Books: Goodbye to All That

UPSTATE: RECORDS AND RECOLLECTIONS OF NORTHERN NEW YORK by Edmund Wilson. 386 pages. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $8.95.

On the evidence of his 46th book, America's most famous-and cosmopolitan-man of letters has turned into a local character.

In some ways, this is not surprising. Wilson has always been cantankerous, picking fights with his cultural neighbors (Vladimir Nabokov, for example, over obscure points of Russian prosody) and the Government (a $69,000 misunderstanding with the Internal Revenue Service, after his failure to file tax returns for nine years, erupted into a book-length tirade). When he chooses...

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