As you may have noted by now, I like the friction—sometimes comic, sometimes revealing—that results from juxtaposing high-culture and pop-culture references. In part because of the light, or shadow, they cast on each other, in part because of what they share (e.g., Anna Karenina and the fatal love triangles of the tabloids).
Which is Read More
Herman Melville , by Elizabeth Hardwick. Lipper/Viking, 161 pages, $19.95.
The English excel at writing brief lives, a pocket-size genre long on style, short on facts. Invented by the second-century Roman historian Suetonius ( Lives of the Caesars ), aped by John Aubrey as an alternative to 17th-century dinner-party gossip, epitomized by Lytton Strachey’s Eminent Read More