Seven years after the death of Anton Chekhov, his sister, Maria, wrote to a friend, "You asked for someone who could write a biography of my deceased brother. If you recall, I recommended Iv. Al. Bunin . . . . No one writes better than he; he knew and understood my deceased brother very well; he can go about the endeavor objectively. . . . I repeat, I would very much like this biography to correspond to reality and that it be written by I.A. Bunin."
In About Chekhov Ivan Bunin sought to free the writer from limiting political, social, and aesthetic assessments of his life and work, and to present both in a more genuine, insightful, and personal way. Editor and translator Thomas Gaiton Marullo subtitles About Chekhov "The Unfinished Symphony," because although Bunin did not complete the work before his death in 1953, he nonetheless fashioned his memoir as a moving orchestral work on the writers' existence and art. . . . "Even in its unfinished state, About Chekhov stands not only as a stirring testament of one writer's respect and affection for another, but also as a living memorial to two highly creative artists." Bunin draws on his intimate knowledge of Chekhov to depict the writer at work, in love, and in relation with such writers as Tolstoy and Gorky. Through anecdotes and observations, spirited exchanges and reflections, this memoir draws a unique portrait that plumbs the depths and complexities of two of Russia's greatest writers.
In 1890 Abraham Lincoln’ s two main White House secretaries, John G. Nicolay and John Hay, published the ten-volume biography Abraham Lincoln: A History. Although the authors witnessed the daily events occurring within the executive mansion and the national Capitol, their lengthy biography is more a recounting of the Civil War era than a study of Lincoln’ s life.
Editor Michael Burlingame sifted through the original forty-seven-hundred-page work and selected only the personal observations of the secretaries during the Lincoln presidency, placing ten excerpts in chronological order in Abraham Lincoln: The Observations of John G. Nicolay and John Hay. The result is an important collection of Nicolay and Hay’ s interpretations of Lincoln’ s character, actions, and reputation, framed by Burlingame’ s compelling preface, introduction, chapter introductions, and notes. The volume provides vivid descriptions of such events as Election Day in 1860, the crisis at Fort Sumter, the first major battle of the war at Bull Run, and Lincoln’ s relationship with Edwin Stanton and George McClellan.
In this clear and captivating new work, Burlingame has made key portions of Nicolay and Hay’ s immense biography available to a wide audience of today’ s readers.
On 28 March, 1941, at the height of Hitler's victories during the Second World War, Virginia Woolf filled her pockets with stones and drowned herself in the River Ouse near her home in Sussex. At the time of her death some voices in the press attacked her for showing cowardice in the face of the enemy and for setting a bad example to the general population. Woolf's suicide has been the subject of controversy for the media, for literary scholars, and for her biographers ever since.
Just when it may seem that nothing else could be said about Virginia Woolf and the ambiguous details of her suicide, Afterwords provides an entirely fresh perspective. It makes available to a wide readership for the first time letters sent to Leonard Woolf and Vanessa Bell (Virginia Woolf's sister) in the aftermath of the event. This unique volume brings together over two hundred letters from T. S. Eliot, H. G. Wells, May Sarton, Vita Sackville-West, Edith Sitwell, E. M. Forster, Radclyffe Hall, and many others, including political figures and religious leaders. In addition, informative annotations reveal the identities of many unexpected condolence-letter writers from among the general public.
In her introduction, editor Sybil Oldfield confronts the contemporary controversy over Woolf's suicide note, arguing that no one who knew Woolf or her work believed that she had deserted Britain. The ensuing collection of letters supports Oldfield's assertion. In elegant prose that rises to the stature of the occasion, these writers share remembrances of Virginia Woolf in life, comment on the quality of her work and her antifascist values, and reveal previously unknown facets of her capacity for friendship.
A richly deserved tribute to the life of an extraordinary woman as well as a testimony to the human capacity for sympathy, Afterwords is essential reading for anyone interested in the life, death, and enduring impact of Virginia Woolf.
While Albert Camus is an internationally acclaimed figure, Jean Sénac has struggled to gain recognition, even in France and Algeria. The correspondence between the Nobel Prize recipient and the young poet, documented in this illuminating collection, is a testimony to a little-known friendship that lasted for over a decade (1947–1958) and coincided with the escalating conflict between France and Algeria. Their letters shed light on a passionate conflict that opposed two men on two sides of the Algerian War. On one side, Camus distanced himself from an Algerian insurrection that was becoming increasingly violent. On the other, Sénac espoused the armed insurrection of the National Liberation Front and Algeria’s right to independence and freedom. The exchange between Sénac and Camus allows for a deeper and more personal understanding of the Algerian conflict, and of the crucial role of writers, poets, and thinkers in the midst of a fratricidal colonial conflict. The letters translated here are also the intimate dialog between two men who had much in common and who shared a deep love for each other and for their homeland.
Anton Chekhov and his Times
Andrei Turkov University of Arkansas Press, 1995 Library of Congress PG3458.A657 1995 | Dewey Decimal 891.723
Now available for the first time in English in America, these sixty-eight letters and ten essay-length reminiscences trace the development of Chekhov's personality and talent, creating a window into the life and times of one of the world's greatest short story writers and playwrights. These perspectives on his family life and marriage, his early works, the stage productions of his plays, his literary successes, and the philosophies behind his writing create a rich biography of Chekhov that will reward writers, scholars, and all lovers of literature.
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.
Robin Blaser moved from his native Idaho to attend the University of California, Berkeley, in 1944. While there, he developed as a poet, explored his homosexuality, engaged in a lively arts community, and met fellow travelers and poets Robert Duncan and Jack Spicer. The three men became the founding members of the Berkeley core of what is now known as the San Francisco Renaissance in New American Poetry.
In the company of a small group of friends and writers in 1974, Blaser was asked to narrate his personal story and to comment on the Berkeley poetry scene. In twenty autobiographical audiotapes, Blaser talks about his childhood in Idaho, his time in Berkeley, and his participation in the making of a new kind of poetry. The Astonishment Tapes is the expertly edited transcript of these recordings by Miriam Nichols, Blaser’s editor and biographer.
In The Astonishment Tapes Blaser comments extensively on the poetic principles that he, Duncan, and Spicer worked through, as well as the differences and dissonances between the three of them. Nichols has edited the transcripts only minimally, allowing readers to make their own interpretations of Blaser’s intentions.
Sometimes gossipy, sometimes profound, Blaser offers his version on the inside story of one of the most significant moments in mid-twentieth century American poetry. The Astonishment Tapes is of considerable value and interest, not only to readers of Blaser, Duncan, and Spicer, but also to scholars of the early postmodern and twentieth-century American poetry.
John Hay believed that “real history is told in private letters,” and the more than 220 surviving letters and telegrams from his Civil War days prove that to be true, showing Abraham Lincoln in action: “The Tycoon is in fine whack. I have rarely seen him more serene & busy. He is managing this war, the draft, foreign relations, and planning a reconstruction of the Union, all at once. I never knew with what tyrannous authority he rules the Cabinet, till now. The most important things he decides & there is no cavil.”
Along with Hay’s personal correspondence, Burlingame includes his surviving official letters. Though lacking the “literary brilliance of [Hay’s] personal letters,” Burlingame explains, “they help flesh out the historical record.” Burlingame also includes some of the letters Hay composed for Lincoln’s signature, including the celebrated letter of condolence to the Widow Bixby.
More than an inside glimpse of the Civil War White House, Hay’s surviving correspondence provides a window on the world of nineteenth-century Washington, D.C.
“Think of a man walking in the desert,” writes Griffin, “looking for the path to its summit, looking for the observatory that may, at last, shed light on what’s below.”
In this luminous and moving book of essays, award-winning author Shaun Griffin weaves together a poetic meditation on living meaningfully in this world. Anchored in the American West but reaching well beyond, he recounts his discoveries as a poet and devoted reader of poetry, a teacher of the disadvantaged, a friend of poets and artists, and a responsible member of the human family.
Always grounded in place, be it Nevada, South Africa, North Dakota, Spain, Zimbabwe, or Mexico, Griffin confronts the world with an openness that allows him to learn and grow from the people he meets. This is a meditation on how all of us can confront our own influences to achieve wholeness in our lives. Along with Griffin, readers will reflect on how they might respond to a homeless man walking through central Nevada, viewing the open desert as Thoreau might have viewed Walden, seeing the US-Mexico border as a region of lost identity, reconciling how poets who live west of the Hudson River find anonymity to be their laurel, and experiencing how writing poetry in prison becomes lifesaving.
Whether poets or places in the West or beyond, experiences with other cultures, or an acute awareness that poetry is the refuge of redress—all have influenced Griffin’s writing and thinking as a poet and activist in the Great Basin. The mindfulness of Because the Light Will Not Forgive Me demonstrates that even though the light does not forgive, it still reveals.
In Benjamin Franklin’s Printing Network, Ralph Frasca explores Franklin’s partnerships and business relationships with printers and their impact on the early American press. Besides analyzing the structure of the network, Frasca addresses two equally important questions: How did Franklin establish this informal group? What were his motivations for doing so?
This network grew to be the most prominent and geographically extensive of the early American printing organizations, lasting from the 1720s until the 1790s. Stretching from New England to the West Indies, it comprised more than two dozen members, including such memorable characters as the Job-like James Parker, the cunning Francis Childs, the malcontent Benjamin Mecom, the vengeful Benjamin Franklin Bache, the steadfast David Hall, and the deranged Anthony Armbruster.
Franklin’s network altered practices in both the European and the American colonial printing trades by providing capital and political influence to set up workers as partners and associates. As an economic entity and source of mutual support, the network was integral to the success of many eighteenth-century printers, as well as to the development of American journalism.
Frasca argues that one of Franklin’s principal motivations in establishing the network was his altruistic desire to assist Americans in their efforts to be virtuous. Using a variety of sources, Frasca shows that Franklin viewed virtue as a path to personal happiness and social utility. Franklin intended for his network of printers to teach virtue and encourage its adoption. The network would disseminate his moral truths to a mass audience, and this would in turn further his own political, economic, and moral ambitions.
By exploring Franklin’s printing network and addressing these questions, this work fills a substantial void in the historical treatment of Franklin’s life. Amateur historians and professional scholars alike will welcome Frasca’s clear and capable treatment of this subject.
Dorothea Tanning, one of the twentieth-century's most original and provocative painters, delivers a vivid account of a fascinating life lived as an artist among artists. Tanning reveals not only her life story, but the irresistibly creative mind that propelled her to live it. From the small town of Galesburg, Illinois, to the art hubs of New York and Paris, Tanning traveled the world of Surrealism and went beyond it, with fellow explorers Virgil Thompson, George Balanchine, Alberto Giacometti, Dylan Thomas, Truman Capote, Joan Miró, James Merrill, and Max Ernst, to whom she was married for over thirty years. Their life together forms an important and moving part of her unforgettable story; a story which, spanning almost a century, magically unfolds through Tanning's incandescent prose.
Bill Bowen’s memoir deals with many of the most important events and years in Arkansas history in the twentieth century. Bowen was born and raised in Altheimer, in the Arkansas Delta, a section of the country that was among the most impoverished in the nation during the Depression. His adolescence was shaped by the Depression, and as a young adult he enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and served in the U.S. Naval Reserve until 1963. After the war, Bowen became a tax attorney. He used his unique skills to refine the legal aspects of investment banking in Arkansas and became so proficient at it that he moved into the banking field to serve first as president then board chairman of one of Arkansas’s largest banks. Legal and banking experience led naturally to politics, and he became chief of staff for Gov. Bill Clinton. After Clinton announced his candidacy for president, it became Bowen’s task to protect the interests and programs of Governor Clinton in the face of intense pressure from then Lt. Gov. Jim Guy Tucker to become de facto governor. Even in retirement he continued to lead an energetic, productive life as he prepared himself for yet another career, this one in education, serving two years as dean of the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, Law School, which now bears his name.
Brother Men is the first published collection of private letters of Edgar Rice Burroughs, the phenomenally successful author of adventure, fantasy, and science fiction tales, including the Tarzan series. The correspondence presented here is Burroughs’s decades-long exchange with Herbert T. Weston, the maternal great-grandfather of this volume’s editor, Matt Cohen. The trove of correspondence Cohen discovered unexpectedly during a visit home includes hundreds of items—letters, photographs, telegrams, postcards, and illustrations—spanning from 1903 to 1945. Since Weston kept carbon copies of his own letters, the material documents a lifelong friendship that had begun in the 1890s, when the two men met in military school. In these letters, Burroughs and Weston discuss their experiences of family, work, war, disease and health, sports, and new technology over a period spanning two world wars, the Great Depression, and widespread political change. Their exchanges provide a window into the personal writings of the legendary creator of Tarzan and reveal Burroughs’s ideas about race, nation, and what it meant to be a man in early-twentieth-century America.
