EDMUND WILSON

CENTENNIAL REFLECTIONS

This solid but too disparate collection of essays and panel discussions (drawn from a series of 1995 symposia celebrating the centenary of his birth) revisits Wilson's life, work, and legacy. Though he longed to be a novelist, Wilson found his greatest success with such classic critical and historical works as Axel's Castle, Patriotic Gore, and To the Finland Station. He had a true gift for elucidation and was keenly enough attuned to the subtleties of his culture to become an active shaping force. In the words of Random House editor Jason Epstein: ``He will eventually prove to be one of the greatest of our writers. Not so much for his individual works . . . but as perhaps the greatest teacher our literature has ever produced.'' Despite the similar accolades that lard this collection, one has to at least ask the question: Why? To critique the critic, to embed the historian in history, is to risk the law of diminishing returns, never mind academic navel-gazing. However, Dabney, a professor of English at the University of Wyoming and editor of several books by and about Wilson, has chosen most of his material well, and the list of contributors, from Arthur Schlesinger to Alfred Kazin and Louis Menand, is certainly impressive. But it is the nature of essays to be narrowly focused, and this leads here to a wallowing in minutiae. Essays on Wilson's philo-Semitism, romanticism, and lack of attention to minority writers, while well realized, are only fractionally revealing. More enlightening are the essays that broadly consider Wilson and his abiding cultural importance, particularly Louis Menand's ``Edmund Wilson and His Times'' and Paul Berman's ``Wilson and Our Non-Wilsonian Age.'' While the general reader will probably be lost throughout a good portion of this collection, it is a neat treat for die-hard Wilsonians.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-691-01672-0

Page Count: 285

Publisher: Princeton Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1997

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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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