Book reviewers observe a law that Moses forgot to bring down from the mountain: Thou shalt not praise miscellaneous collections of periodical pieces. When I read censure of an author for gathering fugitive pieces, I usually respond by buying the book. Second-rate work from a first-rate writer has its utility. We would not read Henry James’s potboiling short stories or travel sketches or letters if we did not love Portrait of a Lady and The Ambassadors; and by-blows cast light on the great work. The perfected work of art stays within itself; the dashed-off journalism releases incoherent, suggestive, sometimes brilliant flashes of illumination. Why else should we read disquisitions on Pee Wee Russell and Fats Waller by a middle-aged English librarian? Even Philip Larkin’s praise for James Bond sheds minor light on The Less Deceived, The Whitsun Weddings, and High...

 

A Message from the Editors

As a reader of our efforts, you have stood with us on the front lines in the battle for culture. Learn how your support contributes to our continued defense of truth.

Popular Right Now