"From the Jazz Age through the Kennedy administration, Edmund Wilson (1895-1972) stood at the center of the American cultural scene. A champion of the young Ernest Hemingway, a loyal friend and mentor of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and an ally of John Dos Passos during the Depression, Wilson wrote classics of literary and intellectual history (Axel's Castle, To the Finland Station, and Patriotic Core), searching reportage, and criticism that has outlasted many of its subjects. Though he documented his private life in openly erotic fiction and journals, he left the personal dramas at its center in shadow. Lewis M. Dabney, the first writer to integrate the life and work, vividly encompasses Wilson's formative love affair with Edna St. Vincent Millay, his tempestuous marriage to Mary McCarthy, and his lasting accord with Elena Mumm Thornton, as well as his volatile friendship with Vladimir Nabokov and enduring ones with W. H. Auden and Isaiah Berlin." "This narrative follows the critic's intellectual development, from son of small-town New Jersey gentry to America's last great renaissance man, a lucid commentator on everything from the Russian classics to Native American rituals to the Dead Sea Scrolls. Dabney shows why Wilson was and has remained - in his cosmopolitanism and trenchant nonconformity - a model for young writers and intellectuals, as well as the favorite critic of the general reader."--BOOK JACKET.