topstudy.gif (11052 bytes)

Study Guide

Books

Dissertations & Theses

Parts of Books

Bentley Library

 

Magazine and Journal Articles

Updated 30 August 2005

Organized by author's last name

a | b | c | d | e | f | g | h | i | j | k | l | m | n | o | p | q | r | s
t | u | v | w | x | y | z


Anderson, Sherwood.  "Four American Impressions." The New Republic  
  XXXII (11 Oct.1922):  171-73.

Biography/General Criticism

Short story writer Anderson offers a personal as well as a professional appraisal of Lardner, Gertrude Stein, Paul Rosenfeld, and Sinclair Lewis.

Anderson stresses Lardner's shyness and his sensitivity; says he shows "more understanding of life, more human sympathy, more salty wisdom" in a paragraph "than in hundreds of pages of say, Mr. Sinclair Lewis's dreary prose" (171), and also observes that Lardner does not find the modern world "altogether barren and ugly" (172) as does Lewis; compares Lardner favorably with Mark Twain.

     
---. "Meeting Ring Lardner." The New Yorker 25 Nov. 1933: 36,38.  Rpt. in
  No Swank.  Mamoroneck NY:  Paul P. Appel, 1970.   1-7.

Biography

Vividly describes two meetings with Lardner and Lardner's friend Grantland Rice during the Mardi Gras (probably 1926); depicts Lardner as an admirable yet enigmatic character, who usually hid behind masks, either that of the drunken entertainer, or a stoic Midwesterner.

Though Anderson often seems too interested in proving his thesis that Lardner hid behind masks, his impressions of Lardner are memorable and thought provoking.   Anderson describes the first meeting in a small restaurant in the French Quarter as pleasant.  The waiters and seemingly all others who come in contact with Lardner want to please him.  Anderson counts himself among those who have a "warm affection" (2) and protective feeling for Lardner.  The second meeting takes place two days later.  Lardner calls Anderson on the way from one party to the next.   Anderson meets him at a party "in a swell house in a swell part of town" (4).  When Anderson arrives, Ring is entertaining the crowd by singing and playing the piano.  Later Lardner introduces Anderson to various guests as the author of The Great Gadsby, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, or Moby Dick (5).   Lardner tells Anderson to get some bottles and meet him outside.  Anderson does so, but Ring arrives with the host of the party they have just left.  The host, a banker, is afraid to ask to come along, and Ring is afraid to ask him to come along.   The two stand awkwardly, and Anderson watches Lardner's mask slip for a moment.

     
Benchley, Robert C.  "The Fate of the Funny Men."  Rev. of Say It With
  Oil, by Ring Lardner. Bookman LVII (June, 1923):  455-57.

Review/General Criticism

Begins with a fable of three funny men intended "to indicate a danger which may result in the general extinction of American humor through quantity production" (456).  Lardner's book is used as an example of a story written to please a magazine editor, not the author.  Despite the writer's opinion that the piece is uninspired, he maintains that it is very funny anyway and that "even magazine editors can't kill Mr. Lardner" (457).

In the fable which begins this review, three humorists are "contenders for the mantle of Mark Twain" (455).  The first is ruined by a newspaper editor who wants him to be funny every day of the year and in a way that appeals to a mass audience.   The second is ruined by a magazine editor who has all sorts of funny ideas of his own for the humorist to write about.  The third tries to write for himself, but he too writes too often in order to feed his family.  He is ultimately seized by "the Spirit of Service" (456), wanting to show his serious side to the world.   In the review, though Benchley says the story is not intended to apply literally to the writers he mentions, H. I. Phillips is identified as the first humorist, Gelett Burgess and Ellis Parker Butler are identified as the third humorist, and Lardner is the second, albeit with many qualifications.  Benchley says that the book is funny and that Lardner has put "more laughs in it than you will find in the collected works of any other humorist" (457).  That said, Benchley wishes aloud that Lardner would work on other projects rather than "trying to rewrite something that editors have been suggestion to funny men for hundreds of years" (457).  This response to Lardner--that he is great but he could use his talent in better ways--followed Lardner throughout his career (see "Ring" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, for example).

