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Kenneth Silverman

Kenneth Silverman, who directs the literary biography programme at New York University, is writing a life of Samuel Morse.

Hemingway

Kenneth Silverman, 2 September 1999

Michael Reynolds is the marrying kind of biographer: president of the Hemingway Society, he has published a 140-page annotated chronology of Hemingway’s life, a 2300-item inventory of Hemingway’s reading, and a monograph-length study of the creation of A Farewell to Arms, as well as three serial volumes of biography: The Young Hemingway (1986); Hemingway: The Paris Years (1989); and Hemingway: The American Homecoming (1992). These bring Hemingway to the decades covered in the present volumes, which conclude the life story.

Alfred Kinsey

Kenneth Silverman, 7 May 1998

The history of publishing records no unlikelier-looking candidate for bestsellerdom. Written by a professor of zoology at the University of Indiana, it appeared in 1948 under the imprint of a medical textbook house, the W.B. Saunders Company of Philadelphia. Weighing three pounds, its 804 pages confronted readers with 162 tables and 173 graphs. Yet it flooded out in a first printing of 100,000 copies, excited more than five hundred articles and reviews, and was declared by Time magazine to be the greatest bookselling event since Gone with the Wind.

Many working-class kids who grew up in Manhattan in the Forties, as I did, played a nasty game that went like this. With your pals watching from a distance, you waited on the sidewalk for an automobile to roll along. As it passed, you ran out toward the trunk-end and smacked the fender hard with your hand. Then in the same moment you spun around crazily. To the poor driver inside it looked and sounded as if he had hit a child. He usually jammed on his brakes and jumped out – as the bunch of kids ran away, laughing hilariously. Such were our joys.

Poe’s Woes

Julian Symons, 23 April 1992

The prosecution case against Edgar A. Poe looks a strong one. Taken in by the Richmond tobacco broker John Allan when left orphaned at the age of two by the death of his actress mother Eliza,...

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