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The Times of Melville and Whitman [Paperback]

Van Wyck Brooks
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 23, 2005 1419156306 978-1419156304
This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Kessinger Publishing, LLC (June 23, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419156306
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419156304
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 8.9 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,140,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A dozy wander through literary America mid-1800s March 11, 2005
Van Wyck Brooks (1886-1963) was a prolific American critic and historian who wrote a wide variety of historical, literary, and autobiographical works.

In this installment he focuses on the transcendentalist period in writing and the way that writers emerged and blossomed in the American landscape. He makes an explicit link between the regions and the writers, with chapter headings such as "Melville in the Berkshires" and "The South: Constance Fenimore Woolson".

As a reader I found myself out of sympathy with the tone of the book. It may simply be the age of the prose that made it hard for me to read. The book was published in 1949 and there has been considerable change in the style of literary criticism since that time. I liked the anecdotes about the writers and the quality of the prose itself. However, I missed a sense of unity and clarity. I frequently found myself getting impatient and out of sorts while reading.

The book may well be of interest for someone looking for background color for the time period, but seems limited for more focused research purposes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Still a classic worth reading February 1, 2014
Van Wyck Brooks was an outstanding critic of his generation, and thoroughly surveyed great American literature of the 19th Century. He had a talent for interweaving details about biography and history into his critical examinations, leaving the reader usefully informed about authors, genres, and the larger cultural atmosphere.

His writing was well-regarded by his contemporaries: witness the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize garnered by the best book in this series, The Flowering of New England. His books will obviously reflect both the times in which they were published, as well as the fact that he was born in the late 1880s. (This volume appeared when he was already in his 60s.) Compared to current criticism, his writing is richer in detail, more engaging, and less hurried in pace; to me at least, it warmly invites the reader to move at a slower pace and even linger a bit at times. It is a style which has a lot in common with that of the authors he is writing about, and if you like them, you should like Van Wyck Brooks.

Still well-worth reading today, over 60 years later.
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