Edmund Wilson : Literary Essays and Reviews of the 1930s and 1940s

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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 1930s and 40sgives us Wilson at the midpoint of his extraordinary career as critic and scholar, and includes in complete form three of his most significant books. The Triple Thinkers(1938, revised 1948) and The Wound and the Bow(1941) give us Wilson at the height of his powers, in a series of extended literary studies marked by his unique combination of criticism, biographical narrative, and psychological analysis. Here are his dazzling portraits of Pushkin and Flaubert, Dickens and Henry James, Kipling and Casanova, equally sensitive to historical context and his subjects' inner lives; his scintillating reader's guide to the mysteries of Finnegans Wake and his celebrated exploration of the nature of creativity through the figure of Sophocles' wounded hero Philoctetes. Classics and Commercials(1950) is Wilson's gathering of the best of his reviews from the 1940s, a collection that exemplifies the range and omnivorousness of his interests. In the exact and fluent prose that makes him an unfailing delight to read, Wilson takes on everything from Gogol and Tolstoy to contemporaries like James M. Cain, Katherine Anne Porter, Dorothy Parker, and William Faulkner. Whether registering his qualms about detective novels, parsing the etiquette manuals of Emily Post, or paying tribute to the comic genius of Evelyn Waugh, Wilson turns any critical occasion into the highest kind of pleasure. The volume is completed with a selection of uncollected reviews from this period, including Wilson's observations on the work of William Maxwell, Saul Bellow, and Anais Nin.

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

Mr. More and the Mithraic Bullp. 7
Is Verse a Dying Technique?p. 19
In Honor of Pushkinp. 35
A. E. Housmanp. 63
The Politics of Flaubertp. 75
The Ambiguity of Henry Jamesp. 90
John Jay Chapmanp. 134
Bernard Shaw at Eightyp. 165
Marxism and Literaturep. 197
Morose Ben Jonsonp. 213
"Mr. Rolfe"p. 233
The Historical Interpretation of Literaturep. 256
Dickens: The Two Scroogesp. 275
The Kipling That Nobody Readp. 344
Uncomfortable Casanovap. 396
Justice to Edith Whartonp. 405
Hemingway: Gauge of Moralep. 418
The Dream of H. C. Earwickerp. 438
Philoctetes: The Wound and the Bowp. 458
Archibald MacLeish and the Wordp. 479
Van Wyck Brooks's Second Phasep. 485
The Boys in the Back Roomp. 492
Max Eastman in 1941p. 521
T. K. Whipplep. 531
The Antrobuses and the Earwickersp. 539
Alexander Woollcott of the Phalanxp. 544
The Poetry of Angelica Balabanoffp. 549
Mr. Joseph E. Davies as a Stylistp. 552
Thoughts on Being Bibliographedp. 557
Through the Embassy Window: Harold Nicholsonp. 570
Kay Boyle and the Saturday Evening Postp. 575
The Life and Times of John Barrymorep. 579
The Art of Evelyn Waughp. 585
John Mulholland and the Art of Illusionp. 591
What Became of Louis Bromfieldp. 593
J. Dover Wilson on Falstaffp. 601
A Toast and a Tear for Dorothy Parkerp. 603
A Treatise on Tales of Horrorp. 610
A Guide to Finnegans Wakep. 618
A Novel by Salvador Dalip. 624
A Long Talk about Jane Austenp. 629
"You Can't Do That To Me!" Shrilled Celiap. 636
Aldous Huxley in the World Beyond Timep. 640
Vladimir Nabokov on Gogolp. 644
Katherine Anne Porterp. 647
Brooks's Age of Irvingp. 651
Why Do People Read Detective Stories?p. 657
Bernard Shaw on the Training of a Statesmanp. 662
Reexamining Dr. Johnsonp. 667
Leonid Leonov: The Sophistication of a Formulap. 672
Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?p. 677
"Mr. Holmes, They Were The Footprints of a Gigantic Hound!"p. 684
Glenway Wescott's War Workp. 691
A Cry from the Unquiet Gravep. 695
Tales of the Marvellous and the Ridiculousp. 700
Thackeray's Lettersp. 704
Splendors and Miseries of Evelyn Waughp. 709
George Saintsbury's Centenaryp. 715
Ambushing a Best-Sellerp. 719
The Apotheosis of Somerset Maughamp. 725
William Saroyan and His Darling Old Providencep. 732
Oscar Wildep. 735
George Grosz in the United Statesp. 745
An Old Friend of the Family: Thackerayp. 749
Gilbert Without Sullivanp. 758
George Saintsbury; Gourmet and Gluttonp. 763
Books of Etiquette and Emily Postp. 767
A Dissenting Opinion on Kafkap. 776
Jean-Paul Sartre: The Novelist and the Existentialistp. 784
The Musical Glasses of Peacockp. 793
Edith Wharton: A Memoir by an English Friendp. 799
The Sanctity of Baudelairep. 804
Van Wyck Brooks on the Civil War Periodp. 807
An Analysis of Max Beerbohmp. 813
The Original of Tolstoy's Natashap. 822
"The Most Unhappy Man on Earth"p. 830
William Faulkner's Reply to the Civil-Rights Programp. 836
In Memory of Octave Mirbeaup. 844
A Revival of Ronald Firbankp. 856
Paul Rosenfeld: Three Phasesp. 869
Return of Ernest Hemingway: For Whom the Bell Tollsp. 885
Doubts and Dreams: Dangling Man and Under a Glass Bellp. 890
A Novel by Dawn Powell: My Home Is Far Awayp. 894
Faintness of the Age of Thunder and Power of The Folded Leafp. 897
Theodore Dreiser's Quaker and Graham Greene's Priestp. 901
Henry James and Auden in Americap. 906
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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