THE 1930S

The author of a multivolume biography of Hemingway (which began with The Young Hemingway, 1986) continues his fact-packed, engaging exploration of the talent Lionel Trilling called perhaps the most ``publicly developed'' in America's history. As in his previous volumes (Hemingway: The Paris Years, 1989; Hemingway: The American Homecoming, 1992), this one focuses on both Hemingway's life and American cultural history, in this case during the 1930s. The approach not only suits a subject so prominent in his time, but lifts the view of Hemingway beyond the familiar outline: the friendships, the mood swings, the writing schedule, the aggressively masculine lifestyle, and the oft- repeated premonitions of death (though all are here, in moderation). Also well presented are Hemingway's two women: his prim, devoted wife, Pauline, who made ``her husband her life's work,'' and his lover Martha Gellhorn, whose beauty, political activism, and ``footloose idealism'' drew him away. Reynolds's careful explanations of the genesis and meanings of such landmark stories as ``The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,'' and his careful examination of Hemingway's ambivalence about Catholicism, are all fresh, impressive, and useful. Concerned about the apparent divide between his beliefs and his fiction, Hemingway told Pauline that he was constantly struggling to separate ``Hemingway the writer from Hemingway the private man''—the former a man with ``no politics nor any religion,'' the latter a parishioner, almsgiver, and penitent. Deftly woven into the narrative are striking words and images from the decade, reminding one of the turbulent context in which Hemingway worked. Aside from occasional slips into floridity, this is a steady, dramatically satisfying, even enlightening look at a major talent and his times. (photos, maps, not seen) (Book-of- the-Month Club/Quality Paperback Book Club selection)

Pub Date: May 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-393-04093-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1997

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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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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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