     
Berryman, John.  "The Case of Ring Lardner." Commentary XXII (Nov.
  1956):  416-23.

Review/General Criticism

In response to the publication of Elder's biography, which he characterizes as wordy but "surprisingly candid for a work produced so soon after its subject's death, and under the continuous assistance of his surviving family" (417), Berryman tries to separate Lardner the celebrity from Lardner the writer; offers a concise review of Lardner's life and works; advances the viewpoint that Lardner's best work is the "accident of talent" (422), that he lacked "purposefulness," and serious skills necessary to be considered as an artist.  

The article begins with a general statement about the nature and role of the artist and critic in America and the sometimes difficult task the critic faces in determining who exactly is an artist before criticism can be given.  In America, says Berryman, serious artists pretend to be common folk and popular entertainers pretend to be artists (416-417).  Berryman next summarizes Donald Elder's book, Ring Lardner (417-419).  He concludes that Lardner's biography shows a man without "purposefulness" and "drive toward expression" (419), those qualities which would make him a candidate for consideration as an artist.  Using "The Love Nest" as a "random" example, Berryman sets out to investigate Lardner's characters.   After summarizing the story, Berryman concludes that it is "trite and implausible" (420), displaying "gross carelessness, indifference" and points out some inconsistencies in Celia's behavior and the reactions of Bartlett and Gregg.  His opinion of the dialogue is not much better.   Finally, he says that the message of the story, the thing it exposes, namely that big producers don't have happy marriages, is a revelation to no one but "boobs" (431).    As to other stories, "Harmony" is "one of his few affecting and well constructed [of the baseball] stories" (421); and "Haircut" and "The Golden Honeymoon" are Lardner's two best.   Oddly, Berryman does not feel it necessary to discuss these "good" stories with the same depth and enthusiasm as he does for the story he considers bad.   To him, these good stories are accidents of talent.  According to Berryman, Lardner will not be remembered as a humorist because the stuff of humor is ephemeral.   Nor is Lardner a short story writer of note because "[h]e had no invention, little imagination, a very limited sense of style, and almost no sense of structure" (422).  His satire is "unimportant" (422) because Lardner does not possess "imagination of a different past or future condition for the object satirized" (422).  On comparisons made by other writers, says Lardner compares to Swift only in bitterness (422).  He does concede that Lardner has talents for "mimicry, burlesque, parody" (422) and for "what looks like nonsense" (422).  He singles out Clemo Uti--"The Water Lilies" as his favorite of the nonsense plays, but says that the genius shown in such plays is not developed further in "more confident studies or irrelation" (422). 

     
Bibesco, Elizabeth.  "Lament for Lardner." Living Age CCCXXXXV (Dec.,
  1933):  366-68.

General Criticism

A full reprint from London's Week-end Review.  Holds that Lardner made a "devastating" indictment of American civilization, is taken too lightly by critics who confuse "complication with profundity," and that he is a greater artist than Sinclair Lewis.

Bibesco begins her essay with her account of reading the news that Ring Lardner has died.  She finds herself saddened and though she didn't know him personally, she has a sense of "personal shock" (366).  She then explains why she feels he is undervalued as a writer.  The response to Lardner is a class issue as much as a talent issue.  To Bibesco, Lardner offers an "indictment of American civilization . . . devastating in its flat, unemphatic finality" (367).  She sees Lardner's world as having "no redemption," "no souls," revealing "invulnerable barrenness of lives unlit by any vision" (367) ("I know nothing more devastating than the icy drip of Mr. Lardner's writing" (367)) .   She compares his dialogue favorably to Chekhov's and his satire favorably to Sinclair Lewis's (the main difference in her mind being that Lardner maintains a distance from the targets of his satire, but Lewis is too close to his characters, simultaneously championing and attacking his characters).  In closing, she predicts that Lardner will "forever elude criticism and defeat imitation" (368).   

     
Blythe, Hal. "Lardner's 'Haircut.'" Explicator 44.3 (Spring 1986):  48-49.
  Explication ("Haircut")

Blythe takes a look at the significance of the cinematic allusions in "Haircut."

