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October 07, 2004

There Is No Map to Hume and Behavior...
(Yes, That Is The Worst Pun to Headline Here)

by Ron Hogan

One of the best qualities of the classic New Yorker--as I like to imagine it, anyway, from my fevered rereading and rereading of the Harold Ross biography--was that authors had a certain liberty to follow their obsessions regardless of questions of "relevance" to the readership. The operating assumption being that if the writer found it that interesting, he or she could find a way to make other people believe it was interesting, too.

Which is why I was pleasantly surprised to see David Denby use this week's "critic at large" column to review a book I was given as a Christmas present nine months ago, James Buchan's Crowded with Genius. If you found the subject of Enlightenment Scotland as interesting as I did, you might want to wait for the paperback, which will be coming in late November or early December, but heck--if you can afford to splurge, see if you can find it now. Don't just take my word or Denby's, either: ask Irvine Welsh, no slouch himself when it comes to Edinburgh-themed prose.

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