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Sewanee Review - Fall 2003

  • Issue Number: Volume 111 Number 4
  • Published Date: Fall 2003

If personified, Sewanee Review would be an accomplished scholar, wry professor and imaginative writer, persisting with an evening pipe and pale cardigan despite colleagues who have lurched forward into dark jeans and lunchtime smoothies. Indifferent to keeping up with any literary Cloneses, its spirited criticism, fiction and poetry abide no indulgent memoirs about tallness or the curse of an Irish childhood, no sneering hepcats, noble gang members or hyper-realist bodily functions. Three short fictions address destruction euphemized as progress – venerable oak trees felled for a new mall; reredos destroyed in the name of modernization; the visible ravages of cosmetic surgery. The literary criticism is particularly energetic in essays and reviews devoted to the issue’s theme of Explorations in the 18th Century: James Boswell “can barely open his mouth without sounding fatuous, self-absorbed and sublimely foolish...”; Edward Gibbon (“The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”), “laughs more than he weeps at the folly of mankind.” Hume and Franklin are vividly discussed, along with Enlightenment antecedents, Defoe and Pepys. The milieu is male and clubby, but Sewanee Review (like Samuel Johnson, appearing frequently as the unannounced patron saint of the issue), promotes “solid conversation” and yields solid reading. [Sewanee Review, University of the South, 735 University Avenue, Sewanee, TN 37383-1000. E-mail: . Single issue $8.] – LKB

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Review Posted on May 31, 2004

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