To define naturalism and explain its tenacious hold throughout the twentieth century on the American creative imagination, Pizer explores six novels: James T. Farrell’s Studs Lonigan, John Dos Passos’s U.S.A., John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead, William Styron’s Lie Down in Darkness, and Saul Bellow’s The Adventures of Augie March.
Pizer’s approach to these novels is empirical; he does not wrench each novel awkwardly until it fits his framework of generalizations and principles; rather, he approaches the novels as fiction and arrives at his definition through his close reading of the works.
Establishing the background of naturalism, Pizer explains that it comes under attack because it is “sordid and sensational in subject matter,” it challenges “man’s faith in his innate moral sense and thus his responsibility for his actions,” and it is so full of “social documentation” that it is often dismissed as little more than a photographic record of a life or an era; thus the “aesthetic validity of the naturalistic novel has often been questioned.”
Pizer posits the 1890s, the 1930s, and the late 1940s as the decades when naturalism flourished in America. He concentrates on literary criticism, not on the philosophy of naturalism, to show that literary criticism can make a contribution to a particularly muddled area of literary history—a naturalism that is alive and changing, thus resisting the neat definitions reserved for the dead.
Contributors include Russell Banks, Donald Barthelme, Rick Bass, Richard Bausch, Charles Baxter, Amy Bloom, T.C. Boyle, Kevin Brockmeier, Robert Olen Butler, Sandra Cisneros, Peter Ho Davies, Janet Desaulniers, Junot Diaz, Anthony Doerr, Stuart Dybek, Deborah Eisenberg, Richard Ford, Mary Gaitskill, Dagoberto Gilb, Ron Hansen, A.M. Homes, Mary Hood, Denis Johnson, Edward P. Jones, Thom Jones, Jamaica Kincaid, Jhumpa Lahiri, David Leavitt, Kelly Link, Reginald McKnight, David Means, Susan Minot , Rick Moody, Bharati Mukherjee, Antonya Nelson, Joyce Carol Oates, Tim O’Brien, Daniel Orozco, Julie Orringer, ZZ Packer, Annie Proulx, Stacey Richter, George Saunders, Joan Silber, Leslie Marmon Silko, Susan Sontag, Amy Tan, Melanie Rae Thon, Alice Walker, and Steve Yarbrough.
Relying heavily on the manuscripts and letters in the Dreiser Collection of the University of Pennsylvania Library, Professor Pizer seeks to establish the facts of the sources and composition of each of Dreiser's eight novels and to study the themes and form of the completed works. In this study he relates what can be discovered about the factual reality of a novel to its imaginative reality. His interpretation of the novels avoids the suggestion that there is a single overriding theme or direction in Dreiser's work and emphasizes that Dreiser deserves examination primarily on the basis of the individuality and worth of each of his novels. A separate chapter is devoted to each of the novels: Sister Carrie, Jennie Gerhardt, The "Genius," The Financier, The Titan, An American Tragedy, The Bulwark, and The Stoic.
Selected by five hundred writers, English professors, and creative writing teachers from across the country, this collection includes only the most highly regarded nonfiction work published since 1970.
Contributers include: Jo Ann Beard, Wendell Berry, Eula Biss, Mary Clearman Blew, Charles Bowden, Janet Burroway, Kelly Grey Carlisle, Anne Carson, Bernard Cooper, Michael W. Cox, Annie Dillard, Mark Doty, Brian Doyle, Tony Earley, Anthony Farrington, Harrison Candelaria Fletcher, Diane Glancy, Lucy Grealy, William Harrison, Robin Hemley, Adam Hochschild, Jamaica Kincaid, Barbara Kingsolver , Ted Kooser, Sara Levine, E.J. Levy, Phillip Lopate, Barry Lopez, Thomas Lynch, Lee Martin, Rebecca McCLanahan, Erin McGraw, John McPhee, Brenda Miller, Dinty W. Moore, Kathleen Norris, Naomi Shihab Nye, Lia Purpura, Richard Rhodes, Bill Roorbach, David Sedaris, Richard Selzer, Sue William Silverman, Floyd Skloot, Lauren Slater, Cheryl Strayed, Amy Tan, Ryan Van Meter, David Foster Wallace, and Joy Williams.