Blythe analyzes cinematic allusions, especially those to the movie Wages of Death found in the story "Haircut" and asserts that the plot of that movie is the hidden plot of this story (essentially that a group of people create an alibi for a sympathetic killer).  In this article, unlike the next, Blythe still supports the view that the narrator of "Haircut" is innocent and unaware of the real circumstances surrounding Jim's death.

     
Blythe, Hal and Charlie Sweet.  "The Barber of Civility:  The Chief
  Conspirator of 'Haircut.'" Studies in Short Fiction 23.4 (Fall 1986): 450-453.

Explication ("Haircut")

As the title suggests, Blythe and Sweet set out to prove that the barber/narrator is the mastermind and chief conspirator of Jim's death in "Haircut."

Blythe and Sweet posit that Whitey, the narrator, is not only aware of what is going on in the story and that he condones the killing of Jim, but that he is "the chief instigator of the town's deadly conspiracy" (451).  They methodically support their thesis, using many examples from the story to establish motive, means, opportunity, and indirect admissions of guilt.  Such a reading requires that one considers the barber's comments about Jim (like his being a "card") to be intentionally ironic.  The "motive to kill" may also be overstated. Whitey has a motive for revenge or a motive to dislike Jim, but the motive to kill is not established here.

     
Boomhower, Ray.  "Covering the Bases." Michigan History Magazine  
  May/June 1996:  20-27.

Biography

Biographical account of Lardner's early career in sports writing.

The article begins with an account of pitcher Ed Reulbach (Notre Dame, Chicago Cubs) meeting Ring as a would-be waterboy and as a reporter.  The rest draws on general biographical information and the autobiographical articles Ring wrote for The Saturday Evening Post to restate the Lardner legend, from Niles, through South Bend, to Chicago.  Most notable is a reprint of a dialect letter (25) which appeared in the 1917 edition of the University of Notre Dame's yearbook, the Dome.

     
Bordewyk, Gordon.  "Comic Alienation: Ring Lardner's Style." Markham
  Review 11 (Spring 1982):  51-57.

Criticism

Bordewyk studies Lardner's use of dialogue, but goes beyond the standard discussion of authenticity and related issues by connecting the communication problems of Lardner's characters with their alienation. 

Following Howard Webb's lead in the study of non-communication in Lardner's fiction, Bordewyk puts together a logical and well supported argument which first establishes that Lardner's "characters use or abuse language according to a consistent pattern" (51), and then that the pattern "signals an individual's estrangement in society" (51).  Bordewyk identifies "four types of communication failures that contribute to alienation" (51) that are demonstrated by Lardner's characters:   first, those who suffer from "inarticulateness" which leads to despair or violence ("My Roomy" is used as an example (51-52)); second, those who are "excessively literal," unable to understand others' subtlety (Jack Keefe provides the example for this type (52-53)); third, those who use language as a "social tool," talking but never listening (Miss Lyons in "Zone of Quiet" (53-54), Hazel Dignan in "Travelogue" (54), and Miss Rell in "Dinner" (54-55) provide the examples); and fourth,  those who use "deceptive language" to fool others or to conceal faults ("Horseshoes," "I Can't Breathe," and "Champion" are briefly mentioned as illustrating this type (55); "Alibi Ike," (55), Celia Gregg in "The Love Nest" (55-56), and "Haircut" (56-57) provide more in-depth examples). 

     
Boyd, Thomas.  "Lardner Tells Some New Ones."  Rev. of How to Write
  Short Stories, by Ring Lardner. Bookman LIX (July, 1924):  601-2.

Review

Praises the accuracy of the language used to present characters and the troubling humor of the stories that "leave you silent and thoughtful long after the merriment is gone" (602).

Boyd addresses the effect Lardner's humor and accurate portrayal of language has on his stories, concluding that these things create a "perfect style" (602), essential to the telling of these individual's tales.  He singles out "The Golden Honeymoon" ("every word, every abbreviation is a revelation of this old man") and "Some Like Them Cold" ("It evokes a greater feeling of the uncertainty of existence and of active sympathy than all of Charlie Chaplin's pathetic shoes") as example of stories made that are great because of the Lardner style (602).    "The Champion," which Boyd considers to be the only un-funny story in the collection ("born under a cloud of indignation"), fails in his eyes because of the lack of the normal Lardner style:  ". . . that very honesty results in the lack of verisimilitude at the close" (602).  

