If you could meet one deceased literary figure, who would that be? What would you ask? What would you say, and why? In AfterWord: Conjuring the Literary Dead, eighteen distinguished authors respond to this challenge by creating imagined conversations with a constellation of British and American authors, from Samuel Johnson to Jane Austen to Samuel Beckett to Edith Wharton.
Each chapter embarks on an intellectual, emotional, and often humorous voyage as the layers of time are peeled away, letting readers experience authors as they really were in their own era or, on occasion, transported to the present. As eccentric as it is eclectic, this collection takes the audience on a dizzying descent into a literary Inferno where biographers, novelists, and critics eat the food of the dead and return to tell the tale. Readers will take great pleasure in seeing what happens when scholars are loosed from the chains of fact and conduct imaginary interviews with deceased authors.
Covering 200 years of literary history, the essays in AfterWord draw upon the lifelong, consuming interest of the contributors, each fashioning a vivid, credible portrait of a vulnerable, driven, fully human character. As contributors appeal to what Margaret Atwood calls the deep human desire to “go to the land of the dead, to bring back to the living someone who has gone there,” readers are privy to questions that have seldom been asked, to incidents that have been suppressed, to some of the secrets that have puzzled readers for years, and to novel literary truths about the essential nature of each author.
Contributors to AfterWord are: Catherine Aird (on Rudyard Kipling), Brian Aldiss (on Thomas Hardy), Margaret Atwood (on negotiating with the dead), William M. Chace (on Ezra Pound), Nora Crook (on the Shelleys), Paul Delany (on George Gissing), Colin Dexter (on Alfred Edward Housman), Margaret Drabble (on Arnold Bennett), Peter Firchow (on George Orwell), Alan W. Friedman (on Samuel Beckett), Eugene Goodheart (on Jane Austen), John Halperin (on Edith Wharton), Francis King (on Oscar Wilde), Jeffrey Meyers (on Samuel Johnson), Cynthia Ozick (on Henry James), Jay Parini (on Robert Frost), Carl Rollyson (on William Faulkner), Dale Salwak and Laura Nagy (on literary imagination), Alan Sillitoe (on Joseph Conrad), and Ann Thwaite (on Frances Hodgson Burnett, Edmund Gosse, A. A. Milne, and Emily Tennyson).
In contemporary Norwegian fiction Tomas Espedal’s work stands out as uniquely personal; it can be difficult to separate the fiction from Espedal’s own experiences. In that vein, his novel Against Art is not just the story of a boy growing up to be a writer, but it is also the story of writing. Specifically, it is about the profession of writing—the routines, responsibility, and obstacles. Yet, Against Art is also about being a father, a son, and a grandson; about a family and a family’s tales, and about how preceding generations mark their successors. It is at once about choices and changes, about motion and rest, about moving to a new place, and about living.
Praise for the Norwegian Edition
“One of the most beautiful, most important books I've read for years.”—Klassekampen
“Espedal has written an amazingly rich novel, which will assuredly stand out as one of the year’s best and will also further fortify the quality of Norwegian literature abroad.”— Adresseavisen
“Against Art attacks literature while at the same time being intensely literary. Our greatest sorrows and torments, the individual experiences often so anemic in art, find a voice of their own.”—Morgenbladet
“Against Art moves me with its maternal history and proves yet again that Tomas Espedal writes great novels.”—Dag og Tid
Antosha and Levitasha is the first book in English devoted to the complex relationship between Anton Chekhov and Isaac Levitan, one of Russia’s greatest landscape painters. Outside of Russia, a general lack of familiarity with Levitan’s life and art has undermined an appreciation of the cultural significance of his friendship with Chekhov. Serge Gregory’s highly readable study attempts to fill that gap for Western readers by examining a friendship that may have vacillated between periods of affection and animosity, but always reflected an unwavering shared aesthetic.
In Russia, where entire rooms of galleries in Moscow and St. Petersburg are devoted to Levitan’s paintings, the lives of the famous writer and the equally famous artist have long been tied together. To those familiar with the work of both men, it is evident that Levitan’s “landscapes of mood” have much in common with the way that Chekhov’s characters perceive nature as a reflection of their emotional state. Gregory focuses on three overarching themes: the artists’ similar approach to depicting landscape; their romantic and social rivalries within their circle of friends, which included many of Moscow’s leading cultural figures; and the influence of Levitan’s personal life on Chekhov’s stories and plays. He emphasizes the facts of Levitan’s life and his place in late nineteenth-century Russian art, particularly with respect to his dual loyalties to the competing Itinerant and World of Art movements.
Accessible and engaging, Antosha and Levitasha will appeal to scholars and general readers interested in art history, late nineteenth-century Russian culture, and biographies.
Through a series of vivid case studies, Authors in Court charts the 300-year-long dance between authorship and copyright that has shaped each institution’s response to changing social norms of identity, privacy, and celebrity.
“A literary historian by training, Rose is completely at home in the world of law, as well as the history of photography and art. This is the work of an interdisciplinary scholar at the height of his powers. The arguments are sophisticated and the elegant text is a work of real craftsmanship. It is superb.”
