Praise for Arthur Krystal:

"Arthur Krystal’s essays shine like a searchlight through the fog of contemporary culture. Vivid, sharp, and enlightening, they keep a steady keel through roiling waters."—Edward Mendelson, Lionel Trilling Professor of the Humanities, Columbia University

"Krystal celebrates the author compelled to write by a sense of mortality and the critic qualified to judge literature by traits of temperament and taste.... And as his vibrant, well-considered essays reveal, Krystal has not entirely relinquished hope that ‘books, despite the critics’ polemics, are still the truest expressions of the human condition.’"—Elizabeth Mary Sheehan, New York Times Book Review

"Arthur Krystal’s mind and style manage to flourish in a postmodern culture where literature has—in his fine phrasing—‘become the center that is somehow beside the point.’"—Thomas Mallon

Although Arthur Krystal shies away from the title of essayist, his essays have appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’s, the American Scholar, the New York Times Book Review, and other publications. Moreover, such dissimilar critics as Dana Gioia, Morris Dickstein, Edward Mendelson, Christopher Hitchens, and Joseph Epstein have all lauded his work. And his first book, Agitations: Essays on Life and Literature, was a finalist for the 2003 PEN Award for the Art of the Essay.

Accolades aside, Krystal simply regards himself as someone who writes sentences to see where they take him. In A Word or Two Before I Go, Krystal offers us—if he is to be believed—his final collection. These eleven essays and one evocative story range in subject matter from the depredations of aging and the anomalies of cultural appropriation to the friendship between Jacques Barzun and Lionel Trilling and the day Muhammad Ali punched Krystal in the face.

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