     
Bruccoli, Matthew J.  "Five Notes on Ring Lardner." Papers of the
  Bibliographical Society of America 58 (1964):  297-298.

Scholarship

     
---. "Ring Lardner's First Book." Papers of the Bibliographical Society of
  America 58 (1964):  34-35.

Scholarship

     
Cervo, Nathan.  "Lardner's 'Haircut.'" Explicator 47.2 (Winter 1989): 47-48.
  Explication ("Haircut")

Cervo posits that Lardner uses proper nouns as thematic puns "to reflect important themes in the narrative" of "Haircut;" and that by studying these, the reader can determine that Jim was a conspirator in his own murder (suicide).   While many of the individual "puns" Cervo discovers in the text are both convincing and illuminating, the overall theory/interpretation is interesting but unproven. 

Cervo's careful reading of the text results in many fascinating discoveries and  a thought-provoking interpretation.  First, Cervo identifies what he terms "thematic nomenclature," "proper names [used] to reflect important themes in ["Haircut"]."  Several such words are brought to light; particularly convincing are the cases made for "whitewashing," reflecting the town's urge to cover up its dirty secrets, for the title, emphasizing Whitey's fashioning of the story,  and for the final line, "Comb it Wet or dry?" signifying the two ways of interpreting the barber's story (47).  Less convincing are the cases for the phrase "the dark of the stairs" as a pun on Doc Stair (47-48) and for the Paul/"pall" pun (48).  

Cervo uses these puns to support his thesis that in the story, Jim, Paul and Doc Stair "converge their wills, independent one of the other, to murder Jim" (47).   The motives for each of the three are well presented, but, after all is said, there is still room for reasonable doubt.  The pun that is supposed to seal the case, Jim Kendall's name (Kendall = ken + all = knows all) seems to be a bit of a stretch.      

     
Chamberlain, John.  "Ring Lardner Listens in on the Life About Him."  Rev.
  of Round Up, by Ring Lardner.  New York Times Book Review 7 April 1929: 2.

Review/General Criticism

Chamberlain compares Lardner to his contemporaries and calls him one of the "most adroit and profound creators of character" and "our best short story writer."

Though it seems at time much more of a sales pitch than a serious review, Chamberlain's article is valuable in that it represents one type of response to Lardner's work and also in that it offers a number of surprising comparisons.  Chamberlain compares Lardner to several contemporary writers.  For example, while reading Lardner "one always knows that he is on the side of intelligence and civilization" unlike when one reads Hemingway or Anderson.  He considers Lardner more humane than Hemingway without being too preachy like Anderson.  Lardner knows what he is writing about, he employs a number of different techniques, he provides a balanced point-of-view, and he writes about characters from a wide variety of backgrounds.  In short, "Lardner is pre-eminently our best short-story writer."  He briefly mentions a number of stories:  "The Facts" and "Champion" (examples of "straight" stories), "The Golden Honeymoon" (his best:  ". . . one is constantly on the lookout for satire, for kidding, but all one finds is the story of every successful marriage plus some startling characterization"), "The Love Nest" (example of Lardner's portrayal of the ritual of self-delusion:   "Lardner understands ritual as well as Marcel Proust"), "Anniversary," "Mr. Frisbie," and "I Can't Breathe" (examples of hypocrisy revealed), "There Are Smiles," "Old Folk's Christmas," and "Anniversary" (the best of the new stories), and "My Roomy" (which he reads somehow as a "burlesque").

     
Cowlishaw, Brian T.  "The Readers Role in Ring Lardner's Rhetoric"
  Studies in Short Fiction 31.2 (Spring 1994):  207-216.

Criticsim

     
Diedrick, James. "Ring Lardner's Michigan." Michigan History Mar./Apr. 1985: 32-39.
  Connects the writer to his home state through evidence of influence on his writing and examples primarily from his newspaper columns. Written by one of the organizers of the1985 Lardner Symposium at Albion College.
     
