Many of Wilson's writings have been anthologized. But there is ather body of work - over fifty fine essays on aspects of contemporary literature and ideas - that have been scattered in a variety of magazines, including The New Yorker, The New Republic, Vanity Fair, and The Nation. The editors, who recognize Wilson (1895-1972) as one of America's greatest men of letters of the twentieth century, also view his writing as a powerful antidote to late twentieth-century trends and fads and have collected his pieces here in the conviction that Wilson's writing is a permanently important model. Now a new generation of readers - as well as his loyal followers - will have access to this rich literary heritage in a single volume. The collection is organized chrologically and leads the reader through the journeyman writing at Hill School and Princeton, the essays on literary modernism and contemporary culture written in the 1920s, the socially-focused critiques of the 1930s, and the diverse assortment of book reviews of the late period. Across this full range of moods and literary styles. Wilson is a powerful spokesman for writers and a guardian of imagination and decency for the informed citizen.
Janet Groth is emeritus professor of English at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. She is the author of Edmund Wilson: A Critic for Our Time.