the golden age of the blurb

From the dust jacket copy of Edwin Denby’s Mrs. W’s Last Sandwich (1972; reissued as Scream in a Cave):

Ron Padgett says: “Edwin Denby’s Mrs. W’s Last Sandwich is as charming and pleasurable for me to read as an adult as The Hardy Boys series was when I was a boy. He is one of the best writers in America.”

Anne Waldman says: “Mrs. W’s Last Sandwich is a pure, authentic 30’s novel – suspense, humor, melodrama, adventure, what you will. It will make you drag your own cookies. I can’t put it down.”

The only thing better than this is W. H. Auden’s blurb for John Ashbery & James Schuyler’s A Nest of Ninnies (1975):

My! What a pleasant surprise to read a novel in which there is not a single bedroom scene . . . there are, to be sure, some scenes of violence, but the violence is meteorological: the characters can hardly go anywhere without encountering torrential rains. More extraordinary still, though many of them live in suburbia, they all seem, believe it or not, to be happy, and, though sometimes bitchy, actually to like each other .  .  . A NEST OF NINNIES is a pastoral .  .  . it took Messrs. Ashbery and Schuyler several years to write. Their patience and artistry have been well rewarded. I am convinced their book is destined to become a minor classic.

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