---. "Ring Lardner's 'New' Journalism." Arete 3.1 (Fall 1985): 107-119.
   
     
Douglas, Donald. "Ring Lardner As Satirist." Rev. of The Love Nest and Other Stories, by
  Ring Lardner. The Nation CXXII (26 May 1926): 584-85.

This review is full of praise for Lardner, sees the stories in the Love Nest and the world revealed within them as "a tragedy to the man who thinks."

     
Evans, Elizabeth. "Opulent Vulgarity: Ring Lardner and F. Scott Fitzgerald." Notes on
  Contemporary Literature 10.1 (1980): 2-3.
     
---. "Ring Lardner's Bridge-Playing Spoil Sports." Notes on Contemporary Literature 11.1
  (Jan. 1981): 5-8.

Takes a serious look at Lardner's use of games in his fiction; how bridge is used to show the disparity between what is and what should be, and how something as simple as a game can point out all the ugliness that accompanies the zeal for social advancement.

     
Everett, Barbara. "The New Style of Sweeney Agonistes." Yearbook of English Studies 14
  (1984): 242-263. Also in "Parts of Books."
     
Fadiman, Clifton. "Pitiless Satire." Rev. of Round Up, by Ring Lardner. Nation CXXVIII (1
  May 1929): 536-37.

A first statement of the viewpoint more fully developed in "The Triangle of Hate," that Lardner "is the deadliest because the coldest of American writers," and that his characters form a "democracy of snobs, fools, and moral cowards."

     
---. "Ring Lardner and the Triangle of Hate." Nation CXXXVI (22 Mar. 1933): 315-17.
  An entertaining and often quoted essay which takes the extreme view that "the special force of Ring Lardner's work springs from a single fact: he just doesn't like people." Fadiman posits, with very little evidence, that Lardner hated himself, hated his characters, and that his characters hated each other.
     
Farrell, James T. "Ring Lardner's success Mad World." New York Times Book Review June
  1944: 3,18. Rep. as "Ring Lardner's Round Up."The League of Frightened Philistines and Other Papers. New York: The Vanguard Press, 1945.

An interesting discussion of the intense competitiveness of Lardner's characters as it relates to the competitive American capitalist system.

     
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. "Ring." The New Republic LXXVI (11 Oct. 1933): 254-55.
  Eulogizes Lardner as a talented and good man, but one whose work fell short of its promise because he had a "cynical attitude towards his work," was too limited by baseball, and failed to get personal.
     
Flannigan, John T. "A Student of Literature Looks at History." Michigan History 34,3
  (Sep.1947): 257-66. Gives brief mention of Lardner as one link in the history of American satire.
     
Freese, Peter. "Zwei unbekannte Verweise in J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye: Charles .
  Dickens und Ring Lardner." Archiv fur das Studium der Neueren Sprachen und Literaturen 211 (1974): 68-72
     
Gilead, Sarah. "Lardner's Discourses of Power." Studies in Short Fiction 22.3 (Summer 1985):
  331-337.

Discusses the power relationships, the "inequal exchanges between speakers and hearers, writers and readers, narrators and narratees" found in Lardner's fiction; establishes a correlation between the literacy of the characters and their power.

     
Gugliemo, Wagner J. "Ring Lardner and 'The Battle of the Century.'" Markham Review 14
  (Fall/Winter 1984-85): 12-15.

Account of the history of as well as analysis of "The Battle of the Century."

     
Hampton, Riley V. "Owl Eyes in The Great Gatsby." American Literature: A Journal of
  Literary History, Criticism, and Bibliography 48 (1976): 229.
     
Hart, John E. "Man as Thing: Ring Lardner's You Know Me Al." South Dakota Review 23.1
  (1985): 114-22.

Skillful character analysis of Jack Keefe; focuses on his myopic worldview and his use by others as a commodity.

     
Hasley, Louis. "Ring Lardner: The Ashes of Idealism." Arizona Quarterly 26 (1970): 219-32.
  Overview of Lardner's life and career; makes important divisions in Lardner's career (the humorous stage, the satiric stage, and the nihilistic stage); overall, considers Lardner's tone to be optimistic.
     
