Janet Groth is emeritus professor of English at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. She is the author of Edmund Wilson: A Critic for Our Time.
Among the major writers of the Hemingway and Fitzgerald generation, Edmund Wilson defied categorization. He wrote essays, stories and novels, cultural criticism, and contemporary chronicles, as well as journals and thousands of letters about the literary life and his own private world. Here for the first time in print is Wilson’s personal correspondence to his parents, lovers and wives, children, literary comrades, and friends from the different corners of his life.
Many of Wilson’s writings have been anthologized. But there is another body of work — over fifty fine essays on aspects of contemporary literature and ideas — that have been scattered in a variety of magazines, including The New Yorker, The New Republic, Vanity Fair, and The Nation.
In the course of a career that spanned five decades, Edmund Wilson’s literary output was impressive. His life’s work includes five volumes of poetry, two works of fiction, thirteen plays, and more than twenty volumes of social commentary on travel, politics, history, religion, anthropology, and economics. It is, however, his criticism for which Wilson is best known. To note a few of his accomplishments as a critic, Wilson furthered the understanding and appreciation of the poetry of W.B.