Pizer shows how these writers' racist impulses represented more than just personal biases, but resonated with larger social and ideological movements within American culture. Anti-Semitic sentiment motivated such various movements as the western farmers' populist revolt and the East Coast patricians' revulsion against immigration, both of which Pizer discusses here. This antagonism toward Jews and other non-Anglo-Saxon ethnicities intersected not only with these authors' social reform agendas but also with their literary method of representing the overpowering forces of heredity, social or natural environment, and savage instinct.
This casebook for the story includes an introduction by the editor, a chronology of the author's life, the authoritative text of the story itself, comments and letters by O'Connor about the story, critical essays, and a bibliography. The critical essays span more than twenty years of commentary and suggest several approaches to the story--formalistic, thematic, deconstructionist-- all within the grasp of the undergraduate, while the introduction also points interested students toward still other resources. Useful for both beginning and advanced students, this casebook provides an in-depth introduction to one of America's most gifted modern writers.
A blistering character study and an examination of the American melting pot and the judicial system that keeps it in check, Twelve Angry Men holds at its core a deeply patriotic faith in the U.S. legal system. The play centers on Juror Eight, who is at first the sole holdout in an 11-1 guilty vote. Eight sets his sights not on proving the other jurors wrong but rather on getting them to look at the situation in a clear-eyed way not affected by their personal prejudices or biases. Reginald Rose deliberately and carefully peels away the layers of artifice from the men and allows a fuller picture to form of them—and of America, at its best and worst.
After the critically acclaimed teleplay aired in 1954, this landmark American drama went on to become a cinematic masterpiece in 1957 starring Henry Fonda, for which Rose wrote the adaptation. More recently, Twelve Angry Men had a successful, and award-winning, run on Broadway.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The essays fall into three groups. Some deal with the full range of American naturalism, from the 1590s to the late twentieth century, and some are confined either to the 1890s or to the twentieth century. In addition to the essays, an introduction in which Pizer recounts the development of his interest in American naturalism, reviews of recent studies of naturalism, and a selected bibliography contribute to an understanding of Pizer's interpretation of the movement.
One of the recurrent themes in the essays is that the interpretation of American naturalism has been hindered by the common view that the movement is characterized by a commitment to Emile Zola's deterministic beliefs and that naturalistic novels are thus inevitably crude and simplistic both in theme and method. Rather than accept this notion, Pizer insists that naturalistic novels be read closely not for their success or failure in rendering obvious deterministic beliefs but rather for what actually does occur within the dynamic play of theme and form within the work.
Adopting this method, Pizer finds that naturalistic fiction often reveals a complex and suggestive mix of older humanistic faiths and more recent doubts about human volition, and that it renders this vital thematic ambivalence in increasingly sophisticated forms as the movement matures. In addition, Pizer demonstrates that American naturalism cannot be viewed monolithically as a school with a common body of belief and value. Rather, each generation of American naturalists, as well as major figures within each generation, has responded to threads within the naturalistic impulse in strikingly distinctive ways. And it is indeed this absence of a rigid doctrinal core and the openness of the movement to individual variation that are responsible for the remarkable vitality and longevity of the movement.
Because the essays have their origin in efforts to describe the general characteristics of American naturalism rather than in a desire to cover the field fully, some authors and works are discussed several times (though from different angles) and some referred to only briefly or not at all. But the essays as a collection are "complete" in the sense that they comprise an interpretation of American naturalism both in its various phases and as a whole. Those authors whose works receive substantial discussion include Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, Theodore Dreiser, Edith Wharton, James T. Farrell, Norman Mailer, Joyce Carol Oates, and William Kennedy. Of special interest is Pizer's essay on Ironweed, which appears here for the first time.
The Editing of American Literature, 1890-1930 collects Donald Pizer’s essays and reviews that examine the issues associated with providing authoritative scholarly editions of major turn-of-the-century American authors. Divided into four sections—general essays on editing; essays and reviews on the editing of Theodore Dreiser; essays and reviews on the editing of Stephen Crane; and essays on the interplay of textual theory and critical interpretation in works by Crane and John Dos Passos—the volume expresses a distinctive position in the text wars that dominated the editing scene of the 1970-2000 period. This collection of essays will be of interest to textual editors of any persuasion as well as literary critics and scholars with a special interest in late 19th- and early 20th-century American literature.