Hicks, James E. "Ring Lardner, Baseball, and Japan: More Evidence in Support of Crepeau's
  Thesis." Arete 3.1 (Fall 1985): 121-123.
     
Jones, David A. and Leverett T. Smith, Jr. "Jack Keefe and Roy Hobbs: Two All-American
  Boys." Aethlon 6.2 (Spring 1989): 119-137.
     
Kasten, Margaret C. "The Satire of Ring Lardner." English Journal XXXVI (April 1947):
  194-95.

Argues against Fadiman's "Triangle of Hate" theory and the opinion that Lardner is "just a comic;" compares Lardner favorably to Sinclair Lewis, and gives examples of college Freshmen's opinions of "Haircut." It is interesting to see that as early as1947 people had already begun to miss the satire in Lardner's stories.

     
Lardner, James. "Ring Lardner at 100--Facing a Legacy." The New York Times Book Review
  31 March 1985: 3,27.

James reflects on the life and work of his grandfather, Ring Lardner and describes the Ring Lardner Centennial Conference held at Albion College as well as a side trip to Niles.

     
Lardner, Ring. "'Great Neck Is Like a Cemetery': Ring Lardner to Thomas Boyd."
  Fitzgerald-Hemingway Annual 1979: 231-32.

A letter.

     
Lardner, Ring Jr. "Ring Lardner & Sons." Esquire March 1972: 98-103, 169-180.
  Lays the groundwork for his family biography.
     
Lease, Benjamin. "An Evening at the Scott Fitzgeralds': An Unpublished Letter of Ring
  Lardner." English Language Notes 8 (1970): 40-42.
     
---. "An Experiment in the Vernacular: An Unpublished Letter of Ring Lardner. American
  Speech: A Quarterly of Linguistic Usage 53 (1978): 236-37.
     
Lindsey, Jack L. "Lynford Lardner's Silver" The Magazine Antiques April 1993: 608-615.
  Historical piece about the first Lardner to come to America. Draws on a number of private and public historical documents to construct a vivid and interesting picture of the man and his times. Excellent photographs.
     
Linneman, William R. "Ring Around the Peninsula." The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Journal
  of Florida Literature. 7 (1996): 41-56.
     
Littell, Robert. "Ring Lardner." Rev. of How to Write Short Stories, by Ring Lardner. The
  New Republic 3 Sep. 1924: 25-26. Praises Lardner's handling of the American idiom and American thought.
     
---. ". . . And Other Stories." Review of The Love Nest and Other Stories, by Ring Lardner.
  The New Republic 29 Sep. 1926: 147-49.

Presents an amusing dialogue between R. L. (the author and critic) and S. S. V. (still small voice, the common reader) in order to present the views of both of Lardner's audiences.

     
Matheson, Terence J. "Impressionists, Satirists, Radicals, and Romantics: Investigating the .
  Eccentric Response." Canadian Review of American Studies 14.3 (Fall 1983): 321-331
     
Matthews, T.S. "Lardner, Shakespeare and Chekhov." The New Republic 22 May 1929: .
  35-36.

Compares Lardner with the others on the basis that all three had both a serious and a popular audience

     
May, Charles. "Lardner's HAIRCUT." Explicator 31.9 (May 1973).
  Suggests that the object of the satire in "Haircut" is not just Jim or the small town in which he lives, but it is the reader who so quickly condones such extreme punishment.
     
Mencken, Henry L. "A Humorist Shows His Teeth." The American Mercury Jun. 1926:
  354-55. Commentary on The Love Nest and Other Stories which commends Lardner for his use of the American language.
     
Moseley, Merritt. "Ring Lardner and the American Humor Tradition." South Atlantic Review
  46.1 (Jan. 81): 42-60.
     
Mulder, Arnold. "Michigan's Writing Men." Michigan History Sep. 1951: 257-270.
   
     
Nevins, Allan. "The American Moron." Saturday Review of Literature 8 June 1929:
  1089-90.

Compares Lardner's rise from sports writing and humor to serious literature with the similar rise of O. Henry and of Mark Twain.

