The Smart Set: George Jean Nathan and H. L. Mencken: Cloth Book

Thomas Quinn Curtiss, Author Applause Books $28.95 (270p) ISBN 978-1-55783-312-9
Curtiss's quasi-biographical study is at its best when he focuses on the friendship and collaboration of Nathan and Mencken when they were co-editors (and occasionally ghostwriters) of the jazz era literary magazine The Smart Set. If Nathan and Mencken had different styles and temperaments--Nathan was a Harvard-educated dandy, Mencken a self-taught newspaperman--they were united by an urgent desire to elevate America's critical standards and similar tastes for realistic, rather than sentimental, art. Curtiss offers a lively portrait of these two iconoclasts, filled with details ranging from their penchant for practical jokes to the forging of a seamless working relationship that spanned a decade. Foremost among their efforts was the introduction of innovative American and European artists, despite censors and the ongoing resistance of what Curtiss calls the ""Puritan camp"" of critics ruled over by ""[t]hat dreary octogenarian, William Winter."" Given that Applause is a theater book publisher, perhaps it is predictable that there would be less about the discoveries of O'Neill, Fitzgerald and Joyce, or about Nathan and Mencken's own writings (no more than two of Mencken's reviews are directly discussed), than there is about the critics, playwrights, producers, actors and managers of the New York theater world from 1900 to 1930. Moreover, it is difficult to overlook the somewhat awkward structure of this work, treating as it does two who prized above all else the craft of writing. (Apr.) FYI: Applause will publish The World of George Jean Nathan: Selected Essays and Reviews, edited by Charles Angoff, to coincide with The Smart Set. ($24.95 paper 520p ISBN 1-55783-313-3)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
Show other formats
FORMATS
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.