HAWTHORNE'S FULLER MYSTERY

A well-researched, persuasive reexamination of the paradoxical relations between two classic American authors. When Margaret Fuller died in 1850, she was regarded as one of the most important writers and activists of the time—a leading figure in Emerson’s Transcendentalist circle and the highest embodiment of the “New Woman” who entered the public arena to debate social and political issues. Yet in 1884, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s son, Julian, published a biography of his famous father that would destroy Fuller’s literary reputation until the 1960s. The popular book contained a short passage from Hawthorne’s journal in which he jeered at her Italian husband, who drowned with her and their baby in a shipwreck off the coast of Fire Island, and concluded that Fuller’s intellectual brilliance was a fraud, a thin covering for her true “defective and evil nature” (i.e., her alleged lustfulness). Julian used the virulent passage to present his father as an ideal middle-class husband who was an enemy of Fuller and her feminist ilk. Though the son’s glowing portrayal of Hawthorne has long since come undone, his version of Hawthorne’s hostility to Fuller held sway for remarkably long. In this well-argued and engaging book, however, Mitchell (Laredo Community Coll.) draws on extensive citations from both writers’ journals and letters, while also offering a close analysis of Hawthorne’s texts, to show that the truth of Fuller’s character was not as reported. Fuller and Hawthorne in fact enjoyed an intense, possibly intimate friendship for five years before she left Boston for New York (and later Italy). Both fascinated and repelled by Fuller’s brilliance and charisma, which he found seductive as well as threatening, Hawthorne was inspired by his passionate attempts to understand her, says Mitchell, to create many of his greatest female characters (e.g., Hester Pryne). In an impressive achievement, Mitchell captures the fiery temperament of each while also untangling their complicated friendship and its literary import.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1998

ISBN: 1-55849-170-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1998

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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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