Literature: Gumshoe Lit Crit

Gumshoe Lit Crit

J. Edgar Hoover liked his FBI agents to have degrees in law, accounting or both, but it now turns out that the bureau could have used some Ph.D.s in English. Both The New Yorker and The Nation magazines last week documented nearly half a century of FBI surveillance of more than 100 prominent American writers, including six Nobel laureates (Sinclair Lewis, Pearl Buck, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Eugene O'Neill and John Steinbeck). The gumshoe lit crit was sometimes comically inept. FBI files, for example, described the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay as possibly subversive because she used the "analogy of...

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