Thursday, May 26, 2011

Subdued to what it works in

Interesting CNN bit on Edmund White and HIV in the 1980s.

Something I found absolutely inspiring: Michael Wood's LRB review of the latest volume of my colleague Edward Mendelson's edition of Auden's prose. I have to reread The Dyer's Hand, a book that made a great impression on me when I was a teenager but that I don't think I've read again since; but also, hubristically on my part, Wood made me want to strive to be a critic more like Auden!

I have a full draft of my theater-and-the-novel essay, but it needs a lot of editing and considerable library work to replace piecemeal editions with proper ones. I had a very good workout (double spin class) yesterday evening, but it caused my lungs to fill up with more phlegm this morning, so I'm taking a recovery day. Raced through Jo Nesbo's The Devil's Star last night; strange to say, it manages to be at once rather preposterous and quite excellent! The writing is very high-caliber, that I suppose is what lets him pull it off.

1 comment:

  1. I would like to think I know the Dyer's Hand intimately but I have never read it in order; this is clearly something I must do. The difficulty of being a critic like Auden is much the same as that of being a poet like Auden, he had a powerfully idiosyncratic mind. I got the sense from Wood's review -- wonderful in its way -- that it's been a while since he read Auden's 1950s poems; the amount of recycling-to-good-effect (pearls -> eyes) is striking, and I suspect that many of the best bits can be traced to Auden having to review something when he was working on a poem...