13 May 2009

THE WRITTEN WORD: The New Yorker Reviews Biography of Slang-Whanger William Hazlitt

THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS feels like a European building.
I jumped through hoops to be granted a researcher's library card and hope to return soon when I have more time to spend in the reading room and get my gloved hands on some of the rare books.

Of all my literature courses in college, probably my favorite was Romantic British literature. The Romantics have surfaced for me again, of late. Last week, I went to hear the poet David Whyte at the Boulder Bookstore. Whyte, about whom I'd written for The Denver Post, recited part of Wordsworth's Prelude. I swooned.
This evening, I read in the 18 May issue of The New Yorker a fascinating and fabulously written review by Arthur Krystal of a book titled "William Hazlitt: The First Modern Man" (Oxford $45) The book, written by Duncan Wu, includes cameo appearances by Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Keats. Prolific, Hazlitt resisted pidgeon-holing; he wrote everything from book reviews to biographies to philosophy to essays to political manifestos.
Krystal, the magazine notes, is at work on a book on F. Scott Fitzgerald. His review is an informative and entertaining read. Google "The New Yorker Slang-Whanger" if you don't have a subscription.


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