Van Wyck Brooks (Magill's Literary Annual 1982)
Since Van Wyck Brooks’s death in 1963, his reputation has been well served, both as a writer and a figure influential for his time, by two essentially critical sutdies, James Vitelli’s Van Wyck Brooks (1969) and William Wasserstrom’s The Legacy of Van Wyck Brooks (1972); further, Gladys Brooks, the writer’s second wife, has penned an affectionate memoir, If Strangers Meet: A Memory (1967), and James Hoopes a competent biography, Van Wyck Brooks: In Search of American Culture (1977). To these books may now be added the definitive biography by Raymond Nelson, a volume comprehensive and critically astute, that treats not only the writer’s life but also his impact upon his generation.
A present-day reader may wonder at the extraordinary scholarly interest that Brooks still provokes among admirers. His work, although extensive and widely read between 1915 and 1932, began to lose critical support with The Life of Emerson (1932) and gradually, for the next two and a half decades, seemed ever more out of touch with the mainstream of American criticism. Even these years of declining critical acclaim, however, were productive for Brooks’s massive research and publication. His lifework was the five-volume Makers and Finders: A History of the Writer in America 1800-1915 (1952), a succession of major works which established for good his reputation as America’s most industrious literary historian,...
(The entire section is 2025 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1982)
Best Sellers. XLI, January, 1982, p. 380.
Book World. XI, November 8, 1981, p. 10.
Library Journal. CVI, September 1, 1981, p. 1632.
National Review. XXXIII, October 16, 1981, p. 1215.
New Leader. LXIV, December 14, 1981, p. 18.
The New Republic. CLXXXV, November 18, 1981, p. 31.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXVI, November 1, 1981, p. 9.
The New Yorker. LVII, November 23, 1981, p. 225.
(The entire section is 46 words.)