BLOOMSBURY PIE

THE MAKING OF THE BLOOMSBURY BOOM

This lively volume recounts the outpouring of masses of paper devoted to what one chronicler later described as, alternatively, ``a point of view, a period, a gang of conspirators, or an infectious disease.'' Whatever Bloomsbury was, whether Clive Bell's ``shrine of civilization'' or D.H. Lawrence's nest of ``black beetles,'' it is now an industry—literary, scholarly, artistic, and cultural. Marler, the editor of the Selected Letters of Vanessa Bell (1993), is part of this industry, but she views its history of sensational biographic revelations, disputed literary estates, and academic squabbles with equanimity and wit. Michael Holroyd's groundbreakingly frank biography of Lytton Strachey (196768) usually gets much of the credit for the Bloomsbury revival after F.R. Leavis's scorn in Scrutiny and the art world's dismissal. Marler gives an entertaining account of Holroyd's determined efforts to penetrate the circle of surviving Bloomsberries after receiving only a ú50 advance from his reluctant publisher. She also examines more deliberate strategies of keeping Bloomsbury on the cultural map. Leonard Woolf continued publishing his wife's writings after her death, always fighting to keep her work available. The shrewd London art dealer Anthony d'Offay stepped in during the declining years of Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell and, with assistance from several of Grant's protÇgÇs, profited handsomely while marketing his work. Quentin Bell, Virginia Woolf's nephew and first biographer, became the tactful keeper of the Bloomsbury flame, even as American feminists started to present a radical version of his aunt in the 1970s. Marler is particularly sharp on transatlantic differences in the Bloomsbury boom, illuminating the British domestication of the unconventional coterie vs. its American academization in the MLA and assorted archives. A tart but flavorsome recipe for the preserves of Bloomsberries in what Marler accurately describes as ``a tenacious and unwieldy cultural phenomenon.''

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8050-4416-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

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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