A dogged but uneven work of literary excavation of most interest to literary scholars.

THE FORGOTTEN WRITINGS OF BRAM STOKER

A curious collection of miscellaneous writing by the author of Dracula.

Editor Browning digs into obscure archives for lost works by Stoker (1847–1912), who maintained a rich writing life while serving a 30-year tenure as business manager for the actor Sir Henry Irving, based at the Lyceum Theatre in London. Much of Stoker’s work has, “until now eluded bibliographers,” perhaps because it’s not terribly memorable—for example, many early novels and stories that appeared largely in serial form in British and American periodicals starting with Under the Sunset in 1881. (Browning reports definitively that Dracula was first serialized in the Charlotte Daily Observer from July 16, 1899 to December 10, 1899, much earlier than previously thought.) The tales included here display some of Stoker's weirdly meandering plots and mischievous humor, such as in “Old Hoggen: A Mystery,” narrated by a comfortably well-off husband who is sent out to scour the seacoast of Charmouth for crabs for his mother-in-law and “her daughter” and ends up stumbling literally upon the remains of an old vanished rich denizen by the name of Jabez Hoggen. (One gruesome detail involves several large crabs “walking out of the body,” and which the expedient narrator pockets.) Unsurprisingly, many of the selections reflect Stoker’s close working relationship with the British theatrical company, as in “What They Confessed: A Low Comedian’s Story,” as well as glowing appreciations of actors Irving and Ellen Terry. Also included is a fascinating catalog of the items for sale at the 1913 auction of Stoker’s property, especially his library, full of books by his friend Walt Whitman.

A dogged but uneven work of literary excavation of most interest to literary scholars.

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-137-27722-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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