Art & Criticism: Nonfiction Previews, Mar. 2019, Pt. 3 | Prepub Alert

Two group biographies, cutting-edge criticism, and an examination of the human obsession with miniatures.

Burke, Carolyn. Foursome: Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Paul Strand, Rebecca Salsbury. Knopf. Mar. 2019. 432p. ISBN 9780307957290. $30. ebk. ISBN 9780525655367. Downloadable. BIOGRAPHY/ARTISTS

A National Book Critics Circle Award finalist for Lee Miller: A Life, Burke here chronicles the story of friendship of premier photographer Alfred Stieglitz and his equally talented wife, Georgia O’Keeffe, with Stieglitz protégé Paul Strand and his wife, painter Rebecca Salsbury. Burke draws on the correspondence among the four to show how each spurred the others’ creativity.

Garfield, Simon. In Miniature: How Small Things Illuminate the World. Atria. Mar. 2019. 304p. ISBN 9781501199585. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781501199608. ART/CRITICISM & THEORY

Why do we love miniatures, like dollhouses, model trains, toy soldiers, and even diminutive crime scenes? The protean Garfield, who’s ranged from the Somerset Maugham Prize–winning The End of Innocence: Britain in the Time of AIDS to Just My Type: A Book About Fonts, draws on history, psychology, and art to explain.

Moretti, Franco. Far Country: Scenes from American Culture. Farrar. Mar. 2019. 144p. ISBN 9780374272708. $23; ebk. ISBN 9780374718077. LITERARY CRITICISM

Founder of the Center for the Study of the Novel and the Literary Lab at Stanford and a National Book Critics Circle Award winner for Distant Reading, Moretti produces cutting-edge criticism. Here he sets Whitman next to Baudelaire, the Western next to film noir, and Warhol next to Rembrandt —unexpected pairings that illuminate even if they might jar. Thus we learn how new art forms continually emerge—and, by extension, how American cultural dominance has shaped the world.

Shorr, Victoria. Midnight: Three Women at the Hour of Reckoning. Norton. Mar. 2019. 208p. ISBN 9780393652789. $25.95. BIOGRAPHY

Jane Austen, homeless after her brother inherits the family home, turning down a marriage proposal from a rich but insipid man and turning to her writing. Mary Godwin, pregnant when she eloped with Percy Bysshe Shelley, realizing that her husband will not return after having sailed off one stormy day. Joan of Arc tied to the stake, recanting when she sees that there will be no divine intervention, then facing the flames a second time for her faith. Three turning points for three women who have captured our imagination, from political activist and writer Shorr (Backlands).

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Book Review; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president of the National Book Critics Circle, to which she has just been reelected.

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