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.
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.
diasporic religious practices serves as a transgressive tool in narrative
discourses in the Americas.
Oshun’s Daughters examines
representations of African diasporic religions from novels and poems written by
women in the United States, the Spanish Caribbean, and Brazil. In spite of
differences in age, language, and nationality, these women writers all turn to
variations of traditional Yoruba religion (Santería/Regla de Ocha and
Candomblé) as a source of inspiration for creating portraits of
womanhood. Within these religious systems, binaries that dominate European
thought—man/woman, mind/body, light/dark, good/evil—do not function in the same
way, as the emphasis is not on extremes but on balancing or reconciling these
radical differences. Involvement with these African diasporic religions thus
provides alternative models of womanhood that differ substantially from those
found in dominant Western patriarchal culture, namely, that of virgin, asexual
wife/mother, and whore. Instead we find images of the sexual woman, who enjoys
her body without any sense of shame; the mother, who nurtures her children
without sacrificing herself; and the warrior woman, who actively resists demands
that she conform to one-dimensional stereotypes of womanhood.
Harriet E. Smith, Benjamin Griffin, Victor Fischer, Michael B. Frank, Sharon K. Goetz, Leslie Myrick
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.
Catrióna Rueda Esquibel starts from the premise that Chicana/o communities, theories, and feminisms cannot be fully understood without taking account of the perspectives and experiences of Chicana lesbians. To open up these perspectives, she engages in close readings of works centered around the following themes: La Llorona, the Aztec Princess, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, girlhood friendships, rural communities and history, and Chicana activism. Her investigation broadens the community of Chicana lesbian writers well beyond Moraga and Anzaldúa, while it also demonstrates that the histories of Chicana lesbians have had to be written in works of fiction because these women have been marginalized and excluded in canonical writings on Chicano life and experience.
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."
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.
Harper Lee's only novel won the Pulitzer Prize and was transformed into a beloved film starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch. An American classic that frequently appears in middle school and high school curriculums, the novel has been subjected to criticism for its subject matter and language. Still relevant and meaningful, To Kill a Mockingbird has nonetheless been under-appreciated by many critics. There are few books that address Lee's novel's contribution to the American canon and still fewer that offer insights that can be used by teachers and by students.
These essays suggest that author Harper Lee deserves more credit for skillfully shaping a masterpiece that not only addresses the problems of the 1930s but also helps its readers see the problems and prejudices the world faces today. Intended for high school and undergraduate usage, as well as for teachers planning to use To Kill a Mockingbird in their classrooms, this collection will be a valuable resource for all teachers of American literature.
Contemporary readers of Peyton Place will be captivated by its vivid characters, earthy prose, and shocking incidents. Through her riveting, uninhibited narrative, Metalious skillfully exposes the intricate social anatomy of a small community, examining the lives of its people -- their passions and vices, their ambitions and defeats, their passivity or violence, their secret hopes and kindnesses, their cohesiveness and rigidity, their struggles, and often their courage.
This new paperback edition of Peyton Place features an insightful introduction by Ardis Cameron that thoroughly examines the novel's treatment of class, gender, race, ethnicity, and power, and considers the book's influential place in American and New England literary history.
At the heart of this emerging culture, Renda argues, was American paternalism, which saw Haitians as wards of the United States. She explores the ways in which diverse Americans--including activists, intellectuals, artists, missionaries, marines, and politicians--responded to paternalist constructs, shaping new versions of American culture along the way. Her analysis draws on a rich record of U.S. discourses on Haiti, including the writings of policymakers; the diaries, letters, songs, and memoirs of marines stationed in Haiti; and literary works by such writers as Eugene O'Neill, James Weldon Johnson, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston.
Pathbreaking and provocative, Taking Haiti illuminates the complex interplay between culture and acts of violence in the making of the American empire.
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.
This Reader’s Edition, a portable paperback in larger type, republishes the text of the hardcover Autobiography in a form that is convenient for the general reader, without the editorial explanatory notes. It includes a brief introduction describing the evolution of Mark Twain’s ideas about writing his autobiography, as well as a chronology of his life, brief family biographies, and an excerpt from the forthcoming Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2—a controversial but characteristically humorous attack on Christian doctrine.
In Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey, 50 writers—from romance and erotica authors, to real-world BDSM practitioners, to adult entertainment industry professionals—continue the conversation.
Fifty Shades as Erotic Fiction
Erotic romance writer Sylvia Day speaks to the new opportunities the Fifty Shades trilogy has opened up for writers (and readers!) of erotica
Fifty Shades as Sexual Empowerment
Romance novelist Heather Graham praises the way the books encourage women to celebrate their own sexual shades of grey
Fifty Shades as Fanfiction
Editor Tish Beaty relates the process behind turning Twilight fanfic Master of the Universe into Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades as Pop Culture
Fifty Shames of Earl Grey author Andrew Shaffer compares Fifty Shades to sister-in-literary-scandal Peyton Place
• Matrimonial lawyer Sherri Donovan examines the legalities of Christian’s contract
• Master R of BDSM training chateau La Domaine Esemar evaluates Christian Grey’s skill as a Dominant (and offers some professional advice)
• And a whole lot more!
