Irvin Ehrenpreis (1920–1985) was the Linden Kent Memorial Professor of English Literature at the University of Virginia. In 1984 he received the Christian Gauss Award from Phi Beta Kappa for the final volume of his trilogy, Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age.


The Seductive Journalist

James Boswell: The Later Years, 1769–1795

by Frank Brady
When James Boswell was twenty, he ran away from the University of Glasgow and went to London. There he meant to become a Roman Catholic, perhaps a monk. But an attentive friend of a friend diverted him with the pleasures of the town; and instead of entering a monastery, Boswell …

Art, Life, and T. S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot: A Study in Character and Style

by Ronald Bush
Among T.S. Eliot’s friendships, the longest-lived attachment to a woman was his connection with Emily Hale (daughter of a Bostonian architect who was also a minister), which began when he was a student at Harvard. Miss Hale (1891–1969) became a teacher of speech and drama, and the pair met during …

The King of Correspondence

The Yale Edition of Horace Walpole's Correspondence

edited by W.S. Lewis
Don’t be put off by the opulence of the Yale edition of Horace Walpole’s letters. Pull down volume eighteen, open it as if you were Titian approaching a canvas, and read about the Duke of Beaufort’s private parts. The Duke had a wife whose connection with Lord Talbot became scandalous.

Unheard Melodies

The Odes of John Keats

by Helen Vendler
When Keat’s brother Tom was dying, and the poet was falling in love with Fanny Brawne, he wrote to a friend, I never was in love—Yet the voice and the shape of a woman has haunted me these two days—at such a time when the relief, the feverous relief of …

Three-Part Inventions

The World, the Text, and the Critic

by Edward W. Said
Edward Said’s new book is a disconcerting example of a rational position sapped by alarming faults. As a practical and theoretical critic of literature, Said sacrifices accuracy and good sense to self-indulgent carelessness. His collection of essays deals with a range of writers from Swift to Conrad, with philosophers from …

The Two Robert Brownings

Robert Browning: A Life Within Life

by Donald Thomas
In his new biography of Browning, Donald Thomas takes us no great distance into the nature of the poet or his work. Yet the connection between the private man and the poems will tantalize anyone who examines Browning’s career. At the center of the dramatic monologues is usually a revelation …

Whose Life Is It, Anyway?

Katherine Anne Porter: A Life

by Joan Givner
A woman who, when nearing fifty, finds a handsome, talented man of twenty-seven coaxing her into marriage might well become the subject of an interesting story. If she was born in a two-room log house but persuaded her admirers that she grew up in a mansion occupied by four generations …