Books: Edmund Wilson: 1895-1972

"At Princeton, you specialized in literature; then you went to Columbia summer school to study sociology and labor ... Don't you think you ought to concentrate on something?"

"Father, what I want to do is try to get to know something about all the main departments of human thought."

This stilted exchange might have come from Edwardian comedy. It rises in fact from Edmundian solemnity. When he died of heart disease last week at 77, Edmund Wilson had indeed investigated the main departments of human thought. More than that, he had, in his term,...

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