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- December 30, 1974
- Vol. 2
- No. 27
Eight Authors, Seven Books in a Literary Harvest
Lawrence Durrell, the 62-year-old Anglo-Irish writer, enjoys a deserved reputation as poet and man of letters. But it was the exotic interlocking novels of his Alexandria Quartet—Justine, Balthazar, Mountolive, Clea—that captured a wide public. This winter he should reach it with another book, Monsieur, set in the south of France, where Durrell lives with his fourth wife. The new novel reprises the Quartet's successful use of Freudian relationships; it is a love triangle involving two men, a writer and a medical student, and the writer's sister.
For 50 years, the late Edmund Wilson towered over the American literary scene. As a pioneering socio-historic critic (To The Finland Station), as a banned novelist (Memoirs of Hecate County), as an apologist of people as disparate as Scott Fitzgerald and the Iroquois, as a recondite reporter (The Dead Sea Scrolls), Wilson was forever lighting fires. The Twenties, volume one of Wilson's journals, edited by Leon Edel, appears in April.
After Sylvia Plath killed herself in 1963 at age 30, her dark poetic intimations of a stifled existence became feminist texts. A poet (Ariel) and novelist (The Bell Jar), Plath was also a prolific letter writer. This spring about 400 of those she wrote to her mother—not sympathetically portrayed in her daughter's work—are being published in Letters Home.
Drs. William Masters and Virginia Johnson confirm their role as the Arthur and Kathryn Murray of lovemaking with The Pleasure Bond, a new study of how men and women relate to each other sexually. Less microscopically clinical than Human Sexual Response and Human Sexual Inadequacy, their new book is based on a series of seminars whose participants discuss their sexual adventures and misadventures, in and out of marriage.
John Kenneth Galbraith, living proof that even an economist can become a superstar, is the 66-year-old Harvard professor whose 6'8" frame is a looming fixture on the Eastern intellectual circuit. At times he has essayed fiction, criticism, autobiography, diplomacy and politics, and has raised many hackles with his letters to editors. With his forthcoming Money: Where It Came From and Where It Went, Galbraith bids for his most successful book since The Affluent Society.
Still concerned with machismo manqué, religion and sex, John Updike is bringing out A Month of Sundays, a novel about Thomas Marshfield, a 41-year-old minister no longer able to perform in the pulpit, at shortstop or in bed. Like the 42-year-old Updike's previous novels (Rabbit, Run; The Centaur; Couples), this is filled with the bewilderment of people facing a puzzling universe. "I love myself and loathe myself more than other men," says Rev. Marshfield. "One of these excesses attracts women, but which?"
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