—Lionel Bently, University of Cambridge
“Authors in Court is well-written, erudite, informative, and engaging throughout. As the chapters go along, we see the way that personalities inflect the supposedly impartial law; we see the role of gender in authorial self-fashioning; we see some of the fault lines which produce litigation; and we get a nice history of the evolution of the fair use doctrine. This is a book that should at least be on reserve for any IP–related course. Going forward, no one writing about any of the cases Rose discusses can afford to ignore his contribution.”
—Lewis Hyde, Kenyon College
An index of authors of plant scientific names. Includes flowering plants, gymnosperms, pteridophytes, bryophytes, algae, fungi and fossil plants. Full names, dates of birth and death when known, recommended abbreviations and groups in which names have been published, are given for each author.
Most scholars dismiss research into the paranormal as pseudoscience, a frivolous pursuit for the paranoid or gullible. Even historians of religion, whose work naturally attends to events beyond the realm of empirical science, have shown scant interest in the subject. But the history of psychical phenomena, Jeffrey J. Kripal contends, is an untapped source of insight into the sacred and by tracing that history through the last two centuries of Western thought we can see its potential centrality to the critical study of religion.
Kripal grounds his study in the work of four major figures in the history of paranormal research: psychical researcher Frederic Myers; writer and humorist Charles Fort; astronomer, computer scientist, and ufologist Jacques Vallee; and philosopher and sociologist Bertrand Méheust. Through incisive analyses of these thinkers, Kripal ushers the reader into a beguiling world somewhere between fact, fiction, and fraud. The cultural history of telepathy, teleportation, and UFOs; a ghostly love story; the occult dimensions of science fiction; cold war psychic espionage; galactic colonialism; and the intimate relationship between consciousness and culture all come together in Authors of the Impossible, a dazzling and profound look at how the paranormal bridges the sacred and the scientific.
Whether it is used as an icebreaker in conversation or as the subject of serious inquiry, “the weather” is one of the few subjects that everyone talks about. And though we recognize the faces that bring us the weather on television, how government meteorologists and forecasters go about their jobs is rarely scrutinized. Given recent weather-related disasters, it’s time we find out more. In Authors of the Storm, Gary Alan Fine offers an inside look at how meteorologists and forecasters predict the weather.
Based on field observation and interviews at the Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma, the National Weather Service in Washington, D.C., and a handful of midwestern outlets, Fine finds a supremely hard-working, insular clique of professionals who often refer to themselves as a “band of brothers.” In Fine’s skilled hands, we learn their lingo, how they “read” weather conditions, how forecasts are written, and, of course, how those messages are conveyed to the public. Weather forecasts, he shows, are often shaped as much by social and cultural factors inside local offices as they are by approaching cumulus clouds. By opening up this unique world to us, Authors of the Storm offers a valuable and fascinating glimpse of a crucial profession.
Editing is a tricky business. It requires analytical flair and creative panache, the patience of a saint and the vision of a writer. Transforming a manuscript into a book that edifies, inspires, and sells? That’s the job of the developmental editor, whose desk is the first stop for many manuscripts on the road to bookdom—a route ably mapped out in the pages of Developmental Editing.
Author Scott Norton has worked with a diverse range of authors, editors, and publishers, and his handbook provides an approach to developmental editing that is logical, collaborative, humorous, and realistic. He starts with the core tasks of shaping the proposal, finding the hook, and building the narrative or argument, and then turns to the hard work of executing the plan and establishing a style.
Developmental Editing includes detailed case studies featuring a variety of nonfiction books—election-year polemic, popular science, memoir, travel guide—and authors ranging from first-timer to veteran, journalist to scholar. Handy sidebars offer advice on how to become a developmental editor, create effective illustration programs, and adapt sophisticated fiction techniques (such as point of view, suspense, plotting, character, and setting) to nonfiction writing.
Norton’s book also provides freelance copyeditors with a way to earn higher fees while introducing more creativity into their work lives. It gives acquisitions, marketing, and production staff a vocabulary for diagnosing a manuscript’s flaws and techniques for transforming it into a bestseller. And perhaps most importantly, Developmental Editing equips authors with the concrete tools they need to reach their audiences.
Douglas Wixson's introduction to this new edition of Conroy's classic provides biographical information on the aspects of Conroy's life that influenced his writings, explores the socialist movement of the 1930s, and examines the critical reaction to the novel, showing why The Disinherited has endured both as historical document and as fiction.
Double Vision: A Novel
George Garrett University of Alabama Press, 2007 Library of Congress PS3557.A72D685 2004 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
A shotgun marriage of fact and fiction by one of the most highly regarded writers and teachers of our time.
A writer named George Garrett, suffering from double vision as a result of a neurological disorder, is asked to review a recent, first biography of the late Peter Taylor, a renowned writer who has been his long-time friend and neighbor in Charlottesville. Reflecting on their relationship, Garrett conceives of a character—not unlike himself—a writer in his early 70s, ill and suffering from double vision, named Frank Toomer. He gives Toomer a neighbor, a distinguished short story writer named Aubrey Carver.
As the real George Garrett and Peter Taylor are replaced by two very different and imaginary writers, the story becomes a wise and insightful exploration of American literary life, the art of biography, the comical rivalries among writers and academics, notions of success, and the knotty relationship of art to life, fact to fiction, and life to death. Double Vision is a witty tour de force and an elegy for a gifted generation of writers.