This book was compiled in order to clarify Frank Norris’s literary creed. When Donald Pizer began to read Norris’s uncollected critical articles, he observed concepts which had been unnoted or misunderstood by his critics. Crediting this to the inadequate representation of Norris’s ideas in the posthumous The Responsibilities of the Novelist (1903), Pizer recognized the need for an interpretive and complete edition of Norris’s critical writings. This volume thus fills a noticeable gap in the field of American literary criticism.
By the time of his death in 1902 Norris had a closed system of critical ideas. This core of ideas, however, is only peripherally related to the conventional concept of literary naturalism, which perhaps explains why critics have gone astray trying to find Zolaesque ideas in Norris’s criticism. Norris’s central idea, around which he built an aesthetic of the novel, was that the best novel combines an intensely primitivistic subject matter and theme with a highly sophisticated form. His paradox of sophisticated primitivism clarifies the vital link between the fiction produced in the 1890s and that written by Hemingway, Faulkner, and Steinbeck.
Norris’s essays deal with many of the literary themes which preoccupy modern critical theorists. His range of subjects includes the form and function of the novel; definitions of naturalism, realism, and romanticism; and the problem of what constitutes an American novel. His interpretation of commonplace events, his comments on prominent figures of his day, and his parodies of writers such as Bret Harte, Stephen Crane, and Rudyard Kipling are characterized by ingenuity and perception. Through these writings the personality of a man with well-defined convictions and the ability to expound them provocatively comes into sharp focus.
In a general introduction Pizer summarizes Norris’s critical position and surveys his career as literary critic. This introduction and the interpretative introductions preceding each section constitute an illuminating essay on the literary temper of the period and provide a new insight into Norris’ craft and his literary philosophy.
Bringing together an impressive group of established scholars from television studies, film studies, sound studies, games studies, and more, each of the 65 essays in the volume focuses on a critical concept, from “fan” to “industry,” and “celebrity” to “surveillance.” Keywords for Media Studies is an essential tool that introduces key terms, research traditions, debates, and their histories, and offers a sense of the new frontiers and questions emerging in the field of media studies. Visit keywords.nyupress.org for online essays, teaching resources, and more.
Toni Morrison's brilliant discussions of the "Africanist" presence in the fiction of Poe, Melville, Cather, and Hemingway leads to a dramatic reappraisal of the essential characteristics of our literary tradition. She shows how much the themes of freedom and individualism, manhood and innocence, depended on the existence of a black population that was manifestly unfree--and that came to serve white authors as embodiments of their own fears and desires.
Written with the artistic vision that has earned Toni Morrison a pre-eminent place in modern letters, Playing in the Dark will be avidly read by Morrison admirers as well as by students, critics, and scholars of American literature.
"By going for the American literary jugular...she places her arguments...at the very heart of contemporary public conversation about what it is to be authentically and originally American. [She] boldly...reimagines and remaps the possibility of America."
"Toni Morrison is the closest thing the country has to a national writer."
The New York Times Book Review
A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book for 2011
The first authoritative biography of Kurt Vonnegut Jr., a writer who changed the conversation of American literature.
In 2006, Charles Shields reached out to Kurt Vonnegut in a letter, asking for his endorsement for a planned biography. The first response was no ("A most respectful demurring by me for the excellent writer Charles J. Shields, who offered to be my biographer"). Unwilling to take no for an answer, propelled by a passion for his subject, and already deep into his research, Shields wrote again and this time, to his delight, the answer came back: "O.K." For the next year—a year that ended up being Vonnegut's last—Shields had access to Vonnegut and his letters.
And So It Goes is the culmination of five years of research and writing—the first-ever biography of the life of Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut resonates with readers of all generations from the baby boomers who grew up with him to high-school and college students who are discovering his work for the first time. Vonnegut's concise collection of personal essays, Man Without a Country, published in 2006, spent fifteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and has sold more than 300,000 copies to date. The twenty-first century has seen interest in and scholarship about Vonnegut's works grow even stronger, and this is the first book to examine in full the life of one of the most influential iconoclasts of his time.
“In ten years’ time,” wrote Edmund Wilson in Axel’s Castle, “Eliot has left upon English poetry a mark more unmistakable than that of any other poet writing in English.” In 1948, Eliot was awarded the Nobel Prize “for his work as a trail-blazing pioneer of modern poetry.”
This book is made up of six individual titles: Four Quartets, Collected Poems: 1909–1935, Murder in the Cathedral, The Family Reunion, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, and The Cocktail Party. It offers not only enjoyment of one of the great talents in contemporary literature, but a deeper understanding of such classics as “The Waste Land,” “The Hollow Men,” “Ash Wednesday,” “Prufrock,” “Murder in the Cathedral,” and “The Cocktail Party.” The Complete Poems and Plays of T. S. Eliot is indispensable.
Reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Trimalchio, an early and complete version of The Great Gatsby, is like listening to a familiar musical composition played in a different key. It is the same work and yet a different work.
Fitzgerald wrote Trimalchio during the summer of 1924 and submitted it to Maxwell Perkins, his editor at Scribner’s, in October of that year. (He titled the book after the ostentatious party-giver in the Satyricon of Petronius.) Perkins had the novel set in type and sent the galleys to Fitzgerald in France. Fitzgerald then heavily revised the galley pages, shifting material around and changing the title. The result was The Great Gatsby, his signature work.
Trimalchio, however, is also a remarkable achievement. It differs considerably from The Great Gatsby: its plot and structure are not the same, two chapters of Trimalchio were completely rewritten for the published novel, characterization is different, Nick Carraway’s narrative voice is altered, and it contains several passages and sequences missing from Gatsby. Most importantly, in Trimalchio Jay Gatsby’s past is revealed in a wholly different way.
“An essential book . . . a page-turner. Blume combines the best aspects of critic, biographer and storyteller . . . and puts the results together with the skill of an accomplished novelist. [This is] a complicated story, told masterfully.” — Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Magnificently reported.” — Gay Talese
In the summer of 1925, Ernest Hemingway traveled to Pamplona for the infamous running of the bulls. He then channeled that trip’s drunken brawls, sexual rivalry, midnight betrayals, and midday hangovers into a novel that redefined modern literature. Lesley Blume tells the full story behind Hemingway’s legendary rise for the first time, revealing how he created his own image as the bull-fighting aficionado, hard-drinking literary genius, and expatriate bon vivant. In all its youth, lust, and rivalry, the Lost Generation is illuminated here as never before.
“Engrossing . . . Drawing on journals, letters, and autobiographies of many members of the artistic circles in which Hemingway moved in the early 1920s, Blume shows how ruthlessly Hemingway betrayed his mentors, skewered his friends in his fiction, and sought to advance his career at all costs.” — Boston Globe
“Fascinating . . . compulsively readable.” — Houston Chronicle
Steinbeck's letters were written on the left-hand pages of a notebook in which the facing pages would be filled with the test of East of Eden. They touched on many subjects—story arguments, trial flights of workmanship, concern for his sons.
Part autobiography, part writer's workshop, these letters offer an illuminating perspective on Steinbeck's creative process, and a fascinating glimpse of Steinbeck, the private man.
Harriet E. Smith, Benjamin Griffin, Victor Fischer, Michael B. Frank, Sharon K. Goetz, Leslie Myrick
Cramer's newly edited text is based on the original 1854 edition of Walden, with emendations taken from Thoreau's draft manuscripts, his own markings on the page proofs, and notes in his personal copy of the book. In the editor's notes to the volume, Cramer quotes from sources Thoreau actually read, showing how he used, interpreted, and altered these sources. Cramer also glosses Walden with references to Thoreau's essays, journals, and correspondence. With the wealth of material in this edition, readers will find an unprecedented opportunity to immerse themselves in the unique and fascinating world of Thoreau.
Anyone who has read and loved Walden will want to own and treasure this gift edition. Those wishing to read Walden for the first time will not find a better guide than Jeffrey S. Cramer.
Richly intermingling elements of burlesque, farce, and social satire with a wry look at the world market in art, Is He Dead? centers on a group of poor artists in Barbizon, France, who stage the death of a friend to drive up the price of his paintings. In order to make this scheme succeed, the artists hatch some hilarious plots involving cross-dressing, a full-scale fake funeral, lovers' deceptions, and much more.
Mark Twain was fascinated by the theater and made many attempts at playwriting, but this play is certainly his best. Is He Dead? may have been too "out there" for the Victorian 1890s, but today's readers will thoroughly enjoy Mark Twain's well-crafted dialogue, intriguing cast of characters, and above all, his characteristic ebullience and humor. In Shelley Fisher Fishkin's estimation, it is "a champagne cocktail of a play--not too dry, not too sweet, with just the right amount of bubbles and buzz."
Finalist Mention, 2017 Lora Romero First Book Award Presented by the American Studies Association
Winner of the 2012 CLAGS Fellowship Award for Best First Book Project in LGBT Studies In 1964, noted literary critic Leslie Fiedler described American youth as “new mutants,” social rebels severing their attachments to American culture to remake themselves in their own image. 1960s comic book creators, anticipating Fiedler, began to morph American superheroes from icons of nationalism and white masculinity into actual mutant outcasts, defined by their genetic difference from ordinary humanity. These powerful misfits and “freaks” soon came to embody the social and political aspirations of America’s most marginalized groups, including women, racial and sexual minorities, and the working classes. In The New Mutants, Ramzi Fawaz draws upon queer theory to tell the story of these monstrous fantasy figures and how they grapple with radical politics from Civil Rights and The New Left to Women’s and Gay Liberation Movements. Through a series of comic book case studies – including The Justice League of America, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, and The New Mutants –alongside late 20th century fan writing, cultural criticism, and political documents, Fawaz reveals how the American superhero modeled new forms of social belonging that counterculture youth would embrace in the 1960s and after. The New Mutants provides the first full-length study to consider the relationship between comic book fantasy and radical politics in the modern United States.
But there was much more to Thoreau than his brief experiment in living at Walden Pond. A member of the vibrant intellectual circle centered on his neighbor Ralph Waldo Emerson, he was also an ardent naturalist, a manual laborer and inventor, a radical political activist, and more. Many books have taken up various aspects of Thoreau’s character and achievements, but, as Laura Dassow Walls writes, “Thoreau has never been captured between covers; he was too quixotic, mischievous, many-sided.” Two hundred years after his birth, and two generations after the last full-scale biography, Walls restores Henry David Thoreau to us in all his profound, inspiring complexity.
Walls traces the full arc of Thoreau’s life, from his early days in the intellectual hothouse of Concord, when the American experiment still felt fresh and precarious, and “America was a family affair, earned by one generation and about to pass to the next.” By the time he died in 1862, at only forty-four years of age, Thoreau had witnessed the transformation of his world from a community of farmers and artisans into a bustling, interconnected commercial nation. What did that portend for the contemplative individual and abundant, wild nature that Thoreau celebrated?
Drawing on Thoreau’s copious writings, published and unpublished, Walls presents a Thoreau vigorously alive in all his quirks and contradictions: the young man shattered by the sudden death of his brother; the ambitious Harvard College student; the ecstatic visionary who closed Walden with an account of the regenerative power of the Cosmos. We meet the man whose belief in human freedom and the value of labor made him an uncompromising abolitionist; the solitary walker who found society in nature, but also found his own nature in the society of which he was a deeply interwoven part. And, running through it all, Thoreau the passionate naturalist, who, long before the age of environmentalism, saw tragedy for future generations in the human heedlessness around him.
“The Thoreau I sought was not in any book, so I wrote this one,” says Walls. The result is a Thoreau unlike any seen since he walked the streets of Concord, a Thoreau for our time and all time.
CliffsNotes on Fahrenheit 451 explores a twenty-fourth century world in which books are considered evil because they inspire people to think and to question.
Following the story of a 30-year-old fireman who's spent the last decade destroying books for a living, this study guide features a graphical map to show how the novel's characters relate to one another. In addition, CliffsNotes provides character analyses that take you deeper into the minds and mechanical workings of Ray Bradbury's famous social criticism Other features that help you figure out this important work includePersonal background on the authorSynopsis of the book and a look at major themesSummaries and commentaries on each part of the bookReview section that features multiple-choice questions, quoted passages, and suggested essay topics and practice projectsResource Center with books, articles, and websites that can help round out your knowledge
Classic literature or modern-day treasure—you'll understand it all with expert information and insight from CliffsNotes study guides.
CliffsNotes on The Catcher in the Rye introduces you to a coming-of-age novel with a twist. J.D. Salinger's best-known work is more realistic, more lifelike and authentic than some other representatives of the genre. Get to know the unforgettable main character, Holden Caulfield, as he navigates the dangers and risks of growing up.
This study guide enables you to keep up with all of the major themes and symbols of the novel, as well as the characters and plot. You'll also find valuable information about Salinger's life and background. Other features that help you study includeCharacter analyses of major playersA character map that graphically illustrates the relationships among the charactersCritical essaysA review section that tests your knowledgeA Resource Center full of books, articles, films, and Internet sites
Classic literature or modern-day treasure—you'll understand it all with expert information and insight from CliffsNotes study guides.
Conceived nearly a century ago by a man who died believing himself a failure, it's now a revered classic and a rite of passage in the reading lives of millions. But how well do we really know The Great Gatsby? As Maureen Corrigan, Gatsby lover extraordinaire, points out, while Fitzgerald's masterpiece may be one of the most popular novels in America, many of us first read it when we were too young to fully comprehend its power.
Offering a fresh perspective on what makes Gatsby great-and utterly unusual-So We Read On takes us into archives, high school classrooms, and even out onto the Long Island Sound to explore the novel's hidden depths, a journey whose revelations include Gatsby's surprising debt to hard-boiled crime fiction, its rocky path to recognition as a "classic," and its profound commentaries on the national themes of race, class, and gender.
With rigor, wit, and infectious enthusiasm, Corrigan inspires us to re-experience the greatness of Gatsby and cuts to the heart of why we are, as a culture, "borne back ceaselessly" into its thrall. Along the way, she spins a new and fascinating story of her own.
CliffsNotes on The Giver explores a world in which disease, hunger, poverty, war, and lasting pain simply don’t exist. The members of this utopia have given up all human emotions and memories to live in a state of Sameness.
Following the story of a 12-year-old boy who recognizes the hypocrisy of his community’s “social order” – and who crafts a way to free everyone from the bane of Sameness, this study guide provides summaries and critical commentaries for each chapter within the novel. Other features that help you figure out this important work includePersonal background on the author, Lois LowryIntroduction to and synopsis of the bookCharacter descriptionsCritical essays on the author’s themes, style, language, and moreReview section that features interactive questions and suggested essay topicsSelected bibliography and list of critical works
Classic literature or modern-day treasure — you'll understand it all with expert information and insight from CliffsNotes study guides.
This guide to Salinger’s provocative novel offers:an accessible introduction to the text and contexts of The Catcher in the Rye a critical history, surveying the many interpretations of the text from publication to the present a selection of new critical essays on the The Catcher in the Rye, by Sally Robinson, Renee R. Curry, Denis Jonnes, Livia Hekanaho and Clive Baldwin, providing a range of perspectives on the novel and extending the coverage of key critical approaches identified in the survey section cross-references between sections of the guide, in order to suggest links between texts, contexts and criticism suggestions for further reading.
Part of the Routledge Guides to Literature series, this volume is essential reading for all those beginning detailed study of The Catcher in the Rye and seeking not only a guide to the novel, but a way through the wealth of contextual and critical material that surrounds Salinger’s text.
“I read for entertainment, and I write to entertain. Period.” Such is the manifesto of Michael Chabon, an author of indisputable literary renown who maintains a fierce appreciation of the seductive arts of so-called “genre” fiction.
In this lively collection of sixteen critical and personal essays, the author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay champions the cause of westerns, horror, and all the stories, comics, and pulp fiction that get pushed aside when literary discussion turns serious. Whether he’s taking up Superman or Sherlock Holmes, Poe or Proust, Chabon makes it his emphatic mission to explore the reasons we tell one another tales.
Throughout, Chabon reveals his own blooming as a writer, from The Mysteries of Pittsburgh to The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. He is living proof of his theory that the stories that give us great pleasure are in many ways our truest, best art—the building blocks of our shared imagination—and in Maps and Legends, he “makes an inviting case for bridging the gap between popular and literary writing” (O, The Oprah Magazine).
This ebook features a biography of the author.
“The best book I know of for talented but unacknowledged creators. . . . A masterpiece.” —Margaret Atwood
“No one who is invested in any kind of art . . . can read The Gift and remain unchanged.” —David Foster Wallace
By now a modern classic, The Gift is a brilliantly orchestrated defense of the value of creativity and of its importance in a culture increasingly governed by money and overrun with commodities. This book is even more necessary today than when it first appeared.
An illuminating and transformative book, and completely original in its view of the world, The Gift is cherished by artists, writers, musicians, and thinkers. It is in itself a gift to all who discover the classic wisdom found in its pages.
One of the greatest American novels finds its perfect contemporary champion in Why Read Moby-Dick?, Nathaniel Philbrick’s enlightening and entertaining tour through Melville’s classic. As he did in his National Book Award–winning bestseller In the Heart of the Sea, Philbrick brings a sailor’s eye and an adventurer’s passion to unfolding the story behind an epic American journey. He skillfully navigates Melville’s world and illuminates the book’s humor and unforgettable characters—finding the thread that binds Ishmael and Ahab to our own time and, indeed, to all times. An ideal match between author and subject, Why Read Moby-Dick? will start conversations, inspire arguments, and make a powerful case that this classic tale waits to be discovered anew.
“Gracefully written [with an] infectious enthusiasm…”—New York Times Book Review
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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How were firearms transformed from tools used by pioneers into symbols of modern manhood? Why did the NRA’s focus shift from encouraging responsible gun use to lobbying against gun-safety laws? What is the relationship between gun ownership and racism in America? How have the film, television, and video game industries molded our perception of gun violence? When did the fear of gun seizures arise, and how has it been used to benefit arms manufacturers, lobbyists, and the far-right?
Few ideas divide communities as much as those involving firearms, and fewer authors are able to tackle the subject with the same authority, humor, and intelligence. Written from the unique perspective of a gun lover who’s disgusted with what gun culture has become, Arms is destined to be one of the most talked-about books of the year.
The alternately racy and moralistic narrative recounts the adventures of a young woman from rural Massachusetts who is seduced by a false-hearted lover, flees to Boston, and is entrapped in a brothel. She eventually escapes by disguising herself as a man and serves with distinction on board the U.S. frigate Constitution during the War of 1812. After subsequent onshore adventures in and out of male dress, she is happily married to a wealthy New York gentleman.
In his introduction, Daniel A. Cohen situates the story in both its literary and historical contexts. He explains how the tale draws upon a number of popular Anglo-American literary genres, including the female warrior narrative, the sentimental novel, and the urban exposé. He then explores how The Female Marine reflects early-nineteenth-century anxieties concerning changing gender norms, the expansion of urban prostitution, the growth of Boston's African American community, and feelings of guilt aroused by New England's notoriously unpatriotic activities during the War of 1812.
Lionel Trilling was, during his lifetime, generally acknowledged to be one of the finest essayists in the English language, the heir of Hazlitt and the peer of Orwell. Since his death in 1974, his work has been discussed and hotly debated, yet today, when writers and critics claim to be "for" or "against" his interpretations, they can hardly be well acquainted with them, for his work has been largely out of print for years.
With this re-publication of Trilling's finest essays, Leon Wieseltier offers readers of many new generations a rich overview of Trilling's achievement. The essays collected here include justly celebrated masterpieces--on Mansfield Park and on "Why We Read Jane Austen"; on Twain, Dos Passos, Hemingway, Isaac Babel; on Keats, Wordsworth, Eliot, Frost; on "Art and Neurosis"; and the famous Preface to Trilling's book The Liberal Imagination.
This exhilarating work has much to teach readers who may have been encouraged to adopt simpler systems of meaning, or were taught to exchange the ideals of reason and individuality for those of enthusiasm and the false romance of group identity. Trilling's remarkable essays show a critic who was philosophically motivated and textually responsible, alive to history but not in thrall to it, exercised by art but not worshipful of it, consecrated to ideas but suspicious of theory.
Toni Morrison follows the life of the woman born Chloe Ardelia Wofford from her culturally rich childhood in Lorrain, OH, through her spectacular rise as a novelist, educator, and public intellectual. The book also serves as a basic introduction to the literary influences that shaped Morrison's writing, from the early novels to the breakout success of Song of Solomon; from the overwhelming achievement of Beloved to her most recent book, A Mercy. The book also examines Morrison's other writing--criticism, essays, edited volumes, children's books--as well as her academic career, her work as an editor at Random House, and her political activism, most notably in the 2008 presidential campaign.