Pauline Kael

Pauline Kael

A Life in the Dark

Format
ePub
Price
$14.99
 
Additional Formats
  • ePub
  • ISBN 9781101545324
  • 432 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult

Overview

The first major biography of the most influential, powerful, and controversial film critic of the twentieth century

Pauline Kael was, in the words of Entertainment Weekly‘s movie reviewer Owen Gleiberman, "the Elvis or Beatles of film criticism." During her tenure at The New Yorker from 1968 to 1991, she was the most widely read and, often enough, the most provocative critic in America. In this first full-length biography of the legend who changed the face of film criticism, acclaimed author Brian Kellow gives readers a richly detailed view of Kael’s remarkable life—from her youth in rural California to her early struggles to establish her writing career to her peak years at The New Yorker.

Praise

“Absorbing.”

Toronto Star

“[A] smashing first biography of the famed New Yorker critic.”

The Buffalo News

“Kellow, an erudite movie lover…writes beautifully and dexterously interweaves the story of a career long-thwarted with a sensitive reading of [Kael's] youthful enthusiasm and intellectual growth. To an impressive degree, he gets inside the head of a precocious, fearsomely smart young woman from small-town California and is able to describe what drove her, which authors turned her on (James, Hawthorne, Dostoyevsky, Melville, Woolf, Proust), her love of jazz and her distaste for aesthetic, religious and political dogma. So thoroughly does he portray the development of Pauline’s character and passionate engagement with matters aesthetic that it comes as no surprise she was able to burst onto the scene, at the relatively advanced age of 48, as one of the most dynamic cultural arbiters of the past century….Kellow admirably brings Pauline’s wit, insight and passion to life on the page and has made at least one critic nostalgic for the days when heavyweight critical battles raged and at least one of us lived a life worthy of a biography….[An] excellent biography.”

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark is a very good biography."

Richard Schickel, Los Angeles Review of Books

“[A] richly detailed biography.”

Maclean’s

“I fell on Kellow’s book like a teenage girl on a lost volume of the Twilight saga and found it quite as riveting as teens find anything to do with Bella.”

Mary Pols, San Francisco Chronicle
"At last, a biography of the highly influential New Yorker film critic."
San Francisco Chronicle

“The [present] I hope someone will send me is Brian Kellow’s Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark.”

Philip French, The Observer (U.K.)

“[A] rich, thorough, and admirably fair biography.”

Entertainment Weekly

“Fun, fair, and fluently written, [Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark] is an edifying read.”

The Dallas Morning News

“Throws radiant light on the renowned movie critic.”

David Finkle, The Huffington Post

“Mr. Kellow throws a great deal of light on the famous critic’s heretofore mysterious ways.”

The Portland Mercury
“In Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark, author Brian Kellow offers a making-of story as engaging as her criticism. It’s not easy feat—what’s less dramatic than scribbling into the night?—but Kellow tapped [Kael's] friends and foes and her writing while developing a colorful, even handed appreciation of one of film’s most influential critics….[An] eye-opening biography.”

Associated Press

“[M]eticulously researched.”

Slate.com

“The fact that most of us know little about [Kael's ] upbringing of her private life makes this an especially intriguing biography.”

Leonard Maltin, Leonard Maltin.com
“[A] terrific new biography… [Kael's early life ] was a revelation to me, thanks to Kellow’s ace research.”

Salon.com

“Compelling…thrillingly written and exhaustively researched….Genius.”

The Playlist

“To appreciate Kael’s trailblazing, you have to see it in its broader context. Luckily, that backdrop is filled in with surefooted sophistication by Brian Kellow in Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark, a fair-minded and deeply reported Kael biography.”

Frank Rich, The New York Times Book Review

“[A] smart and incisive biography…. [Moviegoers] are in for a colossal eye-opening. [Kael's] love for film has no present-day counterpart…. Mr. Kellow’s clear, independent view of his subject is his book’s most valuable surprise….Kael liked to disparage what she called ‘saphead objectivity.’ Bur Mr. Kellow is no saphead, and he makes objectivity a great virtue."

