The Shape-Shifting Ginsberg

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Allen GinsbergAllen Ginsberg
by Steve Finbow
Reaktion Books.  237 pages, $16.95

 

SO MANY literary biographies these days are massive tomes that reviewers have stopped referring to them as doorstops.  But more condensed biographies can also be found, and they come with their own challenges. If the book is to be kept under 300 pages, what should be included and what left out, how much space can be given to discussing the significance of events or analysis of the writer’s work?  Steve Finbow has written a brief biography of Allen Ginsberg as part of the Critical Lives series published in England. Although not a complete success, it presents this important poet’s life in a manageable length.

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