More in Sorrow

More in Sorrow

More in Sorrow

More in Sorrow

Excerpt

About a quarter of the material in this book appeared in a collection of mine published in 1937; another quarter turned up in a second collection ten years later; and the remainder has never been assembled between covers, other than those of The New Yorker magazine, up to now. It is hard to say what conclusions can be drawn from these facts. It occurs to me that writers don't change much from the time they are thirty or thereabouts until they are laid away--permanently, I trust. As they grow older, they are apt to perform at somewhat greater length, age being garrulous, and their prose is perhaps a little more ornate, conceivably because they have so much time for the superfluous decoration on their hands; but the essence remains the same. An author is either competent or horrible in the beginning, and he stays that way to the end of his days, unless certain pressures force him into other and shadier occupations, like alcoholism or television.

I can see now that this has little bearing on this book. Well, what is there to be said about it? For one thing, I guess, I'd like to point out that several articles in it were written at least twenty years ago so that the subjects are left more or less in midstream. I think here specifically of a short biography of Henry Robinson Luce, founder of Time and kindred enterprises, which takes rather abrupt leave of him at the time he was just starting a magazine called Life. It seemed to me at first that Mr. Luce's career ought to be . . .

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