The Burroughs-Weston letters trace a fascinating personal and business relationship that evolved as the two men and their wives embarked on joint capital ventures, traveled frequently, and navigated the difficult waters of child-rearing, divorce, and aging. Brother Men includes never-before-published images, annotations, and a critical introduction in which Cohen explores the significance of the sustained, emotional male friendship evident in the letters. Rich with insights related to visual culture and media technologies, consumerism, the history of the family, the history of authorship and readership, and the development of the West, these letters make it clear that Tarzan was only one small part of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s broad engagement with modern culture.
Oliver Goldsmith arrived in England a penniless Irishman and toiled for years in the anonymity of Grub Street. Norma Clarke tells how this destitute scribbler became one of literary London’s most celebrated authors, transmuting dark truths about the empire into fable and nostalgia whose undertow of Irish indignation remains just barely perceptible.
This lavishly illustrated, bilingual art book presents drawings by Ramón Casas in the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections at the Northwestern University Library and oil paintings by Casas from private collections and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Charles Deering and Ramón Casas follows the development and dramatic dissolution of a three-way friendship that connected the Spanish painter Ramón Casas (1866–1932); the Chicago industrialist Charles Deering (1852–1927), who was a collector and admirer of Casas’s work as well as a patron of Northwestern University; and the Spanish artist Miguel Utrillo (1862–1934), Casas’s lifelong friend and the father of the French painter Maurice Utrillo.
Casas introduced Deering to Sitges, a beach town near Barcelona, Spain, where the latter created a palatial estate with a museum to house his art collection. Miguel Utrillo served as director of the museum. The text explores the treasures housed at Maricel and what happened among the three men that led Casas to abandon Utrillo and Deering to depart Spain, taking his art collection with him.
Considers Gilman's place in American literary and social history by examining her relationships to other prominent intellectuals of her era.
By placing Charlotte Perkins Gilman in the company of her contemporaries, this collection seeks to correct misunderstandings of the feminist writer and lecturer as an isolated radical. Gilman believed and preached that no life is ever led in isolation; indeed, the cornerstone of her philosophy was the idea that "humanity is a relation."
Gilman's highly public and combative stances as a critic and social activist brought her into contact and conflict with many of the major thinkers and writers of the period, including Mary Austin, Margaret Sanger, Ambrose Bierce, Grace Ellery Channing, Lester Ward, Inez Haynes Gillmore, William Randolph Hearst, Karen Horney, William Dean Howells, Catharine Beecher, George Bernard Shaw, and Owen Wister. Gilman wrote on subjects as wide ranging as birth control, eugenics, race, women's rights and suffrage, psychology, Marxism, and literary aesthetics. Her many contributions to social, intellectual, and literary life at the turn of the 20th century raised the bar for future discourse, but at great personal and professional cost.
Christiana Herringham (1852-1929), an expert copyist of the Italian Old Masters, was an extraordinary and accomplished woman. Her achievements required a delicate balance, for she had to negotiate old Victorian restrictions in order "to find and fortify a place for herself" in the male-dominated spheres of fine-art administration and public service.
Lady Herringham arrived on the Edwardian art scene with a translation of Il Libro dell' Arte o Trattato della Pittura, Cennini's fifteenth-century handbook on fresco and tempera. It aroused new interest in those techniques and led to the founding of the Society of Painters in Tempera in 1901. To preserve Britain's art heritage from buyers abroad, she provided the money that launched the National Art Collections Fund in 1903, creating what is still a vital and authoritative voice in Britain's cultural life. Her work as the only woman on the NACF's first executive committee prepared her to assist in founding the India Society, which urged respect for indigenous Indian traditions of the fine arts and encouraged appreciation for them in England.
Her concern for undervalued art led her to India to copy the Buddhist wall paintings in the Ajanta caves near Hyderabad. Her copies are the only color record of their condition during those years. Sadly, as she returned from India in 1911, Lady Herringham began to suffer from delusions of pursuit and persecution and withdrew to an asylum, where she remained until her death. There were then no satisfactory explanations for her symptoms, only the Victorian medical premise that insanity was an extension of physical illness.
A distinguished Edwardian scholar, Mary Lago has used her knowledge of the cultural history of the period to bring significant insight into the personal and professional conflicts Lady Herringham faced during a time of limited opportunities for women. Lago also discusses the issue of nationalism in art and the role of colonial imperialism in defining and preserving art. As a postscript, she presents the fascinating possibility that Christiana Herringham's experience may have inspired the character of Mrs. Moore in E. M. Forster's A Passage to India.
Gideon Welles’s 1861 appointment as secretary of the navy placed him at the hub of Union planning for the Civil War and in the midst of the powerful personalities vying for influence in Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet. Although Welles initially knew little of naval matters, he rebuilt a service depleted by Confederate defections, planned actions that gave the Union badly needed victories in the war’s early days, and oversaw a blockade that weakened the South’s economy.
Perhaps the hardest-working member of the cabinet, Welles still found time to keep a detailed diary that has become one of the key documents for understanding the inner workings of the Lincoln administration. In this new edition, William E. and Erica L. Gienapp have restored Welles’s original observations, gleaned from the manuscript diaries at the Library of Congress and freed from his many later revisions, so that the reader can experience what he wrote in the moment. With his vitriolic pen, Welles captures the bitter disputes over strategy and war aims, lacerates colleagues from Secretary of State William H. Seward to General-in-Chief Henry Halleck, and condemns the actions of the self-serving southern elite he sees as responsible for the war. He can just as easily wax eloquent about the Navy's wartime achievements, extoll the virtues of Lincoln, or drop in a tidbit of Washington gossip.
Carefully edited and extensively annotated, this edition contains a wealth of supplementary material. The several appendixes include short biographies of the members of Lincoln’s cabinet, the retrospective Welles wrote after leaving office covering the period missing from the diary proper, and important letters regarding naval matters and international law.
Samuel Johnson’s life was situated within a rich social and intellectual community of friendships—and antagonisms. Community and Solitude is a collection of ten essays that
explores relationships between Johnson and several of his main contemporaries—including James Boswell, Edmund Burke, Frances Burney, Robert Chambers, Oliver Goldsmith, Bennet Langton, Arthur Murphy, Richard Savage, Anna Seward, and Thomas Warton—and analyzes some of the literary productions emanating from the pressures within those relationships. In their detailed and careful examination of particular works situated within complex social and personal contexts, the essays in this volume offer a “thick” and illuminating description of Johnson’s world that also engages with larger cultural and aesthetic issues, such as intertextuality, literary celebrity, narrative, the nature of criticism, race, slavery, and sensibility.
Contributors: Christopher Catanese, James Caudle, Marilyn Francus, Christine Jackson-Holzberg, Claudia Thomas Kairoff, Elizabeth Lambert, Anthony W. Lee, James E. May, John Radner, and Lance Wilcox.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
With these words, written long before his Iowa Writers' Workshop became world famous, much imitated, and academically rich, Paul Engle captured the spirit behind his beloved workshop. Now, in this collection of essays by and about those writers who shared the energetic early years, Robert Dana presents a dynamic, informative tribute to Engle and his world.
The book's three sections mingle myth and history with style and grace and no small amount of humor. The beginning essays are given over to memories of Paul Engle in his heyday. The second group focuses particularly on those teachers—Robert Lowell, John Berryman, Kurt Vonnegut, for example—who made the workshop hum on a day-to-day basis. Finally, the third section is devoted to storytelling: tall tales, vignettes, surprises, sober and not-so-sober moments. Engle's own essay, "The Writer and the Place," describes his "simple, and yet how reckless" conviction that "the creative imagination in all of the arts is as important, as congenial, and as necessary, as the historical study of all the arts."
Today, of course, there are hundreds of writers' workshops, many of them founded and directed by graduates of the original Iowa workshop. But when Paul Engle arrived in Iowa there were exactly two. His indomitable nature and great persuasive powers, combined with his distinguished reputation as a poet, loomed large behind the enhancement of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. This volume of fine and witty essays reveals the enthusiasm and drive and sheer pleasure that went into Iowa's renowned workshop.
In 1907, in a quiet English village, Theodora Bosanquet answered Henry James’s call for someone to transcribe his edits and additions to his formidable body of work. The aging James had agreed to revise his novels and tales into the twenty-four-volume New York Edition. Enter Bosanquet, a budding writer who would record the dictated revisions and the prefaces that would become a lynchpin of his legacy.
Embracing the role of amanuensis and creative counterpoint cautiously at first, Bosanquet kept a daily diary over the nine years that she worked with James, as their extraordinary partnership evolved. Bosanquet became the first audience for James’s compositions and his closest literary associate—and their relationship ultimately resulted in James’s famed “deathbed dictations.” At the same time, the homosexuality of each was an unspoken but important influence on their mutual support and companionship.
Susan Herron Sibbet’s posthumous novel gifts us with the voice of a young woman writer drawn into the intimate circle of an aging master, and is a moving addition to previous literary treatments of James and Bosanquet, even as it hews closer to fact than other works do. The Constant Listener is itself the work of an accomplished poet, and will speak to fans of James, historical fiction, and themes of art, love, sexuality, and identity.
The product of long-concealed FBI surveillance documents, Dangerous Friendship chronicles a history of Martin Luther King Jr. that the government kept secret from the public for years. The book reveals the story of Stanley Levison, a well-known figure in the Communist Party–USA, who became one of King’s closest friends and, effectively, his most trusted adviser. Levison, a Jewish attorney and businessman, became King’s pro bono ghostwriter, accountant, fundraiser, and legal adviser. This friendship, however, created many complications for both men. Because of Levison’s former ties to the Communist Party, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover launched an obsessive campaign, wiretapping, tracking, and photographing Levison relentlessly. By association, King was labeled as “a Communist and subversive,” prompting then–attorney general Robert F. Kennedy to authorize secret surveillance of the civil rights leader. It was this effort that revealed King’s sexual philandering and furthered a breakdown of trust between King, Robert F. Kennedy, and eventually President John F. Kennedy. With stunning revelations, this book exposes both the general attitude of the U.S. government toward the privacy rights of American citizens during those difficult years as well as the extent to which King, Levison, and many other freedom workers were hounded by people at the very top of the U.S. security establishment.
In 1908, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote "Requiem for a Friend" in memory of Paula Modersohn-Becker, the German painter who had profoundly affected him and who had died a year earlier. Although a great modern painter, Modersohn-Becker is remembered primarily as she is portrayed in Rilke's poem. Dear Friend looks at the relationship of two great artists whose often-strained friendship was extraordinary for both.
The most pivotal and yet least understood event of Frank Lloyd Wright’s celebrated life involves the brutal murders in 1914 of seven adults and children dear to the architect and the destruction by fire of Taliesin, his landmark residence, near Spring Green, Wisconsin. Unaccountably, the details of that shocking crime have been largely ignored by Wright’s legion of biographers—a historical and cultural gap that is finally addressed in William Drennan’s exhaustively researched Death in a Prairie House: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Murders.
In response to the scandal generated by his open affair with the proto-feminist and free love advocate Mamah Borthwick Cheney, Wright had begun to build Taliesin as a refuge and "love cottage" for himself and his mistress (both married at the time to others).
Conceived as the apotheosis of Wright’s prairie house style, the original Taliesin would stand in all its isolated glory for only a few months before the bloody slayings that rocked the nation and reduced the structure itself to a smoking hull.
Supplying both a gripping mystery story and an authoritative portrait of the artist as a young man, Drennan wades through the myths surrounding Wright and the massacre, casting fresh light on the formulation of Wright’s architectural ideology and the cataclysmic effects that the Taliesin murders exerted on the fabled architect and on his subsequent designs.
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians, and Outstanding Book, selected by the Public Library Association
Even before the first books of her poems were published in the 1890s, friends, neighbors, and even apparently strangers knew Emily Dickinson was a writer of remarkable verses. Featuring both well-known documents and material printed or collected here for the first time, this book offers a broad range of writings that convey impressions of Dickinson in her own time and for the first decades following the publication of her poems. It all begins with her school days and continues to the centennial of her birth in 1930.
In addition, promotional items, reviews, and correspondence relating to early publications are included, as well as some later documents that reveal the changing assessments of Dickinson’s poetry in response to evolving critical standards. These documents provide evidence that counters many popular conceptions of her life and reception, such as the belief that the writer best known for poems focused on loss, death, and immortality was herself a morose soul. In fact, those who knew her found her humorous, playful, and interested in other people.
Dickinson maintained literary and personal correspondence with major representatives of the national literary scene, developing a reputation as a remarkable writer even as she maintained extreme levels of privacy. Evidence compiled here also demonstrates that she herself made considerable provision for the survival of her poems and laid the groundwork for their eventual publication. Dickinson in Her Own Time reveals the poet as her contemporaries knew her, before her legend took hold.
