A Treasury of Brooklyn, ed. by Ellen, Murphy, and Weld
The chief effect upon me of reading the material in this book—all of it about a place where I lived for more than twenty years—was a moderate shock of non-recognition and a rather awe-inspiring awareness of the distance from reality to which some authors will be lured by a pretty metaphor or a trick ending. Brooklyn may well be, as the editors aptly remark, a legend without a text, but, with quite a wealth of material on hand, they have done little to remedy the deficiency.
The introduction to this labor of love begins reasonably enough, as if it were going to get somewhere, and stops, after two pages, as abruptly as if it ran into a stone wall. It catapults the reader into a chaos of large and small fragments of writing culled from old documents, newspapers, magazines, novels, and biographies, and included on the basis of any conceivable relation to Brooklyn rather than to fulfill some definite purpose. It is a delightfully unpredictable volume, full of strange adventures in judgment and taste. The omission, to take only a single case, of the poetry of Hart Crane while publishing that of Nathalia Crane, is an example of the rather bewildering editing.
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