The Adding Machine

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Free sample

"Sheer pleasure. . . . Wonderfully entertaining."—Chicago Sun-Times

Acclaimed by Norman Mailer more than twenty years ago as "possibly the only American writer of genius," William S. Burroughs has produced a body of work unique in our time. In these scintillating essays, he writes wittily and wisely about himself, his interests, his influences, his friends and foes. He offers candid and not always flattering assessments of such diverse writers as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Samuel Beckett, and Marcel Proust. He ruminates on science and the often dubious paths into which it seems intent on leading us, whether into outer or inner space. He reviews his reviewers, explains his famous "cut-up" method, and discusses the role coincidence has played in his life and work. As satirist and parodist, William Burroughs has no peer, as these varied works, written over three decades, amply reveal.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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Published on
Nov 4, 2013
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Pages
224
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ISBN
9780802192974
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Collections / Essays
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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"All first-rate criticism first defines what we are confronting," the late, great jazz critic Whitney Balliett once wrote. By that measure, the essays of Christopher Hitchens are in the first tier. For nearly four decades, Hitchens has been telling us, in pitch-perfect prose, what we confront when we grapple with first principles-the principles of reason and tolerance and skepticism that define and inform the foundations of our civilization-principles that, to endure, must be defended anew by every generation.

"A short list of the greatest living conversationalists in English," said The Economist, "would probably have to include Christopher Hitchens, Sir Patrick Leigh-Fermor, and Sir Tom Stoppard. Great brilliance, fantastic powers of recall, and quick wit are clearly valuable in sustaining conversation at these cosmic levels. Charm may be helpful, too." Hitchens-who staunchly declines all offers of knighthood-hereby invites you to take a seat at a democratic conversation, to be engaged, and to be reasoned with. His knowledge is formidable, an encyclopedic treasure, and yet one has the feeling, reading him, of hearing a person thinking out loud, following the inexorable logic of his thought, wherever it might lead, unafraid to expose fraudulence, denounce injustice, and excoriate hypocrisy. Legions of readers, admirers and detractors alike, have learned to read Hitchens with something approaching awe at his felicity of language, the oxygen in every sentence, the enviable wit and his readiness, even eagerness, to fight a foe or mount the ramparts.

Here, he supplies fresh perceptions of such figures as varied as Charles Dickens, Karl Marx, Rebecca West, George Orwell, J.G. Ballard, and Philip Larkin are matched in brilliance by his pungent discussions and intrepid observations, gathered from a lifetime of traveling and reporting from such destinations as Iran, China, and Pakistan.

Hitchens's directness, elegance, lightly carried erudition, critical and psychological insight, humor, and sympathy-applied as they are here to a dazzling variety of subjects-all set a standard for the essayist that has rarely been matched in our time. What emerges from this indispensable volume is an intellectual self-portrait of a writer with an exemplary steadiness of purpose and a love affair with the delights and seductions of the English language, a man anchored in a profound and humane vision of the human longing for reason and justice.



This selection brings together the best prose writings of the great early nineteenth-century essayist Charles Lamb, whose shrewd wit and convivial style have endeared him to generations of readers. These pieces include early discussions of Hogarth and Shakespeare; masterly essays written under the pen-name 'Elia' that range over such subjects as drunkenness, witches, dreams, marriage and the joy of roast pig; and letters to Lamb's circle of contemporaries, among them Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth. Wryly amused by the world, allusive, searching and endlessly inventive, these are the essential works of a master of English prose.

In his introduction Adam Phillips discusses how Charles Lamb's tragic life and sainted reputation, caring for his mentally ill sister Mary, belied the quality of his work. This edition also includes a biographical index of Lamb's correspondents.

Charles Lamb (1775-1834) was an English essayist best known for his humorous Essays of Elia from which the essay 'A Dissertation Upon Roast Pig' is taken. Lamb enjoyed a rich social life and became part of a group of young writers that included William Hazlitt, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron and Samuel Taylor Coleridge with whom he shared a lifelong friendship. Lamb never achieved the same literary success as his friends but his influence on the English essay form cannot be underestimated and his book, Specimens of the English Dramatic Poets is remembered for popularising the work of Shakespeare's contemporaries.

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