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A Smattering of Ignorance

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  55 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Hardcover, 267 pages
Published 1940 by Doubleday, Doran & Co., Inc. New York (first published 1939)
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Community Reviews

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Rob MacCavett
Apr 03, 2012 Rob MacCavett rated it it was amazing
A brilliant classical pianist and sought after conversationalist, his quirky sense of humor was the delight of New York and Hollywood’s elite. The view he poses is that of someone normal (himself) telling of the humorous doings by the rich and famous who surround him…but the reader senses much of the comedy comes from his view of the world. This is a collection of adventures and experiences written during his prime.
Mary Tuley
Aug 21, 2007 Mary Tuley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of music and wit.
Oscar Levant needed to meet Oscar Wilde. They would've been great sparring partners.
Sandi
I became intrigued with Oscar Levant after seeing a clip of him from a television talk show that was included in the documentary about Fran Lebowitz so I decided to seek out this book which was published in 1939. Most of the book was about classical music conductors and musical composers, which I know nothing about, but the writing style and witticism kept me interested. I did throughly enjoy the two sections on his friendships with Harpo Marx and George Gershwin.
Marie Fouhey
Jun 19, 2015 Marie Fouhey rated it liked it
This is a book containing 5 essays on various topics, including the relationship between conductors and musicians, movie music, Harpo Marx, George Gershwin and modern composers. The sections of Harpo Marx and Gershwin were funny, but the section I most enjoyed was the discussion of movie music which he divides into "Mickey Mouse music" where every character on the screen has a complementary bar of music and "Mood music" where one of several motifs is used to indicate the mood of a scene. The ...more
Joy H.
Feb 09, 2016 Joy H. marked it as to-read
Added 1/27/16.
2/9/16 - Today I received a used copy of this book which I purchased online for only $6.97 including shipping. I bought it because our public library didn't have it. I'm looking forward to reading it. I became interested in it after reading A Talent for Genius: The Life and Times of Oscar Levant.

As a Goodreads member, Rob, says in his review about Oscar Levant: "A brilliant classical pianist and sought after conversationalist, his quirky sense of humor was the delight of New York
...more
Sarah
Feb 22, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it
I have no musical training whatsoever, so large portions of this book were completely incomprehensible to me, but the chapters on Harpo Marx and George Gershwin were both wonderful. Levant was a fascinating man, and reading this book led directly to me reading Talent for Genius:, a: the Life and Times of Oscar Levant.
Harold
Aug 11, 2008 Harold rated it really liked it
I didn't know of the existence of this book until I learned of it in "The House That George Built." I had read Oscar's later books and enjoyed thema. I assumed that was all he had written. I would say this is also enjoyable but that it definitely helps if you are a musician. His sarcasm and intelligence are already in place at the writing of this book, sometime around 1940.
Greg
Jun 09, 2009 Greg rated it really liked it
Ah, period snark. Anecdotes about classical conductors and Max Steiner and Gershwin. I am a loser. I read this within a 16 hour span, and I slept through some of that.
Susan
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Jul 18, 2012
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504377
Oscar Levant (December 27, 1906 – August 14, 1972) was an American pianist, composer, author, comedian, and actor. He was more famous for his mordant character and witticisms, on the radio and in movies and television, than for his music.

More about Oscar Levant...

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