The Eleventh House: Memoirs
Hudson Strode, Introduction by Don Noble University of Alabama Press, 2016 Library of Congress D15.S89A33 2016 | Dewey Decimal 973.9092
"Every place I visited," says Hudson Strode, "was like a surprise package to be opened, and I untied the strings with high expectations." Reading The Eleventh House: Memoirs is like going to a party of smartly dressed guests.
Strode starts his foreign travels in Sorrento with Dante's descendant Count Dante Serego-Alighieri as his guide. He takes a Russian cattle boat to Tunisia and lunches with the lovely Countess de Brazza. Then he embarks on a whirlwind tour of South America and writes South by Thunderbird. Later, in England, he visits Rebecca West at her country home and strikes up a warm friendship with Lady Astor. In Denmark his hostess is Isak Dinesen. In Finland he meets Jan Sibelius.
Such are the times of Hudson Strode. With his keen eye for settings, with candor, energy, and curiosity, Strode sees his famous friends closely and wholly. His is a unique account.
The Eleventh House is the story of a rewarding and fascinating life told by a man who remembers it all with affection. He tells it for the record and as great entertainment.
Fortune's Favored Child
Raouf Mama Northwestern University Press, 2014 Library of Congress GR55.M26A3 2014 | Dewey Decimal 808.543092
Raouf Mama is widely beloved by children and adults alike for his books and especially for his African and multicultural storytelling, which incorporates poetry, song, music, and dance.
In Fortune’s Favored Child, the master storyteller tells his own story, beginning in the West African country of Benin. Through a harrowing experience with sickness, an encounter with a clairvoyant traditional healer, and astonishing twists of fortune, the protagonist struggles to uncover his real identity, to get an education, and to make his own way in the world. His journey takes him to the shores of the United States to attend graduate school at the University of Michigan and begin a new chapter in his life.
Literary tourism has existed in the United States since at least the early nineteenth century, and now includes sites in almost every corner of the country. From Page to Place examines how Americans have taken up this form of tourism, offering an investigation of the places and practices of literary tourism from literary scholars, historians, tour guides, and collectors. The essays here begin to trace for the first time the histories of some of these sites, the rituals associated with literary tourism, and the ways readers and visitors consume popular literature through touristic endeavors.
In addition to the editors, contributors include Rebecca Rego Barry, Susann Bishop, Ben de Bruyn, Erin Hazard, Caroline Hellman, Michelle McClellan, Mara Scanlon, and Klara-Stephanie Szlezák.
Peg Boyers University of Chicago Press, 2002 Library of Congress PS3602.O94H37 2002 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
The poems in Peg Boyers's Hard Bread are "spoken" in the imagined voice of the Italian writer, Natalia Ginzburg (1916-91). While much of the book is based on Ginzburg's life—her upbringing in Turin; her brief marriage to the resistance activist, Leone Ginzburg; her experience of Fascism and war; her work as novelist, playwright, editor, and newspaper columnist; her embattled friendships with writers like Primo Levi, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Ernest Hemingway, and Cesare Pavese—much is invented. The result is a book by turns melancholy and acerbic, mournful and satiric, contemplative and combative.
I Thought of Daisy
Edmund Wilson University of Iowa Press, 2001 Library of Congress PS3545.I6245I12 2001 | Dewey Decimal 813.52
Originally published in 1929, I Thought of Daisy is the first of three novels by Edmund Wilson. Written while he was still balancing his ambitions as a novelist against a successful career in literary criticism, I Thought of Daisy marries Wilson's two vocations to create an unusual and revealing work of fiction.
Edited by Gaston Franssen and Rick Honings Amsterdam University Press, 2017 Library of Congress PN452.I36 2017 | Dewey Decimal 809
Though these days, our celebrity culture tends to revolve around movie stars and pop musicians, there have been plenty of celebrity authors over the years and around the world. This volume brings together a number of contributors to look at how and why certain writers have attained celebrity throughout history. How were their images as celebrities constructed by themselves and in complicity with their fans? And how did that process and its effects differ from country to country and era to era?
Creative nonfiction writers wrestle constantly with the boundaries of creative license—what to reveal, when to reveal it, and how best to do it. While the truth may inspire us to make confident assertions, secrets, lies, and half-truths inspire us to delve further into our own writing to discover the heart of the story. The pieces in this collection feature essayists who do this type of detective work. Each essay contains a secret, lie, or half-truth—some of these are revealed by the author, but others remain buried. Ranging from the deep family secret to the little white lie, from the shocking to the humorous, and from the straightforward revelation to the slanted half-truth, these essays ask us to appreciate the magnitude of keeping a secret. They also ask us to consider the obstacles writers must overcome if they want to write about secrets in their own lives and the lives of others. In short interviews following each essay the contributors discuss craft, ethics, creativity, and how they eventually decided to reveal—or not reveal—a secret.
