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This witty wonder may be for you My literary almanac tells me that on this day in 1854, Oscar O’Flahertie Fingal Wills Wilde was born in Dublin, Ireland. Wilde, once the toast of venues as varied as London, England and Deadwood, S.D.
It’s commonplace for Minnesota readers to get together and talk about the state’s greatest novelists. Sinclair Lewis and F. Scott Fitzgerald are generally recalled in one breath. Younger folks will of course remember Louise Erdrich, Jon Hassler and Tim O’Brien. Seldom, in my experience, has the name J.F. Powers popped up in this or that pantheon of gopher novelists.
England’s Edwardian Era is a fascinating one, indeed. It succeed the staid Victorian era and with the death of Victoria around the turn of the century, her aged son Edward VII ascended the throne and a whole new way of life for the English opened up. Well, not for everybody, but for the upper class, who began to enjoy the wonders of electricity, motor cars and a less morally strict ethos. It’s also known as the age of modernism, when writers like T.S.
Kevin Alderson is a retired high school history teacher over in LaFarge.
Just about the time you think you’ll scream if you’re confronted with another monumental biography, another epic movie, an enigmatic play about T.E. Lawrence, along comes journalist Scott Anderson with a monumental tome, titled “Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of The Modern Middle East” (Doubleday, $28.95).
Twenty years ago, when I was made book review editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, I wrote a column in which I described to my readers what kind of books and authors I liked and didn’t care for, so they would know my prejudices from the get-go. In one paragraph, I mentioned that I was a fan of T.S. Eliot’s poetry. My boss, the managing editor, a New York City transplant, called me in. He said — and I swear this is true — “Dave, I know who T.S. Eliot is and you know who T.S.
If you’re a science fiction buff, have I got a book for you to take to the lake.
Wisconsin Talk and Inferno discussed by Dave Wood, past vice-president of the National Book Critics Circle and former book review editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune
I grew up not knowing much about Wendell Willkie, for I was only four in 1940 when he ran against Franklin Roosevelt for the presidency. I knew that because of his rural Indiana background, wags called him “the barefoot boy from Wall Street.” I also knew that my father had voted for him, as he also did for Thomas E. Dewey, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon. He only voted for a Democrat once. “I voted for Jimmy Carter,” said my dad.
Hennepin Strip kingpin: Those were the days The buzz had been pretty incredible for a local book, so I waited and waited to be sent a review copy of “Augie’s Secrets: The Minneapolis Mob and The King of the Hennepin Strip,” by Neal Karlen (Minnesota Historical Society Press, $24.95). It never came so for the first time in my career I had to check out a copy from the public library. Why was I so anxious to read the book?