In April 1962, President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy hosted forty-nine Nobel Prize winners—along with many other prominent scientists, artists, and writers—at a famed White House dinner. Among the guests were J. Robert Oppenheimer, who was officially welcomed back to Washington after a stint in the political wilderness; Linus Pauling, who had picketed the White House that very afternoon; William and Rose Styron, who began a fifty-year friendship with the Kennedy family that night; James Baldwin, who would later discuss civil rights with Attorney General Robert Kennedy; Mary Welsh Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway’s widow, who sat next to the president and grilled him on Cuba policy; John Glenn, who had recently orbited the earth aboard Friendship 7; historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., who argued with Ava Pauling at dinner; and many others. Actor Frederic March gave a public recitation after the meal, including some unpublished work of Hemingway’s that later became part of Islands in the Stream. Held at the height of the Cold War, the dinner symbolizes a time when intellectuals were esteemed, divergent viewpoints could be respectfully discussed at the highest level, and the great minds of an age might all dine together in the rarefied glamour of “the people’s house.”
One of the most incredible stories in American history is that of Frederick Douglass, the man who escaped from slavery and rose to become one of the most celebrated and eloquent orators, writers, and public figures in the world. He first committed his story to writing in his 1845 autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Over the course of his life, he would expand on his story considerably, writing two other autobiographies, My Bondage and My Freedom and Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, as well as innumerable newspaper articles and editorials and orations.
As valuable as these writings are in illuminating the man, the story Douglass told in 1845 has become rather too easy to tell, obscuring as much as it reveals. Less a living presence than an inspiring tale, Frederick Douglass remains relatively unknown even to many of those who celebrate his achievements. Douglass in His Own Time offers an introduction to Douglass the man by those who knew him. The book includes a broad range of writings, some intended for public viewing and some private correspondence, all of which contend with the force of Douglass’s tremendous power over the written and spoken word, his amazing presence before crowds, his ability to improvise, to entertain, to instruct, to inspire—indeed, to change lives through his eloquent appeals to righteous self-awareness and social justice. In approaching Douglass through the biographical sketches, memoirs, letters, editorials, and other articles about him, readers will encounter the complexity of a life lived on a very public stage, the story of an extraordinary black man in an insistently white world.
A distinguished physician and professor of medicine at Edinburgh University, and a forensic expert for the British Crown, Joseph Bell was well known for his remarkable powers of observation and deduction. In what would become true Sherlockian fashion, he had the ability to deduce facts about his patients from otherwise unremarkable details. In one instance recounted by Arthur Conan Doyle himself—and similar to Sherlock Holmes's own observations in "The Greek Interpreter"—Bell took little time to determine that one of his patients had recently served in the army, a non-commissioned officer discharged from his Highland regiment stationed in Barbados:
“The man was a respectful man, but did not remove his hat. They do not in the army, but he would have learned civilian ways had he been long discharged. He has an air of authority and he is obviously Scottish. As to Barbados, his complaint is elephantitis, which is West Indian and not British.”
Based on extensive research into the life of Bell and including tantalizing accounts of the connections between Bell and Conan Doyle, this biography is required reading for anyone interested in Victorian medicine, in the history of detective fiction, and in Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
The Dramatic Imagination of Robert Browning offers an accessible and authoritative guide to the essentials of Robert Browning’s life and poetry. Drawing from his personal letters and from the diaries and memoirs of his contemporaries, this literary biography provides a wealth of information about the main events of his life, including the social, political, religious, and aesthetic issues that concerned him; it offers critical commentary defining the central characteristics of his poetry; and it tracks the changes in his reputation through contemporary reviews and the growth of the Browning societies.
An English poet who was deeply responsive to European culture and affairs, Robert Browning has sometimes been dismissed by modern readers for his obscurity or roughness of language. Now two distinguished scholars of Browning’s work trace the arc of his development as an artist and thinker from his earliest poems to the last in his long and remarkably productive career.
The authors illustrate how Browning moved from describing “incidents in the development of a soul,” to developing his reader’s soul as collaborator in the artistic process, to the development of his own soul in the making of poetry. Through a fresh reading of not only his poetry but also the letters of both Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, they have garnered details that situate the two in historical context, provide a vivid sense of Robert’s personality, and also correct biases against Elizabeth’s influence. Their critical commentary focuses on the poet’s dramatic imagination and argues that his extensive body of work after The Ring and the Book—often dismissed as evidencing a decline in his poetic powers—represented new directions in his poetry marked by inventive dialogue, verbal puzzles, and virtuoso rhyming.
Written to appeal to both general readers and scholars, the book will enable anyone to read Browning’s poems with a firm sense of the subjects and practices that are central to his texts, along with a knowledge of their context in the poet’s life and thought. The Dramatic Imagination of Robert Browning invites readers of a singular body of poetry to achieve a new understanding of Browning’s work and a greater appreciation of his life.
Du Bois and His Rivals
Raymond Wolters University of Missouri Press, 2002 Library of Congress E185.97.D73W65 2002 | Dewey Decimal 305.8960730092
W. E. B. Du Bois was the preeminent black scholar of his era. He was also a principal founder and for twenty-eight years an executive officer of the nation’s most effective civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Even though Du Bois was best known for his lifelong stance against racial oppression, he represented much more. He condemned the racism of the white world but also criticized African Americans for mistakes of their own. He opposed segregation but had reservations about integration. Today he would be known as a pluralist.
In Du Bois and His Rivals, Raymond Wolters provides a distinctive biography of this great pioneer of the American civil rights movement. Readers are able to follow the outline of Du Bois’s life, but the book’s main emphasis is on discrete scenes in his life, especially the controversies that pitted Du Bois against his principal black rivals. He challenged Booker T. Washington because he could not abide Washington’s conciliatory approach toward powerful whites. At the same time, Du Bois’s pluralism led him to oppose the leading separatists and integrationists of his day. He berated Marcus Garvey for giving up on America and urging blacks to pursue a separate destiny. He also rejected Walter White’s insistence that integration was the best way to promote the advancement of black people.
Du Bois felt that American blacks should be full-fledged Americans, with all the rights of other American citizens. However, he believed that they should also preserve and develop enough racial distinctiveness to enable them to maintain and foster a sense of racial identity, community, and pride. Du Bois and His Rivals shows that Du Bois stood for much more than protest against racial oppression. He was also committed to pluralism, and his pluralism emphasized the importance of traditional standards and of internal cooperation within the black community. Anyone interested in the civil rights movement, black history, or the history of the United States during the early twentieth century will find this book valuable.
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.
Eugene O'Neill Remembered
Edited by Brenda Murphy and George Monteiro University of Alabama Press, 2016 Library of Congress PS3529.N5Z63756 2017 | Dewey Decimal 812.52
Eugene O’Neill Remembered offers new views into the playwright’s life by capturing the direct memories of those who were close to him through interviews, memoirs, and other recollections. These sixty-two remembrances create an unprecedented image of O’Neill.
Known principally as the author of some of the most significant plays in the American dramatic canon and as one of America’s Nobel Laureates in literature, O'Neill rarely gave interviews and offered few details about himself. As a consequence, his life has long been shrouded in myth. He also abetted some of the misconceptions about his youth by, for example, advocating the story that he was expelled from Princeton for throwing a rock through Woodrow Wilson's window or by exaggerating the amount of time he had spent at sea. The legend of the hard-drinking, tormented playwright with a grim view of life was further reinforced when Long Day's Journey into Night was produced in 1956, three years after his death instead of the twenty-five years he had insisted on.
The portrayal of O’Neill as a tragic figure has been solidified in a number of biographies. The purpose of this collection, however, is to present O'Neill as others saw him and described him in their first-person accounts. In the course of these reminiscences, many of the vast and various narrators conflict with and contradict each other. Unlike other accounts of O’Neill’s life, much of the focus is on impressions instead of facts. The result is a revealing composite portrait of a key figure in twentieth-century American literary history.
This extensive collection offers insights unavailable in any other book and will hold massive appeal for scholars and students interested in American literature, Eugene O’Neill, and theater history, as well as anyone keen to uncover intimate details of the life of one of America’s greatest writers.
Felt provides a nonlinear look at the engagement of the postwar avant-garde with Eastern spirituality, a context in which the German artist Joseph Beuys appears as an uneasy shaman. Centered on a highly publicized yet famously inconclusive 1982 meeting between Beuys and the Dalai Lama, arranged by the Dutch artist Louwrien Wijers, Chris Thompson explores the interconnections among Beuys, the Fluxus movement, and Eastern philosophy and spiritual practice.
Building from the resonance of felt, the fabric, in both Tibetan culture and in Beuys’s art, Thompson takes as his point of departure Deleuze and Guattari’s discussion in A Thousand Plateaus of felt as smooth space that is “in principle infinite, open, and unlimited in every direction,” its structure determined by chance as opposed to the planned, woven nature of most fabrics. Felt is thus seen as an alternative to the model of the network: felt’s anarchic form is not reducible to the regularity of the net, grid, or mesh, and the more it is pulled, tweaked, torn, and agitated, the greater its structural integrity.
Felt thus invents its methodology from the material that represents its object of inquiry and from this advances a reading of the avant-garde. At the same time, Thompson demonstrates that it is sometimes the failures of thought, the disappointing meetings, even the untimely deaths that open portals through which life flows into art and allows new conjunctions of life, art, and thought. Thompson explores both the well-known engagement of Fluxus artists with Eastern spirituality and the more elusive nature of Beuys’s own late interest in Tibetan culture, arriving at a sense of how such noncausal interactions—interhuman intrigue—create culture and shape contemporary art history.
"Shall a man be dragged back to Slavery from our Free Soil, without an open trial of his right to Liberty?" —Handbill circulated in Milwaukee on March 11, 1854
In Finding Freedom, Ruby West Jackson and Walter T. McDonald provide readers with the first narrative account of the life of Joshua Glover, the runaway slave who was famously broken out of jail by thousands of Wisconsin abolitionists in 1854. Employing original research, the authors chronicle Glover's days as a slave in St. Louis, his violent capture and thrilling escape in Milwaukee, his journey on the Underground Railroad, and his 33 years of freedom in rural Canada.
While Jackson and McDonald demonstrate how the catalytic "Glover incident" captured national attention—pitting the proud state of Wisconsin against the Supreme Court and adding fuel to the pre-Civil War fire—their primary focus is on the ordinary citizens, both black and white, with whom Joshua Glover interacted. A bittersweet story of bravery and compassion, Finding Freedom provides the first full picture of the man for whom so many fought, and around whom so much history was made.
Fitzgerald’s Mentors is a fresh and compelling study of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s intellectual friendship with Edmund Wilson, H. L. Mencken, and Gerald Murphy.
Fitzgerald was shaped through his engagements with key literary and artistic figures in the 1920s. This book is about their influence— and also about the ways that Fitzgerald defended his own ideas about writing. Influence was always secondary to independence.
Fitzgerald’s education began at Princeton with Edmund Wilson. There Wilson imparted to Fitzgerald many ideas about education and literary values, among them respect for the classics and an acute awareness of literary tradition.
In New York H. L. Mencken impressed upon Fitzgerald his belief in the stifling effect of public morality on writers. Furthermore, Mencken’s The American Language changed Fitzgerald’s thinking about the power of everyday language.
After moving to France in 1924, Fitzgerald’s intellectual life took a very different turn. Gerald Murphy exposed him to the visual arts— including the work of Fernand Leger, Pablo Picasso, and Man Ray—and to people deeply interested in the perception of art in daily life. Equally important, Fitzgerald had many discussions about artistic values with both Gerald and Sara Murphy.
Frank Norris Remembered
Edited by Jesse S. Crisler and Joseph R. McElrath Jr. University of Alabama Press, 2013 Library of Congress PS2473.F67 2013 | Dewey Decimal 813.4
Frank Norris Remembered is a collection of reminiscences by Norris’s contemporaries, friends, and family that illuminate the life of one of America’s most popular novelists.
Considering his undergraduate education spent studying art at Académie Julian in Paris and creative writing at Harvard and his journalism career reporting from the far reaches of South Africa and Cuba, it is difficult to fathom how Frank Norris also found time to compose seven novels during the course of his brief life. But despite his adventures abroad, Norris turned out novels at a dizzying pace. He published Moran of the Lady Letty in 1898, McTeague early in 1899, Blix later that year, A Man’s Woman in February 1900, and The Octopus, the first in his ultimately unfinished “Epic of the Wheat” trilogy, in 1901. By informing his novels with his own experiences abroad, Norris composed works that were politically charged and culturally relevant and that made considerable contributions to the character of American literature in the twentieth century.
Frank Norris died at the age of thirty-two in 1902 from peritonitis resulting from a burst appendix, leaving behind a wife, a daughter, and an unfinished series of novels (two of which, The Pit and Vandover and the Brute, were published posthumously). The aim of Frank Norris Remembered, edited by Jesse S. Crisler and Joseph R. McElrath Jr., is to re-create the short, spectacular life of this American author through the eyes of those who knew him best. The fifty reminiscences included in this book feature the voices of Frank N. Doubleday; William Dean Howells; Hamlin Garland; Norris’s wife, Jeannette; and many others who were lucky enough to form a relationship with this vital twentieth-century American author, artist, and adventurer.
