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Edmund Wilson at his most lucid and thought-provoking, traveling off his usual literary track to deliver this engrossing account of life among the Iroquois in all its facets.
Axel's Castle was Edmund Wilson's first book of literary criticism--a landmark book that explores the evolution of the French Symbolist movement and considers its influence on six major twentieth-century writers: Yeats, Valery, Eliot, Proust, Joyce, and Stein.
The truth is that the people of the United States are at the present time dominated and driven by two kinds of officially propagated fear: fear of the Soviet Union and fear of the income tax. These two terrors have been adjusted so as to complement one another and thus to keep the citizen of our free society under the strain of a double pressure; from which he finds himself unable to escape -- like the man in the old Western story, who, chased into a narrow ravine by a buffalo, is confronted with a grizzly bear. If we fail to accept the tax, the Russian buffalo will butt and trample us, and if we try to defy the tax, the federal bear will crush us. The 60,000 officials who are appointed to check on us taxpayers are checked on, themselves, it seems, by another group of agents set to watch them. And supplementing these officials -- since private citizens are paid by the Internal Revenue Service to report on other people's delinquencies, and their names of course are never revealed -- there is a whole host of amateur investigators... Does this kind of spying and delegation differ much in its incitement to treachery from that which is encouraged in the Soviet Union?
Tracing in detail two decades of close friendship between Vladimir Nabokov and Edmund Wilson, this collection has been expanded to include 59 letters discovered subsequent to the book's original publication in 1979.
The book takes its title from the scene of Lenin's arrival from Germany in April 1917, ready to take over the leadership of the Russian Revolution and in doing so bring to a climax the political and intellectual movements which are the subject of this study.
Edmund Wilson, the preeminent American literary critic of the first half of the twentieth century, often fretted that he was not taken seriously as a creative writer. In the course of a career that produced "Axed Castle", "To the Finland Station", and "Patriotic Gore", among many other works of criticism and history; he published poems, plays, and two novels. Though he completed in draft this short novel, now entitled "The Higher Jazz", it was never published. In mid-career, in 1939, Wilson planned a novel in three parts that would carry a man through fifteen years as a stockbroker, a Russian diplomat, and a writer. When he started on the first section of this book, set in the 1920s, it carried him away from his original project. His hero was instead transformed into a German American businessman who, aspiring to become a composer, seeks the spirit of America in music that combined the contemporary popular and the modern classical, in what Wilson called elsewhere "The Higher Jazz". This portrayal of the 1920s provides a sense of the illusive glories of the Boom Era. It is filled with characters based on people Wilson knew well or had observed, such as Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, and the Fitzgerald circle, and composers as varied as Cole Porter and Charles Ives. Written at a turning point in his career, before he left contemporary literature and radical politics to focus on history, travel, and his own past, this novel reveals Wilson's second thoughts about the 1920s and his recognition of the aspirations and dilemmas of the artist in American society. Neale Reinitz has edited The Higher Jazz for the general reader. His introduction sets the novel in the historical context of Wilson's life and writings, and his annotations explain the topical references and, more important, illustrate Wilson's method of composition.
Hecate is the Greek goddess of sorcery, and Edmund Wilson's Hecate County is the bewitched center of the American Dream, a sleepy bedroom community where drinks flow endlessly and sexual fantasies fill the air. "Memoirs of Hecate County", Wilson's favorite among his many books, is a set of interlinked stories combining the supernatural and the satirical, astute social observation and unusual personal detail. But the heart of the book, "The Princess with the Golden Hair," is a starkly realistic novella about New York City, its dance halls and speakeasies and slums. So sexually frank that for years Wilson's book was suppressed. This story is one of the great lost works of twentieth-century American literature: an astringent, comic, ultimately devastating exploration of lust and love, how they do and do not overlap.
Edmund Wilson's magnum opus, "To the Finland Station," is a stirring account of revolutionary politics, people, and ideas from the French Revolution through the Paris Commune to the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917. It is a work of history on a grand scale, at once sweeping and detailed, closely reasoned and passionately argued, that succeeds in painting an unforgettable picture -- alive with conspirators and philosophers, utopians and nihilists -- of the making of the modern world.
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