Conversations with Malcolm Cowley (Literary Conversations) Hardcover – 30 Jan 1986
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This is a compilation of his interviews. I suppose before the internet these types of books were nice - to search out and bring together all of someone's interviews was quite handy. Some are really interesting. There is a great one with Cowley along with Daniel Aaron, Kenneth Burke, Granville Hicks and William Phillips and their thoughts reflecting back to the First American Writers' Congress. If that sounds boring than this book is not for you.
The downside is that some of the interviews become repetitious as naturally he is speaking on the same topics and has similar things to say. Personally I liked this as I need a little repetition for things to penetrate thru the fog sometimes.
If you really like to read Cowley's thoughts you'll enjoy this. I think. I'm a little hesitant tho wondering if it is more a peculiar quirk that made me like it so much.
Of Cowley's, I would also recommend: the must-read classic Exile's Return: A Literary Odyssey of the 1920s (Penguin Classics), and the revisionist The Dream of the Golden Mountains: Remembering the 1930s and --And I Worked at the Writer's Trade a kind of attempt to sum it all up.
If interested in thoughts of literary historians, Alfred Kazin has a very engaging book Starting Out in the Thirties - Kazin is a literary historian from the generation after Cowley and has a different perspective naturally. Here's a funny quote which illustrates the gulf between those from the 20s and 30s: "I had the deepest contempt for those middle-class and doctrinaire radicals who, after graduating from Harvard or Yale in the Twenties, and made it a matter of personal honor to become Marxists, and who now worried in the New Masses whether Proust should be read after the Revolution and why there seemed to be no simple proletarians in the novels of Andre Malraux," - this always makes me laugh but perhaps slightly unfair, one can't choose what era they are born into, what world events unfold after all, but they did indeed have very different impressions of life and the world.
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