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The English Hitchens

Despite his US citizenship, Christopher Hitchens should be considered the finest English critic of his generation—of the literary, not just political, type

By David Herman   May 2005

Love, Poverty and War by Christopher Hitchens (Atlantic Books, £14.99)

With the publication of his fifth collection of essays, it is time to acknowledge that Christopher Hitchens, as well as an exceptional political polemicist, is also one of the best literary and cultural critics of the past 20 years. Put his introduction to the late Saul Bellow’s Augie March next to Martin Amis’s and there is no doubt which cuts closer to the centre of Bellow’s achievement. Compare Hitchens’s essay on Michael Ignatieff’s Isaiah Berlin biography with any other review, and Hitchens’s hatchet job is easily the best. As the…

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