This acuity comes out in his review of Saul Bellow's letters. On this last subject, there are withering references throughout the book. Requiring only 10-15 pages per subject, the reader of Essays in Biography is allowed an interesting, critical, and enlightening look into a plethora of individuals of differing character, abilities, and contributions to society. So I Googled each and every one as I went and scribbled the original publication and date in my copy. If he doesn't like Susan Sontag's politics, I think it would be better to not write the essay. But this is an odd collection of previously published essays. Epstein writes about literature, politics, history, and culture.
Epstein will probably be top thought of to get an intemperate essay he had written a long time ago by which he had written, When I obtained the strength to do this, I would wish homosexuality off of the experience of the the planet n In Epstein s safeguard, inside the several of my best friends are range, you will find a warmer memorial essay about Epstein s camaraderie aided by the philosopher Erich Heller, who has been gay. As an occasionally uneven biographical sampler, this work ultimately succeeds. About the Author Joseph Epstein was formerly editor of the American Scholar. This book, Essays in Biography contains short essays on the lives of writers, notable figures and members of an intellectual world that has unfortunately waned. Eliot, and Xenophon, there really is enough in this volume for any reader to enjoy, especially one that enjoys refreshingly honest and direct writing. Epstein knew Bellow and was in a position to observe the touchy novelist's interactions with friends. I do not begrudge anyone the chance to slap old verdicts between hard or softcovers and run a kind of Fleet Street victory lap.
The result, as even he seems vaguely to grasp, would be the ruin of his reputation as a serious historian. He has written for numerous magazines including the New Yorker, the Atlantic, and Commentary. Overall, his book was an interesting twist on the literary form and I enjoyed learning about his subjects most of whom I hadn't heard of before. However, I occasionally felt that the title to this book should instead be Essays from Biographies, rather than Essays in Biography. He has a magic touch with words, that hard to define but immediately recognizable quality called style.
Biographers don't say what they think? Of all the comic reputations of that day—S. A staunch card carrying conservative, he seems to specialize in melting the clay feet of any liberal, political or cultural, who comes within range of the blow torch of his wit. Indeed, the author once returned the advance for a biography of John Dos Passos that he had agreed to write, an enterprise that would surely have taxed his desire to say what he really thinks. Biographies are vats of facts that take patience to digest; Mr. Like Mencken, he has fashioned a style that successfully combines elegance and even bookishness with street-smart colloquial directness.
Each of the 40 different pieces in Essays in Biography describes a person, figures ranging from Saul Bellow, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and Isaiah Berlin, to George Washington and Adlai Stevenson, to Joe DiMaggio and Alfred Kinsey. Susan Sontag - and more. Most of these pieces are not really essays, at least not in the rarefied Montaignean or Emersonian sense, but rather book reviews, usually of biographies or collections of letters. Later he pushed things up a notch by stating that Michael Jordan was the greatest player of all time, not just of basketball but of any sport. It was easy for Khan to flout the West and enrich himself as long as the U.
How easy it is today, in the digital age, drowning in emails and other ephemera, to forget the simple delight of reading for no intended purpose. A few chapters were compiled from various publications New Yorker, Washington Post, etc. Publishers Weekly, July 2012 The joys of reading Joseph Epstein are many. Joseph Epstein Born 1937-01-09 January 9, 1937 age 82 , Illinois Pen name Occupation Essayist, short-story writer, editor, teacher Language English Nationality American Citizenship U. He has a magic touch with words, that hard to define but immediately recognizable quality called style. This kind of help will make all of us additional Usa! The organization is haphazard, divided into four sections: Americans, Englishmen, Popular Culture, and Others, in no particular order, chronological or otherwise.
Who is the greatest living essayist writing in English? Not in my sweetest fantasies could I ever imagine myself doing what Michael Jordan, the retired star of the Chicago Bulls, would do in actuality some 40 years later. I have read most of his works and enjoyed them thoroughly. None of which detracts one iota from the sheer pleasure of being regaled by Uncle Joe on T. A staunch card carrying conservative, he seems to specialize in melting the clay feet of any liberal, political or cultural, who comes within range of the blow torch of his wit. Something more than charm has kept the small if scarcely gem-like Beerbohmian flame alive.
A terrorist can someday attack the U. I may disagree with him, but I respect his perspective. Liebling -- John Frederick Nims -- Susan Sontag -- Englishmen -- Max Beerbohm -- George Eliot -- Maurice Bowra -- T. He does have a knack at describing the essence of a person in just a few pages; the best examples are Malcolm Gladwell, Ralph Ellison, and Matthew Shanahan. Epstein covers a wide range of notable people in this book with both insight and humor. But Western efforts to curb nuclear ambitions did not pay off in the past, and there is no indication they will now.
If he doesn't like Susan Sontag's politics, I think it would be better to not write the essay. Will read more of his work. With this in mind, I've learned a great deal of new and absorbing information about people I'd know of, like Adlai Stevenson, Arthur Schlesinger, T. The essays in this collection contain few exceptions to this. I do not consider myself a conservative, but I read him for his writing and thought-provoking opinions. The ancient Roman philosopher and cynical power broker, Seneca? Gross, Up from Invisibility: Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Media in America , 2001 , , pp. Writing of the latter, he notes how she had a sympathy for Jews that is lacking in many other major writers.
But his present publisher has tried to inflate them into studies in biography, which they simply are not. Like Health care professional Johnson s biographical essays, a shortcoming inside the individuality is a crucial hint to the shortcoming inside the function. He knows that the more abstractions we apply to explain peoples' lives, the more reality leaves the room. Whatever, or whoever, the subject, Professor Epstein can reliably command my attention to his writing. This king-sized volume is his fourth and largest collection of reviews. I am myself, as you will perhaps by now have gathered, a member of the Beerbohm cult.