An offbeat and brilliant imagining of a "lost novel" by Isaac Babel
A celebrated writer returns to his hometown of Odessa, pondering a deal with the secret police, pining for a daughter living abroad, and hoping to pen one last homage to his own past. Isaac Babel, the world famous spinner of tales about Cossacks and gangsters, arrives in Odessa to be treated for asthma-and perhaps help a condemned prisoner to escape. Or is it Babel who intends to escape?
For six decades our only record of Babel's visit has been the contents of letters and postcards sent abroad to his mother and sister. In King of Odessa, Robert A. Rosenstone imagines a version of this visit and the novel Babel wrote during those weeks. Babel himself is concerned with more than literary plots as he considers an escape just as he starts an affair with an actress who may be a police spy. He also ruminates on his past-his childhood as a sickly Jewish boy, the horrifying 1905 pogrom, the famous rides with the Cossacks that inspired Red Calvary, and above all his complicated relationships with women. Throughout the novel Rosenstone captures Babel's lively wit, his exhaustion with fame and the Soviet system, and his infectious charm.
This would prove to be Babel's last visit to Odessa. Three years later, he was arrested as a spy and executed. Rosenstone, the acclaimed biographer of writer and activist John Reed, mixes historical facts and fiction with the talent of a gifted storyteller. The result is a captivating exploration of a great writer surrounded by history and on the brink of falling out of it forever.
Master Class: Lessons from Leading Writers gathers more than two decades of wisdom from twenty-nine accomplished authors. It offers previously unpublished interviews along with freshly edited versions of ten interviews from Nancy Bunge's well-received previous collection, Finding the Words. The first section, Theory, incorporates interviews which document the golden age of writing programs in which authors with a strong sense of social and cultural responsibility taught as seriously as they wrote. These conversations delve into the writers' philosophies and teaching methods. The second section, Practice, presents interviews with authors who discuss how they've approached the writing of particular works. Altogether the interviews introduce authors as inspirational models and provide insightful techniques for other writers to try. One piece of advice recurs with striking consistency: to produce fresh, interesting work, aspiring writers must develop a passionate self-trust. This rule has an essential corollary: improving as a writer means constantly stretching oneself with new information and skills. Sure to interest writing and literature teachers as well as writers at every stage of development, Master Class is highly recommended for undergraduate and graduate writing courses.
Interviews with Marvin Bell, Ivan Doig, Sandra Gilbert, Allen Ginsberg, Donald Hall, Jim Harrison, Etheridge Knight, Margot Livesey, Larry McMurtry, James Alan McPherson, Clarence Major, Bobbie Ann Mason, Sue Miller, N. Scott Momaday, Kyoko Mori, Thylias Moss, W. S. Penn, Kit Reed, Alix Kates Shulman, William Stafford, Wallace Stegner, Ruth Stone, Scott Turow, Katherine Vaz, Diane Wakoski, Anne Waldman, Richard Wilbur, Richard Yates, and Helen Yglesias.
In Narrative Discourse: Authors and Narrators in Literature, Film, and Art, Patrick Colm Hogan reconsiders fundamental issues of authorship and narration in light of recent research in cognitive and affective science. He begins with a detailed overview of the components of narrative discourse, both introducing and reworking key principles. Based on recent studies treating the complexity of human cognition, Hogan presents a new account of implied authorship that solves some notorious problems with that concept.
In subsequent chapters Hogan takes the view that implied authorship is both less unified and more unified than is widely recognized. In connection with this notion, he examines how we can make interpretive sense of the inconsistencies of implied authors within works and the continuities of implied authors across works. Turning to narrators, he considers some general principles of readers’ judgments about reliability, emphasizing the emotional element of trust. Following chapters take up the operation of complex forms of narration, including parallel narration, embedded narration, and collective voicing (“we” narration). In the afterword, Hogan sketches some subtleties at the other end of narrative communication, considering implied readers and narratees. In order to give greater scope to the analyses, Hogan develops case studies from painting and film as well as literature, treating art by Rabindranath Tagore; films by David Lynch, Bimal Roy, and Kabir Khan; and literary works by Mirabai, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Margaret Atwood, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, and Joseph Diescho.
It has long been recognized that affect (that is, the noncognitive aspect of mental activity) plays a large role in writing and in learning to write. According to Susan H. McLeod, however, the model that has been most used for empirical research on the writing process is based on cognitive psychology and does not take into account affective phenomena. Nor does the social constructionist view of the writing process acknowledge the affective realm except in a very general way. To understand the complete picture, McLeod insists, we need to explore how cognitive, affective, and social elements interact as people write.
In this book, McLeod follows a group of students through a semester of writing assignments, tracking the students’ progress and examining the affective elements relevant to their writing. To facilitate future discussion of these phenomena, McLeod also provides suggested definitions for terms in the affective domain.
In a very real sense, this book is the result of a collaboration of three Susans: Susan McLeod, who researched and wrote the book; Sue Hallett, an instructor in Washington State University’s composition program whose classes McLeod observed and who helped provide much of the data; and Susan Parker, a graduate student who observed Hallett’s class and who ran a tutorial connected to that class. To provide a narrative structure, McLeod and her two collaborators have constructed a simulated semester, conflating the year and a half of the study into one semester and creating a class that is a composite drawn from seven classrooms over three semesters.
