Edmund Wilson - Literary Essays and Reviews of the 1920s and 30s : The Shores of Light/Axel's Castle/Uncollected Reviews

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2007-10-01
  • Publisher: Penguin Group USA
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Edmund Wilson was the dominant American literary critic from the 1920s until his death in 1972, but he was also far more than that: a chronicler of his times, a historian of ideas, a probing observer of himself and of the society around him. With this volume and a companion volume devoted to the 30s and 40s--the first two entries in what will be a series devoted to Wilson's work--The Library of America pays tribute to the writer who first conceived the idea of a publishing series dedicated to "bringing out in a complete and compact form the principal American classics." Literary Essays and Reviews of the 1920s and 30spresents Wilson in the extraordinary first phase of his career, participating in a cultural renaissance and grappling with the crucial issues of his era. The Shores of Light (1952) is Wilson's magisterial assemblage of early reviews, sketches, stories, memoirs, and other writings into a teeming panorama of America's literary life in a period of exuberant expansion and in the years of political and economic strife that followed. Wilson traces the emergence of a new American writing as he reviews the work of Hemingway, Stevens, Cummings, Dos Passos, Wilder, and many others, including his close friends F. Scott Fitzgerald and Edna St. Vincent Millay. Little escapes his notice: burlesque shows and Henry James, Soviet theater and the magic of Harry Houdini, the first novels of Malraux and the rediscovery of Edgar Allan Poe. Axel's Castle(1931), his pioneering overview of literary modernism, includes penetrating studies of Yeats, Eliot, Proust, Joyce, Gertrude Stein, and others. For several generations this book has stood as an indispensable companion to some of the crucial turning points in modern literature. Both these classic works display abundantly Wilson's extraordinary erudition and unquenchable curiosity, his visionary grasp of larger historical meanings, his gift for acute psychological portraiture, and the matchless suppleness and lucidity of his prose. For Wilson, there are no minor subjects; every literary occasion sparks writing that is witty, energetic, and alive to the undercurrents of his time. In addition this volume includes a number of uncollected reviews from the same period, including discussions of H. L. Mencken, Edith Wharton, and Bernard Shaw

Author Biography

LEWIS M. DABNEY, editor, is the author of Edmund Wilson: A Life in Literature and the editor of Wilson's last journal, The Sixties, and of Edmund Wilson: Centennial Reflections. He is a professor of English at the University of Wyoming.

Table of Contents

Prologue, 1952: Christian Gauss as a Teacher of Literaturep. 11
F. Scott Fitzgeraldp. 30
Mr. E. A. Robinson's Moonlightp. 37
Two Novels of Willa Catherp. 40
Ezra Pound's Patchworkp. 44
Wallace Stevens and E. E. Cummingsp. 48
Byron in the Twentiesp. 55
Late Violets from the Ninetiesp. 63
Greenwich Village in the Early Twentiesp. 67
Sherwood Anderson's Many Marriagesp. 82
Ring Lardner's American Charactersp. 85
Eugene O'Neill and the Naturalistsp. 89
The New American Comedyp. 94
A Vortex in the Nineties: Stephen Cranep. 97
Emergence of Ernest Hemingwayp. 102
Imaginary Dialoguesp. 109
Gilbert Seldes and the Popular Artsp. 133
Houdinip. 148
Poe at Home and Abroadp. 152
The Tennessee Poetsp. 162
Muses Out of Workp. 166
Upton Sinclair's Mammonartp. 178
The Pilgrimage of Henry Jamesp. 182
The All-Star Literary Vaudevillep. 191
The Critics: A Conversationp. 206
Pope and Tennysonp. 211
A Letter to Elinor Wyliep. 215
Firbank and Beckfordp. 219
A Preface to Persiusp. 222
Burlesque Showsp. 228
E. E. Cummings's Himp. 234
A Great Magicianp. 237
Mencken's Democratic Manp. 242
Woodrow Wilson at Princetonp. 246
American Heroes: Fremont and Frickp. 267
The Sportsman's Tragedyp. 278
A Poet of the Pacificp. 283
Art Youngp. 288
Greenwich Village at the End of the Twentiesp. 293
The Critic Who Does Not Existp. 301
A Weekend at Ellersliep. 306
Thornton Wilderp. 315
The Death of Elinor Wyliep. 322
Burton Rascoep. 326
Signs of Life: Lady Chatterley's Loverp. 331
Dostoevsky Abroadp. 335
Citizen of the Unionp. 340
Virginia Woolf and the American Languagep. 345
Dos Passos and the Social Revolutionp. 350
T. S. Eliot and the Church of Englandp. 355
Dahlberg, Dos Passos and Wilderp. 360
Notes on Babbitt and Morep. 367
Sophocles, Babbitt and Freudp. 381
"H. C."p. 388
The Nietzschean Linep. 395
The Literary Consequences of the Crashp. 400
The Economic Interpretation of Wilderp. 406
Schnitzler and Philip Barryp. 409
Joseph de Maistrep. 413
An Appeal to Progressivesp. 421
The Literary Class Warp. 434
C. L. Dodgson: The Poet-Logicianp. 439
Lytton Stracheyp. 448
The Satire of Samuel Butlerp. 453
Andre Malrauxp. 460
Gertrude Stein Old and Youngp. 467
Mr. Wilder and the Middle Westp. 477
The Literary Worker's Poloniusp. 482
The Classics on the Soviet Stagep. 496
Letter to the Russians about Hemingwayp. 501
Talking United Statesp. 512
American Critics, Left and Rightp. 520
It's Terrible! It's Ghastly! It Stinksp. 537
The Oxford Boys Becalmedp. 542
Prize-Winning Blank Versep. 546
"Give That Beat Again"p. 552
Dream Poetryp. 558
"Cousin Swift, You Will Never Be a Poet"p. 564
Peggy Bacon: Poet with Picturesp. 568
Twilight of the Expatriatesp. 571
The Pleasures of Literaturep. 575
Cold Water on Bakuninp. 579
Shut Up that Russian Novelp. 584
Marxism at the End of the Thirtiesp. 592
Epilogue, 1952: Edna St. Vincent Millayp. 601
Symbolismp. 645
W. B. Yeatsp. 662
Paul Valeryp. 688
T. S. Eliotp. 707
Marcel Proustp. 734
James Joycep. 774
Gertrude Steinp. 805
Axel and Rimbaudp. 818
H. L. Menckenp. 857
The Poetry of Drouth (The Waste Land)p. 865
Edith Whartonp. 872
A Guide to Gertrude Steinp. 874
Bernard Shaw Since the Warp. 880
W. B. Yeatsp. 885
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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