ``ideas'' were the subject of passionate debate. To this extent, Horowitz proves his thesis that the ``Gay '90s'' were not the crass, lowbrow scene its detractors have claimed. One fascinating recurrent theme in this study is the positive impact of Wagnerism on emerging feminism at the turn of the century. It appears that a majority of American Wagnerites were women, and the idea of Brunnhilde (as well as the regal dramatic sopranos who portrayed her) fit neatly with the notion of the ``New Woman'' then sweeping the nation. A work of engrossing scholarship about an important, unjustly ignored slice of our artistic past.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-520-08394-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Univ. of California

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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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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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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