In this stimulating and innovative synthesis of New York's artistic and literary worlds, Lytle Shaw uses the social and philosophical problems involved in “reading” a coterie to propose a new language for understanding the poet, art critic, and Museum of Modern Art curator Frank O'Hara (1926-1966).
O'Hara's poems are famously filled with proper names---from those of his immediate friends and colleagues in the New York writing and art worlds (John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, Grace Hartigan, Willem de Kooning, and many musicians, dancers, and filmmakers) to a broad range of popular cultural and literary heroes (Apollinaire to Jackie O). But rather than understand O'Hara's most commonly referenced names as a fixed and insular audience, Shaw argues that he uses the ambiguities of reference associated with the names to invent a fluid and shifting kinship structure---one that opened up radical possibilities for a gay writer operating outside the structure of the family.
As Shaw demonstrates, this commitment to an experimental model of association also guides O'Hara's art writing. Like his poetry, O'Hara's art writing too has been condemned as insular, coterie writing. In fact, though, he was alone among 1950s critics in his willingness to consider abstract expressionism not only within the dominant languages of existentialism and formalism but also within the cold war political and popular cultural frameworks that anticipate many of the concerns of contemporary art historians. Situating O'Hara within a range of debates about art's possible relations to its audience, Shaw demonstrates that his interest in coterie is less a symptomatic offshoot of his biography than a radical literary and artistic invention.
In his time Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) was the most famous American in the world. Even those personally unacquainted with the man knew him as the author of Poor Richard’s Almanack, as a pioneer in the study of electricity and a major figure in the American Enlightenment, as the creator of such life-changing innovations as the lightning rod and America’s first circulating library, and as a leader of the American Revolution. His friends also knew him as a brilliant conversationalist, a great wit, an intellectual filled with curiosity, and most of all a master anecdotist whose vast store of knowledge complemented his conversational skills. In Franklin in His Own Time, by reprinting the original documents in which those anecdotes occur, Kevin Hayes and Isabelle Bour restore those oft-told stories to their cultural contexts to create a comprehensive narrative of his life and work.
The thirty-five recollections gathered in Franklin in His Own Time form an animated, collaborative biography designed to provide a multitude of perspectives on the “First American.” Opening with an account by botanist Peter Kalm showing that Franklin was doing all he could to encourage the development of science in North America, it includes on-the-spot impressions from Daniel Fisher’s diary, the earliest surviving interview with Franklin, recollections from James Madison and Abigail Adams, Manasseh Cutler’s detailed description of the library at Franklin Court, and extracts from Alexander Hamilton’s unvarnished Minutes of the Tuesday Club. Franklin’s political missions to Great Britain and France, where he took full advantage of rich social and intellectual opportunities, are a source of many reminiscences, some published here in new translations. Genuine memories from such old friends as Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, as opposed to memories influenced by the Autobiography, clarify Franklin’s reputation. Robert Carr may have been the last remaining person who knew Franklin personally, and thus his recollections are particularly significant.
Each entry is introduced by a headnote that places the selection in its historical and cultural contexts; explanatory notes provide information about people and places; and the editors’ comprehensive introduction and chronology detail Franklin’s eventful life. Dozens of lively primary sources published incrementally over more than a hundred years illustrate the complexity of the man, his mind, and his mannerisms in a way that no single biographer could.
During the first eight scorching days of August in 1932, U.S. Senator Huey P. Long of Louisiana campaigned in Arkansas for the election of Hattie Caraway to the U.S. Senate. Caraway easily defeated six well-known opponents in a race she was not expected to win and became the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate. This volume is a textbook of politics and a sweeping picture of the Great Depression, as if those perilous times had been compressed into a week and a day. It is a fascinating look at two extremely different people caught briefly in a common purpose.
Henry Miller, Happy Rock
Brassaï University of Chicago Press, 2002 Library of Congress PS3525.I5454Z65813 2002 | Dewey Decimal 818.5209
"In a world like this one, it's difficult to devote oneself to art body and soul. To get published, to get exhibited, to get produced often requires ten or twenty years of patient, intense labor. I spent half my life at it! And how do you survive during all that time? Beg? Live off other people until you're successful? What a dog's life! I know something about that! You're always recognized too late. And today, it's no longer enough to have talent, originality, to write a good or beautiful book. One must be inspired! Not only touch the public but create one's own public. Otherwise, you're headed straight for suicide."
That's Henry Miller's advice for young aspiring artists, as remembered by his very good friend Brassaï in this lively book. One of two that Brassaï wrote about the man who called himself a "happy rock," this volume covers their lives and friendship from the 1950s to 1973. Over the course of a number of warm, intimate conversations, Brassaï and Miller revisit their careers; discuss art, literature, Paris, Greece, Japan, World War II, and more; and consider the lives and works of many others in their circle, including Lawrence Durrell, Henri Matisse, Salvador Dalí, Georges Simenon, André Malraux, Hans Reichel, Paul Klee, and Amedeo Modigliani. Throughout Miller's zest for life shines through, as do his love of art and his passionate intensity for just about everything he does, from discussing a movie or play he'd just seen to reminiscing about a decades-long love.
Brassaï's Henry Miller, Happy Rock presents a vivid portrait of two close friends who thoroughly enjoy each other's company—and just happen to be world—famous artists too.
HST: Memories of the Truman Years
Edited by Steve Neal. Foreword by Clifton Truman Daniel Southern Illinois University Press, 2003 Library of Congress E814.H76 2003 | Dewey Decimal 973.918092
Believing that Americans should understand their leadership, Harry Truman was the first American president to authorize an oral history of his life and times. In that vein, almost forty years ago, the Truman Library in the president’s native Independence, Missouri, began the daunting task of compiling the words of Truman’s contemporaries, including his senior aides, foreign policy and military advisors, political strategists, and close friends. Longtime Chicago journalist Steve Neal has edited twenty of these remarkable interviews for HST: Memories of the Truman Years.
Candid and insightful, the recollections include those of statesmen Dean Acheson and Averell Harriman; soldiers Omar Bradley and Lucius Clay; Truman’s best friend Thomas Evans; associates Clark Clifford and Matt Connelly; 1948 Republican vice-presidential nominee Earl Warren; artist Thomas Hart Benton; West German leader Konrad Adnauer; former New Dealers Sam Rosenman and James Rowe; journalist Richard L. Strout; and many others.
An honest portrait of Truman emerges from the twenty firsthand accounts of those who knew him best. HST: Memories of the Truman Years spans Truman’s rise to the presidency and his responses to the challenges of World War II, the Soviet blockade of Berlin, the rebuilding of postwar Europe, the 1948 campaign, his controversial firing of General Douglas MacArthur, and his courageous leadership on civil rights.
“The goal of these histories,” explains Truman’s grandson, Clifton Truman Daniel, in the foreword, “in keeping with Grandpa’s stated desire that the [Truman Library] be about his presidency, not a monument to him, was to preserve forever the perspective of those who had shared his life and times and, in many cases, helped him shape the world.”
Though photographers Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams were contemporaries and longtime friends, most of their work portrays contrasting subject matter. Lange’s artistic photodocumentation set a new aesthetic standard for social commentary; Adams lit up nature’s wonders with an unfailing eye and preeminent technical skill. That they joined together to photograph Mormons in Utah in the early 1950s for Life magazine may come as a surprise.
In a Rugged Land examines the history and content of the two photographers’ forgotten collaboration Three Mormon Towns. Looking at Adams’s and Lange’s photographs, extant letters, and personal memories, the book provides a window into an important moment in their careers and seeks to understand why a project that once held such promise ended in disillusionment and is now little more than a footnote in their illustrative biographies. Swensen’s in-depth research and interpretation help make sense of what they did and place them alongside others who were also exploring the particular qualities of the Mormon village at that time.
Nineteenth century writers and reformers Frances Trollope and Frances Wright have always been viewed as ideological opposites. In Common Cause: The "Conservative" Frances Trollope and the "Radical" Frances Wright looks at their political commonalities rather than their differences. It traces the way in which these two women have been stereotyped and denigrated for over 100 years. It considers the many contributions of both women to the most significant political movements of their times: anti-slavery; women's rights; and industrial reform.
On 18 April 1861, assistant presidential secretary John Hay recorded in his diary the report of several women that "some young Virginian long haired swaggering chivalrous of course. . . and half a dozen others including a daredevil guerrilla from Richmond named Ficklin would do a thing within forty eight hours that would ring through the world."
The women feared that the Virginian planned either to assassinate or to capture the president. Calling this a "harrowing communication," Hay continued his entry: "They went away and I went to the bedside of the Chief couché . I told him the yarn; he quietly grinned."
This is but one of the dramatic entries in Hay’ s Civil War diary, presented here in a definitive edition by Michael Burlingame and John R. Turner Ettlinger. Justly deemed the most intimate record we will ever have of Abraham Lincoln in the White House, the Hay diary is, according to Burlingame and Ettlinger, "one of the richest deposits of high-grade ore for the smelters of Lincoln biographers and Civil War historians." While the Cabinet diaries of Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Gideon Welles also shed much light on Lincoln’ s presidency, as does the diary of Senator Orville Hickman Browning, none of these diaries has the literary flair of Hay’ s, which is, as Lincoln’ s friend Horace White noted, as "breezy and sparkling as champagne." An aspiring poet, Hay recorded events in a scintillating style that the lawyer-politician diarists conspicuously lacked.
Burlingame and Ettlinger’ s edition of the diary is the first to publish the complete text of all of Hay’ s entries from 1861 through 1864. In 1939 Tyler Dennett published Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and Letters of John Hay, which, as Civil War historian Allan Nevins observed, was "rather casually edited." This new edition is essential in part because Dennett omitted approximately 10 percent of Hay’ s 1861– 64 entries.
Not only did the Dennett edition omit important parts of the diaries, it also introduced some glaring errors. More than three decades ago, John R. Turner Ettlinger, then in charge of Special Collections at the Brown University Library, made a careful and literal transcript of the text of the diary, which involved deciphering Hay’ s difficult and occasionally obscure writing. In particular, passages were restored that had been canceled, sometimes heavily, by the first editors for reasons of confidentiality and propriety. Ettlinger’ s text forms the basis for the present edition, which also incorporates, with many additions and much updating by Burlingame, a body of notes providing a critical apparatus to the diary, identifying historical events and persons.
In the looming shadow of dictatorship and imminent war, George Seferis and George Katsimbalis welcomed Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell to their homeland. Together, as they spent evenings in tavernas, explored the Peloponnese, and considered the meaning of Greek life and freedom and art, they seemed to be inventing paradise. This blend of memoir, criticism, and storytelling takes readers on a journey into the poetry, friendships, and politics of an extraordinary time.
In this volume, Kevin J. Hayes collects thirty accounts of Thomas Jefferson written by his granddaughters, visiting dignitaries, fellow politicians, and others who knew him as a family man, public servant, intellectual, and institution builder. The letters and reminiscences of those who knew Jefferson personally reveal him to be a warm, funny man, quite unlike the solemn statesman so often limned in biographies.
To friends and enemies alike he was the model of a republican gentleman, profoundly knowledgeable in philosophy and natural history, able to converse in several languages, and capable of great wit but contemptuous of ceremony and fancy dress. Through these excerpts, we can see the nation’s third president as his family knew him—a loving husband, father, and grandfather—and as his peers did, as a tireless public servant with a fondness for tall tales.
John Vinci: Life and Landmarks
Text by Robert Sharoff, Photographs by William Zbaren Northwestern University Press, 2017 Library of Congress NA737.V555S53 2017 | Dewey Decimal 720.92
John Vinci: Life and Landmarks is the first authoritative survey of the life and work of one of Chicago’s most acclaimed architects and preservationists. Long awaited by scholars as well as by architecture aficionados, John Vinci provides an intimate look at an architect whose portfolio spans half a century and includes the restoration of some of the city’s most important historic structures as well as numerous award-winning original projects.
This illustrated biography traces Vinci’s origins as a child of Italian immigrants on Chicago’s South Side and his coming of age at the Illinois Institute of Technology, which was then under the direction of the legendary Modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. It follows his career through his subsequent immersion in the historic preservation movement and the work of such early Chicago architects as Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and John Wellborn Root.
Vinci’s pioneering restoration projects include Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House and Home Studio, Sullivan’s Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room and the Carson Pirie Scott Building, and Root’s Monadnock Building. His original work, meanwhile, includes notable buildings such as the Arts Club of Chicago, numerous award-winning residences, and more than fifty major exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago and other museums.
John Vinci: Life and Landmarks also features portraits and profiles of Vinci’s friends and mentors over the years, including the architectural photographer Richard Nickel, the landscape designer Alfred Caldwell, the Art Institute curators James Speyer and Anne Rorimer, the architects Crombie Taylor and Myron Goldsmith, and the City of Chicago’s cultural historian Tim Samuelson.
The book includes new photos of twenty projects by noted architectural photographer William Zbaren as well as more than one hundred vintage photos and floorplans from Vinci’s personal archives, many never before published. A comprehensive catalogue raisonné rounds out this handsome and definitive work.