Whether you loved Fifty Shades of Grey, or just want to know why everyone else does, Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey is the book for you.
• Heather Graham
• Sylvia Day
• Andrew Shaffer
• M.J. Rose
• Sinnamon Love
• Judith Regan
• Stacey Agdern
• Laura Antoniou
• Jennifer Armintrout
• Tish Beaty
• Mala Bhattacharjee
• Rachel Kramer Bussel
• M. Christian
• Suzan Colón
• Joy Daniels
• Sherri Donovan
• Angela Edwards
• Melissa Febos
• Lucy Felthouse
• Ryan Field
• Selina Fire
• Megan Frampton
• Sarah Frantz
• Louise Fury
• Lois Gresh
• Catherine Hiller
• Marci Hirsch
• Dr. Hilda Hutcherson
• Debra Hyde
• Anne Jamison
• D.L. King
• Dr. Logan Levkoff
• Arielle Loren
• Sassafras Lowry
• Rachel Kenley
• Pamela Madsen
• Chris Marks and Lia Leto
• Master R
• Dr. Katherine Ramsland
• Tiffany Reisz
• Katharine Sands
• Jennifer Sanzo
• Rakesh Satyal
• Marc Shapiro
• Lyss Stern
• Cecilia Tan
• Hope Tarr
• Susan Wright
• Editor X
In CliffsNotes on Huckleberry Finn, you follow the Mississippi River adventures of Mark Twain's mischief-making protagonist Huck Finn and the runaway slave Jim.
Just like Huck's makeshift raft, this study guide carries you along on his incredible journey by providing chapter summaries and critical analyses on life in the late-19th-century American south. You'll also gain insight into the man behind this American classic—Mark Twain, a.k.a. Samuel Clemens. 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.
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 worknamship, 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.
This collection of sixteen essays champions the cause of sci-fi and westerns, superheroes and horror shows, gumshoes and goblins—all the genre novels, comics, and pulp fiction that get pushed aside when literary discussion turns serious. For Chabon, the stories that give us great pleasure are in many ways our truest, best art—the building blocks of our shared imagination. Whether he’s taking up Superman or Sherlock Holmes, Poe or Proust, Chabon’s emphatic mission is to explore the reasons we tell each other tales, and to offer a glimpse of his own history as reader and writer. This ebook features a biography of the author.
CliffsNotes on Call of the Wild & White Fang covers not one, but two of Jack London’s best known adventures. Meet an amazing dog named Buck and his human friend John Thornton in Call of the Wild, and then follow the story of two men, Henry and Bill, and the life of an unforgettable wolf cub.
This study guide will help you keep up with all of the action as you contemplate the characters and their motivations. Helpful background information about the author brings these novels into context for even greater understanding. Other features that help you study includeComplete character listsCharacter analyses of major playersCritical essaysReview questions
Classic literature or modern modern-day treasure — you'll understand it all with expert information and insight from CliffsNotes study guides.
Pairing literary criticism and historical analysis, Berlant explores the territory of this intimate public sphere through close readings of U.S. women’s literary works and their stage and film adaptations. Her interpretation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and its literary descendants reaches from Harriet Beecher Stowe to Toni Morrison’s Beloved, touching on Shirley Temple, James Baldwin, and The Bridges of Madison County along the way. Berlant illuminates different permutations of the women’s intimate public through her readings of Edna Ferber’s Show Boat; Fannie Hurst’s Imitation of Life; Olive Higgins Prouty’s feminist melodrama Now, Voyager; Dorothy Parker’s poetry, prose, and Academy Award–winning screenplay for A Star Is Born; the Fay Weldon novel and Roseanne Barr film The Life and Loves of a She-Devil; and the queer, avant-garde film Showboat 1988–The Remake. The Female Complaint is a major contribution from a leading Americanist.
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.
BookCap Study Guides do not contain text from the actual book, and are not meant to be purchased as alternatives to reading the book.
We all need refreshers every now and then. Whether you are a student trying to cram for that big final, or someone just trying to understand a book more, BookCaps can help. We are a small, but growing company, and are adding titles every month.