Janet Maslin, The New York Times (Editors’ Choice)

“Kellow evocatively captures the blooming of film culture in the early 1960s, and the sobriety with which Kael took over the critical pulpit….Kellow not only grasps the significance of his subject, but invokes the pace and energy of [Kael's] singular style….good, dishy fun.”

The Village Voice
“This affectionate biography makes [Kael's] life and her passion for movies inseparable.”

The Wall Street Journal (Recommended Gift)
“Compelling.”
The Onion A.V. Club
“A must-read for any devotee of film.”
 
Library Journal
“[Brian Kellow] handles this difficult, unsympathetic personality with an admirable evenhandedness.”
 
Publishers Weekly
“[E]xhaustively researched, beautifully written….Kellow has told [Kael's] life in incredible detail….I found [Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark] enthralling because it vividly recreates a world I was part of, which seems now very distant. It is also because Kellow has been generous in quoting [Kael's] sensuous, percussive, often wise prose….Pauline was a galvanizing presence, and Kellow has brought her back with overwhelming intensity.”

Howard Kissel, Huffington Post
“[Pauline Kael is an] entertaining and insightful biography.”
www.Redroom.com
“[Pauline Kael is an] excellent Biography.”
www.TheHumanist.org
“Kellow performs biographical magic … Like Kael’s own books, this bio is a page-turner.”
~Kirkus Reviews
Kirkus
“For a biography to do justice to a complex personality and a great mind such as Kael’s, extensive research must be matched by acute perception. That requirement is fully, even joyously, met here.”
 
Booklist
"Mr. Kellow’s even-handed treatment gives us [Kael] in all her maddening overconfidence.”
Scott Eyman, The Wall Street Journal

“Illuminating.”

The New Yorker (Reviewers’ favorites)

“Kellow matches extensive research with acute perception in his sensitive and definitive biography of Pauline Kael, America’s foremost, and most controversial, movie critic.”

Booklist (Top 10 Arts Books 2011)

“Brian Kellow’s biography of [Pauline Kael] is a fascinating and enlightening read.”

Whitney Matheson, USA Today

“[A] finely balanced biography…[N]ot only will you not be disappointed with Kellow’s intrepid research, you’ll also be rewarded by his rich, close reading of her reviews (and the stories behind the writing of them) that does marvelous justice to Pauline Kael’s exhilarating gift for writing on the movies. Both, her admirers and her detractors could not have asked for a more satisfying biography.”

The Hindu
“[Brian] Kellow finds the emotional core of [Pauline] Kael’s persona….Kellow is quickly becoming a film fan’s dream biographer…. That Kellow chooses to write in calm, unshowy prose is both astute as a journalistic technique and integral to the book’s aesthetic success….Kellow’s Kael transcends mere artistic contrarianism and resembles a sort of impassioned duelist.”
Celluloid Void
“[Pauline Kael] got into my bloodstream more than any other critic. So I have been waiting most of my life for a smart, insightful biography like [Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark] to take me beyond and beneath the hypnotic thrill of her prose.”
Ben Brandtley, The New York Times (Critic’s Pick)

“A smart and eminently readable examination of the life and career of one of the 20th century’s most influential movie critics.”

Los Angeles Times.com

“[A] rich, thorough, and admirably fair biography.”

Entertainment Weekly (Best Nonfictions Books of 2011)

“[Kellow] brings a wise and sweeping vision to [Kael's] artistic mentality and her enduring legacy.”

The Washington Times
"[A] fascinating new biography….[Kellow] captures [Kael's] best passages and most heartless insults and puts them in context.”
Laurie Winer, Los Angeles Review of Books
"Kellow has reconstructed Kael’s ‘life in the dark’….The result is a joy to read….[I]t’s a fascinating book."
Los Angeles Magazine (Critic’s Picks, November 2011 Issue)
“[An] entertaining and insightful biography, as much a study of her criticism as a narrative of her life. . . . [Pauline] Kael emerges from [Kellow’s] biography as a great cinematic character, a kind of Citizen Kane, with a life lived and shaped by the dark.”
Elaine Showalter, The Times Literary Supplement
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