Review by Choice Review
This collection of previously unpublished documents comprises letters, journal entries, drafts of poems, reviews, film treatments, a radio play, and 19 hitherto unpublished photos by taken by Walker Evans. Here are notes covering matters from the most human and mundane--"running out of cigarets [sic]," masturbation, his impending divorce from wife Olivia Saunders--to the most literary and sophisticated, e.g., thoughts on the film version of The Grapes of Wrath. An incisive film critic, Agee finds Grapes "virtually worthless" and "inadequate," and he concludes that with the exception of three brief scenes it "stinks." The self-destructive Agee, who died at forty-five in 1955 (most of his works were published--or at least belatedly appreciated--posthumously), is here candidly presented in his own words, with, as the editors write, "all the self-conscious posturing, maudlin self-laceration, stunning insights, wicked satire, enigmatic asides and mundane lists ... evidence of a sensitive, unsettled, and wide-ranging mind." This wealth of material will fascinate those interested in Agee's life and works or in the creative process itself. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above; general readers. B. H. Leeds Central Connecticut State University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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