Artistic License by Brooke Allen
Three Centuries of Good Writing and Bad Behavior

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Brooke Allen's sparkling new collection of essays considers the dysfunctional and apparently destructive nature of great talent. Ms. Allen shows how the incendiaries of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were, in real terms, far more daring and more disturbing to the moral and ideological systems of their time than is the modern mutineer, who stages his rebellion within a social framework that condones—or at least pretends to condone—rebellion. She finds it surprising that so many writers held on to artistic rectitude in the face of all-but-insuperable personal failings. Her brief but pungent profiles help enrich our understanding of the writers' works.

About Brooke Allen

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Brooke Allen is a book critic whose work has appeared in numerous publications including The Atlantic Monthly, The New Criterion, The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, and The Hudson Review. A collection of her essays, Twentieth-Century Attitudes, will be published in 2003.
Published July 27, 2004 by Ivan R. Dee. 264 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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For instance, in an assessment (somewhat altered from its original Times appearance) of Brenda Wineapple’s biography of Hawthorne, Allen declares that high-school students should not read The Scarlet Letter—too difficult—but should instead read The Blithedale Romance, a dark, melancholic novel fe...

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Publishers Weekly

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Her collection of 18 smart, gossipy essays--many of which were previously published in the New Criterion, the Hudson Review or the New York Times Book Review--takes a bemused look at the naughty behavior of our most revered writers.""The Western literary tradition,"" she quips,""seems to have bee...

Jul 26 2004 | Read Full Review of Artistic License: Three Centu...

ForeWord Reviews

This book belongs to an earlier generation of literary criticism, one that is too often undervalued today.

Sep 25 2004 | Read Full Review of Artistic License: Three Centu...

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