In addition to explaining his concept of uncreative writing, which is also the name of his popular course at the University of Pennsylvania, Goldsmith reads the work of writers who have taken up this challenge. Examining a wide range of texts and techniques, including the use of Google searches to create poetry, the appropriation of courtroom testimony, and the possibility of robo-poetics, Goldsmith joins this recent work to practices that date back to the early twentieth century. Writers and artists such as Walter Benjamin, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, and Andy Warhol embodied an ethos in which the construction or conception of a text was just as important as the resultant text itself. By extending this tradition into the digital realm, uncreative writing offers new ways of thinking about identity and the making of meaning.
A full chapter offers a delving biographical study of Patterson, including a brief timeline, that traces his early literary and personal interests and later professional achievements. Another chapter discusses the genres of detective and mystery writing, and situates Patterson 's contributions within this framework. Patterson's sociological writings are also considered. Whether for personal pursuits or school assignments, this volume provides ample insight and extensive bibliographic information on Patterson's work, including critical sources and reviews.
Together with annotated guides to further reading, Chuck Palahniuk also includes section introductions surveying the contexts and reception of each novel, making this an essential guide for students and scholars of contemporary literature.
Jerry's mother was nineteen years old and nine months married when he was born. She had received Grandfather Stoll's permission for the wedding because she agreed to help out on the farm the following year. However, with Jerry on the way, those plans failed.
Jerry recounts his first two years of school in the Amish community of Aylmer, Ontario and his parents' decision to move to Honduras. Life in that beautiful Central American country is seen through an Amish boy's eyes-and then the dark days when the community failed and the family returned to America, much to young Jerry's regret. Jerry also tells of his struggle as a stutterer and his eventual conversion to Christ and the reasons for his departure from the childhood faith he knew.
Here is a must-read for not just Jerry's fiction fans, but also for readers curious about Amish life.
“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
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.
We love these commands, especially in America, because they appeal to what we want to believe: that there's an authentic self to which we can be true. But while we mock Tricky Dick and Slick Willie, we're inventing identities on Facebook, paying thousands for plastic surgeries, and tuning in to news that simply verifies our opinions. Reality bites, after all, and becoming disillusioned is a downer.
In his new book Keep It Fake: Inventing an Authentic Life, Eric G. Wilson investigates this phenomenon. Hedraws on neuroscience, psychology, sociology, philosophy, art, film, literature, and his own life to explore the possibility that there's no such thing as unwavering reality. Whether our left brains are shaping the raw data of our right into fabulous stories or we're so saturated by society's conventions that we're always acting out prefab scripts, we can't help but be phony.
But is that really so bad? We're used to being scolded for being fake, but Wilson doesn't scold--because he doesn't think we need to be reprimanded. Our ability to remake ourselves into the people we want to be, or at least remake ourselves to look like the people we want to be, is in fact a magical process that can be liberating in its own way. Because if we're all a bunch of fakes, shouldn't we embrace that? And if everything really is fake, then doesn't the fake become real--really?
In lively prose--honest, provocative, witty, wide-ranging (as likely to riff on Bill Murray as to contemplate Plato)--Keep It Fake answers these questions, uncovering bracing truths about what it means to be human and helping us turn our necessary lying into artful living.
Four decades on, the legacy of American involvement in the Viet Nam War still looms large in the lives of the veterans who experienced it first hand. This new anthology of poems, stories, and essays looks at the war through the lens of both past and present perspectives.
Featuring the work of fifteen veteran writers, the scope of the book defines how modern warfare affects the lives of those who lived it and subsequently their own families after returning from the war. The men who have contributed to this volume each have played their own part whether medic, air cavalry, recon, forward observer, or just plain grunt. The pain they felt, witnessed, and buried can hopefully be released by the telling of their collective truths.
It is their hope that through this book you will be able to feel something of what they have felt and that it will inform you about the role that this conflict continues to play in the lives of those who served there. The words of William Faulkner still ring true: The past is not dead, its not even past.
"More Than a Memory: Reflections of Viet Nam" is the newest book in the "Reflections of America" series from Modern History Press www.ModernHistoryPress.com
Hungerford explores the work of major American writers, including Allen Ginsberg, Don DeLillo, Cormac McCarthy, Toni Morrison, and Marilynne Robinson, and links their unique visions to the religious worlds they touch. She illustrates how Ginsberg's chant-infused 1960s poetry echoes the tongue-speaking of Charismatic Christians, how DeLillo reimagines the novel and the Latin Mass, why McCarthy's prose imitates the Bible, and why Morrison's fiction needs the supernatural. Uncovering how literature and religion conceive of a world where religious belief can escape confrontations with other worldviews, Hungerford corrects recent efforts to discard the importance of belief in understanding religious life, and argues that belief in belief itself can transform secular reading and writing into a religious act.
Honoring the ways in which people talk about and practice religion, Postmodern Belief highlights the claims of the religious imagination in twentieth-century American culture.
