From the Uncollected Edmund Wilson


Many of Wilson's writings have been anthologized. But there is another body of work — over fifty fine essays on aspects of contemporary literature and ideas — that have been scattered in a variety of magazines, including The New Yorker, The New Republic, Vanity Fair, and The Nation. The editors, who recognize Wilson (1895-1972) as one of America's greatest men of letters of the twentieth century, also view his writing as a powerful antidote to late twentieth-century trends and fads and have collected his pieces ...

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Many of Wilson's writings have been anthologized. But there is another body of work — over fifty fine essays on aspects of contemporary literature and ideas — that have been scattered in a variety of magazines, including The New Yorker, The New Republic, Vanity Fair, and The Nation. The editors, who recognize Wilson (1895-1972) as one of America's greatest men of letters of the twentieth century, also view his writing as a powerful antidote to late twentieth-century trends and fads and have collected his pieces here in the conviction that Wilson's writing is a permanently important model. Now a new generation of readers — as well as his loyal followers — will have access to this rich literary heritage in a single volume.

The collection is organized chronologically and leads the reader through the journeyman writing at Hill School and Princeton, the essays on literary modernism and contemporary culture written in the 1920s, the socially-focused critiques of the 1930s, and the diverse assortment of book reviews of the late period. Across this full range of moods and literary styles. Wilson is a powerful spokesman for writers and a guardian of imagination and decency for the informed citizen.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
From the Uncollected Edmund Wilson contains a rich and varied selection of notes and reviews covering Wilson's entire career. … It reveals how professionally dedicated he was, even when engaged in routine writing for periodicals.”

— John L. Brown, World Literature Today

“This is a book to be both studied and enjoyed; it is most certainly a book that will be quoted, and ought to be influential, for a very long time.”

— Burton Raffel, The Literary Review

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Groth (Edmund Wilson: A Critic for Our Time, 1989) and Castronovo (Edmund Wilson, 1984) have brought together here more than 50 pieces that Wilson (1895-1972) published in magazines dating from his student days at The Hill School in 1911 to 1959, when he was firmly established as a leading U.S. critic and author (To the Finland Station, 1940). Organized chronologically, the selections show Wilson's scholarship, the maturation of his keen, expressive voice and the emergence of his humanistic concerns. During the 1920s, his reviews, in part, dealt with his thoughts on classicism and the new literary modernism, reflected in an essay on poet T.S. Eliot. During the '30s, he was concerned with the Depression and expressed sympathy with the leftist ideals of novelist Theodore Dreiser. During the '40s and '50s, Wilson wrote extensively for the New Yorker, and several of his articles on 20th-century literary giants (Saul Bellow, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce) are included here. A feast for Wilson devotees. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Editors Groth (Edmund Wilson: A Critic for Our Time, Ohio Univ. Pr., 1989) and Castronovo (Edmund Wilson, Continuum, 1984) have chosen from Wilson's previously uncollected works to present materials illuminating his growth as a literary critic and writer. The works are arranged chronologically, beginning with essays published in the High School Record in 1911 proceeding to works penned for the Nation, New Republic, and the New Yorker in the Thirties, Forties, and Fifties, and winding up with an acceptance speech delivered by Wilson in 1966. Among the subjects of the essays are underrated pleasures (including Edith Wharton, satin breeches, and the human body), overrated experiences (such as afternoon tea, youth, summer, and weddings), and literary critiques, both admiring and scathing. Many libraries already own the source periodicals, but this collection includes a few items that would be difficult to obtain. Recommended for literature collections.Denise Johnson, Bradley Univ. Lib., Peoria, Ill.
To complement the many other anthologies of Wilson's (1895-1972) writings, compiles over fifty essays on aspects of contemporary literature and ideas that were highly enjoyed and influential when they appeared but are now scattered in back issues of a variety of magazines. They are presented in sections beginning at Hill School and Princeton, setting up as a critic in the 1920s, the earthquake years, and the New Yorker in the 1940s and 1950s. No index or bibliographies. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780821411278
  • Publisher: Ohio University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1995
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 410
  • Product dimensions: 4.91 (w) x 7.61 (h) x 1.47 (d)

Meet the Author

Janet Groth is emeritus professor of English at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. She is the author of Edmund Wilson: A Critic for Our Time.

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Table of Contents

The Successful Mr. Sterne: 'Lives of Great Men All Remind Us' 3
The Library: The Alfred Raymond Memorial Prize Essay 10
Exchanges 18
G. K. Chesterton's The Victorian Age in Literature 20
Henry James 23
Stendhal 35
A. N. Whitehead and Bertrand Russell 45
Modern Literature: Between the Whirlpool and the Rock 50
A. N. Whitehead: Physicist and Prophet 56
The Anarchists of Taste: Who First Broke the Rules of Harmony, in the Modern World? 73
Books and Things 81
Boswell and Others 88
The Critic as Politician 95
T. S. Eliot and the Seventeenth Century 100
T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land 105
Walter Lippmann's A Preface to Morals 108
Gertrude Stein's Portraits and Prayers 115
Gertrude Stein's Geography and Plays 117
Things I Consider Overrated: Some Popular Institutions Subjected to Purely Destructive Criticism 119
Things I Consider Overrated: Being a Second Series of Essays in Purely Destructive Criticism 127
Things I Consider Underrated: Three Little Essays in Constructive Criticism 139
Brokers and Pioneers 147
Introduction to The Conquerors by Andre Malraux 159
Detroit Paradoxes 163
Theodore Dreiser's Tragic America 172
Ernest Hemingway's The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories and The Spanish War 178
Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls 184
George Saintsbury 190
Novelist Bites Critic, (Review of A Note on Literary Criticism by James T. Farrell) 195
Christopher Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin 204
Marx's The Civil War in France and Critique of the Gotha Program 207
Marx and Engels' Revolution in Spain 211
Stalin, Trotsky and Willi Schlamm 217
Trotsky on China and Germany 228
Trotsky's Stalin 231
Lionel Trilling's Matthew Arnold 241
Saul Bellow's Dangling Man and Anais Nin's Under a Glass Bell 251
Comrade Prince: A Memoir of D. S. Mirsky 256
Dos Passos' Reporting - Woollcott's Letters 280
Theodore Dreiser's Quaker and Graham Greene's Priest 288
Foreword to The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Scribner's) 295
Richard Ellmann's Yeats: The Man and the Masks 298
William Faulkner's Knight's Gambit 302
George Orwell's Dickens, Dali & Others and James M. Cain's Past All Dishonor 306
Grade-A Essays: Orwell, Sartre and Highet 313
Gilbert Highet's The Classical Tradition 321
Christopher Isherwood's The Condor and the Cows 326
Henry James and Auden in America 329
Henry James's The Complete Plays 336
James Joyce's Stephen Hero 340
Magazine Stories by Masters: Faulkner, Edith Wharton, and James 342
Gertrude Stein's Wars I Have Seen 349
John Steinbeck's Cannery Row 353
Bertram D. Wolfe's Three Who Made a Revolution 356
A Conversation With Edmund Wilson: 'We Don't Know Where We Are' 361
Endpaper 373
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