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Monday, April 21, 2008

American Bloomsbury

Cheever, Susan. American Bloomsbury.

6 word synopsis: Concord encouraged literary genius. Entangled lives.


Interesting material about Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, the Alcotts, Melville, friends, and associates. The writing, however, was disjointed and often without pronoun antecedents. Emerson was largely responsible for the fostering of literary geniuses in Concord and the book did give a great deal of information about their lives. It make me much more curious about these individuals whose home base was such a very small town, and I will be looking for some biographies from the extensive bibliography Cheever included.

Nonfiction. Biographical. 2006. 200 pages.


  1. Is it my imagination, or is the Concord bunch getting red-hot popular? A book about Alcott and her father just won the best biography Pulitzer prize.

  2. Another blogger (can't remember who) reviewed this one a while back. It sounds interesting, but I'm not sure I want to read it. It sounds like one of those books that I'd like to skim through and pick and choose bits to read.

  3. I'd like to know more about this group, but this doesn't sound like the book to read. I'm pleased to see the Alcott book won a Pulitzer. Perhaps now it will be available in UK libraries.

  4. This title is on the radar. I decided after I actually get around to reading Emerson and Thoreau, I will plunge into American Bloomsbury.

    There is something very romantic a group of talented people, coming together to share ideas and to support each other.

  5. It is quite amazing that such a prestiges group of writes all came from the same small community.

  6. Bybee - Yes, I think their turn in the popular cycle has come, but it is certainly a well-deserved interest. I'm interested in the biography on Louisa and her father (although her father was a bit of wastrel!) Louisa certainly didn't have an easy time of it, but that isn't evident in any of her novels for young people.

    Lisa - I think Stefanie of So Many Books really liked it. I liked the information, but was impatient with the jumping around. Good information, though!

    Ann - I'm glad I read it because it reactivated interest in a group of authors I admire and enjoy. And awakened a desire for more information, but Cheever's habit of moving back and forth and her writing style didn't appeal to me.

    Orpheus - I love reading Emerson because he makes me think and phrases his sentiments so well. Guess I should put that in the past tense as I've read only snippets in the last many years.

    Booklogged - I finished the book a while back and my husband and I had a great conversation about different areas that produced unusual numbers of uniquely talented people in a relatively short period. Makes you wonder what (besides at least one inspirational figure) creates just the right atmosphere for that kind of flowering of talent.

  7. I enjoyed all of your 6-word reviews. Are you all caught up?

  8. I started American Bloomsbury with high hopes but stalled quite quickly and I think you've put your finger on why. It was that disjointed quality to the writing that kept me from being fully captured by it. I must pick it up again though as I'm fascinated by that Concord crowd and I do want to get to the bottom of all of the connections between them that I gather Cheever tracks in it. Time for another go!

  9. Bookfool - Thanks! I WAS caught up when I posted them, but now have to catch up again...

    Kate - Even the chapters are disjointed, jumping back and forth in time in a less than cohesive manner. The bibliography will be useful, though, when I get around to it. Glad to know someone else had the same difficulty maintaining interest!