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“A person whose financial requirements are modest, and whose curiosity, skepticism, and indifference to reputation are outsized is a person at risk of becoming a journalist.”

Tuesday, August 30, 2011  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

That is one of many memorable lines in Professor Louis Menand’s wonderful portrait of Dwight Macdonald in the New Yorker (subscription required.)

It is a difficult thing to produce a fine portrait like this in the relatively constrained space allowed, telling the reader who is relatively ignorant of Macdonald’s life and work –me– many if not most things he or she ought to know about an important literary, political and cultural mid-century figure.

Macdonald’s essays are collected here, and the landing page contained –coincidentally for me– this blurb from Larry McMurty:

Those who read much and care about the quality of what they read ought to be grateful for the consistent tough-mindedness of Dwight Macdonald… he is provocative and well worth rereading. The quality of his essays is in direct ratio to their ambitiousness.
-Larry McMurtry, The Washington Post

I am in the midst of a McMurtry jag, having blown through the magnificent Berrybender Narratives on my travels to Turkey, Israel and Greece the past two weeks, and plunging from there into Dead Man’s Walk and Comanche Moon.

Larry McMurtry's Berrybender Narratives

Prep reading for the Perry campaign?

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