A great read for Styron devotees, but fans of correspondence will miss the conversational quality of most letter collections.

SELECTED LETTERS OF WILLIAM STYRON

A good portion of William Styron’s personal and business correspondence brought together in one volume.

Starting with letters written to his father while at college, this book also includes writings to early girlfriends, an influential professor, Army buddies, other notable authors, fans, agents and others. The author wrote about a wide variety of subjects, including literature, politics, illness and sex. Styron’s distaste for critics (particularly those who didn’t appreciate his work) was a frequent subject, as were his struggles with writing and self-doubt. With so much ground covered, it is impossible not to learn some fascinating new tidbit about Styron’s life. Unfortunately, editors Styron and Gilpin (John Brown Still Lives!: America's Long Reckoning with Violence, Equality, and Change, 2011, etc.) do not include a single letter written to Styron, which leaves many stories half-told. While some of the one-sided correspondence is explained via the frequent footnotes, most of it is not. Gilpin notes in his introduction that footnoted material was kept to a minimum and only included when necessary. However, many footnotes seem inconsequential at best. For instance, Gilpin explains certain facts that seem obvious, such as Shirley Temple’s status as a famous child actress. Such notes can be abrasive in a 650-page book, often proving distracting rather than edifying. The William Styron timeline at the beginning, however, is helpful.

A great read for Styron devotees, but fans of correspondence will miss the conversational quality of most letter collections.

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4000-6806-7

Page Count: 672

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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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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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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