     
Overton, Grant. "Ring W. Lardner's Bell Lettres." Bookman Sep. 1925: 44-49.
  A tongue-in-cheek biographical and semi-critical essay on Lardner and his work, written in response to Scribner's 1925 publication of a uniform edition of Lardner's major books, and notable for information derived from an interview with Lardner.   Includes a portrait by Bertrand Zadig.

Overton has a lively and humorous style and seems to enjoy and respect Lardner.  His physical descriptions of Lardner, "the only quiet person in New York" (46), are memorable.  Insights gleened from an interview with Lardner include Lardner's favorable opinion of and help with Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (45), Lardner's love for the baseball "moron" he writes about (46), Lardner's admitted inability to write a novel (46), and Lardner's love of music (47).  Overton gives a brief overview of the books in the edition--You Know Me Al, Gullible's Travels, The Big Town, How to Write Short Stories, and What of It? (48-49) and makes specific comments about "Champion" from How to Write Short Stories (46), the nonsense plays from What of It? (47) (Lardner denies writing them to satirize the Moscow Art Theatre, saying he has written them long before there was such a thing and also noting that "plays are among the very few things he enjoys writing") (47), "The Golden Honeymoon" from How to Write Short Stories (47), and "Some Like Them Cold" from How to Write Short Stories (48-49).  He also gives a brief overview of the major critical response to Lardner (Stallings, Rascoe, Mencken, Broun, and Barrie) which he describes as mostly "apple sauce" (49).     

     
Payne, Kenneth. "Ring Lardner's 'The Love Nest': Illusion, Reality, and the Movie Mogul."
  International Fiction Review 16.2 (Summer 1989): 103-5.

A short but well documented analysis of "The Love Nest" as a case study "in how the 'abusive' manipulator of discourse effectively succeeds in imposing his own interpretation of reality" in Lardner's fiction.

     
Pellow, C. Kenneth. "Ring Lardner: Absurdist Ahead of His Time." Aethlon 6.2 (1989):
  111-117.
     
Phelps, Donald. "Shut Up, He Explained." Shenandoah 29.4 (1978): 84-100.
   
     
Pritchett, V.S. "The Talent of Ring Lardner." New Statesman 25 April 1959: 580-81. .
  Posits that talk "is the American contribution to literature" and that Lardner is a master of its use
     
Pughe, Thomas. "Sense in Nonsense: Ring Lardner's Playlets as Aesthetic Adventures." Revue
  Francaise d'Etudes Americaines 13.37 (July 1988): 195-214.
     
Robinson, Douglas. "Ring Lardner's Dual Audience and The Capitalist Double Bind."American
  Literary History 4 (Summer 1992): 264-87.

Explains reactions of Lardner's dual audience--the hoi polloi and the intelligentsia--as being different reactions within the same social context of twentieth century capitalist culture; offers a useful tool to examine these reactions--his five-step model of the double-bind that ties society to a certain system.

     
Salpeter, Harry. "The Boswell of New York." The Bookman LXXXI (July 1930): 384.
  One of many reports that Lardner denied he was a satirist, saying that he just listened closely.
     
Shyer, Laurence and Ring Lardner, Jr. "American Absurd: Two Nonsense Plays by George S.
  Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind, and Ring Lardner." Theater 9.2 (1978): 119-21.

Followed by K & R's "Something New," 122-24, & L's "The Gelska Cup," 126-27, with introduction by Ring Lardner, Jr., 125.

     
Schwartz, Delmore. "Ring Lardner: Highbrow in Hiding." Reporter 9 Aug. 1956: 52-54.
  Reaction to Elder's biography; says this work "ought to help correct the neglect, one-sided understanding, and misunderstanding of Lardner's work;" that Lardner's fiction offers a
"serious criticism of American life;" that Lardner was a sensitive man "appalled by the unfulfilled promises of life" and not, as Fadiman saw him, a misanthrope.
     
Smith, Leverett T., Jr. "'The Diameter o Frank Chance's Diamond': Ring Lardner and
  Professional Sports." Journal of Popular Culture Summer, 1972.

A thorough examination of the relationship between Lardner and Baseball; includes many primary and secondary examples.

