Morning, Noon, and Night: Growing Up and Growing Old with Literature

Arnold Weinstein, Random, $27 (464p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6586-8
This sprawling amalgam of literary criticism, survey, and memoir encompasses the passion of a comp-lit professor over the course of a career. Steeped in the writings of many Western cultures and times, Weinstein tours not only traditional forms, but the occasional graphic novel (Art Spiegelman's Maus) and film (Bergman's Wild Strawberries) to derive the verities of experience—the ways humans mature and exit life. The number of authors and works covered is staggering. Among the favored: William Blake, Sophocles, Marguerite Duras, Balzac, Faulkner, Dostoyevski, Joyce, Proust, and Ibsen, some relatively obscure (Tarjei Vesaas, for one), some more contemporary (Toni Morrison). The book is at its best when Weinstein zeroes in on eroticism, love, and remembrance. But all too often the juxtaposition of vastly different writers and periods feels arbitrary and forced. In the second half of the book, "Growing Old," Weinstein returns to a number of authors and their works, showing a change in perspective—yet only to confirm suspicions born of experience: that first discovery, like first love, is always the most exciting. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/22/2010
Release date: 02/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 306 pages - 978-0-679-60447-1
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