NOTEBOOKS OF A DILETTANTE by Leopold Tyrmand

NOTEBOOKS OF A DILETTANTE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

These pieces which may run from a sentence (""In the modern American landscape, Howard Johnson's is the campanile of the village church"") to several pages have appeared in part in The New Yorker and the New Leader. They're by a Polish-born, about-to-be-American journalist often given to impromptu instant generalizations and contrasting the cultivated European vs. the commercialized American. Beginning, like de Tocqueville, with marginal comments on the physical scene here (where everyone ""smiles-a social feature"" or Disneyland, a ""defeat of positivism"" or ""in this beet of civilizations, the hotels are true ulcers"") he leads-on to greater things: social (nudity or pornography), political (manifestations of the racial/radical splits and mouthpieces Mao, Marcuse land McLuhan), intellectual, et al... On the whole Mr. Tyrmand returns to the vested values of tradition and maturity (""This epoch I consider as marked by the total failure of youth"") but also upholds dilettantism (impartiality... ""Isn't it more honorable not to know for sure than to know too much and too well?"") And he also upholds American society as ""the only one that scores some points.."" A humanistic, non-doctrinaire, catchy commentary to be read with a cocked eyebrow and that prominent social feature, the smile.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1969
Publisher: Macmillan