[lit-ideas] Found Art

  • From: John McCreery <mccreery@xxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2004 14:42:39 +0900

In Lee Siegel's Harper's magazine review of _Just Enough Liebling: 
Classic Work by the Legendary New Yorker Writer_, I come across two 
paragraphs that strike me as worth remembering.

The first makes a useful distinction:

> A literary profile is the verbal equivalent of a drawing, painting, or 
> photograph: just one side of a person, that side he or she wishes to 
> make public. A portrait, on the other hand, is a revelation, an 
> exposure. A portrait aspires to full disclosure; it captures a person 
> in chiaroscuro, both the revealed as well as the secret places.

I wonder if it is original? Or if someone here knows of another source?

The second is a description of style:

> This subtle, respectful, simultaneously fang-exposing and gently 
> defanging comedy was the essence of Liebling's prose. It explains his 
> liking for fancy-sounding language that both conceals and expresses 
> low impulses, a type of verbal burlesque that itself recalls the 
> faux-formal badinage of one of the great insouciants of all time: W. 
> C. Fields. A slow, sly laughter, after all, is the only sane response 
> to destiny's incessant ringing slaps.

I wonder whose fangs, the writer's or the subject's, are being exposed 
and extracted.

John L. McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd.
55-13-202 Miyagaya, Nishi-ku
Yokohama, Japan 220-0006

Tel 81-45-314-9324
Email John.McCreery@xxxxxxxxxxxx

"Making Symbols is Our Business"

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