Monday, February 11, 2008

Scialabba, George. "A Great Deal of Work [on Edmund Wilson]." THE NATION January 28, 2008.

The Library of America's new two-volume issue of Wilson's essays and reviews from the 1920s, '30s and '40s is one of the summits of twentieth-century literary criticism. Edmund Wilson's life story is well-known from his many published journals (The Twenties through The Sixties), memoirs ("The Author at Sixty" and Upstate) and letters (a superb collection, Letters on Literature and Politics, edited by Elena Wilson, his fourth wife), other people's remembrances and two good biographies by Jeffrey Meyers and Lewis Dabney. He was born in 1895--with difficulty, because he already had an unusually large head. His father was a reforming lawyer and Attorney General of New Jersey but was disabled for much of his later life by hypochondria and depression. Young Edmund got an extraordinary education at the Hill School in Pennsylvania and a decent one at Princeton, especially after he encountered the literary scholar and peerless teacher Christian Gauss. At Princeton he also (like Dwight Macdonald at Yale) began several lifelong literary friendships, notably with F. Scott Fitzgerald and the poet John Peale Bishop. . . . Read the rest here:

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