Katherine Anne Porter Remembered is a collection of reminiscences and memoirs by contemporaries, friends, and associates of Porter offering a revealing and intimate portrait of the elusive and complex American writer.
From a fractured and vagabond girlhood in Texas, Porter led a wildly itinerant life that took her through five marriages, innumerable love affairs, and homes in Colorado, New York, Paris, Mexico, Louisiana, California, and Maryland. With very little formal education, she grew through sheer force of will to become a major American writer of short stories and the author of several books including Flowering Judas and other stories; Ship of Fools; Pale Horse; Pale Ride; Noon Wine; and The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter, which won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.
Because of Porter’s own dissembling and half-truths about her life, as well as the numerous factual errors that persist in biographical entries and literary dictionaries, a complete and accurate portrait of her life has been hard to establish. The 63 reminiscences gathered in this book paint a vivid portrait of Porter and are testaments to her extraordinary beauty, her gift for mesmerizing and charming audiences and friends, her yearnings for a lasting home, her delusions about love, the astonishing range and scope of her reading, her sharp tongue and vindictiveness, and her final paranoid renunciations of friends and family. Along the way, Porter formed friendships with Eudora Welty, Elizabeth Hardwick, Flannery O’Connor, and CleanthBrooks whose remembrances of her are included in this volume.
More than any other American before or since, Abraham Lincoln had a way with words that has shaped our national idea of ourselves. Actively disliked and even vilified by many Americans for the vast majority of his career, this most studied, most storied, and most documented leader still stirs up controversy. Showing not only the development of a powerful mind but the ways in which our sixteenth president was perceived by equally brilliant American minds of a decidedly literary and political bent, Harold K. Bush’s Lincoln in His Own Time provides some of the most significant contemporary meditations on the Great Emancipator’s legacy and cultural significance.
The forty-two entries in this spirited collection present the best reflections of Lincoln as thinker, reader, writer, and orator by those whose lives intertwined with his or those who had direct contact with eyewitnesses. Bush focuses on Lincoln’s literary interests, reading, and work as a writer as well as the evolving debate about his religious views that became central to his memory. Along with a star-struck Walt Whitman writing of Lincoln’s “inexpressibly sweet” face and manner, Elizabeth Keckly’s description of a bereaved Lincoln, “genius and greatness weeping over love’s idol lost,” and William Stoddard’s report of the “cheery, hopeful, morning light” on Lincoln’s face after a long night debating the fate of the nation, the volume includes selections from works by famous contemporary figures such as Hawthorne, Douglass, Stowe, Lowell, Twain, and Lincoln himself in addition to lesser-known selections that have been nearly lost to history. Each entry is introduced by a headnote that places the selection in historical and cultural context; explanatory endnotes provide information about people and places. A comprehensive introduction and a detailed chronology of Lincoln’s eventful life round out the volume.
Bush’s thoughtful collection reveals Lincoln as a man of letters who crafted some of the most memorable lines in our national vocabulary, explores the striking mythologization of the martyred president that began immediately upon his death, and then combines these two themes to illuminate Lincoln’s place in public memory as the absolute embodiment of America’s mythic civil religion. Beyond providing the standard fare of reminiscences about the rhetorically brilliant backwoodsman from the “Old Northwest,” Lincoln in His Own Time also maps a complex genealogy of the cultural work and iconic status of Lincoln as quintessential scribe and prophet of the American people.
In 1849, while traveling as an attorney on the Eighth Judicial Circuit in Illinois, Abraham Lincoln befriended Leonard Swett (1825–89), a fellow attorney sixteen years his junior. Despite this age difference, the two men built an enduring friendship that continued until Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. Until now, no historian has explored Swett’s life or his remarkable relationship with the sixteenth president. In this welcome volume, Robert S. Eckley provides the first biography of Swett, crafting an intimate portrait of his experiences as a loyal member of Lincoln’s inner circle.
Eckley chronicles Swett’s early life and the part he played in Lincoln’s political campaigns, including his role as an essential member of the team behind Lincoln’s two nominations and elections for the presidency. Swett counseled Lincoln during the formation of his cabinet and served as an unofficial advisor and sounding board during Lincoln’s time in office. Throughout his life, Swett wrote a great deal on Lincoln, and planned to write a biography about him, but Swett’s death preempted the project. His eloquent and interesting writings about Lincoln are described and reproduced in this volume, some for the first time.
With Lincoln’s Forgotten Friend, Eckley removes Swett from the shadows of history and sheds new light on Lincoln’s personal relationships and their valuable contributions to his career.
Superior Achievement from the Illinois State Historical Society, 2013
Richard James Oglesby is best known for introducing the rail-splitter image into Abraham Lincoln's successful presidential campaign of 1860, and in many ways his career ran parallel to Honest Abe's. This biography of the three-time governor of Illinois offers the first detailed view of a key figure in the great changes that swept Illinois and the country from the Jacksonian era through the Gilded Age.
Like Lincoln, Oglesby was born in Kentucky and spent most of his youth in central Illinois, apprenticing as a lawyer in Springfield and standing for election to the Illinois legislature, Congress, and U.S. Senate. Oglesby participated in the battles of Cerro Gordo and Vera Cruz during the Mexican-American War and made a small fortune in the gold rush of 1849. A superlative speaker, he ran unsuccessfully for Congress in a campaign that featured the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, then was elected to the Illinois senate as Lincoln was being elected president.
When the Civil War came, Oglesby resigned his senate seat to lead a regiment of the Union Army. Critically wounded at the Battle of Corinth, he was promoted to major general before resigning his commission to run successfully for governor of Illinois. Oglesby was at Lincoln's deathbed and led the effort to build the sixteenth president's tomb in Springfield, delivering the major oration at its dedication. In the postwar years, Oglesby drew on his popularity, his association with the martyred Lincoln, and his extraordinary stump-speaking skills to rescue the Illinois Republican Party in a time of political crisis. In his third term as governor, Oglesby faced massive labor unrest in the aftermath of the Haymarket affair.
A mature and thoughtful biography, Lincoln's Rail-Splitter chronicles Oglesby's pivotal contribution to American political life while also providing a sensitive portrait of this able, energetic man.
William Osborn Stoddard, Lincoln’s “third secretary” who worked alongside John G. Nicolay and John Hay in the White House from 1861 to 1865, completed his autobiography in 1907, one of more than one hundred books he wrote. An abridged version was published by his son in 1955 as “Lincoln’s Third Secretary: The Memoirs of William O. Stoddard.” In this new, edited version, Lincoln’s White House Secretary: The Adventurous Life of William O. Stoddard, Harold Holzer provides an introduction, afterword, and annotations and includes comments by Stoddard’s granddaughter, Eleanor Stoddard. The elegantly written volume gives readers a window into the politics, life, and culture of the mid-nineteenth century.
Stoddard’s bracing writing, eye for detail, and ear for conversation bring a novelistic excitement to a story of childhood observations, young friendships, hardscrabble frontier farming, early hints of the slavery crisis, the workings of the Lincoln administration, and the strange course of war and reunion in the southwest. More than a clerk, Stoddard was an adventurous explorer of American life, a farmer, editor, soldier, and politician.
Enhanced by seventeen illustrations, this narrative sympathetically draws the reader into the life and times of Lincoln’s third secretary, adding to our understanding of the events and the larger-than-life figures that shaped history.
Although they inhabited different political, social, and cultural arenas, Abraham Lincoln and the pioneer generation of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, shared the same nineteenth-century world. Bryon C. Andreasen’s Looking for Lincoln in Illinois: Lincoln and Mormon Country relates more than thirty fascinating and surprising stories that show how the lives of Lincoln and the Mormons intersected.
This richly illustrated and carefully researched book expands on some of the storyboards found on the Looking for Lincoln Story Trail, from the Mormon capital of Nauvoo to the state capital of Springfield. Created by the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition, this trail consists of wayside exhibits posted in sites of significance to Lincoln’s life and career across fifty-two communities in Illinois. The book’s keyed maps, historic photos, and descriptions of battles, Mormon expeditions, and events at inns, federal buildings, and even Lincoln’s first Illinois log cabin connect the stories to their physical locations.
Exploring the intriguing question of whether Lincoln and Mormon founder Joseph Smith ever met, the book reveals that they traveled the same routes and likely stayed at the same inns. The book also includes colorful and engaging looks at key figures such as Brigham Young, various Mormon apostles, and more. Anyone inspired by Lincoln, as well as Mormon and Illinois history enthusiasts, will appreciate this look back at a long-past, but not forgotten, landscape.
Winner, ISHS Certificate of Excellence Award, 2016
Presenting fifty Abraham Lincoln stories—some familiar and beloved, some fresh and unexpected—Looking for Lincoln in Illinois: Lincoln’s Springfield is a carefully researched, richly illustrated guide to the Springfield, Illinois, locations on the Looking for Lincoln Story Trail. Created by the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition, this trail consists of more than two hundred illustrated storyboards posted at sites of significance to Lincoln’s life and career across fifty-two communities in Illinois. The storyboards connect Lincoln-related tales to the geographical locations where they occurred, giving visitors, and now readers, a tour of the social and cultural landscape of Lincoln’s nineteenth-century world while revealing the very human Lincoln known by friends and associates.
This book celebrates the trail as a rich historical resource, featuring the original storyboards produced for Springfield and including twelve additional stories and more than 150 illustrations. Engaging stories in the book bring Lincoln’s Springfield to life: Lincoln created controversy with his Temperance Address, which he delivered in a church on Fourth Street in February 1842. He unexpectedly married Mary Todd in her sister’s home on the edge of Springfield later that year. The Lincolns’ sons used to harness dogs and cats to small wagons and drive them around the dirt streets of town. When Lincoln visited his dentist, he applied his own chloroform, because the practice of analgesia was not yet common. He reportedly played the ball game Fives in a downtown alley while waiting for news of his presidential nomination. And boxing heavyweight champion John C. Heenan visited the presidential candidate in October 1860. Through texts, historic photographs and images, and maps, including one keyed to the story locations in downtown Springfield, readers of this fascinating volume are invited to imagine social and cultural landscapes that have been lost in time.
Long before Stonewall, young Air Force veteran Edward Field, fresh from combat in WWII, threw himself into New York’s literary bohemia, searching for fulfillment as a gay man and poet. In this vivid account of his avant-garde years in Greenwich Village and the bohemian outposts of Paris’s Left Bank and Tangier—where you could write poetry, be radical, and be openly gay—Field opens the closet door to reveal, as never been seen before, some of the most important writers of his time.
Here are young, beautiful Susan Sontag sitting at the feet of her idol Alfred Chester, who shrewdly plotted to marry her; May Swenson and her two loves; Paul and Jane Bowles in their ambiguous marriage; Frank O’Hara in and out of bed; Fritz Peters, the anointed son of Gurdjieff; and James Baldwin, Isabel Miller (Patience and Sarah), Tobias Schneebaum, Robert Friend, and many others. With its intimate portraits, Field’s memoir brings back a forgotten era—postwar bohemia—bawdy, comical, romantic, sad, and heroic.
Owing to the decline of his contemporary fame and to decades of posthumous neglect, Herman Melville remains enigmatic to readers despite his status as one of America’s most securely canonical authors. Born into patrician wealth but plunged into poverty as a child, in 1840 he signed aboard the whaleship Acushnet in the midst of a nationwide depression and sailed to the South Pacific. At the Marquesas Islands, he deserted and lived for a time among one of the group’s last unsubjugated tribes. Upon his return home, he achieved overnight success with a book based on his experiences, Typee (1846).
Melville’s mastery of the English language and heterodox views made him a source of both controversy and fascination to western readers, until his increasing commitment to artistry and contempt for artificial conventions led him to write Moby-Dick (1851) and its successor Pierre (1852). Although the former is considered his masterwork today, the books offended mid-nineteenth-century cultural sensibilities and alienated Melville from the American literary marketplace. The resulting eclipse of his popular reputation was deepened by his voluntary withdrawal from society, so that obituaries written after his death in 1891 frequently expressed surprise that he hadn’t died long before.
With most of his personal papers and letters lost or destroyed, his library of marked and annotated books dispersed, and first-hand accounts of him scattered, brief, and frequently conflicting, Melville’s place in American literary scholarship illustrates the importance of accurately edited documents and the value of new information to our understanding of his life and thought. As a chronologically organized collection of surviving testimonials about the author, Melville in His Own Time continues the tradition of documentary research well-exemplified over the past half-century by the work of Jay Leyda, Merton M. Sealts, and Hershel Parker. Combining recently discovered evidence with new transcriptions of long-known but rarely consulted testimony, this collection offers the most up-to-date and correct record of commentary on Melville by individuals who knew him.
In Michael Polanyi and His Generation, Mary Jo Nye investigates the role that Michael Polanyi and several of his contemporaries played in the emergence of the social turn in the philosophy of science. This turn involved seeing science as a socially based enterprise that does not rely on empiricism and reason alone but on social communities, behavioral norms, and personal commitments. Nye argues that the roots of the social turn are to be found in the scientific culture and political events of Europe in the 1930s, when scientific intellectuals struggled to defend the universal status of scientific knowledge and to justify public support for science in an era of economic catastrophe, Stalinism and Fascism, and increased demands for applications of science to industry and social welfare.
