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Twentieth-century attitudes - Brooke Allen

9781566635202
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Title
Twentieth-century attitudes - literary powers in uncertain times
Author
Brooke Allen
format
Hardback
Publisher
Ivan R. Dee
Language
English
UK Publication Date
20030702

In eighteen enlightening essays, the critic Brooke Allen explores the lives and work of some of the last century's most brilliant and eccentric literary talents. It was a century that apotheosized ideology and frequently demanded evidence of political engagement from its artists and intellectuals. Some of the writers considered in Twentieth-Century Attitudes found a spiritual home in the left (George Bernard Shaw, Christopher Isherwood, Sylvia Townsend Warner); others, like Evelyn Waugh, in the right; still others maneuvered the shifting ideological sands with a more measured skepticism. It was also a century during which the dictates of fashion, both social and intellectual, changed with unprecedented rapidity. A few of the writers Ms. Allen considers, like James Baldwin and Saul Bellow, struggled honorably but not always with success to reconcile their artistic intentions with intellectual fashion; others, like Colette and H. G. Wells, took an avid role in the drama of their historical moment and triumphantly communicated that sense of drama to their descendants. Really good writers, as Ms. Allen shows, do not write well in spite of the foibles, prejudices, and fallacies of their times; instead they crystallize these oddities into something universal. The writers in Twentieth-Century Attitudes embody in their very different ways the various attitudes of their contentious century and the success or failure of attempts to transcend these attitudes. Ms. Allen's essays, which combine extensive biographical information with new critical insights, richly illustrate the tenuous and often bizarre links between character and talent, between historical circumstances and individual vision.

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Brooke Allen is a writer and critic whose work appears frequently in the New York Times Book Review, the Atlantic Monthly, the New Criterion, the Hudson Review, and the New Leader. She has also written Artistic License, and won the 2003 New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Ms. Allen lives with her husband and two children in Brooklyn, New York.

She fills her writing with intelligence and equanimity, making her boldness seem really not so wild after all, but the logical conclusion of good sense and an orderly mind.
The Weekly Standard - David Skinner

One of the most valuable critics.... Her reviews of novels and novelists are invariably on the mark and written with grace.
William H. Pritchard

Lucid and incisive, fair-minded and fair-spoken...wonderful.... A lively enemy of pomp and cant, conformity and confusion.
Brad Leithauser

Allen's byline is a guarantee of crisp, clear common sense.... What a pleasure to read a bookful of her best essays.
Terry Teachout

One of the country's finest literary essayists-scrupulous, discerning, utterly direct and at the same time always surprising.
Jane Kramer

Smart, witty, remarkably literate, and a talented cultural historian.... Allen offers us new critical insights.
David Nasaw

Engrossing...fair-minded essays...nicely edged, combining the right amount of literary criticism with biographical insight and social history.... Unique and enlightening.... Recommended.
Library Journal

A satisfying collection of essays...memorable...accomplishes what all good criticism should.
New York Sun

Readers may feel they have not just read about these authors, but met them for the first time in a long, long while.
The Wall Street Journal - John Freeman

A critic in whom sense decidedly predominates.... Filled with the most high-level, erudite gossip imaginable.
The New York Times - Evelyn Toynton

Enlightening, fun, eminently readable, and wonderfully, woefully politically correct.
National Review - Meghan Keane

Allen has taken a novel approach.
Greenwich Times - John Linsenmeyer

An agreeable mix of biographical background and astute literary judgement with a dash of gossip.... Brooke Allen offers wide-ranging, frequently provocative reflections on literature and the art of writing.
The Washington Times - Lorna Williams

[A] delightful series of essays.
Armavirumque - James Panero

Type
BOOK
Keyword Index
English literature - 20th century - History and criticism.|American literature - 20th century - History and criticism.
Country of Publication
Illinois
Number of Pages
241

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