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Look what I found in Bookforum


by Jerome Weeks 25 Jan 2008

In the February/March issue, the late, great Texas writer, Donald Barthelme receives an excellent appreciation by James Wolcott (whom I often find irritatingly self-important, but when he’s on a roll, he can do some fine horn-tooting). The hallowed occasion: All of Don B’s short works finally seem to be in print. Also in Bookforum, an […]

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  • In the February/March issue, the late, great Texas writer, Donald Barthelme receives an excellent appreciation by James Wolcott (whom I often find irritatingly self-important, but when he’s on a roll, he can do some fine horn-tooting). The hallowed occasion: All of Don B’s short works finally seem to be in print.
  • Also in Bookforum, an excerpt from David Hajdu’s book, The 10-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America. The book won’t be out until March, but I can say, halfway through it, that it’s a very rewarding cultural history. Initially, I thought, who needed another recounting of Dr. Frederick Wertham’s fearmongering with his infamous 1954 diatribe, The Seduction of the Innocent? The book linked comics (especially horror comics, like the one above) to juvenile delinquency and just about anything else wrong with teens, including slouching and acne. Read any history of comics, and you’ll find the story repeated; it’s the McCarthyite Red Scare of the superhero world. It nearly killed the industry. But Hajdu has found a much wider, more interesting tale — practically the entire history of comics is tied up with attempted censorhip — and it includes some truly eccentric characters along the way.
  • Richard Locke has written a review of Pat Barker’s new novel, Life Class, which includes an excellent overview of the Booker Prize-winning novelist’s work. Professor Locke thinks the new book doesn’t hold a candle to Barker’s superb Restoration trilogy. In my New York Sun review, I don’t think it’s as good, but still well worth reading, a superb piece of fiction.
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