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April 18, 2014


Thank you, thank you, David Lehman, for calling out the reviewer (Brooks) and the review and the particular "species of dishonesty" employed therein. I applaud you for still being able to say, with certainty, that there are consequences to actions undertaken by writers, brilliant or otherwise, for what they write "out of conviction or opportunism."

I'm really glad your letter is making its way to publication in NYRB! We discussed "Howl" in American Lit yesterday, and Ginsberg's NAMBLA affiliation came up, which led to a very long discussion of the art versus the artist and the importance of holding people accountable for egregious ethical violations no matter what they wrote. I'm glad you are not allowing Brooks to get by with his troubling review without a consequence.

Bravo, David--for weighing in not only on de Man's questionable allegiances, but also Brooks's. Although your definition of the reviewer's craft, "to summarize accurately the contents of the book under review and not to use the occasion as the pretext for an apologia," probably ought to prevail, it often doesn't in NYRB, a feature I rather enjoy, not least because it moves people like you to write letters like this.

well put David...thank you...

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