Although Shattuck occasionally leaves us to converse with (or assail) more erudite companions, he nonetheless remains a...

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PROUST'S WAY

A FIELD GUIDE TO IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME

The celebrated literary scholar (Candor and Perversion: Literature, Education, and the Arts, 1999, etc.) and authority on Proust guides readers through one of the most complex works in literary history.

Shattuck acknowledges that the lengthy, labyrinthine Search `looked at first like a conspiracy against readers.` But he has identified in the 2,000-page novel a variety of useful signposts. First, he establishes that knowing Proust’s biography is essential; then he moves into a chapter (`How to Read a Roman-Fleuve`) that could just as well have been titled `Proust for Dummies.` (In a footnote he urges readers familiar with the novel to skip this chapter.) Employing a variety of charts and summaries, Shattuck makes visible the hidden chassis of the novel (settings, characters, plot). Next he provides an analysis of Proust’s humor (the novel, Shattuck asserts, is `overlaid with amusing scenes and details”). Following are discussions of Proust’s `optical images` (a subject Shattuck explores further in an appendix), `literary aesthetic,` and the overall plan of the novel. In a chapter called `Continuing Disputes,` Shattuck takes aim at his academic foes and delivers salvos of criticism about editions and translations—surely a satisfying enterprise for Shattuck but less so for his nonacademic audience. Ending the principal portion of the book is an interesting discussion of the value of literature; Shattuck argues persuasively that literature is a `virtual experience` that offers `a formative or preparatory role in training our sensibilities.` Among his many provocative observations is that Search resembles A Thousand and One Nights more than any other literary work. In a striking `Coda,` the author elucidates Proust’s theory of thought by employing a dialogue among persons planning a radio broadcast about Proust.

Although Shattuck occasionally leaves us to converse with (or assail) more erudite companions, he nonetheless remains a peerless guide to this most intricate of creations.

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-393-04914-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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