A lively collection of the iconoclastic English theater man’s correspondence. “Critic” is too confining a word for the wide-ranging abilities of Kenneth Tynan (1927—80), although from 1951 to 1963 he wrote unfailingly stimulating theater reviews for several London periodicals and for the New Yorker magazine. In 1963 he joined England’s newly formed National Theatre as literary manager, shaping over the next decade (with artistic director Laurence Olivier) a varied program of classics and contemporary plays, some of a politically or sexually provocative nature that prompted confrontations with the British censors and the National Theatre’s board. Tynan continued as a journalist during and after those years, primarily writing profiles of performers; he also devised the erotic revue Oh! Calcutta! His letters chronicle all this activity with the same verve, wit, and gift for invective that distinguish his criticism. His widow, Kathleen Tynan, selected the material and provided the notes and expository paragraphs before her death in 1995. This background is helpful, if sometimes unduly comprehensive. Also, too much of the text (one-fourth) is devoted to Tynan’s correspondence as a teenager and Oxford undergraduate, in which he displays an unattractive arrogance and flippancy (“I would rather write amusingly and inaccurately than correctly and tediously”) that moderated as he matured. His easy manner occasionally gave the impression that Tynan was a lightweight, a notion effectively countered here by thoughtful, detailed critiques of productions he worked on and by letters voicing his strongly left-wing political and social convictions. Once past the youthful posturing, the correspondence builds by accretion of detail an appealing portrait of a warm, intelligent man passionately engaged in the arts of his time. Consistently absorbing and entertaining, though it would have benefitted from more judicious editing. (photos, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-679-42610-8

Page Count: 688

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1998

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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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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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