Misgivings is C. K. Williams's searing recollection of his family's extreme dynamics and of his parents' deaths after years of struggle, bitterness, and inner conflict. Like Kafka's self-revealing Letter to His Father, Misgivings is full of doubt, both philosophical and personal, but as a work of art it is sure and true.
Williams's father was an "ordinary businessman"--angry, demanding, addicted to the tension he created with the people he loved; a man who could read the Greek myths aloud to his son yet vowed never to apologize to anybody. His mother was a housewife, a woman with a great capacity for pleasure, who was stoical about the family's dire early poverty yet remained affected by it even when they became well-off. Together, these two formed what Williams calls the "conspiracy that made me who I am." His account of their life together and their deaths--his father's with suicidal despair, and his mother's with calm resignation--is a literary form of the reconciliation the family achieved at the end of his parents' lives. And as literary form it is novel, a series of brilliant short takes, a double helix of experience and recollection. Few contemporary writers have understood their origins so acutely, or so eloquently.
biographical information: all names, dates, places, and events important to understanding Whitman's life and career Whitman's works: essays on all eight editions of "Leaves of Grass," major poems and poem clusters, principal essays and prose works, as well as his more than two dozen short stories and the novel, Franklin Evans prominent themes and concepts: essays on such major topics as democracy, slavery, the Civil War, immortality, sexuality, and the women's rights movement. significant forms and techniques: such as prosody, symbolism, free verse, and humour important trends and critical approaches in Whitman studies: including new historicist and cultural criticism, psychological explorations, and controversial issues of sexual identity surveys of Whitman's international impact as well as an assessment of his literary legacy.
Useful for students, researchers, librarians, teachers, and Whitman devotees, this volume features extensive cross-references, numerous photographs of the poet, a chronology, a special appendix section tracking the poet's genealogy, and a thorough index. Each entry includes a bibliography for further study.