Synopses & Reviews
Gossip is no trivial matter; despite its reputation, Epstein argues, it is an eternal and necessary human enterprise. Proving that he himself is a master of the art, Epstein serves up delightful mini-biographies of the Great Gossips of the Western World, along with many choice bits from his own experience. He also makes a powerful case that gossip has morphed from its old-fashioned best—clever, mocking, a great private pleasure—to a corrosive new-school version, thanks to the reach of the mass media and the Internet.
Written in his trademark erudite and witty style, Gossip captures the complexity of this immensely entertaining subject.
"While Epsteins ruminations on how we became a nation of gawkers ring painfully true, it is his willingness to analyze delectable tidbits regarding authors, intellectuals and other luminaries that enlivens the narrative... Amusing and serious in equal measures, Epstein grants readers the pleasurable company of a master observer of humanitys foibles
-Kirkus, starred "Delectable firsthad anecdotes and portraits...add to the pleasures of this serious appraisal. Readers who share Epstein's concern about gossip's power 'to invade privacy, to wreck lives' and his reluctance to wholly condemn it 'because I enjoy it too much' will find him disquieting and delightful."
Taking his title from the wounded cry of the once great Max Bialystock in The Producers Look at me now! Look at me now! Im wearing a cardboard belt!” the charming essayist Joseph Epstein gives us his largest and most adventurous collection to date. With his signature gifts of sparkling humor and penetrating intelligence, he issues forth as a memoirist, polemicist, literary critic, and amused observer of contemporary culture. In deeply considered examinations of writers from Paul Valéry to Truman Capote, in incisive take-downs of such cultural pooh-bahs as Harold Bloom and George Steiner, and in personally revealing essays about his father and about his years as a teacher, this remarkable collection from one of Americas best essayists is a book to be savored.
Writing as a memoirist, polemicist, literary critic, and amused observer of contemporary culture, the author of "Snobbery" and "Friendship" presents this engaging collection of essays that captures his witty, entertaining responses to the richness and variety of life.
A juicy, incisive exploration of gossip in all its forms--from celebrity rumors to literary romans a clef, from personal sniping to political slander--by one our "great essayists" (David Brooks)
About the Author
JOSEPH EPSTEIN is the author of the best-selling Snobbery and of Friendship, among other books, and was formerly editor of the American Scholar. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harpers Magazine, the Atlantic Monthly, and other magazines. He lives in Evanston, Illinois.
Table of Contents
Part I: Private Gossip
1. How It Works 1
2. Feasible, Uncheckable, Deeply Damning 11
3. When Is It All Right to Gossip? 21
4. In the Know 31
Great Gossips of the Western World, I 37
5. The Truth Defense 48
6. The Gossip Transaction 54
7. Need Gossip Be Trivial? 60
8. Pure Speculation 65
Part II: Public Gossip
9. Gossip Goes Public 73
10. Gossip Goes Center Ring 80
11. Shooting at Celebrities 90
Great Gossips of the Western World, II 103
12. Antediluvian Gossip 114
13. Literary Gossip 126
14. Gay Gossip 137
Great Gossips of the Western World, III 149
Part III: Private Become Public
15. Caught in the Net 161
16. Whores of Information 176
17. Snoopin and Scoopin 187
Great Gossips of the Western World, IV 197
18.Too Much Even of Kreplach 211
A Bibliographical Note 219