As a critic Wilson was concerned with the social, psychological, and political conditions that shape literary ideas. His social studies include To the Finland Station (1940), a history of the European revolutionary tradition that praises the Soviet Union (a position he soon reversed), and The American Earthquake (1958), a record of the Great Depression. His versatility is further revealed in his I Thought of Daisy (1929), a novel; Memoirs of Hecate County (1949), short stories; and Five Plays (1954). Wilson also edited F. Scott Fitzgerald's unfinished The Last Tycoon and posthumous The Crack-up (both: 1945). His later works include Israel and the Dead Sea Scrolls (1955), A Window on Russia (1973), and The Devils and Canon Barham: 10 Essays on Poets, Novelists, and Monsters (1973). Wilson's third wife was the author Mary McCarthy.
See The Edmund Wilson Reader (1997, ed. by L. M. Dabney) and essays and reviews of the 1930s and 40s, ed. by L. M. Dabney (2007); his letters, ed. by E. Wilson (1977), letters with Vladimir Nabokov, ed. by S. Karlinsky (1979), and other letters, ed. by D. Castronova and J. Groth (2002); The Sixties: The Last Journals (1993, ed. by L. M. Dabney); his notebooks and diaries, ed. by L. Edel (4 vol., 1975–86); memoirs of his daughter, R. Wilson (1989); his autobiographical Piece of My Mind: Reflections at Sixty (1956) and Upstate: Records and Recollections of Northern New York (1971); biographies by C. P. Frank (1970), J. Groth (1989), J. Meyers (1995), and L. M. Dabney (2005); studies by G. Douglas (1983) and D. Castronovo (1984 and 1998); bibliography by R. D. Ramsey (1971).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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