     
Stein, Allen F. "This Unsporting Life: The Baseball Fiction of Ring Lardner." Markham
  Review 3.2 (1972): 27-33.
     
Stuart, Henry Longan. "Mr. Lardner Burlesques America." New York Times Book Review.
  19 April 1925: 1,25.

Review of all of Lardner's reissued books; makes interesting comments on Lardner's nonsense plays.

     
---. "Three Stories A Year Are Enough For A Writer." New York Times Magazine 25 March
  1917: 14.

Reports an interview with Lardner during which Lardner cites his influences, his appraisal of Twain, and his attitude toward writing; indicates that he was tired of writing first-person dialect stories and he would like to be writing "fiction of an entirely different sort."

     
Tiverton, Dana. "Ring Lardner Writes a Story." The Writer 45.1 (Jan. 1933): 8-9.
  Presentation, based on an interview with Lardner, of Larder's writing method, highly influenced by his journalistic roots.
     
Tobin, Richard. "Ring Lardner, the Man With the Perfect Pitch." Chronicle Spring 1978:
  11-18.

Article by Ring's nephew; offers insights into the final days of his life and clearly traces the early influences of Lardner's life in Niles through his career.

     
Topping, Scott. "Ring Lardner on Cashel Byron's Profession." The Independent Shavian
  32.2-3 (1994): 39-40.

Collection of Ring's thoughts on G. Bernard Shaw as boxing expert.

     
Van Doren, Carl. "Beyond Grammar: Ring W. Lardner: Philologist among the Low-brows."
  Century CVI (July 1923): 471-75. Rep. in Many Minds. New York: Knopf, 1924. Praises Lardner for his mastery of the vernacular style, but criticizes him for having "no sign of any aesthetic or intellectual concern;" considers Lardner as "essentially a comic philologist."
     
Weaver, John V. "Ring Lardner--Serious Artist." The Bookman LIV (Feb. 1922): 586-87.
  One of the earliest appraisals of Lardner as a serious artist.
     
Webb, Howard W. Jr. "The Development of a Style: The Lardner Idiom." American
  Quarterly 12 (Winter 1960): 482-92.

Well documented laudatory appraisal of Lardner, who Webb considers "a literary artist."

     
---. "Mark Twain and Ring Lardner." Mark Twain Journal 11.2 (1960): 13-15.
   
     
--- . "The Meaning of Ring Lardner's Fiction: A Re-evaluation." American Literature 61 (Jan.
  1960): 434-45

In this well documented and formulated essay, Webb argues that "judgments of Ring Lardner and his work have become stereotyped and thus distorted." Instead of viewing Lardner as essentially a comic writer or considering him a misanthrope, Webb proposes that more benefit would come from studying the dominant theme in Lardner's writing, which, he states, is "the problem of communication."

     
---. "Ring Lardner's Idle Common Man." Bulletin of the Central Mississippi Valley
  American Studies Association 1 (Spring 1958): 6-13.
     
White, E.B. "Notes & Comment" The New Yorker 10:24 (28 July 1934), 9. Rpt. in Every
  Day Is Saturday. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1934: 240-241.
     
Wilson, Edmund. "Mr. Lardner's American Characters." Dial July 1924: 69-72. Rep. in A
  Literary Chronicle: 1920-1950. Garden City: An Anchor Book, 1956: 37-40.

Is a good example of those critics who saw great promise in Lardner's fiction after the publication of How to Write Short Stories.

     
Woolf, Virginia. "American Fiction." Saturday Review 1 August 1925: 1-3. Rep. in The
  Moment and Other Essays. London: Hogarth Press, 1952.

An appraisal of You Know Me Al. Contends that Lardner was producing the best American fiction of the time primarily because he let the characters act without authorial interference; theorizes that games provide "a centre" for Lardner's American characters.

     
Yardley, Jonathan. "Harmony in Great Neck: The Friendship of Ring Lardner and F. Scott
  Fitzgerald." Saturday Review July 1978: 23-25, 36.
     
---. "The Man Who Taught Us How We Talk." Civilization October/November 1996: 92-94.
   

top of the page


[menu.htm]