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The Anti-Egotist: Kingsley Amis, Man of Letters Hardcover – September 15, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The witty prose of National Book Award winner Fussell ( The Great War and Modern Memory ) serves him well in this apologia for the equally incisive Amis. Focusing more on Amis's essays, poetry, book reviews and even restaurant reviews than on his fiction, Fussell attempts to refute the prevailing assessment of the British writer as a baleful reactionary, a "literary rottweiler." He recasts Amis as a true man of letters, who wrote for the reading public rather than for the literary establishment, and as a blunt critic of self-promotion and pretention. It is hard to imagine a writer better suited than Fussell to appraise Amis's career; given Fussell's own reputation as a curmudgeon (he titled a recent evaluation of American culture Bad: Or, the Dumbing of America ), one can't help feeling that this spirited book is an act of self-defense as well.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This study of Amis by well-known literary and social critic Fussell is part biography and part literary analysis of Amis's nonfiction. Yet while Fussell summarizes and praises Amis's criticism, anthologies, memoirs, journalism, and poetry, he provides little in-depth analysis, and his discussion of Amis's life is sketchy and anecdotal. Moreover, he tends to ramble from discussion of Amis and his work to whining complaints about contemporary life and literature. Indeed, the book's organizing principles seem to be that Amis is the only living person who cares about literature and that anyone who disagrees with Amis and Fussell is wrong. Amis deserves better than this. Not recommended.
Judy Mimken, Saginaw Valley State Univ., Mich.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; First Edition edition (September 15, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195087364
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195087369
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,513,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I had to have this one - an intersection of two writers I've admired for some time. Fussel is probably the ideal person to write such an appraisal. As mentioned above, the lack of critical theoryspeak is most welcome. The interpretation of Amis as a moral satirist (which isn't a category that you see very much) provides a useful key to most of his work (fiction, poetry, and prose alike.) If you're a fan of the work, you'll enjoy this - it's like having a chance to sit down across from an intelligent, perceptive reader who likes the same things you do.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B. M Purcell on August 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"For all the sometimes rowdy comedy attending Amis's depictions of meanness, his understanding of its psychology is complicated and serious. It is, if funny, also immoral, so little and minimal, practiced by wee men only. And it betrays neurosis, implying constant "paranoid" watchfulness lest one be had. It keeps one on a constant stretch of attentive calculation, and this finally becomes a substitute for thought, as well as replacing an objective interest in things outside oneself."
"I feel STRETCHED", Bilbo Baggins after having the One Ring for a while.
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