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Twentieth-Century Attitudes: Literary Powers…
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Twentieth-Century Attitudes: Literary Powers in Uncertain Times (2003)

by Brooke Allen

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I may seem like an odd person to be enjoying, or even reading this book, since I have only read a few of the authors, and I don't particularly like serious contemporary fiction, as a rule.

Allen's combination of short biography, reviews of biographies, and literary criticism none the less make for a fascinating slice of social history. It isn't necessary to have read the authors, although I am sure it is all the more interesting. It makes a good reference if one wants help in selecting a biography or selecting the best works of the authors' to begin reading.

I'm sure that some people will be upset if she doesn't like a favorite author, but that's how it goes with opinions. ( )
  juglicerr | Apr 3, 2017 |
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Book description
In eighteen essays, Ms. Allen explores the lives and work of some of the last century's most brilliant and eccentric literary talents. Ms. Allen's appraisals, 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. A New York Times Notable Book of the Year. [retrieved 3/22/2017 from Amazon.com]

Contents:
Acknowledgments                                              vii

Preface                                                        ix

The Voice of a New Century: Colette                         3

A Socialist Rivalry: H. G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw   21

Edith Wharton and the Rejection of Tradition                  31

The Cult of Victimhood: Virginia Woolf and Modem
   Feminism                                                   46

The Elusive Henry Green                                       62

Evelyn Waugh-with All the Warts                               76

The Mitford Girls                                             89

Sylvia Townsend Warner                                       108

Brilliant Frivolity: Christopher Isherwood's Diaries      124

The Many Worlds of Angus Wilson                              131

Carson McCullers: The Story of an Emotional Vampire       147

Backstage at The New Yorker                                  155

Iris Murdoch, Drawing-room Philosopher                       171

The Better James Baldwin                                     183

Saul Bellow on Top                                           198

Cockeyed Optimist: Grace Paley and the Eternal Feminine  211

John Barth: Scheherazade's Exhaustion                        216

Rohinton Mistry: A Butterfly on the Dung Heap          222

Index                                                        230

'"The Voice of a New Century: Collette" and "Saul Bellow on Top" appeared originally in the Hudson Review. Part of "Rohinton Mistry: A Butterfly on a Dung Heap" was first published in the Atlantic Monthly. All the other pieces in this book first appeared in The New Criterion."
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