Press contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

October 19, 2005

Lewis Dabney to Discuss New Biography of Edmund Wilson on Nov. 2

Literary scholar Lewis M. Dabney will discuss his new book, "Edmund Wilson: A Life in Literature" (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005), at the Library of Congress at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 2, in the West Dining Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

A book signing will follow the presentation, which is part of the Center for the Book’s Books & Beyond author series at the Library. The Manuscript Division, which was an important source for Dabney’s research, is co-sponsoring the event. The program is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required.

One of the early 20th century’s most respected men of letters, Wilson (1895-1972) stood at the center of the American cultural scene from the Jazz Age through the McCarthy era. He rose to prominence first as associate editor of The New Republic and later as a book critic at The New Yorker. A versatile journalist and writer, he was exceptionally well read and a student of languages his entire life. His writings ranged from criticism and social commentary to history, fiction and poetry.

Dabney’s biography, based on extensive research and three decades of interviews with people who knew Wilson, has been widely praised by literary critics and historians. Daniel Aaron calls it "a solid, serious and entertaining book." According to Harold Bloom, Dabney admirably conveys Wilson’s "endless vitalism and fierce love of literature." Arthur Schlesinger Jr. praises the author’s ability to depict all aspects of Wilson’s career as well as "fascination with life" in this "incisive, measured and reflective biography."

Dabney is a professor of English at the University of Wyoming. An acknowledged authority on Wilson, Dabney has edited "The Edmund Wilson Reader" as well as Wilson’s last journal, "The Sixties" (1993).

The Library’s Manuscript Division, formally organized in 1897, is one of the nation’s preeminent repositories of original documents relating to American history and culture. The division’s holdings include more than 11,000 collections containing more than 58 million items. For further information on its collections, research and exhibits, visit www.loc.gov/rr/mss.

Established in 1977 as a public-private sector partnership, the Center for the Book uses the resources of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books, reading, literacy and libraries. For information about its activities and forthcoming events, visit www.loc.gov/cfbook.

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PR 05-234
10/19/05
ISSN 0731-3527

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