Van Wyck Brooks Leon Edel - Essay

Leon Edel

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[An Autobiography is] a luminous testament of one of the most dedicated literary careers in our century.

What emerges from the reticent and at times almost impersonal sketches of his boyhood and youth, his days at Harvard, his uneasy flirtation with "Europe," his travels across America, his numerous friendships among writers and painters, is more a group portrait than a self-portrait. Brooks, the literary historian, triumphs over Brooks, the personal historian. Indeed he frequently interrupts his life story to tell the stories of others; and we have accordingly a fine series of vignettes of those close to him, and often simply of individuals who cross his path, as if he were writing still...

(The entire section is 504 words.)