Seven years after the death of Anton Chekhov, his sister, Maria, wrote to a friend, "You asked for someone who could write a biography of my deceased brother. If you recall, I recommended Iv. Al. Bunin . . . . No one writes better than he; he knew and understood my deceased brother very well; he can go about the endeavor objectively. . . . I repeat, I would very much like this biography to correspond to reality and that it be written by I.A. Bunin."
In About Chekhov Ivan Bunin sought to free the writer from limiting political, social, and aesthetic assessments of his life and work, and to present both in a more genuine, insightful, and personal way. Editor and translator Thomas Gaiton Marullo subtitles About Chekhov "The Unfinished Symphony," because although Bunin did not complete the work before his death in 1953, he nonetheless fashioned his memoir as a moving orchestral work on the writers' existence and art. . . . "Even in its unfinished state, About Chekhov stands not only as a stirring testament of one writer's respect and affection for another, but also as a living memorial to two highly creative artists." Bunin draws on his intimate knowledge of Chekhov to depict the writer at work, in love, and in relation with such writers as Tolstoy and Gorky. Through anecdotes and observations, spirited exchanges and reflections, this memoir draws a unique portrait that plumbs the depths and complexities of two of Russia's greatest writers.
ACROSS SPOON RIVER
Edgar Lee Masters University of Illinois Press, 1991 Library of Congress PS3525.A83Z463 1991 | Dewey Decimal 811.52
This intimate and provocative autobiography, first published in 1936,
reveals the innermost thoughts of a great American poet. Edgar Lee Masters
was a transitional figure in American literature with one foot planted
in the nineteenth century and the other firmly placed on the path of what
we now think of as the modern period.
Masters expounds on his own development as a poet and as a human being;
he shares his views on American culture, politics, and the literary criticism
of the times. Masters's friends and acquaintances discussed here include
some of the most prominent writers and politicians of his age. And he
reflects on his life events that shaped, haunted, and inspired his writings
of the classic Spoon River Anthology.
She invites us along on a raucous tour of soul-sucking jobs, marriage, and a teaching career, with accompanying disquisitions on blasphemous reading preferences, ’60s pop culture, writing workshops, and other amusing detours and distractions on the way to publication. She also shares her keen insights into the role of a Southern writer in American literary culture, the experience of writing as a mother, and the process of novel-writing as compared to a lengthy family car trip.
Featuring guest appearances by other writers such as Fred Chappell, Max Steele, and Annie Dillard plus cameos by the likes of Patty Hearst, Richard Nixon, and Bon Jovi, Adventures in Pen Land celebrates writing as a form of play that Gingher has never outgrown. The lighthearted illustrations by novelist Daniel Wallace (author of Big Fish) serve to reinforce this refreshing message as they depict one writer and her imagination growing up together.
Adventures in Pen Land conveys a writer’s sheer doggedness, with a few bones of advice tossed in along the way. Candid and irreverent, but always humane, this memoir is must reading for fans of Southern literature, students of creative writing, and anyone who can’t resist the treat of reading about a writer’s resilience and dedication to her craft.
Ireland is suffering from a crisis of authority. Catholic Church scandals, political corruption, and economic collapse have shaken the Irish people’s faith in their institutions and thrown the nation’s struggle for independence into question. While Declan Kiberd explores how political failures and economic globalization have eroded Irish sovereignty, he also sees a way out of this crisis. After Ireland surveys thirty works by modern writers that speak to worrisome trends in Irish life and yet also imagine a renewed, more plural and open nation.
After Dublin burned in 1916, Samuel Beckett feared “the birth of a nation might also seal its doom.” In Waiting for Godot and a range of powerful works by other writers, Kiberd traces the development of an early warning system in Irish literature that portended social, cultural, and political decline. Edna O’Brien, Frank O’Connor, Seamus Heaney, and Michael Hartnett lamented the loss of the Irish language, Gaelic tradition, and rural life. Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Eavan Boland grappled with institutional corruption and the end of traditional Catholicism. These themes, though bleak, led to audacious experimentation, exemplified in the plays of Brian Friel and Tom Murphy and the novels of John Banville. Their achievements embody the defiance and resourcefulness of Ireland’s founding spirit—and a strange kind of hope.
After Ireland places these writers and others at the center of Ireland’s ongoing fight for independence. In their diagnoses of Ireland’s troubles, Irish artists preserve and extend a humane culture, planting the seeds of a sound moral economy.
Historian Jeremy Black is comprehensive, as ever, but in his treatment of the British Gothic novel his greatest service is the preservation of the detail––namely, the human impetus behind art that is often undervalued. Gothic novelists were purposeful, thoughtful, and engaged questions and feelings that ultimately shaped a century of culture. Black notes that the Gothic novel is also very much about "morality and deploying history accordingly." The true interest of the Gothic novel is more remarkable than it is grisly: the featured darkness and macabre are not meant to usurp heroism and purity, but will fall hard under the over-ruling hand of Providence and certainty of retribution.
Black's understanding of the Gothic writer is a remarkable contribution to the legacy of British literature and the novel at large. Once again, in Black thoroughness meets fidelity and the reader is overcome with his own insights into the period on the merit of Black's efforts.
