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October 24, 1997 | MYRNA OLIVER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Hanna M. Bercovitch, the editor in chief of the Library of America, which publishes a continuing series of classic literary works by American authors, has died. She was 63. Bercovitch died Monday of lung cancer at the home of her son, Eytan Bercovitch, in Madison, Wis. An avid reader all her life, Bercovitch joined the nonprofit publishing company in 1980 shortly after it was formed under the name Literary Classics of the United States Inc.
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ENTERTAINMENT
May 2, 2010 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times
The American Stage Writing on Theater From Washington Irving to Tony Kushner Edited by Laurence Senelick Library of America: 850 pp., $40 Talk about not catching a break: Eclipsed by movies on the pop culture front, the theater also gets shunned at literary functions. Now the Library of America has thrown salt in the wounds with "The American Stage," a mishmash of more than 200 years of theater writing. A grab-bag sensibility is probably unavoidable, but by including not just criticism but also memoir, journalism and other varieties of scribbling, editor Laurence Senelick — a professor of drama at Tufts — practically ensures the book's lack of usefulness.
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BOOKS
November 4, 2007 | Matthew Price, Matthew Price is a journalist and critic in New York.
IN his 1928 essay "The Critic Who Does Not Exist," Edmund Wilson surveyed the landscape of American criticism and didn't like what he saw: an abundance of factions with narrow agendas to push, little coteries gathered around H.L. Mencken or T.S Eliot, each speaking its own language, but no one critic or common tongue that might transcend the babel of competing voices. "What we lack . . .
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September 8, 2009 | Joe Holley, Holley writes for the Washington Post.
Richard Poirier, a literary critic and writer who was one of the founders of the Library of America, a monumental effort to keep American literary classics in print and accessible to the reading public, died Aug. 15 at Roosevelt Hospital in New York. He was 83. He suffered injuries in a fall at his home in New York, said a friend, poet Frederick Seidel. Poirier taught English for many years at Rutgers University, where in 1981 he founded Raritan: A Quarterly Review, a journal of literary criticism and cultural commentary.
BOOKS
March 28, 1999 | WENDY LESSER, Wendy Lesser is the author of numerous books, most recently, "The Amateur: An Independent Life of Letters" (Pantheon). She is the editor of the Threepenny Review
About a year ago, having nothing new to read, I picked up Henry James' "Portrait of a Lady," which I hadn't read in 20 years, and began rereading it. It was an astonishing experience. The book was much better than I had remembered it; more to the point, I was a much better reader of it. Isabel was infinitely more appealing to me than she had been when I was her age: I felt I understood, finally, what she thought she was doing with her life.
BOOKS
April 17, 2005 | Gavin J. Grant, Gavin J. Grant is a co-editor of the 2004 and 2005 editions of "The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror," published by St. Martin's.
Howard PHILLIPS LOVECRAFT fans -- including August Derleth, who co-founded a press, Arkham House, in part to posthumously publish Lovecraft -- have always argued that Lovecraft's weird tales belonged squarely in the center of American literary tradition, that his style was a natural descendant of 19th century writers such as Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Besides, Lovecraft was given the literary stamp of approval in 1928 when Edward J.
BOOKS
August 7, 2005 | Thomas Curwen, Thomas Curwen is editor of the Times Outdoors section.
PITY the poets of the mid-20th century. Dead for only a few decades, Berryman, Bishop, Lowell and Merrill -- to name but a few -- sit in libraries gathering dust. Time and familiarity have silenced their voices. The world has sped beyond them. What does it matter, then, to say that Theodore Roethke was one of the most honored?
BOOKS
November 16, 1997 | JOHN HOLLANDER, John Hollander is the author of numerous books, including "Selected Poetry," "Tesserae and Other Poems" and the anthology "Committed to Memory." He is the A. Bartlett Giamatti professor of English at Yale University and chancellor of the Academy of American Poets
Literary anecdotes abound with traded rhetorical punches; a celebrated exchange in American literature is that between Ernest Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald, the latter observing (as he had at the opening of his wonderful story "The Rich Boy") that the very rich are different from us, and Hemingway presumably winning the two-blow bout by his debunking, "Yes, they have more money."
BOOKS
November 9, 1997 | NICHOLAS CHRISTOPHER, Nicholas Christopher is the author, most recently, of "Veronica" (Dial) and "Somewhere in the Night: Film Noir & the American City."
I have a confession to make. With the exception of the "Killer Inside Me" and "Thieves Like Us," I come to the 11 novels in this excellent two-volume compendium through the movies: I saw the film adaptations before I read the books, and because the lens through which I came to know noir was filmic before it was literary, I often hesitated to pick up the book.