At the center of this struggle was Polanyi, who Nye contends was one of the first advocates of this new conception of science. Nye reconstructs Polanyi’s scientific and political milieus in Budapest, Berlin, and Manchester from the 1910s to the 1950s and explains how he and other natural scientists and social scientists of his generation—including J. D. Bernal, Ludwik Fleck, Karl Mannheim, and Robert K. Merton—and the next, such as Thomas Kuhn, forged a politically charged philosophy of science, one that newly emphasized the social construction of science.
Mr. Democrat tells the story of Jim Farley, Franklin D. Roosevelt's campaign manager. As party boss, Farley experienced unprecedented success in the New Deal years. And like his modern counterpart Karl Rove, Farley enjoyed unparalleled access and power. Unlike Rove, however, Farley was instrumental in the creation of an overwhelming new majority in American politics, as the emergence of the New Deal transformed the political landscape of its time.
Mr. Democrat is timely and indispensable not just because Farley was a fascinating and unduly neglected figure, but also because an understanding of his career advances our knowledge of how and why he revolutionized the Democratic Party and American politics in the age of the New Deal.
Daniel Scroop is Lecturer in American History, University of Liverpool School of History.
For a decade straddling the turn of the twentieth century, Mark Hanna was one of the most famous men in America. Portrayed as the puppet master controlling the weak-willed William McKinley, Hanna was loved by most Republicans and reviled by Democrats, in large part because of the way he was portrayed by the media of the day. Newspapers and other media outlets that supported McKinley reported positively about Hanna, but those sympathetic to William Jennings Bryan, the Democrats’ presidential nominee in 1896 and 1900, attacked Hanna far more aggressively than they attacked McKinley himself. Their portrayal of Hanna was wrong, but powerful, and this negative image of him survives to this day.
In this study of Mark Hanna’s career in presidential politics, William T. Horner demonstrates the flaws inherent in the way the news media cover politics. He deconstructs the myths that surround Hanna and demonstrates the dangerous and long-lasting effect that inaccurate reporting can have on our understanding of politics. When Karl Rove emerged as the political adviser to George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns, reporters quickly began to compare Rove to Hanna even a century after Hanna’s death. The two men played vastly different roles for the presidents they served, but modern reporters consistently described Rove as the second coming of Mark Hanna, another political Svengali.
Ohio’s Kingmaker is a compelling story about a fascinating character in American politics and serves to remind us of the power of (mis)perceptions.
John C. Nicolay, who had known Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois, served as chief White House secretary from 1861 to 1865. Trained as a journalist, Nicolay had hoped to write a campaign biography of Lincoln in 1860, a desire that was thwarted when an obscure young writer named William Dean Howells got the job. Years later, however, Nicolay fulfilled his ambition; with John Hay, he spent the years from 1872 to 1890 writing a monumental ten-volume biography of Lincoln.
In preparation for this task, Nicolay interviewed men who had known Lincoln both during his years in Springfield and later when he became the president of the United States. "When it came time to write their massive biography, however," Burlingame notes, "he and Hay made sparing use of the interviews" because they had become "skeptical about human memory." Nicolay and Hay also feared that Robert Todd Lincoln might censor material that reflected "poorly on Lincoln or his wife."
Nicolay had interviewed such Springfield friends as Lincoln’ s first two law partners, John Todd Stuart and Stephen T. Logan. At the Illinois capital in June and July 1875, he talked to a number of others including Orville H. Browning, U.S. senator and Lincoln’ s close friend and adviser for over thirty-five years, and Ozias M. Hatch, Lincoln’ s political ally and Springfield neighbor. Four years later he returned briefly and spoke with John W. Bunn, a young political "insider" from Springfield at the time Lincoln was elected president, and once again with Hatch.
Browning shed new light on Lincoln’ s courtship and marriage, telling Nicolay that Lincoln often told him "that he was constantly under great apprehension lest his wife should do something which would bring him into disgrace" while in the White House. During their research, Nicolay and Hay also learned of Lincoln’ s despondency and erratic behavior following his rejection by Matilda Edwards, and they were subsequently criticized by friends for suppressing the information. Burlingame argues that this open discussion of Lincoln’ s depression of January 1841 is "perhaps the most startling new information in the Springfield interviews."
Briefer and more narrowly focused than the Springfield interviews, the Washington interviews deal with the formation of Lincoln’ s cabinet, his relations with Congress, his behavior during the war, his humor, and his grief. In a reminiscence by Robert Todd Lincoln, for example, we learn of Lincoln’ s despair at General Lee's escape after the Battle of Gettysburg: "I went into my father’ s office ... and found him in [much] distress, his head leaning upon the desk in front of him, and when he raised his head there were evidences of tears upon his face. Upon my asking the cause of his distress he told me that he had just received the information that Gen. Lee had succeeded in escaping across the Potomac river. . ."
To supplement these interviews, Burlingame has included Nicolay’ s unpublished essays on Lincoln during the 1860 campaign and on Lincoln’ s journey from Springfield to Washington in 1861, essay’ s based on firsthand testimony.
An image of Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849) as a man of gloom and mystery continues to hold great popular appeal. Long recognized as one of the greats of American literature, he elicited either highly commendatory or absolutely hostile reactions from many who knew him, from others who claimed to comprehend him as person or as writer, and from still others who circulated as fact opinions intuited from his writings. Whether promoting him as angel or demon, “a man of great and original genius” or “extraordinarily wicked,” the viewpoints in this dramatic collection of primary materials provide vigorous testimony to support the contradictory images of the man and the writer that have prevailed for a century and a half.
Noted Poe scholar Benjamin Fisher includes a comprehensive introduction and a detailed chronology of Poe’s sadly short life; each entry is introduced by a short headnote that places the selection in historical and cultural context, and explanatory notes provide information about people and places. From John Allan’s letter to Secretary of War John Eaton about Poe’s West Point life to John Frankenstein’s hostile verse casting him as an alcoholic, from Rufus Griswold’s first and second posthumous vilifications to James Russell Lowell’s more sensible outline of his life and career, from scornful to commendable reviews to scathing attacks on his morals to recognition of his comic achievements, Fisher has gathered a lively array of materials that read like the most far-fetched of gothic tales.
Poe himself was creative when he supplied information to others about his life and literary career, and the speculative content of many of the portrayals presented in this collection read as if their authors had set out to be equally creative. The sixty-nine recollections gathered in Poe in His Own Time form a dramatic, real-time biographical narrative designed to provide a multitude of perspectives on the famous author, sometimes in conflict with each other and sometimes in agreement but always arresting.
Leo Crowley has been known only as the administrator condemned by President Truman for cutting off Soviet lend-lease after V-E Day. Stuart L. Weiss revises this view while exploring Crowley’s long, significant state and federal career, emphasizing his service as Franklin D. Roosevelt’s man for all seasons.
Weiss deals effectively with Crowley’s flaws and virtues as well as those of the administrations he served. Crowley was confirmed as chair of the FDIC in 1934 despite a charge, unknown to President Roosevelt, that Crowley had committed fraud as a banker in Wisconsin. Crowley then served with distinction for more than eleven years as the administration twice buried a 1935 Treasury Department report that, had it been handed to Wisconsin authorities, could have sent him to prison: Roosevelt valued Crowley’s political and administrative talents too highly to allow that to happen.
In 1939, Roosevelt, anxious to have business support for stopping the Axis powers, encouraged Crowley to take the chair of a holding company about to be prosecuted by the SEC. After Pearl Harbor, like priorities prompted the president first to name Crowley alien property custodian, then chair of the Board of Economic Warfare to supplant Roosevelt’s politically troublesome vice president, and, finally, foreign economic administrator, the person responsible for civilian lend-lease activity
In this vibrant biography, Weiss furnishes the reader with detailed portraits of a man faithful to his president even when he disagreed with him and of a president willing to do what he felt was necessary for the good of the country.
Raymond Carver has become a literary icon for our time. When he died in 1988 at the age of fifty, he was acclaimed as the greatest influence on the American short story since Hemingway. Carver's friends were the stuff of legend as well. In this rich collection—greatly expanded from the earlier When We Talk about Raymond Carver—of interviews with close companions, acquaintances, and family, Sam Halpert has chronologically arranged the reminiscences of Carver's adult life, recalling his difficult “Bad Raymond” days through his second life as a recovering alcoholic and triumphantly successful writer. The result is a spirited Irish wake—toasts, anecdotes, lies, songs, confessions, laments—all beautifully orchestrated by Halpert into a very readable and moving narrative.
These funny, poignant, intensely remembered interviews juxtapose personal anecdotes and enlightening criticism. Memory mixes with analysis, and a lively picture of Carver emerges as we hear different stories about him—of the same story told from different viewpoints. He is here presented as hero, victim, and even villain—Carver's readers will recognize the woof and warp of his stories in these affectionate narratives.
Rebecca Harding Davis is best known for her gritty short story “Life in the Iron-Mills,” set in her native Wheeling, West Virginia. Far less is known of her later career among elite social circles in Philadelphia, New York, and Europe, or her relationships with American presidents and leading international figures in the worlds of literature and the stage. In the first book-length biography of Davis, Sharon M. Harris traces the extraordinary life of this pioneering realist and recovers her status as one of America’s notable women journalists. Harris also examines Rebecca’s role as the leading member of the Davis family, a unique and nationally recognized family of writers that shaped the changing culture of later nineteenth-century literature and journalism.
This accessible treatment of Davis’s life, based on deep research in archival sources, provides new perspective on topics ranging from sectional tensions in the border South to the gendered world of nineteenth-century publishing. It promises to be the authoritative treatment of an important figure in the literary history of West Virginia and the wider world.
This portrait of one of John Steinbeck's closest friends illuminates the life and work of a figure central to the development of scientific and literary thought in the 20th century.
Marine biologist Edward F. Ricketts is perhaps best known as the inspiration for John Steinbeck's most empathic literary characters Doc in Cannery Row, Slim in Of Mice and Men, Jim Casy in The Grapes of Wrath, and Lee in East of Eden. The correspondence of this accomplished scientist, writer, and philosopher reveals the influential exchange of ideas he shared with such prominent thinkers and artists as Henry Miller, Joseph Campbell, Ellwood Graham, and James Fitzgerald, in addition to Steinbeck, all of whom were drawn to Ricketts's Monterey Bay laboratory, a haven of intellectual discourse and Bohemian culture in the 1930s and 1940s.
The 125 previously unpublished letters of this collection, housed at the Stanford University Library, document the broad range of Ricketts's interests and accomplishments during the last 12 and most productive years of his life. His handbook on Pacific marine life, Between Pacific Tides, is still in print, now in its fifth edition. The biologist's devotion to ecological conservation and his evolving philosophy of science as a cross-disciplinary, holistic pursuit led to the publication of The Sea of Cortez. Many of Ricketts's letters discuss his studies of the Pacific littoral and his theories of “phalanx” and transcendence. Epistles to family members, often tender and humorous, add dimension and depth to Steinbeck's mythologized depictions of Ricketts. Katharine A. Rodger has enriched the correspondence with an introductory biographical essay and a list of works cited.
“Let us agree,” Federico Garcia Lorca wrote, “that one of man’s most beautiful postures is that of St. Sebastian.”
“In my ‘Saint Sebastian’ I remember you,” Salvador Dali replied to Garcia Lorca, referring to the essay on aesthetics that Dali had just written, “. . . and sometimes I think he is you. Let’s see whether Saint Sebastian turns out to be you.”
This exchange is but a glimpse into the complex relationship between two renowned and highly influential twentieth-century artists. On the centennial of Dali's birth, Sebastian’s Arrows presents a never-before-published collection of their letters, lectures, and mementos.
Written between 1925 and 1936, the letters and lectures bring to life a passionate friendship marked by a thoughtful dialogue on aesthetics and the constant interaction between poetry and painting. From their student days in Madrid's Residencia de Estudiantes, where the two waged war against cultural “putrefaction” and mocked the sacred cows of Spanish art, Dali and Garcia Lorca exchanged thoughts on the act of creation, modernity, and the meaning of their art. The volume chronicles how in their poetic skirmishes they sharpened and shaped each other’s work—Garcia Lorca defending his verses of absence and elegy and his love of tradition while Dali argued for his theories of “Clarity” and “Holy Objectivity” and the unsettling logic of Surrealism.
Christopher Maurer’s masterful prologue and selection of letters, texts, and images (many generously provided by the Fundacion Gala-Salvador Dali and Fundacion Federico Garcia Lorca), offer compelling and intimate insights into the lives and work of two iconic artists. The two men had a “tragic, passionate relationship,” Dali once wrote—a friendship pierced by the arrows of Saint Sebastian.