In The Weight of Words Series, Black is devoted to the preservation of the memory of British literary genius, and in so doing he is carving out a niche for himself. As in the Gothic novel where landscapes give quarter to influences that seem to interact with the human fates that freely wander in, reading Black is an experience of suddenly finding oneself in possession of an education, and his allure takes a cue from the horrific Gothic tempt.
Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966) was one of the greatest Russian poets of this century. But during her life she was subjected to scathing critical attacks, denounced as "half-nun, half-whore," and then expelled from the Writers' Union. She also endured severe personal losses. Akhmatova's friend Lydia Chukovskaya (1907-96) kept intimate diaries of her conversations with the great poet. First published in the U.S.S.R. in 1987, The Akhmatova Journals offers a rare look into the day-to-day life of Akhmatova.
Edward J. Hughes Reaktion Books, 2015 Library of Congress PQ2605.A3734Z664 2015 | Dewey Decimal 843.912
Winner of the Franco-British Society Literary Prize 2015
Few figures of twentieth-century French culture carry such an air of romance and intrigue as Albert Camus. Though his life was cut short by a fatal car accident in 1960, when he was just forty-six years old, he packed those years with an incredible amount of experience and accomplishment. This new entry in the Critical Lives series offers a fresh look at Camus’ life and work, from his best-selling novels like The Stranger to his complicated political engagement in a postwar world of intensifying ideological conflict. Edward Hughes offers a particularly nuanced exploration of Camus’ relationship to his native Algeria—a connection whose strength would be tested in the 1950s as France’s conflict with the anticolonial movement there became increasingly violent and untenable.
Ultimately, the picture Hughes offers is of a man whose commitment to ideas and truth reigned supreme, whether in his fiction, journalism, or political activity, a commitment that has led the man who disclaimed leadership—“I do not guide anyone,” he once pleaded—to nonetheless be seen as a powerful figure and ethical force.
A Communist Party member in the 1930s, Camus became an independent political critic in the 1950s: an outspoken opponent of all forms of totalitarianism, he defended the libertarian principles of Western democracy. Along the way he involved himself in far-reaching intellectual quarrels such as that over his own L’Homme révolté (The Rebel) with Jean-Paul Sartre, which this book examines in fascinating detail. Albert Camus offers illuminating insights into the relationship between intellectuals and politics; a serious contribution to the history of social, political, and ethical ideas.
“A welcome and necessary update of the life of one of the twentieth century's most provocative intellectuals.”—Dana Sawyer
A rich and lucid account of Aldous Huxley’s life and work.
Aldous Huxley was one of the twentieth century’s most prescient thinkers. This new biography is a rich and lucid account that charts the different phases of Huxley’s career: from the early satirist who depicted the glamorous despair of the postwar generation, to the committed pacifist of the 1930s, the spiritual seeker of the 1940s, the psychedelic sage of the 1950s—who affirmed the spiritual potential of mescaline and LSD—to the New Age prophet of Island. While Huxley is still best known as the author of Brave New World, Jake Poller argues that it is The Perennial Philosophy, The Doors of Perception, and Island—Huxley’s blueprint for a utopian society—that have had the most cultural impact.
Alejo Carpentier was one of the greatest Latin American novelists of the twentieth century, as well as a musicologist, journalist, cultural promoter, and diplomat. His fictional world issues from an encyclopedic knowledge of the history, art, music, and literature of Latin America and Europe. Carpentier’s novels and stories are the enabling discourse of today’s Latin American narrative, and his interpretation of Latin American history has been among the most influential. Carpentier was the first to provide a comprehensive view of Caribbean history that centered on the contribution of Africans, above and beyond the differences created by European cultures and languages. Alejo Carpentier: The Pilgrim at Home, first published in 1977 and updated for this edition, covers the life and works of the great Cuban novelist, offering a new perspective on the relationship between the two.
González Echevarría offers detailed readings of the works La música en Cuba, The Kingdom of This World, The Lost Steps, and Explosion in a Cathedral. In a new concluding chapter, he takes up Carpentier’s last years, his relationship with the Cuban revolutionary regime, and his last two novels, El arpa y la sombra and La consagración de la primavera, in which Carpentier reviewed his life and career.
Alfonso Reyes, the great humanist and man of letters of contemporary Spanish America, began his literary career just before the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution of 1910. He spearheaded the radical shift in Mexico’s cultural and philosophical orientation as a leading member of the famous “Athenaeum Generation.” The crucial years of his literary formation, however, were those he spent in Spain (1914–1924). He arrived in Madrid unknown and unsure of his future. When he left, he had achieved both professional maturity and wide acclaim as a writer. This book has, as its basis, the remarkable correspondence between Reyes and some of the leading spirits of the Spanish intellectual world, covering not only his years in Spain but also later exchanges of letters. Although Reyes always made it clear that he was a Mexican and a Spanish American, he became a full-fledged member of the closed aristocracy of Spanish literature. It was the most brilliant period in Spain’s cultural history since the Golden Age, and it is richly represented here by Reyes’ association with five of its most important figures: Miguel de Unamuno and Ramón del Valle-Inclán were of the great “Generation of 98”; among the younger writers were José Ortega y Gasset, essayist and philosopher; the Nobel poet Juan Ramón Jiménez; and Ramón Gómez de la Serna, a precursor of surrealism. Alfonso Reyes maintained lifelong friendships with these men, and their exchanges of letters are of a dual significance. They reveal how the years in Spain allowed Reyes to pursue his vocation independently, thereby prompting him to seek universal values. Coincidentally, they provide a unique glimpse into the inner world of those friends—and their dreams of a new Spain.