BOOKS
March 3, 1985 | CHARLES CHAMPLIN, Reviewed by Charles Champlin
The Library of America continues to be the most astonishing, ambitious and admirable publishing venture in many a year. Its aim is nothing less than to present the complete works of preeminent American writers from the beginnings until now, in uniform, usable and enduring volumes. The books are at that marvels of mass printing, with sewn bindings that let the books lie open although they run to as many as 1,500 pages.
BOOKS
November 4, 2007 | Matthew Price, Matthew Price is a journalist and critic in New York.
IN his 1928 essay "The Critic Who Does Not Exist," Edmund Wilson surveyed the landscape of American criticism and didn't like what he saw: an abundance of factions with narrow agendas to push, little coteries gathered around H.L. Mencken or T.S Eliot, each speaking its own language, but no one critic or common tongue that might transcend the babel of competing voices. "What we lack . . .
BOOKS
April 22, 2007 | Patric Kuh, Patric Kuh is the restaurant critic for Los Angeles Magazine.
ONCE, I was sent $5 by a reader miffed that I'd left a Los Angeles taco stand off a list of my favorites. Because the amount wasn't large enough to consider pocketing, I sent it back, but it was a reminder of the passions that can arise around food. Whether discussing tacos, pizza or barbecue, we as a nation go at it with a zeal that matches the French in the matter of rillons versus rillettes. But do we write with such passion?
BOOKS
March 25, 2007 | Charles McNulty, charles.mcnulty@latimes.com Charles McNulty is The Times' theater critic.
THOSE who've sat through high school productions of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" might find it amusing to learn how daring the play seemed when it premiered in 1938 on Broadway. Yes, the old chestnut was once considered avant-garde. But that shouldn't come as a complete surprise: Devoid of props and realistic scenery and indulging more in direct address than dialogue, the play departed radically from the naturalistic model that had dominated mainstream theater since the late 19th century.
BOOKS
February 25, 2007 | Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein is a philosopher and novelist. Her last book was "Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity."
I encountered Saul Bellow in the flesh only once. It was at a small afternoon gathering in a town house on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Wide planes of wintry light slammed down from floor-to-ceiling windows, catching sycophants, dust motes and laureate in the slant. At one point I sat on a sofa, conversing with a young child (mine), whom I had been urged by my hostess to bring. I looked up and caught the novelist's steady stare taking in the small tableau of us: Madonna and kvetch.
BOOKS
June 4, 2006 | David L. Ulin, David L. Ulin is book editor of The Times.
HERE'S my favorite story about William Faulkner: In 1925, while living in New Orleans, he became friendly with the wife of Sherwood Anderson and persuaded her to pass along his first novel, "Soldiers' Pay," for the older writer to read. Anderson is reported to have grumbled, "I'll get it published if I don't have to read it," and the book came out the following year.
BOOKS
March 5, 2006 | Richard Rayner, Richard Rayner is the author of several books, most recently "The Devil's Wind," a novel.
FRANCOIS TRUFFAUT reckoned that no little boy ever wanted to grow up to be a movie critic. Graham Greene said he arrived at the idea of becoming one only after an unwise third martini.
BOOKS
February 24, 2002 | NICHOLAS VON HOFFMAN
Though Mark Twain may or may not have written the Great American Novel ("Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"), he is the Great American Writer-Personality-Folk Figure with enough tang to have a book of his occasionally banned or burned. In spite of the bonfires in the years since his death in 1910, he has been elevated to a place of his own on the virtual Mt. Rushmore.
BOOKS
March 5, 2006 | Richard Rayner, Richard Rayner is the author of several books, most recently "The Devil's Wind," a novel.
FRANCOIS TRUFFAUT reckoned that no little boy ever wanted to grow up to be a movie critic. Graham Greene said he arrived at the idea of becoming one only after an unwise third martini.
BOOKS
September 18, 2005 | Paul Krassner, Paul Krassner, former editor of the Realist, is the author of "One Hand Jerking: Reports From an Investigative Satirist," to be published by Seven Stories Press in November.
FOR five decades now, Philip Roth has been articulating the consciousness of his readers and revealing the evolution of his own. The sexual mores in his controversial 1959 novella, "Goodbye, Columbus," for example, now seem relatively quaint, resting quietly somewhere in the graveyard of broken taboos. To celebrate Roth's contribution to our national culture, the Library of America has published two volumes of his early writings.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 9, 2005 | Scott Martelle, Times Staff Writer
Cementing his position as one of America's leading 20th century literary voices, Philip Roth will see the nonprofit Library of America publish an eight-volume collection of his novels and stories beginning later this summer. Roth, a two-time National Book Award winner, joins Saul Bellow and Eudora Welty as the only American writers to have their complete works preserved by the Library of America during their lifetimes.
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