Sojourner Truth's America
Margaret Washington University of Illinois Press, 2009 Library of Congress E185.97.T8W37 2009 | Dewey Decimal 306.362092
This fascinating biography tells the story of nineteenth-century America through the life of one of its most charismatic and influential characters: Sojourner Truth. In an in-depth account of this amazing activist, Margaret Washington unravels Sojourner Truth's world within the broader panorama of African American slavery and the nation's most significant reform era.
Born into bondage among the Hudson Valley Dutch in Ulster County, New York, Isabella was sold several times, married, and bore five children before fleeing in 1826 with her infant daughter one year before New York slavery was abolished. In 1829, she moved to New York City, where she worked as a domestic, preached, joined a religious commune, and then in 1843 had an epiphany. Changing her name to Sojourner Truth, she began traveling the country as a champion of the downtrodden and a spokeswoman for equality by promoting Christianity, abolitionism, and women's rights.
Gifted in verbal eloquence, wit, and biblical knowledge, Sojourner Truth possessed an earthy, imaginative, homespun personality that won her many friends and admirers and made her one of the most popular and quoted reformers of her times. Washington's biography of this remarkable figure considers many facets of Sojourner Truth's life to explain how she became one of the greatest activists in American history, including her African and Dutch religious heritage; her experiences of slavery within contexts of labor, domesticity, and patriarchy; and her profoundly personal sense of justice and intuitive integrity.
Organized chronologically into three distinct eras of Truth's life, Sojourner Truth's America examines the complex dynamics of her times, beginning with the transnational contours of her spirituality and early life as Isabella and her embroilments in legal controversy. Truth's awakening during nineteenth-century America's progressive surge then propelled her ascendancy as a rousing preacher and political orator despite her inability to read and write. Throughout the book, Washington explores Truth's passionate commitment to family and community, including her vision for a beloved community that extended beyond race, gender, and socioeconomic condition and embraced a common humanity. For Sojourner Truth, the significant model for such communalism was a primitive, prophetic Christianity.
Illustrated with dozens of images of Truth and her contemporaries, Sojourner Truth's America draws a delicate and compelling balance between Sojourner Truth's personal motivations and the influences of her historical context. Washington provides important insights into the turbulent cultural and political climate of the age while also separating the many myths from the facts concerning this legendary American figure.
Theodore Roosevelt was a man of wide interests, strong opinions, and intense ambition for both himself and his country. When he met Leonard Wood in 1897, he recognized a kindred spirit. Moreover, the two men shared a zeal for making the United States an imperial power that would challenge Great Britain as world leader. For the remainder of their lives, their careers would intertwine in ways that shaped the American nation.
When the Spanish American War came, both men seized the opportunity to promote the goals of American empire. Roosevelt resigned as assistant secretary of the navy in William McKinley’s administration to serve as a lieutenant colonel of the Rough Riders, a newly organized volunteer cavalry. Wood, then a captain in the medical corps and physician to McKinley, was promoted to colonel and given charge of the unit.
Roosevelt later took over command of the Rough Riders. In the Battle of San Juan Hill, he led it in a charge up Kettle Hill that would end in victory for the American troops and make their daring commander a household name, a war hero, and, eventually, president of the United States.
At the Treaty of Paris in 1898, Spain ceded Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States. The next year, Wood became military governor of Cuba. He remained in the post until 1902. By that time Roosevelt was president. One of the major accomplishments of his administration was reorganization of the War Department, which the war with Spain had proved disastrously outdated. In 1909, when William Howard Taft needed a strong army chief of staff to enforce the new rules, he appointed Leonard Wood.
Both Wood and Roosevelt were strong proponents of preparedness, and when war broke out in Europe in August 1914, Wood, retired as chief of staff and backed by Roosevelt, established the “Plattsburg camps,” a system of basic training camps. When America entered the Great War, the two men’s foresight was justified, but their earlier push for mobilization had angered Woodrow Wilson, and both were denied the command positions they sought in Europe.
Roosevelt died in 1919 while preparing for another presidential campaign. Wood made a run in his place but was never taken seriously as a candidate. He retired from the army and spent the last seven years of his life as civilian governor of the Philippines.
It was a quiet end for two men who had been giants of their time. While their modernization of the army is widely admired, they were not without their critics. Roosevelt and Wood saw themselves as bold leaders but were regarded by some as ruthless strivers. And while their shared ambitions for the United States were tempered by a strong sense of duty, they could, in their certainty and determination, trample those who stood in their path. Teddy Roosevelt and Leonard Wood: Partners in Command is a revealing and long overdue look at the dynamic partnership of this fascinating pair and will be welcomed by scholars and military history enthusiasts alike.
Thomas Wolfe Remembered
Edited by Mark Canada and Nami Montgomery University of Alabama Press, 2018 Library of Congress PS3545.O337Z8636 2018 | Dewey Decimal 813.52
A collection of reminiscencescaptures the private life of a great American writer.
Thomas Wolfe’s life may seem to be an open book. A life that, after all, was the source for his best-known works, including the novels Look Homeward, Angel and Of Time and the River, as well as his numerous short stories and dramas. Since his death in 1938, scholars and admirers of Wolfe have relied largely on these texts to understand the man himself.
Thomas Wolfe Remembered provides something new: a rich, multifaceted portrait painted by those who knew him (casually or intimately), loved him (or didn’t), and saw, heard, and experienced the literary (and literal) giant. This volume gathers in one place for the first time dozens of reminiscences by friends, family members, colleagues, and casual acquaintances, adding color and fine details to the self-portrait the author created in his novels.
Wolfe found plenty to challenge and frustrate him throughout his life, from his boyhood in Asheville, North Carolina, to his education at the University of North Carolina and Harvard University, through his time in New York and Europe, his travels through the American West, and his death in Baltimore. He experienced two distracted parents in a loveless marriage, the premature death of a beloved brother, a minor stutter, and the difficulties of controlling a mercurial temper. Yet Wolfe’s exuberance, perceptiveness, memory, and compulsion to record virtually all that he experienced made for an extravagance of material that sometimes angered the people whose lives he used as source material.
Editors Mark Canada and Nami Montgomery have collected dozens of remembrances, many unpublished or long forgotten, including pieces from Julia Wolfe, Margaret Roberts, Frederick Koch, Maxwell Perkins, Elizabeth Nowell, Edward Aswell, and Martha Dodd. Some are endearing, others are disturbing, and many are comical. All provide glimpses into the vibrant, haunted, boyish, paranoid, disheveled, courteous, captivating, infuriating, and altogether fascinating giant who was Thomas Wolfe.
More than any other Transcendentalist of his time, Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) embodied the full complement of the movement’s ideals and vocations: author, advocate for self-reform, stern critic of society, abolitionist, philosopher, and naturalist. The Thoreau of our time—valorized anarchist, founding environmentalist, and fervid advocate of civil disobedience—did not exist in the nineteenth century. In this rich and appealing collection, Sandra Harbert Petrulionis untangles Thoreau’s multiple identities by offering a wide range of nineteenth-century commentary as the opinions of those who knew him evolved over time.
The forty-nine recollections gathered in Thoreau in His Own Time demonstrate that it was those who knew him personally, rather than his contemporary literati, who most prized Thoreau’s message, but even those who disparaged him respected his unabashed example of an unconventional life. Included are comments by Ralph Waldo Emerson—friend, mentor, Walden landlord, and progenitor of the spin on Thoreau’s posthumous reputation; Nathaniel Hawthorne, who could not compliment Thoreau without simultaneously denigrating him; and John Weiss, whose extended commentary on Thoreau’s spirituality reflects unusual tolerance. Selections from the correspondence of Caroline Healey Dall, Maria Thoreau, Sophia Hawthorne, Sarah Alden Bradford Ripley, and Amanda Mather amplify our understanding of the ways in which nineteenth-century women viewed Thoreau. An excerpt by John Burroughs, who alternately honored and condemned Thoreau, asserts his view that Thoreau was ever searching for the unattainable.
The dozens of primary sources in this crisply edited collection illustrate the complexity of Thoreau’s iconoclastic singularity in a way that no one biographer could. Each entry is introduced by a headnote that places the selection in historical and cultural context. Petrulionis’s comprehensive introduction and her detailed chronology of personal and literary events in Thoreau’s life provide a lively and informative gateway to the entries themselves. The collaborative biography that Petrulionis creates in Thoreau in His Own Time contextualizes the strikingly divergent views held by his contemporaries and highlights the reasons behind his profound legacy.
Alaska’s perch at the geographic corner of civilization isn’t all wilderness and reality TV. There’s a darker side too. Above the 49th parallel some of the nation’s highest rates of alcoholism, suicide, and violent crime can be found. While it can easy to write off or even romanticize these statistics as the product of a lingering Wild West culture, talking with real Alaskans reveals a different story.
Journalist Mary Kudenov set out to find the true stories behind this “end-of-the-road” culture. Through her essays, we meet Alaskans who live outside the common adventurer narrative: a recent graduate of a court-sponsored sobriety program, a long-timer in the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center for women, a slum-landlord’s emancipated teenage daughter, and even a post-rampage spree killer. Her subjects struggle with poverty and middle-class aspirations, education and minimum wage work, God and psychology. The result is a raw and startling collection of direct, ground-level reporting that will leave you deeply moved.
Bob Hunter The Ohio State University Press, 2017 Library of Congress PS3539.H94Z725 2017 | Dewey Decimal 818.5209
James Thurber’s Columbus was not today’s Columbus—or even yesterday’s. It was a Columbus he both knew and created, a place perched on the fringe of reality and the fringe of his imagination. It is the place Bob Hunter revisits in Thurberville, a book where the author separates truth from fiction and identifies what parts of the famous humorist’s hometown of 180,000 exist in the burgeoning metro area of more than two million today.
Thurber’s Columbus was a wild and crazy place, a city full of fascinating and sometimes peculiar characters, many in his own family. Because of the widespread popularity of his stories, that was also the Columbus that many of his readers around the world came to know. Thurberville chronicles those characters and explores that world. But it also examines the real city where Thurber struggled and then blossomed as a college student, worked as a newspaper reporter and a press agent, and achieved international fame as a humorist and cartoonist after he left town, in part by writing about the subjects he left behind.
Much of Thurber’s best work was cultivated by experiences Thurber had in Columbus and in his dealings with family, friends, teachers, and acquaintances there. They are worth a revisit and, in some cases, an introduction.
Tito and His Comrades
Jože Pirjevec, Foreword by Emily Greble University of Wisconsin Press, 2018 Library of Congress DR1300.P5713 2018 | Dewey Decimal 949.7023092
This landmark biography reveals the life of one of the most powerful figures of the Cold War era. Josip Broz (1892–1980), nicknamed Tito, led Yugoslavia for nearly four decades with charisma, cunning, and an iron fist.
With his Partisans he fought Hitler during World War II, and after the war he shrewdly resisted the Soviet Union's grasp. A leader of the non-aligned nations, he long enjoyed a reputation in the West as "the only good Communist" despite a dubious human rights record at home. Jože Pirjevec employs impressive research from archives in eight languages to offer this illuminating, definitive portrait of a complex man in turbulent times.
Pirjevec recounts how Tito, with little schooling but an astute intellect and driving ambition, rose through Communist Party ranks to shape and rule the Yugoslav federation. Surviving multiple assassination attempts by Nazis, Soviet spies, and others, Tito boldly threatened Stalin in return and may have, Pirjevec reveals, contrived Stalin's death. The narrative follows Tito's personal and political life into old age, as the specter of a Soviet invasion haunted him until his death at age eighty-seven. Available in English for the first time, this edition includes new material from Pirjevec and a foreword by Emily Greble.
Truman and Pendergast
Robert H. Ferrell University of Missouri Press, 1999 Library of Congress E814.F483 1999 | Dewey Decimal 973.918092
No portion of the political career of Harry S. Truman was more fraught with drama than his relationship with Thomas J. Pendergast. In one of their earliest meetings, the two men were momentarily at odds after Truman, who was then presiding judge of Jackson County, gave a $400,000 road contract to a construction company in South Dakota, and Pendergast, the boss of Kansas City, wasn't very happy about it. He had someone else in mind for the contract. Their association thus had its disagreements, but their common interest in politics was enough to establish a long-lasting relationship.
In 1934, after considering fourteen other men, Pendergast sponsored Truman for the Senate. Although Truman had often cooperated with Pendergast on patronage issues, he had never involved himself in the illegalities that would eventually destroy the Pendergast machine. In fact, Truman had no idea how deeply the Boss had engaged in corruption in his personal affairs, as well as in managing the government of Kansas City. When the Boss was sent to Leavenworth for tax evasion in 1939, Truman was astonished.
Despite Truman's honesty, his relationship with Pendergast almost caused his defeat during the Missouri senatorial primary in August 1940. The main challenger for Truman's Senate seat was the ambitious governor of Missouri, Lloyd C. Stark, who after destroying Truman's sponsor, the Pendergast machine, denounced Truman as "the Pendergast senator." Behind the governor was President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom Stark turned against Truman. Roosevelt wanted Missouri's electoral votes in his forthcoming bid for a third term, and he believed that Stark could give them to him.
