THREE BAGS FULL: Essays in American Fiction by Philip Young

THREE BAGS FULL: Essays in American Fiction

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Three rather mixed bags by a generalist-at-heart professor who inadvertently became a ""Hemingway Man"" with the publication of Ernest Hemingway: A Reconsideration, alleged in some quarters to have been a prophecy of the author's suicide. The first section here recaps Young's involvement with the Hemingways, including a consideration of his own role in the bitter denouement, his feud with Hotchner (no friend of Papa's, said Young on TV), and a bitchy-funny Hemingway bibliography annotated in our scholar's inimitable shorthand (""If I crucify this jerk, would that make him a Christ symbol?""). The second is a PMLA-oriented roundup of articles on Melville, Twain, Hawthorne, etc., again lightened by a savage little entr'acte about the Hawthorne Centennial Edition: ""I will lay crisp new bills that in a few years it will prove as embarrassing to the experts as it now seems curious to the unwashed."" And the third consists of pieces investigating the myth value of Pocahontas and Rip Van Winkle. ""In a sense all literature is escape literature,"" says Young with his characteristic bluntness about such things; and his kind of criticism offers a similar out for those who simply want to escape the stuffier enclaves of the field.

Pub Date: Jan. 26th, 1971
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich