Conventional wisdom has it you can tell a lot about a person by the company he or she keeps. But, what if posterity makes a big mistake in judging a famous somebody’s friends; wouldn’t that blunder then trigger a huge misreading of the chief person of interest? There you have the reasoning underlying Brenda Wineapple‘s fascinating new book, White Heat, that explores the relationship between Emily Dickinson and one of her closest confidants, Thomas Wentworth Higginson. For decades, Higginson has been derided by Dickinson scholars and fans as a kindly oaf; a Victorian man of minor letters damned with a tin ear. It was Higginson, after all, who helped edit Dickinson’s poems for their posthumous debut publication. To make them palatable to readers of the time, Higginson fed Dickinson’s five-alarm flammable poems about passion and death and the afterlife through the Victorian de-flavorizing machine, watering down their off-beat punctuation and vocabulary. Back to conventional wisdom again: The fact that Dickinson originally requested the stodgy Higginson’s literary guidance in 1862, when he was a contributor to The Atlantic Monthly magazine and she was a “Nobody,” surely testifies to her naïveté, her “recluse of Amherst ” otherworldliness. MORE
In One Party Country, journalists Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten explain what they call “The Republican plan for dominance in the 21st century.” The Republicans, they argue, are “firmly in the lead when it comes to the science and strategy of attaining power — and keeping it.” Hamburger and Wallsten are both reporters for The Los Angeles Times. Peter Wallsten covers the White House and national politics. Hamburger is an investigative reporter; he is currently in Anchorage, covering stories about John McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
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David Dye welcomes Glen Campbell to the World Cafe to discuss his latest album, Meet Glen Campbell. Making a name for himself as a session guitarist for the likes of Frank Sinatra and Elvis, Campbell went on to host his own CBS variety hour, all the while turning out bona-fide crossover hits like “Galveston” and “Rhinestone Cowboy.” The tongue-in-cheek title of his new record acknowledges a reinvention of this established musician. Using his distinct sound to rethink rock’s greatest acts, Campbell arranges the songs of Tom Petty, The Velvet Underground, and U2, in a way that conveys their autobiographical importance to him.
GLEN CAMPBELL: Wichita Lineman
[Glen performs his greatest song on ‘”The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour”]
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