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A Terry Teachout Reader


Terry Teachout (View Bio)
Hardcover: Yale University Press, 2004.

A Terry Teachout Reader

"Woe to be an artist, writer, musician or fellow critic who incurs Teachout's wrath. In this hefty, erudite collection of essays and reviews from the last 15 years, Teachout turns his scathing wit on some of high culture's most sacared cows.... Teachout speaks clearly on just about every genre under the sun, employing a voice that is unapologetically contrarian and morally focused.... This book is an impressive testament to Teachout's talents, eloquence, and integrity." — Publishers Weekly

"Teachout is one of America's most thoughtful critics. He's also one of its most polymathic. He writes about everything: music, dance, theater, literature, painting, film, television. Nowhere is Teachout more different than his colleagues, perhaps, than in his reason for believing art important. It is, put simply, that art transcends this world.... Teachout, no matter the subject, is always thoughtful, frequently charming, and sometimes as doughty as an Old Testament prophet. To collect a critic between hard covers is to test whether he is more than ephemeral. A TERRY TEACHOUT READER passes that test. In spades." — The Weekly Standard

"Teachout finds himself...standing at the bloody crossroads of politics and culture, surveying the damage.... A TERRY TEACHOUT READER includes...[pieces] devoted to cultural politics, others to the arts, which ideally seek to describe life, as he puts it in one essay, 'in all its proliferating, ideology-transcending complexity.' Mr. Teachout writes about music, dance, literature and the movies for many publications — and, along the way, about the often wayward personalities who have dominated the American cultural scene." — The Wall Street Journal

"Cultural critics may lack the depth of knowledge that comes with specialization, but Terry Teachout's self-issued carte blanche to submerge himself in whatever he wants (he is the music critic for Commentary, the drama critic of The Wall Street Journal, and 'critic for hire' on everything from opera to television for many other publications) has left him with an unusual and singular perspective on the last 15 years of American cultural activity. Now that the country has crossed its 'great cultural and technological divide,' Teachout writes, as well as finally left postmodernism behind, he hopes his collection will 'have some value as a chronicle, a road map of how we got from there to here.' That the 58 engaging essays in A TERRY TEACHOUT READER, on subjects ranging from Dawn Powell and Louis Armstrong to David Ives and Martha Graham, tell us as much about America as they do about Teachout's evolving sensibility makes this book an intellectual memoir by way of enthusiasms. His detailed snapshots of bygone cultural moments are introduced by a thoughtful history of our cultural climate over the last half-century." — The New York Times Book Review

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