HOMAGE TO THEODORE DREISER ON THE CENTENNIAL OF HIS BIRTH

A centennial celebration, which like Ellen Moers' excellent Two Dreisers (1969), reaches beyond the vast blunders and dramatic miseries of Dreiser's career (so exhaustively documented by Swanberg in his 1965 biography) to the central tensions in Dreiser's life and work. Through a melding of brief biographical chronologies and an explication of the major novels, Warren probes for Dreiser's overriding obsessions, less to comprehend the man than to explain the significance of the novelist's vision. Dreiser was the perennial outsider, always cosseting the experience of yearning beyond the "'tall walls' of his world." But because of Dreiser's acute consciousness of the glittering lures of a secularized, industrialized America, he was also a novelist of the "metaphysics of society." And always there was the threat of "namelessness," of an absence of identity. Warren follows this malaise through a stimulating investigation of the character Clyde in An American Tragedy, emphasizing the recurrent Aladdin theme — where dreams of riches given, of what would now be called "instant satisfaction," filled a terrifying vacuum. Warren now and then considers Dreiser's "art," but he does not use the word without a wry comment. Nonetheless, his appreciation of Dreiser's dialectic thrust through character is illuminating. A full-dress homage, introduced by three fervent poems by Warren.

Pub Date: July 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394410270

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1971

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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IN MY PLACE

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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