July 4, 2008

Unacknowledged Legislation: Writers in the Public Sphere
Christopher Hitchens

Poets as Policymakers -- Among these 38 essays are tributes and eulogies to various literary Gods, including: Oscar Wilde, Gore Vidal, Arthur Conan Doyle, George Orwell and F. Scott Fitzgerald. At turns mournful and scornful (always the way with Hitchens), the collection is a powerful, swift read that left me contemplating the thousands of words scribbled by thousands of writers in thousands of books -- and wondering whether we have achieved any greater clarity on life over the centuries. Perhaps we should best heed the advice quoted here by the artist Andy Warhol: "You should write less, and tape record more. It's more modern."


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