The eagerly-awaited Volume 2 delves deeper into Mark Twain’s life, uncovering the many roles he played in his private and public worlds. Filled with his characteristic blend of humor and ire, the narrative ranges effortlessly across the contemporary scene. He shares his views on writing and speaking, his preoccupation with money, and his contempt for the politics and politicians of his day. Affectionate and scathing by turns, his intractable curiosity and candor are everywhere on view.
Editors: Benjamin Griffin and Harriet E. Smith
Associate Editors: Victor Fischer, Michael B. Frank, Sharon K. Goetz and Leslie Diane Myrick
In CliffsNotes on The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, you experience the exciting adventures of a typical boy during the mid-nineteenth century. The characters—Tom himself, Becky Thatcher, Huck Finn, Injun Joe, and Aunt Polly—have become part of American heritage.
Use this study guide to help you discover all of Tom’s dreams and fears—and perhaps a few of your own! You'll also gain insight into the man behind this American classic—Mark Twain, a.k.a. Samuel Clemens. 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
Born and raised in North Carolina, Joseph Mitchell was Southern to the core. But from the 1930s to the 1960s, he was the voice of New York City. Readers of The New Yorker cherished his intimate sketches of the people who made the city tick—from Mohawk steelworkers to Staten Island oystermen, from homeless intellectual Joe Gould to Old John McSorley, founder of the city’s most famous saloon. Mitchell’s literary sensibility combined with a journalistic eye for detail produced a writing style that would inspire New Journalism luminaries such as Gay Talese, Tom Wolfe, and Joan Didion.
Then, all of a sudden, his stories stopped appearing. For thirty years, Mitchell showed up for work at The New Yorker, but he produced . . . nothing. Did he have something new and exciting in store? Was he working on a major project? Or was he bedeviled by an epic case of writer’s block?
The first full-length biography of Joseph Mitchell, based on the thousands of archival pages he left behind and dozens of interviews, Man in Profile pieces together the life of this beloved and enigmatic literary legend and answers the question that has plagued readers and critics for decades: What was Joe Mitchell doing all those years?
By the time of his death in 1996, Mitchell was less well known for his elegant writing than for his J. D. Salinger–like retreat from the public eye. For thirty years, Mitchell had wandered the streets of New York, chronicling the lives of everyday people and publishing them in the most prestigious publication in town. But by the 1970s, crime, homelessness, and a crumbling infrastructure had transformed the city Mitchell understood so well and spoke for so articulately. He could barely recognize it. As he said to a friend late in life, “I’m living in a state of confusion.”
Fifty years after his last story appeared, and almost two decades after his death, Joseph Mitchell still has legions of fans, and his story—especially the mystery of his “disappearance”—continues to fascinate. With a colorful cast of characters that includes Harold Ross, A. J. Liebling, Tina Brown, James Thurber, and William Shawn, Man in Profile goes a long way to solving that mystery—and bringing this lion of American journalism out of the shadows that once threatened to swallow him.
Praise for Man in Profile
“[An] authoritative new biography [about] our greatest literary journalist . . . Kunkel is the ideal biographer of Joseph Mitchell: As . . . a writer and craftsman worthy of his subject.”—Blake Bailey, The New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice)
“A richly persuasive portrait of a man who cared about everybody and everything.”—London Review of Books
“Mitchell’s life and achievements are brought vividly alive in [this] splendid book.”—Chicago Tribune
“A thoughtful and sympathetic new biography.”—Ruth Franklin, The Atlantic
“Excellent . . . A first-rate Mitchell biography was very much in order.”—The Wall Street Journal
From the Hardcover edition.
Susan Larson's revised and updated edition of The Booklover's Guide to New Orleans not only explores the legacy of Tennessee Williams and William Faulkner, but also visits the haunts of celebrated writers of today, including Anne Rice and James Lee Burke. This definitive guide provides a key to the books, authors, festivals, stores, and famed addresses that make the Crescent City a literary destination.
The Norman Maclean Reader is a wonderful addition to Maclean’s celebrated oeuvre. Bringing together previously unpublished materials with incidental writings and selections from his more famous works, the Reader will serve as the perfect introduction for readers new to Maclean, while offering longtime fans new insight into his life and career.
In this evocative collection, Maclean as both a writer and a man becomes evident. Perceptive, intimate essays deal with his career as a teacher and a literary scholar, as well as the wealth of family stories for which Maclean is famous. Complete with a generous selection of letters, as well as excerpts from a 1986 interview, The Norman Maclean Reader provides a fully fleshed-out portrait of this much admired author, showing us a writer fully aware of the nuances of his craft, and a man as at home in the academic environment of the University of Chicago as in the quiet mountains of his beloved Montana.
Various and moving, the works collected in The Norman Maclean Reader serve as both a summation and a celebration, giving readers a chance once again to hear one of American literature’s most distinctive voices.