Culture at Cut Rates

Angoff, Charles
August 1955
New Republic;8/15/55, Vol. 133 Issue 7, p18
The article discusses the book Party of One: The Selected Writings of Clifton Fadiman. There is something sad about this book. It is a collection of reviews, articles, and introductions to books by such writers as E.B. White, Sinclair Lewis, Ambrose Bierce, and Leo Tolstoy, embroidered with assortments and excerpts from the notebooks kept by a man who has been brilliant as a reviewer and essayist and introducer for almost 30 years. A popularizer of culture, or a middleman of culture, as Fadiman prefers to call himself, is naturally subject to the hazards of that occupation, which is always tending to cheapen one's tastes. Some popularizers, Gilbert Highet comes to mind at once, hold to their standards for a long time; others haven't got the spiritual stamina to do so. Fadiman belongs to this latter group, and it is a very large group, and its very largeness makes it difficult to single out any one for condemnation.


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