The fourteen essays selected and edited by Henry Dan Piper present for the first time together Malcolm Cowley’s critical assessments of major nineteenth and early twentieth-century American writers. Larger in scope than Think Back on Us, in which were published Mr. Cowley’s pieces about the 1930s, principally from the New Republic, the present volume draws from his amazingly wide and varied literary understanding. These essays recapture parts of America’s past and anticipate its uncertain future.
The book’s final essay, from which the metaphoric title is derived, provides a key to Mr. Cowley’s critical attitude: it is an attitude of positive eclecticism, essentially humanistic, and anti-scientific. To write about the man behind the pen, Mr. Cowley looks through many windows, and is able to see more than many of his fellow practitioners of literary criticism.
About the Author
Henry Dan Piper is Professor of English at Southern Illinois University and author of F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Critical Portrait. He also edited Think Back on Us.