Speaking of John Cage (see below), one of the best-reviewed non-fiction books this fall has been Alex Ross’s music history, The Rest is Noise: Listening to the 20th Century. It’s a terrific book — not just an accessible survey of the expected giants and -isms, but an advocacy and an analysis of music that is still not often heard or understood.
And now comes historian (and Freud biographer) Peter Gay surveying art, literature and music in Modernism: The Lure of Heresy from Baudelaire to Beckett and Beyond. I have read the Ross; I’ve not read the Gay (here, however, is a New Statesman review). But Gay’s work is never less than worthwhile — thoroughly researched, often wise.