A Terry Teachout Reader

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Overview

Terry Teachout, one of our most acute cultural commentators, here turns his sharp eye to every corner of the arts world-music, dance, literature, theater, film, TV, and the visual arts. This collection gathers the best of Teachout's writings from the past fifteen years. In each essay he offers lucid and balanced judgments that invariably illuminate, sometimes infuriate, and always spark a response-the mark of a critic whose thoughts, however controversial, cannot be ignored. In a thoughtful introduction to the ...
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Overview

Terry Teachout, one of our most acute cultural commentators, here turns his sharp eye to every corner of the arts world-music, dance, literature, theater, film, TV, and the visual arts. This collection gathers the best of Teachout's writings from the past fifteen years. In each essay he offers lucid and balanced judgments that invariably illuminate, sometimes infuriate, and always spark a response-the mark of a critic whose thoughts, however controversial, cannot be ignored. In a thoughtful introduction to the book, Teachout considers how American culture of the twenty-first century differs from that of the last century and how the information age has altered popular culture. His selected essays chronicle America's cultural journey over the past decade and a half, and they show us what has been lost-and gained-along the way. With highly informed opinions, an inimitable wit and style, and a genuine devotion to all things cultural, Teachout offers his readers much to delight in and much to ponder.
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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
That the 58 engaging essays in A Terry Teachout Reader, on subjects ranging from Dawn Powell and Louis Armstrong to David Ives and Martha Graham, tell us as much about America as they do about Teachout's evolving sensibility makes the book an intellectual memoir by way of enthusiasms. His detailed snapshots of bygone cultural moments are introduced by a thoughtful history of our cultural climate over the last half-century. — Kate Bolick
Publishers Weekly
Woe to be an artist, writer, musician or fellow critic who incurs Teachout's wrath. In this hefty, erudite collection of essays and reviews from the last 15 years, Teachout (The Skeptic) turns his scathing wit on some of high culture's most sacred cows. Postmodernism is a theory "so patently absurd as to need no refuting"; black studies is a "pitiful and preposterous burlesque of scholarship"; and Norman Mailer is a "nostalgia act" whose work of the last three decades is "noteworthy only for its flaccid awfulness." Hardly pausing for breath, Teachout goes on to blast jazz critic Stanley Crouch for "musical ignorance" and accuse Wynton Marsalis of fostering "reverse racism." Whew! Of course, if all Teachout did was attack, he'd be a pit bull, not a critic. Fortunately, he also takes pride in resurrecting the forgotten and underappreciated artists of eras past and present. He applauds the talents of cartoon magnate Chuck Jones (creator of Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner), praises the moral center of Randolph Scott's Western B-movies and explores the surprising spiritual underpinnings of Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full. Teachout speaks fearlessly on just about every genre under the sun (though he claims to be just a "well-informed amateur" on all subjects other than music), employing a voice that is unapologetically contrarian and morally focused. Many of these essays first appeared in neoconservative magazines like Commentary, National Review and the Weekly Standard; some readers may find the political edge to Teachout's criticism irritating, though always ruthlessly consistent. This book is an impressive testament to Teachout's talents, eloquence and integrity. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300098945
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 5/10/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 438
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Terry Teachout
Terry Teachout

Terry Teachout writes about literature and the arts for the New York Times, Time, National Review, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and Commentary. His books include A Second Mencken Chrestomaby, a manuscript he rediscovered among Mencken's private papers. He lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Across the Great Divide
Far from Ohio: Dawn Powell 3
Father Babbitt's Flock 7
The Conversion of Tom Wolfe 16
Merce Cunningham: Pale Horse, Pale Rider 20
Notes Toward the Definition of Paul Taylor 30
Stephen Sondheim's Unsettled Scores 35
What Randolph Scott Knew 47
That Wascally Pwofessor 55
Louis Armstrong, Eminent Victorian 58
Bill Monroe and His Discontents 64
Citizen Sinatra 68
Seven Hundred Pretty Good Books 75
Sentimental Journey 91
Norman Mailer: Forgotten but Not Gone 95
Real Cool Killers 99
Crosby Major, Crosby Minor 102
That Nice Elvis Boy 112
High Anxiety: Martha Graham 116
Choreography by Jerome Robbins 124
How Good Was Leonard Bernstein? 134
Brand-Name Opera 147
The David Helfgott Show 154
Classical Barbie 162
Angelic Disorders 167
The Land of No Context 171
The Myth of "Classic" TV 174
Battle of the Brows 178
Good Night, David 185
Inner Chambers 193
The Great American Composer 201
The Man Who Watched Bogart 211
Scoundrel Time 218
Cradle of Lies 221
Willa Cather: No Way to Treat a Lady 231
Another Sun Person Heard From 235
The Color of Jazz 244
(Over)praising Duke Ellington 255
Sins of the Fathers 263
The Anti-Victim: Arlene Croce 267
Life with Camille 273
Tolstoy's Contraption 277
Is That All There Is? 281
Beasts and Superbeasts 285
Whit Stillman, Class Clown 289
Pictures of Words: John Sayles 294
The Tilt-a-World of David Ives 298
The New New Music 303
Death of the Concert 312
Life Without Records 320
Three Roads to American Opera 335
After Mr. B 343
Going a Lot to the Mark Morris Dance Group 354
At Full Blast 361
The Importance of Being Less Earnest 371
I've Got a Crush on You 376
Elegy for the Woodchopper 380
Close to Home 394
My Friend Nancy 398
About the Author 409
Index 411
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2013

    Mr. Teachout is brilliant and his interests incredibly diverse.

    Mr. Teachout is brilliant and his interests incredibly diverse. His prose sparkles and his appreciation is evident from the first page.

    A great read!


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