In this unusual memoir of the life of the mind, the founding editor of The Threepenny Review reflects upon the choices she has made in pursuit of her vocation as a self-described "eighteenth-century man of letters." Wendy Lesser, one of our shrewdest cultural observers, describes how her education, her experiences, and the works of her favorite writers, artists, and performers have shaped and deepened her understanding of the world. She shows us how she has created an independent life as a writer, editor, and critic, free to follow her enthusiasms where they lead her.
Whether her subject is Mark Morris's choreography, the delights of e-mail, the odd assortment of words that were born the same year she was, or the moral implications of giving to beggars (pondered by way of Charles Dickens and Henry James), Lesser's acute wisdom and elegant prose render a beguiling portrait of a remarkable mind at work.
"A deeply humane, modest, and beautifully constructed narration."
--The New York Times Book Review
"Consistently engaging, sly, witty, understated (though still provocative) and written with simple elegance. . . . Like a powerful novel, The Amateur works in mysterious, subterranean ways." --The New York Observer
"Delightful . . . Lesser's writing is clear, strong, shapely and a pleasure to read."
--The Washington Post Book World