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Books in brief: Critical Mass by James Wolcott

By Prospect Team  

Critical Mass: Four Decades of Essays, Reviews, Hand Grenades and Hurrahs by James Wolcott (Doubleday, £18)

The critic James Wolcott got his big break in 1971 courtesy of Norman Mailer. Wolcott, a student at Frostburg State University in Maryland, had written a lively account for his college newspaper of Mailer’s tussle with Gore Vidal on the Dick Cavett Show. Wolcott sent the piece to Mailer, who was duly impressed and recommended him to the editor of the Village Voice in New York. By autumn 1972, Wolcott had quit university, moved…

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