Jad Smith University of Illinois Press, 2016 Library of Congress PS3552.E796Z85 2016 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Alfred Bester's classic short stories and the canonical novel The Stars My Destination made him a science fiction legend. Fans and scholars praise him as a genre-bending pioneer and cyberpunk forefather. Writers like Neil Gaiman and William Gibson celebrate his prophetic vision and stylistic innovations.
Jad Smith traces the career of the unlikeliest of SF icons. Winner of the first Hugo Award for The Demolished Man, Bester also worked in comics, radio, and TV, and his intermittent SF writing led some critics to brand him a dabbler. In the 1960s, however, New Wave writers championed his work, and his reputation grew. Smith follows Bester's journey from consummate outsider to an artist venerated for foundational works that influenced the New Wave and cyberpunk revolutions. He also explores the little-known roots of a wayward journey fueled by curiosity, disappointment with the SF mainstream, and an artist's determination to go his own way.
Alfred Jarry’s (1873–1907) creation of the monster-tyrant Ubu in his play Ubu Roi was a watershed in theater history and brought him instant notoriety following its Paris premiere in 1896. In this concise, critical biography, Jill Fell explores this and the many achievements that this multi-talented and influential writer and playwright crammed into his short life.
Drawing on numerous anecdotes and the early publications of the Collège de ’Pataphysique, Fell traces Jarry’s growth and influence, as he rapidly established his literary reputation as a prose writer, journalist, art critic, and playwright. Along the way, Fell explores his interaction with a wide cast of avant-garde characters, including Gauguin, Rachilde, Wilde, Beardsley, and Apollinaire. The quarrels that punctuated Jarry’s life—and the extravagance and the drinking that drained his meager wealth—form the background to this portrait of an obsessive writer, committed to his craft and undeterred by his worsening domestic circumstances.
Inthis entertaining biography, Jarry’s spirit and his inventions clearly emerge as an inspiration to the great figures of experimental twentieth-century theatre, art, and literature. Alfred Jarry will inform and delight readers who wish to learn more about this fascinating, unconventional figure.
A study of realism and folk literature and of the sources and techniques of storytelling
Alias Simon Suggs is a study in the life and writings of Johnson J. Hooper of Alabama, and is a masterful contribution to American biography and to American literature.
Extensively documented with illuminating footnotes and revealing references, its style is direct and captivating and will appeal to those who enjoy entertaining biography will relish the privilege of reading it.
In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, Lewis Carroll created fantastic worlds that continue to delight and trouble readers of all ages today. Few consider, however, that Carroll conceived his Alice books during the 1860s, a moment of intense intellectual upheaval, as new scientific, linguistic, educational, and mathematical ideas flourished around him and far beyond. Alice in Space reveals the contexts within which the Alice books first lived, bringing back the zest to jokes lost over time and poignancy to hidden references.
Gillian Beer explores Carroll’s work through the speculative gaze of Alice, for whom no authority is unquestioned and everything can speak. Parody and Punch, evolutionary debates, philosophical dialogues, educational works for children, math and logic, manners and rituals, dream theory and childhood studies—all fueled the fireworks. While much has been written about Carroll’s biography and his influence on children’s literature, Beer convincingly shows him at play in the spaces of Victorian cultural and intellectual life, drawing on then-current controversies, reading prodigiously across many fields, and writing on multiple levels to please both children and adults in different ways.
With a welcome combination of learning and lightness, Beer reminds us that Carroll’s books are essentially about curiosity, its risks and pleasures. Along the way, Alice in Space shares Alice’s exceptional ability to spark curiosity in us, too.
Today, almost two decades after her death, Margaret Laurence remains one of Canada's best-known and most beloved writers. Twice winner of the Governor General's Award for fiction, she was, as the late William French wrote, "more profoundly admired than any other Canadian novelist of her generation."
Lyall Powers is both a respected scholar of literature and a lifelong friend of Laurence's, having met her when they were students together at Winnipeg's United College in the 1940s. Alien Heart is the first full-length biography of Margaret that combines personal knowledge and insights about Laurence with a study of her work, which often paralleled the events and concerns in her own life.
Drawing on letters, personal correspondence, journals, and interviews, Lyall Powers discusses the struggles and triumphs Laurence experienced in her efforts to understand herself in the roles of writer, wife, mother, and public figure. He portrays a deeply compassionate and courageous woman, who yet felt troubled by conflicting demands. While Laurence's work is not directly autobiographical, Powers illustrates how her writing expressed many of the same dilemmas, and how the resolution her characters achieved in the novels and stories had an impact on Laurence's own life.
Powers provides an in-depth analysis of all Laurence's work, including the early African essays, fiction, and translations, and her books for children, as well as the beloved Manawaka fiction. The study clearly shows the progression and expression of Laurence as a writer of great humanity and conscience.
