THE FINE ART OF LITERARY MAYHEM by Mytrick Land

THE FINE ART OF LITERARY MAYHEM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

All the art in Myrick Land's gimmicky, gossipy collection of literary free-for-alls stem from the participants. Whenever Pope is letting loose at Colley Cibber, or Johnson's tacking Chesterfield, Beerbohm's denouncing Kipling, Maugham's roman a Walpole or Hemingway's showing-off the hair on his chest to a befuddled Max Eastman, then the wit sizzles, the sparks fly and the hot and happy feuds blaze like hell. Or when the messianic Lawrence sits with his ""last supper"" cult with Middleton Murray as Judas, or poor Turgenev gets pestered by three paranoid scribblers (Goncharov, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky), or Norman Mailer, the only living members of these vendettas, squares off at his contemporary challengers, like Gore Vidal or James Baldwin, then these score cards of cultural contretemps, personality clashes and backroom politicking come to life. Certainly an entertaining expose of men and letters, the scholarship is superficial and the sensibility basically cheap. The groundling will delight, the highbrow shudder.

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 1962
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston