The United Tates

Ann Waldron’s excellent life of Caroline Gordon is the most intelligent and readable biography yet to appear of any writer of the Southern Renaissance. It tells a story fascinating in human terms, even if the reader has no interest whatever in that literary movement. To me Ms. Waldron’s book was …

Big Bad Wolfe?

No one is afraid of him now; but was Wolfe really big and bad? Of his bigness—in physical stature and appetites, in literary ambition and productivity—there can be no doubt. Nobody, least of all Wolfe himself, ever forgot it: Wolfe typically thought of himself as Gulliver, a giant surrounded by …

‘Kipper of de Vineyards’

That Cleanth Brooks, after a long and distinguished career as a literary critic, should now produce a book about language may surprise some readers. But it must be remembered that language was one of his strong early interests: among his first publications were The Relation of the Alabama-Georgia Dialect to …

Immersed in America

This collection shows Robert Penn Warren, now past seventy, to be still growing and developing as a poet and to be still at the height of his powers. It is hard to think of Warren as old. He was the youngest and most precocious of the Fugitive group, and the …

You Makin’ Sense

Both these books are by white authors who are passionately convinced that the language of black Americans deserves respect and study. The intention of both books is to make amends for the insults and errors of the past and, more urgently and practically, to enable teachers of blacks, especially in …