Although philosophers have had much to say about the affective domain, Notes on the Heart is based for the most part on research from the social sciences. Discussions of pedagogy, while meant to have practical value, are suggestive rather than prescriptive. The goal is to help teachers see their practice in new way.
Teachers will be particularly interested in McLeod’s discussion of teacher affect/effect. This section examines both the issue of the "Pygmalion effect" (students becoming better because the teacher believes they are) and perhaps the more common opposite, the "golem effect" (students becoming less capable because their teachers view them that way).
The first novel Anthony Powell published following the completion of his epic A Dance to the Music of Time, O, How the Wheel Becomes It! fulfills perhaps every author’s fantasy as it skewers a conceited, lazy, and dishonest critic. A writer who avoids serving in World War II and veers in and out of marriage, G. F. H. Shadbold ultimately falls victim to the title’s spinning—and righteous—emblem of chance. Sophisticated and a bit cruel, Wheel’s tale of posthumous vengeance is, nonetheless, irresistible.
Written at the peak of the late British master’s extraordinary literary career, this novel offers profound insight into the mind of a great artist whose unequaled style, ear for dialogue, and eye for irony will delight devotees and new readers alike.
The Road of Excess
Marcus BOON Harvard University Press, 2002 Library of Congress PN56.N18B66 2002 | Dewey Decimal 809.93356
From the antiquity of Homer to yesterday's Naked Lunch, writers have found inspiration, and readers have lost themselves, in a world of the imagination tinged and oftentimes transformed by drugs. The age-old association of literature and drugs receives its first comprehensive treatment in this far-reaching work. Drawing on history, science, biography, literary analysis, and ethnography, Marcus Boon shows that the concept of drugs is fundamentally interdisciplinary, and reveals how different sets of connections between disciplines configure each drug's unique history.
In chapters on opiates, anesthetics, cannabis, stimulants, and psychedelics, Boon traces the history of the relationship between writers and specific drugs, and between these drugs and literary and philosophical traditions. With reference to the usual suspects from De Quincey to Freud to Irvine Welsh and with revelations about others such as Milton, Voltaire, Thoreau, and Sartre, The Road of Excess provides a novel and persuasive characterization of the "effects" of each class of drug--linking narcotic addiction to Gnostic spirituality, stimulant use to writing machines, anesthesia to transcendental philosophy, and psychedelics to the problem of the imaginary itself. Creating a vast network of texts, personalities, and chemicals, the book reveals the ways in which minute shifts among these elements have resulted in "drugs" and "literature" as we conceive of them today.
Table of Contents:
1. Addicted to Nothingness: Narcotics and Literature 2. The Voice of the Blood: Transcendentalism and Anesthetic Revelation 3. The Time of the Assassins: Cannabis and Literature 4. Induced Life: Stimulants and Literature 5. The Imaginal Realms: Psychedelics and Literature
Bibliography Notes Acknowledgments Illustration Credits Index
Reviews of this book: Lucid, startling survey of significant writers and their cozy, quasi-scientific relationships with drugs...A well-executed, deliberative study that effectively reclaims and demystifies key written representations of drug experience. --Kirkus Reviews
Reviews of this book: Instead of providing a chronological history of drugs in literature, Boon offers a sprawling, extensively researched work that explores the "more subtle, micropolitical histories of everyday interactions between human beings and particular psychoactive substances." Each of the book's five chapters focuses on writers'and works associated with a particular class of drugs...This is a solid work of scholarship. --William D. Walsh, Library Journal
Reviews of this book: Writers have been taking drugs as long as there have been drugs to be had, and--as we learn from Marcus Boon's fascinating and meticulous The Road of Excess--the line is blurred, in fact invisible, between those writers who take drugs to inflame or exalt their demons and those who simply need, in Aldous Huxley's phrase, "a chemical vacation from intolerable selfhood"...The Road of Excess does the field of drug studies a great service by providing a clear narrative of literature's long romance with drugs, and by relating each substance to a specific creative enterprise. --James Parker, Boston Globe
Reviews of this book: The Road of Excess...focuses on the external conditions that prompted some of the world's most famous storytellers to smoke, snort and swallow their way to notoriety...By providing social, economic, ethnographic, scientific, and religious perspective as the foundation of his observations, Boon realizes his mandate by offering fascinating context and insight to a timeline that dates back to Homer's Odyssey. --Nick Krewen, Toronto Star
Reviews of this book: Boon's observations speak as much to our scientific understanding of the brain as to our literary appreciation of writers like Henri Michaux and Charles Baudelaire, William Burroughs and Will Self, and they deserve close criticism. This alone makes Boon's ironic and perceptive book very welcome: It is that rare creature, a work of literary criticism that the scientific community can enjoy, contend with, and from which it can draw inspiration. --Simon Ings, New Scientist
Reviews of this book: Marcus Boon...tilled the well-seeded territory of druggy writers...and now brings it to fruition in The Road of Excess...His feat suggests that even in a literature department, a lively empirical topic can survive years of deconstructive indoctrination and cultural-studies overkill...Boon's enterprising research soon takes the reader to intoxicating places...He proceeds incisively, his double-helix narrative intertwining a fine strand of scholarly detail with an ongoing argument for transcendental subjectivity's importance to literature--so powerful an influence it almost behooves writers to experiment with drugs...The most arresting strain of Boon's book is thus its vast historical sweep. Like the pal in the park believed to have "tried everything," Boon appears to have read everything concerned with writers and drugs. --Carlin Romano, Chronicle of Higher Education
