Edmund Wilson: A Life in Literature

THU, OCT 13, 2005 (1:10:58)

Lewis Dabney lectures on his new book, Edmund Wilson: A Life in Literature. From the Jazz Age through the McCarthy Era, Edmund Wilson (1895-1972) stood at the center of the American cultural scene. In his own youth a crucial champion of the young Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Wilson went on to write three classics of literary and intellectual history (Axel’s Castle, To the Finland Station, and Patriotic Gore), searching reportage, and criticism that has outlasted many of its subjects. Wilson documented his unruly private life, a formative love affair with Edna St Vincent Millay, a tempestuous marriage to Mary McCarthy, and volatile friendships with Fitzgerald and Vladimir Nabokov, among others, in fiction and journals, but Lewis Dabney is the first writer to integrate the life and the work.

+ BIO: Lewis Dabney

A scholar of American literature, Lewis’ first book was on William Faulkner: The Indians of Yoknapatawpha: A Study in Literature and History. For much of his career, Lewis has been the preeminent scholar on the work of Edmund Wilson, the American writer and literary critic. In 2006, Lewis published his crowning achievement, Edmund Wilson: A Life in Literature, which received prominent notices, including front-page coverage in The New York Times Book Review. Outside of the English Department, Lewis spent a year as director of UWs American Heritage Center and he received fellowships from the National Humanities Institute, the National Humanities Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the New York Institute for the Humanities.

Boston Athenaeum