Thirty Auster essays, reviews, prefaces, and interviews, nearly all of which have been previously published in small literary magazines or The New York Review of Books. Many of these fugitive pieces predate Auster's successful career as a novelist (Leviathan, p. 732, etc.). In fact, they chart the transition he made from being a poet to becoming one of the increasingly well-known fictional voices of our time. The essays often address notions that animate the fiction: How do you speak about the unspeakable? How does the artist see while remaining invisible? How does art re-create the body of its creator? And, most importantly, why is modern art at its best all about failure and risk? Auster, whose main influences are Beckett and Kafka, introduces and examines writers whose work often embodies these themes—from Knut Hamsun's courtship of failure to Laura Riding's abandonment of poetry. A series of essays on the Objectivist poets (Charles Reznikoff, George Oppen, Carl Rakosi) forms a clear explanation of their post-Imagist aesthetic. Like Beckett characters, Auster's favorite writers pursue an art of survival—recognizing, but not acquiescing to, the absurd. Edmond Jabes deconstructs the book; Georges Perec combines literary play with human compassion; and Giuseppe Ungaretti continually confronts his mortality. Auster's historical command of modern French poetry is impressive. And his own aesthetic values are admirable—he takes a clear and levelheaded approach to writers often considered difficult and obscure. Auster's "eccentric and peculiar tastes" cohere, in these critical pieces, into something much more than his modest claim that he's "simply one writer trying to talk about others.

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 1992

ISBN: 0140267506

Page Count: 312

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1992

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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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