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Customer Review

71 of 77 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A period piece, but some of it is classic, January 15, 2001
This review is from: Slouching Towards Bethlehem (Modern Library) (Hardcover)
Decades after the fact, this collection of essays is a bit of a period piece, but some of it holds up quite well. The subject of the famous title story -- which first appeared in The Saturday Evening Post in 1967 -- is about the Haight Street scene and, more to the point, the breakdown of human connection that Didion believed that scene represented. She is similarly gloomy about New York in "Goodbye to All That," and about California in "Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream." Though she was in her late 20s and early 30s when she wrote this material, she clearly saw much of what was going on in the 1960s as the activities of a different generation from her own. In any case it's these pieces, along with one about John Wayne, that stand out here, and remain, after all these years, pretty close to extraordinary. Some of the other material (a piece about Joan Baez, etc.) is less memorable. I bought this in the hardback Modern Library edition with a useless introductory essay by Elizabeth Hardwick (but a great photo of Didion on the front cover). Should've gone with paper.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 16, 2013 8:39:25 PM PDT
David Seaman says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Jan 9, 2014 5:26:38 AM PST
David Seaman says:
I have taken a great deal of abuse regarding the addition of the "s" at the end of the word "toward." This is because people believe that this terrible travesty of the English Language was made by Yeats who died in 1939. I went into my own library- a library started by fif ver grandfathers before me in 1923 and I pulled every Yeats volume I could find to read "The Second coming" bgy William Butler Yeats (1865-1935). It was with great interest that those volumes published in the 1890's through the 1940's all printed the line Slouching toward Bethlehem" without the "s" and not until the mid 50's did the "s" arrive. In Ther Television movie "The Stand" with gary Sinese and Rob Lowe, the poem is quoted WITHOUT the "s".

I listen to journalists add an "s" to the words "toward" and anyway" and I listen to them use the word "loan" as a verb (rendering "lend" to be lend) as I listen to sp;lit infinitives, an overuse of adverbs and dangling participles and I think, "Why I am to take such abuse from people who wish to allow the destruction our not just our language, but of the beutiful words of W. B. Yeats? How would people feel about the altering of Robert Frost? "And be one traveler long I stood and looked down one as far as I could / to where it bends into the undergrowth."

Were I to quote this classic as I did above America would jump all over me. Yeats original manuscript- in his own fountain pen- wrote out "Slouching toward Bethlehem". It is not my fault that this brilliant essayist selected her title based on a bastardization of his work.
DS

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 14, 2014 10:01:26 AM PST
blueapple says:
'Time to re-read little bk,Strunk&White?Try big bk,Fowlers:Br:With 's'is usually Br.W.O.'s' mostly Amer.'Anyway'never has 's'.Americans aren't always right.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 12, 2014 1:30:34 AM PDT
Sandy C. says:
Wow, it seems pompous to reject part of Joan Didion's work on the basis of a perceived grammatical error!...Never mind reading her essays, I'll just curl up with Strunk and White instead!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 25, 2014 9:12:33 AM PST
Desiree says:
:) touche!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 2, 2015 3:42:41 PM PST
You are a pedant and a bore and you could use some instruction in the use of the apostrophe.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2015 8:56:47 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 6, 2015 9:00:56 AM PST
Darren says:
Unbelievable -- you're actually SPAMMING your "TowardS" obsession on every review for this book.

You say: "It was with great interest that those volumes published in the 1890's through the 1940's all printed the line Slouching toward Bethlehem"

Name one. Publisher, country of origin, year. Project Gutenberg should be able to clear this up.

Finally, your many misspellings and bad grammar -- in the latter case, I cite the sentence of yours that I copied above -- render you hypocritical at best; a troll, at worst.

Good luck,
Darren
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