On Second Thought was first published in 1946. NOW book editor of the Chicago Daily News, James Gray has during the past two decades interpreted the literary scene for Midwest readers in entertaining daily columns for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Dispatch. ON SECOND THOUGHT rescues much of his best work from the oblivion of newsprint. It combines the opinions thrown off at white heat to meet five o’clock deadlines and those born of quiet contemplation and reflection over the years. The result is a book in which the critic emerges as a creative artist and the journalist as a discerning historian of literature. James Gray’s writing is good reading and no matter how seriously and energetically he may be tracing the course of a writer’s universality and talent, he cannot resist the delight of an apt, sparkling, or sagacious phrase. Nor can the reader resist a chuckle of appreciation and pleasure in the author’s own poised prose. The reader gets a sense of immediacy from James Gray’s compact style, but also feels that here is a critic we can trust - one who probes keenly and wisely, one who lucidly traces the unobserved currents connecting headline to headline. ON SECOND THOUGHT is an extraordinarily complete and vivid panorama of contemporary literature and of the writers who have created it. Over 50 modern authors are here reviewed, from our American Nobel prize winners, Sinclair Lewis, Eugene O’Neill, and Pearl Buck, and the “garrulous” English uncles, Arnold Bennett, George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, and John Galsworthy, to the “half-gods on the threshold,” Feike Feikema, Ann Chidester, Carson McCullers, and Wallace Stegner. Author in his own right of both fiction and nonfiction, Gray has also written many short plays for little-theater groups and has served as consultant for Warner Brothers. His published titles include the novels Shoulder the Sky, Wake and Remember, Wings of Great Desire, and Vagabond Path. He has contributed The Illinois to the “Rivers of America,” and Pine, Stream, and Prairie to “The American Scene.” ON SECOND THOUGHT is his first volume of literary criticism.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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