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The Resource Essays in biography, Joseph Epstein

Essays in biography, Joseph Epstein

Label
Essays in biography
Title
Essays in biography
Statement of responsibility
Joseph Epstein
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Tone
Writing style
Review
  • Epstein (former editor of American Scholar and author of Gossip: The Untrivial Pursuit) brings an erudite gift for portraiture to the subjects of this volume’s 40 essays. Focused primarily on figures from the 19th and 20th centuries (with occasional excursions into Greek antiquity and colonial America), Epstein offers eloquent assessments of philosophers, politicians, athletes, composers, social scientists, movie stars, and especially writers and critics. He is particularly drawn to figures whose renown is at odds with their personal and professional shortcomings—hence, his evaluation of Ralph Ellison, author of The Invisible Man, as a writer whose inability to complete his second novel for the next 42 years suggests that “perhaps it is not a good idea to write a great book the first time out.” His studies of Dwight Macdonald, Gore Vidal, Irving Howe, Alfred Kazin, and Irving Kristol create a lively, multifaceted portrait of America’s postwar intelligentsia. Though not uncritical, Epstein is more adulatory of celebrities, among them George Gershwin (“a genius of the natural kind”), Irving Thalberg (“the most talented producer in the history of American movies”), and Michael Jordan (“this magnificent athlete who turned his sport into art”). Opinionated and sometimes personal (notably in his piece on Saul Bellow, who fell out with him), these essays are edifying and often very entertaining. Agent: Georges Borchardt Inc. (Oct.) --Staff (Reviewed July 23, 2012) (Publishers Weekly, vol 259, issue 30, p)
  • The acclaimed essayist and former editor of the American Scholar presents a provocative collection of essays that illustrate the ways a writer can employ biographical detail. Epstein (English/Northwestern Univ.; Gossip, 2011, etc.) has assembled a motley crew of characters--from Henry Adams to Xenophon, Michael Jordan to Gore Vidal. The author has a capacious mind, a wide range of interests, political biases (he labels himself a conservative) and a vast storehouse of knowledge about literary history--all of which animate and inform his pieces. (A complaint: There is neither preface nor foreword--no evidence, other than internal, of the date and audience for the pieces.) Epstein begins with a tribute to George Washington, concluding that it was his "moral character" that set him apart--a trait apparently unsullied by his slave-holding? There is little doubt about the author's conservative preferences; when he writes about literature, he can become downright nasty and laugh-out-loud entertaining. He bites Saul Bellow ("a literary Bluebeard") substantially in a full essay then returns in other pieces for additional nips. He blasts Arnold Rampersad's biography of Ralph Ellison, admires Bernard Malamud, eviscerates Dwight Macdonald and sucker punches both Mailer (calling "The White Negro" a "wretched essay") and Vidal, whose essays he calls "dull hamburger." His assessments of critics Irving Howe, Alfred Kazin and Irving Kristol range from measured to admiring. Epstein reserves some of his most potent firepower for Susan Sontag (her films, he writes, are surely playing in hell) but loves the work of Max Beerbohm and George Eliot. Writing of the latter, he notes how she had a sympathy for Jews that is lacking in many other major writers. He ends with a moving account of his friendship with a man in a nursing home. Articulate, funny, informed and bitchy--guaranteed to both delight and disconcert.(Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2012)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10154309
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1937-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Epstein, Joseph
Dewey number
814.54
Illustrations
illustrations
Index
index present
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Epstein, Joseph
  • Authors
  • Literature
Label
Essays in biography, Joseph Epstein
Instantiates
Publication
Note
Includes index
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references and index
Contents
Americans -- George Washington -- Henry Adams and Henry James -- George Santayana -- Adlai Stevenson -- Henry Luce -- Ralph Ellison -- Isaac Rosenfeld -- Saul Bellow -- Bernard Malamud -- Dwight Macdonald -- Gore Vidal -- Irving Howe -- Alfred Kazin -- Irving Kristol -- Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr -- A. J. Liebling -- John Frederick Nims -- Susan Sontag -- Englishmen -- Max Beerbohm -- George Eliot -- Maurice Bowra -- T. S. Eliot -- Cyril Connolly -- Isaiah Berlin -- Hugh Trevor-Roper -- John Gross -- Popular Culture -- Alfred Kinsey -- Charles Van Doren -- W. C. Fields -- Irving Thalberg -- George Gershwin -- Joe DiMaggio -- Michael Jordan -- James Wolcott -- Malcolm Gladwell -- And Others -- Erich Heller -- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn -- V. S. Naipaul and Paul Theroux -- Xenophon -- Matthew Shanahan
Control code
000048875730
Dimensions
24 cm.
Extent
xiv, 603 p.
Isbn
9781604190687
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Other physical details
ill.
Label
Essays in biography, Joseph Epstein
Publication
Note
Includes index
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references and index
Contents
Americans -- George Washington -- Henry Adams and Henry James -- George Santayana -- Adlai Stevenson -- Henry Luce -- Ralph Ellison -- Isaac Rosenfeld -- Saul Bellow -- Bernard Malamud -- Dwight Macdonald -- Gore Vidal -- Irving Howe -- Alfred Kazin -- Irving Kristol -- Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr -- A. J. Liebling -- John Frederick Nims -- Susan Sontag -- Englishmen -- Max Beerbohm -- George Eliot -- Maurice Bowra -- T. S. Eliot -- Cyril Connolly -- Isaiah Berlin -- Hugh Trevor-Roper -- John Gross -- Popular Culture -- Alfred Kinsey -- Charles Van Doren -- W. C. Fields -- Irving Thalberg -- George Gershwin -- Joe DiMaggio -- Michael Jordan -- James Wolcott -- Malcolm Gladwell -- And Others -- Erich Heller -- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn -- V. S. Naipaul and Paul Theroux -- Xenophon -- Matthew Shanahan
Control code
000048875730
Dimensions
24 cm.
Extent
xiv, 603 p.
Isbn
9781604190687
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Other physical details
ill.

Library Locations

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