Baker & Taylor
Gathers selections from the journals of the influential social and literary critic during the last decade of his life
Blackwell North Amer
The Sixties, the last of Edmund Wilson's posthumously published journals, is a personal history that is also brilliant social comedy and an anatomy of the times. Edited by Wilson's biographer, this volume poignantly - and defiantly - records the final years of one of our foremost critics and writers, taking its place alongside his major works, including To the Finland Station, Patriotic Gore, The Shores of Light, and Letters on Literature and Politics, as an enduring contribution to American culture.
Shuttling between his house on Cape Cod, a family home in upstate New York, and New York City, with forays to Boston and Cambridge, Western Europe, Hungary, Jordan, and Israel during this decade. Wilson catches the flavor of an international elite - Stravinsky, Auden, Andre Malraux, and Isaiah Berlin - the New York literati, and the Kennedy White House. He is equally happy seeking out rare plants and talking with neighbors in the small community of Talcottville, which he viewed as a microcosm of the United States.
In The Sixties Wilson also struggles with his aging, as intellectual and personal curiosity contend against weakening physical powers, and flirtations that afford a sense of biological revival strain his relationship with his wife, Elena. He watches his children establishing their own lives and is aware of unfulfilled relationships with them. Yet, as he plunges into the contemporary scene of art, thought, and public affairs, the pull of his personal and cultural past is strengthened by the sense of his approaching end.
Witnessing his own foibles and the ironies of human nature, expressing feeling more deeply than he often had in his journal, he writes his account of this decade with a concentration undiluted by other large-scale projects. The extraordinary personal record begun in another pivotal period in American life, with The Twenties, comes to a fitting culmination in The Sixties.
The final volume of journals by Edmund Wilson includes details of Wilson in Boston, Cambridge, Western Europe, Hungary, Jordan, and Israel; Wilson on Stravinsky, Auden, Andre+a7 Malraux, and Isaiah Berlin; and even Wilson in the White House.