Allen Tate - American Writers 39 was first published in 1964. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Ambrose Bierce - American Writers 37 was first published in 1964. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
American Humorists - American Writers 42 was first published in 1964. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
The American Short Story - American Writers 14 was first published in 1961. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
For a man who liked being called the American, Mark Twain spent a surprising amount of time outside the continental United States. Biographer Roy Morris, Jr., focuses on the dozen years Twain spent overseas and on the popular travel books—The Innocents Abroad, A Tramp Abroad, and Following the Equator—he wrote about his adventures. Unintimidated by Old World sophistication and unafraid to travel to less developed parts of the globe, Twain encouraged American readers to follow him around the world at the dawn of mass tourism, when advances in transportation made leisure travel possible for an emerging middle class. In so doing, he helped lead Americans into the twentieth century and guided them toward more cosmopolitan views.
In his first book, The Innocents Abroad (1869), Twain introduced readers to the “American Vandal,” a brash, unapologetic visitor to foreign lands, unimpressed with the local ambiance but eager to appropriate any souvenir that could be carried off. He adopted this persona throughout his career, even after he grew into an international celebrity who dined with the German Kaiser, traded quips with the king of England, gossiped with the Austrian emperor, and negotiated with the president of Transvaal for the release of war prisoners. American Vandal presents an unfamiliar Twain: not the bred-in-the-bone Midwesterner we associate with Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer but a global citizen whose exposure to other peoples and places influenced his evolving positions on race, war, and imperialism, as both he and America emerged on the world stage.
Examining the relation between literature and American political life, David Marr proposes that the Emersonian tradition is so central to American culture that it can serve as a means of mapping the literary and intellectual history of the United States over the last 150 years. He shows how American literary genius and political thought have been concerned with the same family of problems all prompted by the Emersonian tradition of "idealized privatism," which so rejected the possibilities of political life that it has discourages the emergence of a public discourse and a political language.
Marr shows that the decline of the political, the elusiveness of democracy, and the monumental influence of "idealized privatism" on its historiographers and critics are major themes of American literary thought and constitute a tradition that spans literature, criticism, history, philosophy, and political theory. He illustrates this through readings of Emerson's ideas of nature, culture, and politics; Walt Whitman's fantasy of the autocrat of letters; William James's critique of "vicious intellectualism;" the contrasting formulations of radical interiority in the poetry of Robinson Jeffers and the criticism of R. P. Blackmur; and two contemporary pictures of public discourse as revealed in Joseph Heller's Catch-22 and the essays of Ralph Ellison.
Discussing not only the works of classic American thinkers, but also the recent writings of such new-pragmatists as Stanley Cavell, Richard Rorty, and Nelson Goodman, Marr calls for a reassessment of the American intellectual past and of contemporary assumptions about the relations of literature to political life.
The author of more than twenty books and a revered contributor to numerous national publications, Charles Bowden (1945–2014) used his keen storyteller’s eye to reveal both the dark underbelly and the glorious determination of humanity, particularly in the borderlands between the United States and Mexico. In America’s Most Alarming Writer, key figures in his life—including his editors, collaborators, and other writers—deliver a literary wake for the man who inspired them throughout his forty-year career.
Part revelation, part critical assessment, the fifty essays in this collection span the decades from Bowden’s rise as an investigative journalist through his years as a singular voice of unflinching honesty about natural history, climate change, globalization, drugs, and violence. As the Chicago Tribune noted, “Bowden wrote with the intensity of Joan Didion, the voracious hunger of Henry Miller, the feral intelligence and irony of Hunter Thompson, and the wit and outrage of Edward Abbey.” An evocative complement to The Charles Bowden Reader, the essays and photographs in this homage brilliantly capture the spirit of a great writer with a quintessentially American vision. Bowden is the best writer you’ve (n)ever read.
After a century of critical neglect, poet and writer Amy Levy is gaining recognition as a literary figure of stature.
This definitive biography accompanied by her letters, along with the recent publication of her selected writings, provides a critical appreciation of Levy’s importance in her own time and in ours.
As an educated Jewish woman with homoerotic desires, Levy felt the strain of combating the structures of British society in the 1880s, the decade in which she built her career and moved in London’s literary and bohemian circles. Unwilling to cut herself off from her Jewish background, she had the additional burden of attempting to bridge the gap between communities.
In Amy Levy: Her Life and Letters Linda Hunt Beckman examines Levy’s writings and other cultural documents for insight into her emotional and intellectual life. This groundbreaking study introduces us to a woman well deserving of a place in literary and cultural history.
While competing with Langston Hughes for the title of “Poet Laureate of Harlem,” Countée Cullen (1903–46) crafted poems that became touchstones for American readers, both black and white. Inspired by classic themes and working within traditional forms, Cullen shaped his poetry to address universal questions like love, death, longing, and loss while also dealing with the issues of race and idealism that permeated the national conversation. Drawing on the poet’s unpublished correspondence with contemporaries and friends like Hughes, Claude McKay, Carl Van Vechten, Dorothy West, Charles S. Johnson and Alain Locke, and presenting a unique interpretation of his poetic gifts, And Bid Him Sing is the first full-length critical biography of this famous American writer.
Despite his untimely death at the age of forty-two, Cullen left behind an extensive body of work. In addition to five books of poetry, he authored two much-loved children’s books and translated Euripides’ Medea, the first translation by an African American of a Greek tragedy. In these pages, Charles Molesworth explores the many ways that race, religion, and Cullen’s sexuality informed the work of one of the unquestioned stars of the Harlem Renaissance.