Reviews of this book: For the British romantics--Keats, Byron, Coleridge, Shelley, de Quincey--it was opium. For Proust, Guy de Maupassant and William James, it was anesthetics--either and nitrous oxide. Balzac, Coleridge, Rimbaud, Yeats and the Beats all smoked, ate and drank cannabis. Balzac's speedy writing was fueled by vast quantities of caffeine; Kerouac chewed Benzedrine to hurry his typing. Then there are such famous names as Leary, de Kooning, Bowles, Thompson and, of course, the king of literary druggies, William S. Burroughs, those day trippers who happily wrote while consuming all manner of psychedelics--peyote, mescaline, acid. All this social, literary and pharmaceutical history is considered in a thoughtful but engaging style by Marcus Boon. --Dan Smith, Toronto Star
Reviews of this book: Boon has written the most useful and engaging history of psychoactive lit yet. His prose is generous, unhurried, and far too tasteful to gob up the page with theory. At the same time, he casts his net deep and wide, drawing in folks as disparate as Chaucer, Kant, and Iceberg Slim. Boon is not content to merely record the encounter between modern writers and drugs; he deepens the story as well, and, amazingly, he does it without exploiting the rhetoric of personal experience or subversive hip. --Erik Davis, Bookforum
Reviews of this book: The first thing to say about Marcus Boon's Road of Excess is that he has certainly done the research...This [is a] valuable, philosophically provocative and sometimes quite moving work of literary criticism...Boon has read everything from Homer's Odyssey, with its description of the lotus plant, to the underground comics of Robert Crumb. And he can step outside literature to show a knowledge of a far wider cultural world. --Steven Rosen, Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News
Reviews of this book: This meticulous exploration of the influence of narcotics on literature is like a late-night literary overdose...[Boon's] academic background shines through without bogging down this intriguing subject...The Road of Excess is broken down into five sections based on a specific realm of drug: opiates, anaesthetics, cannabis, stimulants (coffee, cocaine and amphetamines) and psychedelics. There is a historical logic to the structure that reflects both the social norms and the scientific discoveries of the time. It is this that makes Excess a riveting read as Boon describes the high-fashion accessory of hand-crafted syringes to inject morphine in public or the introduction of opium via Chinese workers in Europe. Boon has explored the cultures around his literary figures with methodical devotion, creating a colorful, if at times, frightening sense of time and place...[Boon's] writing is largely a clear, calm and extraordinarily researched discussion of strange visions, odd lives and often marvelous writing. --Ashley Crawford, The Age
Reviews of this book: In an impressive display of scholarship, Boon meticulously chronicles the connection between writers and drugs. From Samuel Taylor Coleridge to Jack Kerouac, writers' personal odysseys into the dizzying world of drugs are depicted with a novelist's eye for detail. Boon...creates order of this heretofore largely uncharted history in five well-rounded essays examining how literature has been influenced by narcotics, anesthetics, cannabis, stimulants, and psychedelics. Through liberal use of anecdotes, Boon helps transform what could have been a dry recitation of cultural and literary artifacts into a feast of historical surprises...Though it is a scholarly endeavor, Boon's new work reads more like a wide-eyed, joyous romp through a literary statesman's funhouse, where each room contains a masterfully told tale of opium or morphine, peyote or LSD, coffee or cocaine. We see a gallery of our most prized literary lions, many of them stripped bare of their pristine reputations. It is a mind-teasing exercise that is well worth the trip. --Rebecca Shannonhouse, Boston Globe
Reviews of this book: A scrupulously researched and splendidly written tome that is a joy to read and a challenge to digest. --Gordon Phinn, Books in Canada
The book's foundational strength is its scholarship. He uses citations not only for traditional scholarly support, but to delight, astonish, and engage the reader. It's too bad that bibliographies are out of fashion these days, since Boon's is a gem. He's done his homework several times over. He is a man after my own heart with his methodological bricolage, applying political, psychological, medical, anthropological and theological tactics according to the needs of the situation. The book is written in a buoyant tone, full of energy and excitement whether disclosing a juicy fact or working through a knotty argument. Although it is clearly an academic book, in the sense that it has footnotes and high scholarly standards, it could be enjoyed by any reader with an interest in literature - or drugs. When it finds unknown ground it is exciting, and when it recrosses more familiar zones it always finds a way to renew interest in them. --David Lenson, author of On Drugs and Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts
The Road of Excess is a superbly researched and lucidly written compendium of fascinating information. It brings to light a history that has heretofore been largely repressed and details the enormous impact of drugs and altered consciousness on European and American literary cultures. --Nicholas Bromell, Professor of English, University of Massachusetts
Who owns your genetic information? Might it be the doctors who, in the course of removing your spleen, decode a few cells and turn them into a patented product? In 1990 the Supreme Court of California said yes, marking another milestone on the information superhighway. This extraordinary case is one of the many that James Boyle takes up in Shamans, Software, and Spleens, a timely look at the infinitely tricky problems posed by the information society. Discussing topics ranging from blackmail and insider trading to artificial intelligence (with good-humored stops in microeconomics, intellectual property, and cultural studies along the way), Boyle has produced a work that can fairly be called the first social theory of the information age.
