After Such Knowledge

After Such Knowledge

Sergeant Salinger: A Novel by Jerome Charyn. Bellevue Literary Press, 2021. Hardcover, 288 pages, $28.50. Reviewed by Carl E. Rollyson Biographical novels trouble certain readers. What is true? What is made up? Why isn’t biography enough? Why not just read Salinger,...
A Plutarchian Life of Brown and Lincoln

A Plutarchian Life of Brown and Lincoln

The Zealot and the Emancipator: John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, and the Struggle for American Freedom by H. W. Brands. Doubleday, 2020. Hardcover, 464 pages, $30. Reviewed by Carl Rollyson H. W. Brands has written perhaps his most fluent book, a constantly engaging study...
Placing Chaucer

Placing Chaucer

Chaucer: A European Life by Marion Turner. Princeton University Press, 2019. Hardcover, 624 pages, $40. Reviewed by Carl Rollyson We know so little about Shakespeare’s life. The facts could be put onto no more than a page. That has not prevented biographers from...
Writer as Goad

Writer as Goad

Ben Hecht: Fighting Words, Moving Pictures by Adina Hoffman. Yale University Press, 2019 Hardcover, 264 pages, $26. Reviewed by Carl Rollyson Ben Hecht is one of those American writers who seems to have had a hand in everything. He was a Chicago newspaperman who also...
Nothing More to Prove

Nothing More to Prove

The Life of Saul Bellow: Love and Strife, 1965–2005 By Zachary Leader Alfred A. Knopf, 2018. Hardcover, 784 pages, $40. Reviewed by Carl Rollyson I was hard on the first volume, The Life of Saul Bellow: To Fame and Fortune, 1915–1964, in the June 2015 issue of The New...

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