An authoritative work of biography that brings to life one of the chief voices of his generation, And Bid Him Sing returns to us one of America’s finest lyric poets in all of his complexity and musicality.
And No Birds Sing
Pauline Leader Gallaudet University Press, 2016 Library of Congress PS3523.E124Z46 2016 | Dewey Decimal 813.52
Originally published in 1931, this memoir offers an unflinching look at the life of a deaf woman struggling with poverty and isolation in the bohemian enclave of Greenwich Village. In harrowing yet lyrical prose, Pauline Leader recounts her experience growing up as the daughter of Jewish immigrants in a small New England mill town. Born in 1908, Leader was exposed to frequent verbal and physical abuse. She became deaf at the age of 12, following a long illness. As a teenager, she ran away to New York City, where she found work in factories and sweatshops, and spent time in a home for “wayward girls.” As she sought community among the artists and eccentrics of the Village, Leader’s strong will and fierce independence were often thwarted by hardship and self-doubt. But through it all she found solace in her writing.
This edition is accompanied by a new introduction and afterword that provide a scholarly framework for understanding Leader and her times. She persevered and became a published poet and novelist, often drawing on the experiences offered up here. Compelling and evocative, And No Birds Sing deftly reveals a complex, intelligent spirit toiling in a brutal world.
From the book:
I insisted to myself that I could still hear. I heard in my mind the sounds of streams as I passed them. I knew the sound the river made, that river that I had known always, the river by the marble house. In my mind the river washed with a low intimate sound. I had no need to hear as the people heard. True intimacy needs no ears. I knew the sound of birds; I heard them as they hopped about. I knew the sound of words also. It was words that I most intensely heard. I had not always the river and the birds—they appeared far away at times. I did not always want river and birds, but I always wanted words, and I always had them. I would have been terribly lonely without them. With them always in my mind, I could not be truly lonely. I played with them; I set them to music; I achieved endless variations with them. They were never weary, as other things could sometimes be weary.
The first and exhaustive biography of twentieth-century leftist philosopher André Gorz.
Recognized as one of the most lucid and innovative critics of contemporary capitalism, André Gorz (1923–2007) was known for asking fundamental questions regarding the meaning of life and work. This first biography of a unique figure operating at the confluence of literature, philosophy, and journalism revisits half a century of intellectual and political life.
Born Gerhart Hirsch in Vienna, he studied in Switzerland before opting to live and work in France. A self-taught existentialist thinker, he was constantly revising his view of the world, unafraid to break new theoretical ground in doing so. Influenced by Marx, Husserl, Sartre, and Illich, he had very close affinities with the new thinking on the Left that was coming out of Italy in the 1960s and 70s. He was also one of the first thinkers to shape political ecology and to advocate de-growth. The intellectual on the editorial board of Sartre’s journal Les Temps Modernes, Gorz was also a mainstream journalist. He wrote in L’Express under the sobriquet Michel Bosquet before joining others in the creation of Le Nouvel Observateur.
Through Gorz’s life journey, we meet not only Sartre and de Beauvoir, but also Herbert Marcuse, Fidel Castro, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Ivan Illich, Félix Guattari, Antonio Negri, and many others. Beyond his poignant autobiographical narratives, The Traitor and Letter to D, which attest to his deep humanity, Gorz remains a precious guide for all who believe that another world is still possible.
Anna Akhmatova and Her Circle
Konstantin Polivanov University of Arkansas Press, 2016 Library of Congress PG3476.A324Z53813 1994 | Dewey Decimal 891.7142
This powerful collection of fifteen memoirs by and about one of the greatest poets of our time weaves an unforgettable drama of friendship, grace, and courage, through long years of heartbreak and hunger.
Anne Tyler as Novelist
Dale Salwak University of Iowa Press, 1994 Library of Congress PS3570.Y45Z54 1994 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Over the past thirty years, Anne Tyler has earned a National Book Critics Circle Award, a Pulitzer Prize, and the admiration of an ever-expanding number of devoted readers. The seventeen essays that compose Anne Tyler as Novelist concentrate upon the distinctive features of Tyler's writing: her steady concern with the American family, the quietly comic touch that underlies her unobtrusive but perfectly controlled style, her prodigious gift for bringing to life a variety of eccentric characters, their fears and concerns, their longing for meaning and understanding. Consistently, Anne Tyler's work focuses on ordinary families with extraordinary troubles—therein part of the secret of her broad appeal.
Written from a variety of critical approaches and representing some of the best among today's critics, the essays in this book discuss Tyler's early years and influences, her development and beliefs, attainments, and literary reputation, stretching from her first published novel, If Morning Ever Comes, to her twelfth, Saint Maybe. From Elizabeth Evans' interviews with Tyler's mother and former teachers to John Updike's lucid assessments, Anne Tyler as Novelist is a major contribution to the growing dialogue on this most important writer. All but two essays were written especially for this volume.
This book will obviously hold great appeal for the many people who have already encountered the pleasures of Tyler's novels. Less obviously, it is also for the people who have heard of her but have not read her works; those people should be inspired to turn with particular insight to the novels of Anne Tyler. In a 1983 review of Barbara Pym's novel No Fond Return of Love, Anne Tyler said of Pym that she was “the rarest of treasures.” Certainly we may say the same of Tyler herself—and for reasons given in this fine collection of essays that pays tribute to one of America's most accomplished writers.
