Saturday, December 24, 2016

Alex Beam's "The Feud"

Alex Beam has been a columnist for The Boston Globe since 1987. He previously served as the Moscow bureau chief for Business Week. His books include three works of nonfiction: American Crucifixion, Gracefully Insane, and A Great Idea at the Time; the latter two were New York Times Notable Books.

Beam applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, The Feud: Vladimir Nabokov, Edmund Wilson, and the End of a Beautiful Friendship, and reported the following:
Page 99 of my book opens Chapter Seven, the very beginning of what newspapermen might call the "tick-tock" of the actual feud between Vladimir Nabokov and Edmund Wilson. It explains how Nabokov savaged the respected scholar Walter Arndt, who ended his career at Dartmouth College, when Arndt politely asked for comments on his translation of the famous Alexander Pushkin poem, "Eugene Onegin."

Nabokov, who had been working for years on his own translation of "Onegin," which he immodestly considered to be a masterpiece (it wasn't), anathematized Arndt, first in correspondence and soon after in a vitriolic attack in the New York Review of Books. That appeared in 1963. Two years later, Edmund Wilson chose the Review to unleash his famous, 6600-word attack on Nabokov's "Onegin" translation, the event that precipitously ended the men's quarter-century long friendship.
Visit Alex Beam's website and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: Gracefully Insane.

The Page 69 Test: Gracefully Insane.

The Page 99 Test: Great Idea at the Time.

The Page 99 Test: American Crucifixion.

My Book, The Movie: The Feud.

Writers Read: Alex Beam.

--Marshal Zeringue