Now more than ever, information is power, and questions about who owns it, who controls it, and who gets to use it carry powerful implications. These are the questions Boyle explores in matters as diverse as autodialers and direct advertising, electronic bulletin boards and consumer databases, ethno-botany and indigenous pharmaceuticals, the right of publicity (why Johnny Carson owns the phrase "Here's Johnny!"), and the right to privacy (does J. D. Salinger "own" the letters he's sent?). Boyle finds that our ideas about intellectual property rights rest on the notion of the Romantic author--a notion that Boyle maintains is not only outmoded but actually counterproductive, restricting debate, slowing innovation, and widening the gap between rich and poor nations. What emerges from this lively discussion is a compelling argument for relaxing the initial protection of authors' works and expanding the concept of the fair use of information. For those with an interest in the legal, ethical, and economic ramifications of the dissemination of information--in short, for every member of the information society, willing or unwilling--this book makes a case that cannot be ignored.
In 1834 Harvard dropout Richard Henry Dana Jr. became a common seaman, and soon his Two Years Before the Mast became a classic. Literary acclaim did not erase the young lawyer’s memory of floggings he witnessed aboard ship or undermine his vow to combat injustice. Jeffrey Amestoy tells the story of Dana’s determination to keep that vow.
Today, the surprisingly elastic form of the memoir embraces subjects that include dying, illness, loss, relationships, and self-awareness. Writing to reveal the inner self—the pilgrimage into one’s spiritual and/or religious nature—is a primary calling. Contemporary memoirists are exploring this field with innovative storytelling, rigorous craft, and new styles of confessional authorship. Now, Thomas Larson brings his expertise as a critic, reader, and teacher to the boldly evolving and improvisatory world of spiritual literature.
In his book-length essay Spirituality and the Writer, Larson surveys the literary insights of authors old and new who have shaped religious autobiography and spiritual memoir—from Augustine to Thomas Merton, from Peter Matthiessen to Cheryl Strayed. He holds them to an exacting standard: they must render transcendent experience in the writing itself. Only when the writer’s craft prevails can the fleeting and profound personal truths of the spirit be captured. Like its predecessor, Larson’s The Memoir and the Memoirist,Spirituality and the Writer will find a home in writing classrooms and book groups, and be a resource for students, teachers, and writers who seek guidance with exploring their spiritual lives.
With her distinctive, impassioned voice and familiar felicity of language, Terry Tempest Williams talks about wilderness and wildlife, place and eroticism, art and literature, democracy and politics, family and heritage, Mormonism and religion, writing and creativity, and other subjects that engage her agile mind—in a set of interviews gathered and introduced by Michael Austin to represent the span of her career as a naturalist, author, and activist.
Andrew Motion brings all his lyricism and inventiveness to bear in this fictional autobiography of the great swindler, Thomas Griffiths Wainewright. A painter, writer, and friend of Blake, Byron, and Keats, Wainewright was almost certainly a murderer. When he died in a penal colony in Tasmania, he left behind fragments of documents and a beguiling legend which Motion uses to create an imagined confession laced with facts, telling the story as no straightforward history could.
"Thomas Griffiths Wainewright is a dream subject for either novelist or biographer. . . . Andrew Motion, Britain's poet laureate, clearly felt that neither straight biography nor pure fiction would do Wainewright's complexities justice, and so he combined the two genres. The result is stunning. The central voice is that of Wainewright himself, reflecting back on his life. After each chapter Mr. Motion has added detailed notes that inform and flesh out the narrative, giving not only his own informed opinion of Wainewright's actions but also those of Wainewright's contemporaries and the scholars and writers who have studied him over the past two centuries."—Lucy Moore, Washington Times
"Brilliantly innovative, gripping, intricately researched, Motion's biography does justice to its subject at last."—John Carey, The Sunday Times
"Engaging and convincing. . . . The trajectory of this character-from neglected and resentful child to arrogant and envious London dandy to sociopathic murderer on to an enfeebled, frightened prisoner-is indelibly imagined and drawn."—Edmund White, Financial Times
"[A] fascinating look at an evil artist, a charmer still having his way with us. We can hear him being economical with the truth, telling us and himself just what he wants to hear."—Michael Olmert, New Jersey Star Ledger
"Motion crafts a fascinating tale as complex and compelling as if Wainewright himself had written it."—Michael Spinella, Booklist
"Did he kill his servant, and possibly others as well? . . . The footnotes seem to say yes, but Wainewright adamantly argues his own case. Motion's prose is flawless, and Wainewright's voice is convincing. But in the long run, it's this ambiguity that makes Wainewright the Poisoner a fascinating and memorable read."—R.V. Schelde, Sacramento News and Review
"Who could as for a better Romantic villain than Thomas Griffiths Wainewright? . . . [The book] succeeds on many levels: as an act of ventriloquism, a work of scholarship, a psychological study, as a set of sharp portraits of famous men and an engrossing read. . . ."—Polly Shulman, Newsday
"Instead of a straightforward biography, Andrew Motion gives us Wainewright's first person, fictionalized "confession."—a document as circumspect, slyly reticent, and oeaginously smooth as the man himself. Splendid."—John Banville, Literary Review
