The Anti-Egotist: Kingsley Amis, Man of Letters

Paul Fussell, Author Oxford University Press, USA $25 (224p) ISBN 978-0-19-508736-9
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. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1994
Release date: 09/01/1994
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