The only collection of all known letters of Christopher Smart provides the best psychological explanation to date of that complex and elusive eighteenth-century poet.
The significant characteristics that distinguish Smart’s prose letters from his poetry, Betty Rizzo and Robert Mahony note, are that his letters were requests for assistance while his verses were bequests, gifts in which he set great store. Indeed, it was Smart’s lifelong conviction that he was a poet of major importance.
As Smart biographer Karina Williamson notes, "The splendidly informative and vivaciously written accounts of the circumstances surrounding each letter, or group of letters, add up to what is in effect a miniature biography."
"An engrossing biography about the marital breakdown of a major literary figure, of particular interest for what it reveals about O'Neill's creative process, activities, and bohemian lifestyle at the time of his early successes and some of his most interesting experimental work. In addition, King's discussion of Boulton's efforts as a writer of pulp fiction in the early part of the 20th century reveals an interesting side of popular fiction writing at that time, and gives insight into the lifestyle of the liberated woman."
---Stephen Wilmer, Trinity College, Dublin
Biographers of American playwright Eugene O'Neill have been quick to label his marriage to actress Carlotta Monterey as the defining relationship of his illustrious career. But in doing so, they overlook the woman whom Monterey replaced---Agnes Boulton, O'Neill's wife of over a decade and mother to two of his children. O'Neill and Boulton were wed in 1918---a time when she was a successful pulp novelist and he was still a little-known writer of one-act plays. During the decade of their marriage, he gained fame as a Broadway dramatist who rejected commercial compromise, while she mapped that contentious territory known as the literary marriage. His writing reflected her, and hers reflected him, as they tried to realize progressive ideas about what a marriage should be. But after O'Neill left the marriage, he and new love Carlotta Monterey worked diligently to put Boulton out of sight and mind---and most O'Neill biographers have been quick to follow suit.
William Davies King has brought Agnes Boulton to light again, providing new perspectives on America's foremost dramatist, the dynamics of a literary marriage, and the story of a woman struggling to define herself in the early twentieth century. King shows how the configuration of O'Neill and Boulton's marriage helps unlock many of O'Neill's plays. Drawing on more than sixty of Boulton's published and unpublished writings, including her 1958 memoir, Part of a Long Story, and an extensive correspondence, King rescues Boulton from literary oblivion while offering the most radical revisionary reading of the work of Eugene O'Neill in a generation.
William Davies King is Professor of Theater at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of several books, most recently Collections of Nothing, chosen by Amazon.com as one of the Best Books of 2008.
Illustration: Eugene O'Neill, Shane O'Neill, and Agnes Boulton ca. 1923. Eugene O'Neill Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Anton Chekhov's life was short, intense, and dominated by battles, both with his dependents and with the tuberculosis that killed him at age forty-four. The traditional image of Chekhov is that of the restrained artist torn between medicine and literature. But Donald Rayfield's biography reveals the life long hidden behind the noble facade. Here is a man capable of both great generosity toward needy peasants and harsh callousness toward lovers and family, a man who craved with equal passion the company of others and the solitude necessary to create his art. Based on information from Chekhov archives throughout Russia, Rayfield's work has been hailed as a groundbreaking examination of the life of a literary master.A new biography of the great author and playwright.
Anton Chekhov and his Times
Andrei Turkov University of Arkansas Press, 1995 Library of Congress PG3458.A657 1995 | Dewey Decimal 891.723
This anthology comprises reminiscences by a number of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov’s contemporaries, including the artist Konstantin Korovin, the writer Maxim Gorky, and Chekhov’s wife, Olga Knipper-Chekhova, and numerous letters written by Chekhov to his fellow writers and artists, family, publishers, and others.
Now available for the first time in English in America, these sixty-eight letters and ten essay-length reminiscences trace the development of Chekhov’s personality and talent, opening a window into the life and times of one of the world’s greatest short-story writers and playwrights. These perspectives on his family life and marriage, his early works, the stage productions of his plays, his literary successes, and the philosophies behind his writing create a rich biography of Chekhov that will reward writers, scholars, and all lovers of literature.
First published in 1973, this collection of Chekhov's correspondence is widely regarded as the best introduction to this great Russian writer. Weighted heavily toward the correspondence dealing with literary and intellectual matters, this extremely informative collection provides fascinating insight into Chekhov's development as a writer. Michael Henry Heim's excellent translation and Simon Karlinsky's masterly headnotes make this volume an essential text for anyone interested in Chekhov.
While the later work of the great Modernist poet Marianne Moore was hugely popular during her final two decades, since her death critics have condemned it as trivial. This book challenges that assessment: with fresh readings of many of the late poems and of the iconic, cross-dressing public persona Moore developed to deliver them, Apparition of Splendor demonstrates that Moore used her late-life celebrity in daring and innovative ways to activate egalitarian principles that had long animated her poetry. Dressed as George Washington in cape and tricorn and writing about accessible topics like sports, TV shows, holidays, love, activism, mortality and celebrity itself, she reached a wide cross-section of Americans, encouraging them to consider what democracy means in their daily lives, particularly around issues of gender, sexuality, racial integration, class, age, and immigration. Moore actively sought out publication in popular venues (like Vogue, The New Yorker, and the Saturday Evening Post, etc.) and wrote on material chosen to directly appeal to the audiences there, influencing younger contemporaries, including poets like Ashbery, O’Hara, and Bishop, and artists like Warhol, Yoko Ono, and Ray Johnson.
