Agitations: Essays on Life and Literature by Arthur Krystal

By Arthur Krystal

From small questions of flavor to giant questions about the nature of life, highbrow debate takes up a lot of our time. during this paintings literary critic Arthur Krystal examines what such a lot commentators forget about: the position of temperament and flavor within the forming of aesthetic and ideological reviews. In provocative essays approximately analyzing and writing, concerning the relation among existence and literature, approximately wisdom and sure bet, approximately God and demise, and approximately his personal sluggish disaffection with the literary scene, Krystal demonstrates that opposing issues of view are established extra on innate predilections than on disinterested idea or research. no longer beholden to any stylish concept or political schedule, Krystal interrogates the standard suspects within the cultural wars from an self sufficient, even though no longer neutral, vantage element. sincerely own and unabashedly belletrist, his essays ask vital questions. What makes tradition something and never one other? What evokes aesthetic values? What drives us to make comparisons? and the way does a bias for one type of facts in place of one other give a contribution to the shape and content material of highbrow argument?

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After the fall of Rome, many ancient texts found their way to the Arab world. d. 800 possessed some 400,000 volumes, and it was said of one Baghdad scholar that it required ‘‘four hundred camel loads’’ to transport his books. In Europe, however, books were not so easily had, as is apparent from the size of private and university libraries. The Sorbonne library in 1289 owned about 1,100 books, and Oxford’s Oriel College a paltry 100 as late as 1375. As for private libraries, the most famous belonged to Richard de Bury, Bishop of Durham, who in the fourteenth century amassed 1,500 volumes.

American authors are represented by Jack London, Nelson Algren, James T. Farrell, Heywood Broun, Hemingway, Mailer, and Joyce Carol Oates. Witwer merits nine h. c. witwer and me 23 entries, which are immediately followed by four for P. G. Wodehouse. So many scribes of the scu∆e, one ponders, so many literary eminencies drawn to the sport. S o who was H. C. Witwer? I didn’t know. I didn’t even know what his initials stood for, since the 1921 Grosset & Dunlap edition I now owned neglects to say. But I knew where to look.

Will I now go on to read or reread Witwer’s thirteen other novels, including Fighting Back, the sequel to The Leather Pushers? Probably not, though From Baseball to Bosches and The Classics in Slang make for tempting titles. My search, after all, is over. I have my book and I’ve read it too. And I learned something. I learned that Kid Roberts didn’t actually like to fight; he fought because his father made some unsound investments and lost the family fortune. Nor, as it turns out, did Dad disapprove of his son’s h.

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