Friday, December 28, 2007

Dickstein, Morris. "Praising Not the Hedgehog but the Fox [Review of Hartman's A SCHOLAR'S TALE]." NEW YORK SUN December 26, 2007.

Politicians, captains of industry, and media celebrities write memoirs — or talk them out to actual writers — in the belief, shared by publishers, that people are interested in the private lives of public figures, the story behind great success or notoriety. Others write therapeutic or voyeuristic memoirs that read like guided tours through hell, cautionary tales of failure, dysfunction, and, in some cases, stirring recovery, holding out hope for us all. As its title implies, Geoffrey Hartman's terse yet eloquent memoir, A Scholar's Tale: Intellectual Journey of a Displaced Child of Europe (Fordham University Press, 195 pages, $24.95), is neither of these staples. It takes us through the author's five decades as a widely influential literary scholar, adding spare biographical details to fill out the bare bones of his personal history. He only touches on the "shocks, regrets, moments of acute self-doubt and self-blame" in his life. Yet the book's scrupulous reconsideration of his literary and academic life marks it as a deeply personal work. . . . Read the rest here:

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