"Apparition of Splendor is brilliant and necessary. It provides an extended look at Marianne Moore’s late poetry that no other book-length study has taken on…. Gregory’s deep expertise is evident throughout. Her discussions make visible startling networks of connections between poems, and – while maintaining keen focus on the late poems – briskly but sensitively draw upon the earlier poems to clarify continuities and suggest transformations. Her archival and extra-literary research, in Moore’s papers and in regard to general cultural contexts, is wonderfully on display with every page.
The subject of Moore’s late poetry is woefully understudied, and this book will conduct an important intervention in critical tendencies to dismiss this body of work. Apparition of Splendor is a major contribution to Moore studies and to studies of 20th-century American poetry.”
- Linda Kinnahan, Duquesne University, author of Feminist Modernism, Poetics, and the New Economy: Mina Loy, Lola Ridge, and Marianne Moore
Published by the University of Delaware Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
Archibald MacLeish - American Writers 99 was first published in 1971. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
“Ed McElroy, clear of eye, sound of mind, and eighty-three years of age . . . guides his black Cadillac down Halsted Street.” So begins longtime Chicago journalist Neil Steinberg’s nuanced homage to Ed McElroy: an old-school, behind-the-scenes backscratcher who has driven the rich, powerful, and well-connected around the city, doing favors and calling them in, for decades. Helping a young Steinberg understand the city, McElroy and his take on how a Mayor’s son gets to be Mayor and how a wily up-and-comer marries the daughter of a powerful alderman and later becomes governor would enthrall even the most seasoned Chicagoan. In this drive around town and through time, Steinberg ultimately serves up audacious and funny anecdotes about how it helps to stay connected, to know a guy, and to help people out when you can.
Autobiographical literature especially reveals the processes by which writers convert their own historical experience into fictional form and suggests how literary forms function in life. This volume defines an original theory of autobiographical writing and provides intriguing analyses of major American works of literature. The Art of Life examines the transformation of history into literature in Walden, "Song of Myself," Henry James's Prefaces, The Education of Henry Adams, Paterson, and the poetry of Frank O'Hara. These works are approached as events in themselves and are analyzed as conversions of form and history, fiction and fact, and even aesthetics and politics. Thus the work of literature is set in the total experience of living, and the writer is seen not only as an artist but also as a person in a historical, political, and cultural environment. As well as a creator of literature, the writer is viewed as a social, psychological, and biological being. Chapters on the narcissistic economy of Walden, the mythicizing of history and personality in "Song of Myself," the self-conscious relation that makes the Prefaces of Henry James the autobiography of an artist. the comic perspective of The Education of Henry Adams, and the radical innovation of Paterson and O'Hara's poetry provide new readings of major American works. Each chapter contains some distinct critical insight which not only contributes to, but can be relished apart from, the book's overarching theoretical argument. The Art of Life is a sophisticated theoretical discussion of autobiography with rich psychological, philosophical, and cultural ramifications.
Artaud the Mômo is Antonin Artaud’s most extraordinary poetic work from the brief final phase of his life, from his return to Paris in 1946 after nine years of incarceration in French psychiatric institutions to his death in 1948. This work is an unprecedented anatomical excavation carried through in vocal language, envisioning new gestural futures for the human body in its splintered fragments. With black humor, Artaud also illuminates his own status as the scorned, Marseille-born child-fool, the “mômo” (a self-naming that fascinated Jacques Derrida in his writings on this work). Artaud moves between extreme irreligious obscenity and delicate evocations of his immediate corporeal perception and his sense of solitude. The book’s five-part sequence ends with Artaud’s caustic denunciation of psychiatric institutions and of the very concept of madness itself.
This edition is translated by Clayton Eshleman, the acclaimed foremost translator of Artaud’s work. This will be the first edition since the original 1947 publication to present the work in the spatial format Artaud intended. It also incorporates eight original drawings by Artaud—showing reconfigured bodies as weapons of resistance and assault—which he selected for that edition, after having initially attempted to persuade Pablo Picasso to collaborate with him. Additional critical material draws on Artaud’s previously unknown manuscript letters written between 1946 and 1948 to the book’s publisher, Pierre Bordas, which give unique insights into the work from its origins to its publication.
Arthur C. Clarke
Gary Westfahl University of Illinois Press, 2018 Library of Congress PR6005.L36Z95 2018 | Dewey Decimal 823.914
Already renowned for his science fiction and scientific nonfiction, Arthur C. Clarke became the world’s most famous science fiction writer after the success of 2001: A Space Odyssey. He then produced novels like Rendezvous with Rama and The Fountains of Paradise that many regard as his finest works.
Gary Westfahl closely examines Clarke's remarkable career, ranging from his forgotten juvenilia to the passages he completed for a final novel, The Last Theorem. As Westfahl explains, Clarke’s science fiction offered original perspectives on subjects like new inventions, space travel, humanity’s destiny, alien encounters, the undersea world, and religion. While not inclined to mysticism, Clarke necessarily employed mystical language to describe the fantastic achievements of advanced aliens and future humans. Westfahl also contradicts the common perception that Clarke’s characters were bland and underdeveloped, arguing that these reticent, solitary individuals, who avoid conventional relationships, represent his most significant prediction of the future, as they embody the increasingly common lifestyle of people in the twenty-first century.