"A genuine tour de force, and on a non-fictional level, a telling portrait of a strange, intriguing and repellant man."—Brian Fallon, Irish Times
"A marvelous literary hybrid that totters with one foot in the world of nonfiction, the other in the land of make-believe. One is alternatively swept up in Motion's dizzy imaginative pastiche, or sent crashing into a dusty stack of scholarly cogitations. . . ."—Philadelphia Inquirer
"As true a portrait of a liar as its subject could wish. Rich and strange. . . ."—Glasgow Herald
Writing involves risks—the risk that one will be misunderstood, the risk of being persecuted, the risks of being made a champion for causes in which one does not believe, this risk of inadvertently supporting a reader’s prejudices, to name a few. In trying to give expression to what is true, the writer must “clear a passage within the agitated world of passions,” an undertaking that always to some extent fails: writers are never the master of their own speech. In Writing: The Political Test, France’s leading political philosopher, Claude Lefort, illuminates the process by which writers negotiate difficult path to free themselves from the ideological and contextual traps that would doom their attempts to articulate a new vision. Lefort examines writers whose works provide special insights into this problem of risk, both literary artists and political philosophers. Among them are Salman Rushdie, Sade, Tocqueville,m Machiavelli, Leo Strauss, Orwell, Kant, Robespierre, Guizot, and Pierre Clastres. In Tocqueville, for example, Lefort finds that the author’s improvisatory and open-ended expression represents the character of the democratic experience. Orwell’s work on totalitarianism shows up the totalitarian subject’s complicity in this political regime. And Rushdie is remarkable for his solid attack on relativism. With the character and fate of the political forms of modernity, democracy, and totalitarianism a central theme, Lefort concludes with some reflections on the collapse of the Soviet Union. This intriguing and accessible exploration of literature’s political aspects and political philosophy’s literary ones will be welcomed by those who have been stymied by current efforts to bridge these two fields. Taken together, the essays in this volume also stand as an intellectual autobiography of Lefort, making it an excellent introduction to his work for less experience students of political theory or philosophy.
Much has been made of the image of writers in Paris—romanticized and idealized in fiction and on screen, these émigré artists in sidewalk cafés spark our imagination with unusual force. But rarely do the real-life figures speak to us directly to comment on their work, their lives, and their reasons for choosing to live and work in Paris.
In these striking interviews, E. M. Cioran, Julio Cortázar, Brion Gysin, Eugène Ionesco, Carlos Fuentes, Jean-Claude Carrière, Milan Kundera, Nathalie Sarraute, and Edmund Jabès do just this as they speak out on the risks they've taken, on their struggles and discoveries, on tradition, challenge, and their near-unanimous status as émigrés. A consummate interviewer, Jason Weiss spoke in depth with these pathbreaking artists regarding their lives, their craft, and their very special relationship to Paris. Their writings were naturally the main focus of investigation, but Weiss' concern was always to build on previous interviews, to deepen certain lines of inquiry and open new ones, to contribute fresh material to the ongoing record. The result is a series of invigorating, detailed portraits that go beyond personality, habits, and pleasures to examine some of the causes and effects in the unique relationship of place and temperament.
Writing at Risk suggests that there is more than we suspect binding writers of such disparate cultures and genres…perhaps their attitudes toward writing, perhaps their common attraction to risk. Readers will relish the immediacy of these interviews and will want to (re)discover the work of these exceptional artists.
Partly a roman à clef, partly a paradic "novel-within-a-novel," Writing for Love and Money is perhaps best described as a comic odyssey into the world of the bestseller, a tour guide for writing a blockbuster. Playfully weaving literary puns and allusions into an enthralling narrative, Perutz allows Kate, assisted by a host of "real" and fictional authors, to learn page by page the ingredients of popular fiction. While some critics may argue about the genre—is the book a novel? a memoir? an expose?—Perutz's readers will agree that Writing for Love and Money is one of the funniest nonnovels, nonmemoirs, nonexposes they've read.
Writing Natural History is the edited record of four public dialogues held at the University of Utah in 1988 between eminent writers in the fields of natural history. In these interchanges the writers discussed their traditions, perspectives, values, purposes, techniques, and personal insights. Their conversations, like their work, link the sciences with the humanities in surprising ways, enhancing our understanding and appreciation of both. This volume maintains the vitality of the spoken dialogues and conveys a lively sense of each speaker’s concern with the processes of the natural world and our human position in it.
Half of the authors began as professionals in the natural sciences before becoming recognized for their literary skills; the other half are established writers whose works reflect their vital human affinity with and respect for nature. Writing Natural History will appeal to all readers involved in conservation, nature study, creative writing, environmental issues, the natural sciences, the outdoors, and the ecological politics of Earth.
Authors dialogues feature Barry Lopez and Edward O. Wilson, Robert Finch and Terry Tempest Williams, Gary Paul Nabhan and Ann Zwinger, Paul Brooks and Edward Lueders.