Born in Budapest in 1905, Arthur Koestler was a pivotal European writer and intellectual who inspired, provoked, and intrigued in equal measure. Koestler wrote enduring works of reportage and memoir, but he is most famous for his political novel Darkness at Noon, which received widespread international acclaim. In Arthur Koestler, Edward Saunders offers a fresh and clear-eyed account of the life and work of an enigmatic, challenging writer who continues to polarize opinion today.
Saunders sketches Koestler as a leading documentarian of some of the key moments in twentieth-century European history, showing the remarkable ways that he was able to stage himself as a witness to them. Saunders explores Koestler’s struggle with his Jewish identity, outlines his ideas on the theory of science and the ways he tried to imagine the future of science and humankind, and directly engages with the controversial claims of sexual violence that have emerged in the years following Koestler’s suicide. Differentiating the life Koestler led from the story he wanted to tell about it and various ways the public has influenced his reputation after his death, this book offers a balanced portrait of a vibrant figure in twentieth-century arts and letters.
Arthur Miller - American Writers 40 was first published in 1964. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Before he turned twenty-one, Arthur Rimbaud (1854–91) had upended the house of French poetry and left it in shambles. In this critical biography, Seth Whidden argues that what makes Rimbaud’s poetry important is part of what makes his life so compelling: rebellion, audacity, creativity, and exploration.
Almost all of Rimbaud’s poems were written between the ages of fifteen and twenty. Against the backdrop of the crumbling Second Empire and the tumultuous Paris Commune, he took centuries-old traditions of French versification and picked them apart with an unmatched knowledge of how they fitted together. Combining sensuality with the pastoral, parody, political satire, fable, eroticism, and mystery, his poems range from traditional verse forms to prose-poetry to the first two free-verse poems written in French. By situating Rimbaud’s later writing in Africa as part of a continuum that spanned his entire life, Whidden offers a corrective to the traditional split between Rimbaud’s life as a poet and his life afterwards. A remarkable portrait of the original damned poet, Arthur Rimbaud reinvents a figure who continues to captivate readers, artists, and writers across the world.
At Home with André and Simone Weil
Sylvie Weil, translated from the French by Benjamin Ivry Northwestern University Press, 2010 Library of Congress PQ2683.E3463Z4613 2010 | Dewey Decimal 843.914
“It is quite incorrect to believe that the dead are gone forever and never return to speak to the living. They return to speak to the living all the time; indeed, it is their main activity.” Thus writes Sylvie Weil in this illuminating memoir, in which contemporary readers can hear the voices of her famed philosopher aunt Simone and mathematician father André.
Born into a freethinking Jewish family in France in 1909, Simone Weil was one of the twentieth century’s most original philosophers, influencing Albert Camus, T. S. Eliot, Simone de Beauvoir, Pope John XXIII, Czesław Miłosz, and Susan Sontag. She fought for workers’ rights and, later, the Spanish Republican cause. Before her death at age thirty-four, Simone Weil turned increasingly to mysticism and religion, especially Roman Catholicism, exploring themes of sacrifice, asceticism, and the virtues of manual labor. She never converted, however, and Sylvie Weil writes from a Jewish perspective, emphasizing Simone’s Jewish heritage.
Using previously unpublished family correspondence and conversations, Sylvie Weil paints the most vivid, private portrait of her aunt in print. The book illuminates Simone’s relationship with others, especially with her brother, André. Loving and unsparing, affectionate and incisive, At Home with André and Simone Weil is an insightful memoir about a family of intellectual luminaries.
Over the course of his long career, Nathaniel Tarn has been a poet, anthropologist, and book editor, while his travels have taken him into every continent. Born in France, raised in England, and earning a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, he knew André Breton, Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Margot Fonteyn, Charles Olson, Claude Lévi-Strauss, and many more of the twentieth century’s major artists and intellectuals. In Atlantis, an Autoanthropology he writes that he has "never (yet) been able to experience the sensation of being only one person.” Throughout this literary memoir and autoethnography, Tarn captures this multiplicity and reaches for the uncertainties of a life lived in a dizzying array of times, cultures, and environments. Drawing on his practice as an anthropologist, he takes himself as a subject of study, examining the shape of a life devoted to the study of the whole of human culture. Atlantis, an Autoanthropology prompts us to consider our own multiple selves and the mysteries contained within.
Autobiography of a Yaqui Poet
Refugio Savala; Edited by Kathleen M. Sands University of Arizona Press, 1980 Library of Congress F1221.Y3S28 | Dewey Decimal 970.00497
This is the major literary achievement of a sensitive, gifted man. The author is a Yaqui Indian, a railroad gandy dancer who sees beauty in iron spikes and rail clamps as well as in twilight-purple mountains and glossy-leafed cottonwood trees. In the seventy years following his flight from the Yaqui-Mexican wars in Sonora, Savala became a talented poet and loving recorder of his people's cultural heritage. A large sampling of his original works appears in the interpretations section of this book. Together with the beautifully written autobiography, they offer a unique view of Arizona Yaqui culture and history, railroading in the American West, and the personal and artistic growth of a Native American man of letters.