Because of the stigma of Truman's Pendergast connection, the 1940 Democratic primary was the tightest election in his entire political career. He won by fewer than eight thousand votes. In Truman and Pendergast, Robert H. Ferrell masterfully presents Truman's struggle to keep his Senate seat without the aid of Pendergast and despite Stark's enlistment of Roosevelt against him. Ferrell shows that Truman won the election in his typical fashion—going directly to the people, speaking honestly and like one of them.
Never one to suffer fools gladly, especially if they wore crinolines, Mark Twain lost as many friends as he made, and he targeted them all indiscriminately. The first major American writer born west of the Mississippi River, he enjoys a reputation unrivaled in American literary history, and from the beginning of his career he tried to control that reputation by fiercely protecting his public persona. Not a debunking account of Twain’s life but refreshingly immune from his relentless image making, Gary Scharnhorst’s Twain in His Own Time offers an anecdotal version of Twain’s life over which the master spin-doctor had virtually no control.
The ninety-four recollections gathered in Twain in His Own Time form an unsanitized, collaborative biography designed to provide a multitude of perspectives on the iconic author. Opening with an interview with his mother that has never been reprinted, it includes memoirs by his daughters and by men who knew him when he was roughing it in Nevada and California, an interview with the pilot who taught him to navigate the Mississippi River, reminiscences from his illustrators E. M. Kemble and Dan Beard and two of his so-called adolescent angelfish, contributions from politicians and from such literary figures as Dan De Quille and George Bernard Shaw, and one of the most damning assessments of his character—by the author Frank Harris—ever published.
Each entry is introduced by a brief explanation of its historical and cultural context; explanatory notes provide further information about people and places; and Scharnhorst’s introduction and chronology of Twain’s eventful life are comprehensive and detailed. Dozens of lively primary sources published incrementally over more than eighty years, most recorded after his death, illustrate the complexities of this flamboyant, outspoken personality in a way that no single biographer could.
Rocco C. Siciliano broke new ground as the first Italian-American to serve in the White House as an assistant to the president, Dwight D. Eisenhower. At 31, "Ike’s Youngest" attained a prominence not suggested in his humble beginnings in Salt Lake City, Utah. But his upbringing in the Mormon-dominated community, where he balanced the heritage of his striving immigrant parents with his own aspirations for success, prepared him for a wide variety of service. This service includes leading a special weapons platoon in the 10th Mountain Division in World War II, bringing Martin Luther King Jr. to meet with President Eisenhower, and becoming a recognized business leader in California.
Siciliano used his expertise in labor, personnel management, and business to contribute substantively to the J. Paul Getty Center, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, the Committee for Economic Development, and the "Volcker" Commission on Public Service, among others.
The variety of Siciliano’s experiences reinvigorates our understanding of the forgotten art of public service. Walking on Sand emphasizes the role that public service can play for corporations, communities, states, and the nation. This story is a gift from the Greatest Generation to the many people who serve America today and will serve her tomorrow.
Ceniza provides a dramatic rereading of Walt Whitman's poetry through the lens of 19th-century feminist culture.
Walt Whitman and 19th-Century Women Reformers documents Whitman's friendships with women during the 1850s, the decade of Whitman's most creative period. The book reveals startling connections between the Þrst three editions of Leaves of Grass and the texts generated by the women he knew during this period, many of whom were radical activists in the women's rights movement.
Sherry Ceniza argues that Whitman's editions of Leaves became progressively more radically 'feminist' as he followed the women's rights movement during the 1850s and that he was influenced by what he called the 'true woman of the new aggressive type . . . woman under the new dispensation.' Ceniza documents the progression of the National Woman's Rights movement through the lives and writings of three of its leaders- Abby Hills Price, Paulina Wright Davis, and Ernestine L. Rose. By juxtaposing the texts written by these women with Leaves, Ceniza shows that Whitman used many of the same arguments and rhetorical gestures as his female activist friends.
The book also discusses the influence of women engaged in women's rights outside the National Woman's Rights organization. And Ceniza's opening chapter is devoted to a fresh interpretation of the life and thought of another strong-minded woman who influenced the poet's writing-Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, Walt Whitman's mother.
We Have All Gone Away
Curtis Harnack University of Iowa Press, 1973 Library of Congress E302.6.F8F844 2011 | Dewey Decimal 973.3092
In We Have All Gone Away, his emotionally moving memoir, Curtis Harnack tells of growing up during the Great Depression on an Iowa farm among six siblings and an extended family of relatives. With a directness and a beauty that recall Thoreau, Harnack balances a child’s impressions with the knowledge of an adult looking back to produce what Publishers Weekly called “a country plum of a book, written with genuine affection and vivid recall.”
In a community related by blood and harvest, rural life could be bountiful even when hard economic times threatened. The adults urged children to become educated and to keep an eye on tomorrow. “We were all taught to lean enthusiastically into the future,” Harnack recalls, which would likely be elsewhere, in distant cities. At the same time, the children were cultivating a resiliency that would serve them well in the unknown world of the second half of the twentieth century.
Inevitably, the Midwest’s small, diversified family farm gave way to large-scale agriculture, which soon changed the former intimate way of life. “Our generation, using the mulched dead matter of agrarian life like projectile fuel for our thrust into the future, became part of that enormous vitality springing out of rural America,” notes Harnack. Both funny and elegiac, We Have All Gone Away is a masterful memoir of the joys and sorrows of Iowa farm life at mid-century, a world now gone “by way of learning, wars, and marriage” but still a lasting part of America’s heritage.
Grace Frick introduced English-language readers all over the world to the distinguished French author Marguerite Yourcenar with her award-winning translation of Yourcenar’s novel Memoirs of Hadrian in 1954. European biographies of Yourcenar have often disparaged Frick and her relationship with Yourcenar, however. This work shows Frick as a person of substance in her own right, and paints a portrait of both women that is at once intimate and scrupulously documented. It contains a great deal of new information that will disrupt long-held beliefs about Yourcenar and may even shock some of her scholars and fans.
Whitman and the Irish
Joann P. Krieg University of Iowa Press, 2000 Library of Congress PS3233.K75 2000 | Dewey Decimal 811.3
Though Walt Whitman created no Irish characters in his early works of fiction, he did include the Irish as part of the democratic portrait of America that he drew in Leaves of Grass. He could hardly have done otherwise. In 1855, when the first edition of Leaves of Grass was published, the Irish made up one of the largest immigrant populations in New York City and, as such, maintained a cultural identity of their own. All of this “Irishness” swirled about Whitman as he trod the streets of his Mannahatta, ultimately becoming part of him and his poetry. As members of the working class, famous authors, or close friends, the Irish left their mark on Whitman the man and poet. In Whitman and the Irish, Joann Krieg convincingly establishes their importance within the larger framework of Whitman studies.
Focusing on geography rather than biography, Krieg traces Whitman's encounters with cities where the Irish formed a large portion of the population—New York City, Boston, Camden, and Dublin—or where, as in the case of Washington, D.C., he had exceptionally close Irish friends. She also provides a brief yet important historical summary of Ireland and its relationship with America.
Whitman and the Irish does more than examine Whitman's Irish friends and acquaintances: it adds a valuable dimension to our understanding of his personal world and explores a number of vital questions in social and cultural history. Krieg places Whitman in relation to the emerging labor culture of ante-bellum New York, reveals the relationship between Whitman's cultural nationalism and the Irish nationalism of the late nineteenth century, and reflects upon Whitman's involvement with the Union cause and that of Irish American soldiers.
Few American writers were as concerned with their public image as was Walt Whitman. He praised his own work in unsigned reviews; he included engravings or photographs of himself in numerous editions of his work; and he assisted in the writing of two biographies of himself. Whitman was also written about extensively by others throughout his lifetime. Whitman in His Own Time is a collection of these contemporary accounts of the "good gray poet."
The interviews with and recollections of Whitman collected by Joel Myerson represent a wide spectrum of accounts—visitors from America and abroad; newspaper interviewers; Whitman's doctor and nurse during his final illness; his literary executors; a student from his early schoolteaching days; and such well-known authors as Bronson Alcott, John Burroughs, and Henry David Thoreau. The selections also paint a well-rounded picture of Whitman, from his early days as a schoolteacher to the moment of his death, and demonstrate a varying range of attitudes toward the poet. Yet throughout the entire collection, Whitman himself holds center stage, and he is seen as vividly today as he was over one hundred years ago. Myerson's introduction to this expanded edition places these accounts of Whitman within the context of the time and discusses new scholarship on Whitman's life.
In 1968, at the peak of the Vietnam War, centrist Congressman Melvin Laird (R-WI) agreed to serve as Richard Nixon’s secretary of defense. It was not, Laird knew, a move likely to endear him to the American public—but as he later said, “Nixon couldn’t find anybody else who wanted the damn job.” For the next four years, Laird deftly navigated the morass of the war he had inherited. Lampooned as a “missile head,” but decisive in crafting an exit strategy, he doggedly pursued his program of Vietnamization, initiating the withdrawal of U.S. military personnel and gradually ceding combat responsibilities to South Vietnam. In fighting to bring the troops home faster, pressing for more humane treatment of POWs, and helping to end the draft, Laird employed a powerful blend of disarming Midwestern candor and Washington savvy, as he sought a high moral road bent on Nixon’s oft-stated (and politically instrumental) goal of peace with honor.
The first book ever to focus on Laird’s legacy, this authorized biography reveals his central and often unrecognized role in managing the crisis of national identity sparked by the Vietnam War—and the challenges, ethical and political, that confronted him along the way. Drawing on exclusive interviews with Laird, Henry Kissinger, Gerald Ford, and numerous others, author Dale Van Atta offers a sympathetic portrait of a man striving for open government in an atmosphere fraught with secrecy. Van Atta illuminates the inner workings of high politics: Laird’s behind-the-scenes sparring with Kissinger over policy, his decisions to ignore Nixon’s wilder directives, his formative impact on arms control and health care, his key role in the selection of Ford for vice president, his frustration with the country’s abandonment of Vietnamization, and, in later years, his unheeded warning to Donald Rumsfeld that “it’s a helluva lot easier to get into a war than to get out of one.”
Best Books for Regional Special Interests, selected by the American Association of School Librarians, and Best Books for Special Interests, selected by the Public Library Association
From the time of Lincoln’ s nomination for the presidency until his assassination, John G. Nicolay served as the Civil War president’ s chief personal secretary. Nicolay became an intimate of Lincoln and probably knew him as well as anyone outside his own family. Unlike John Hay, his subordinate, Nicolay kept no diary, but he did write several memoranda recording his chief’ s conversation that shed direct light on Lincoln. In his many letters to Hay, to his fiancé e, Therena Bates, and to others, Nicolay often describes the mood at the White House as well as events there. He also expresses opinions that were almost certainly shaped by the president
For this volume, Michael Burlingame includes all of Nicolay’ s memoranda of conversations, all of the journal entries describing Lincoln’ s activities, and excerpts from most of the nearly three hundred letters Nicolay wrote to Therena Bates between 1860 and 1865. He includes letters and portions of letters that describe Lincoln or the mood at the White House or that give Nicolay’ s personal opinions. He also includes letters written by Nicolay while on troubleshooting missions for the president.
An impoverished youth, Nicolay was an unlikely candidate for the important position he held during the Civil War. It was only over the strong objections of some powerful people that he became Lincoln’ s private secretary after Lincoln’ s nomination for the presidency in 1860. Prominent Chicago Republican Herman Kreismann found the appointment of a man so lacking in savoir faire
“ ridiculous.” Henry Martin Smith, city editor of the Chicago Tribune, called Nicolay’ s appointment a national loss. Henry C.Whitney was surprised that the president would appoint a “ nobody.”
Lacking charm, Nicolay became known at the White House as the “ bulldog in the ante-room” with a disposition “ sour and crusty.” California journalist Noah Brooks deemed Nicolay a “ grim Cerberus of Teutonic descent who guards the last door which opens into the awful presence.” Yet in some ways he was perfectly suited for the difficult job. William O. Stoddard, noting that Nicolay was not popular and could “ say 'no'about as disagreeably as any man I ever knew,” still granted that Nicolay served Lincoln well because he was devoted and incorruptible. Stoddard concluded that Nicolay “ deserves the thanks of all who loved Mr. Lincoln.”
For his part, Nicolay said he derived his greatest satisfaction “ from having enjoyed the privilege and honor of being Mr. Lincoln’ s intimate and official private secretary, and of earning his cordial friendship and perfect trust.”
The Work of Mourning
Jacques Derrida University of Chicago Press, 2001 Library of Congress B2430.D483W67 2001 | Dewey Decimal 194
Jacques Derrida is, in the words of the New York Times, "perhaps the world's most famous philosopher—if not the only famous philosopher." He often provokes controversy as soon as his name is mentioned. But he also inspires the respect that comes from an illustrious career, and, among many who were his colleagues and peers, he inspired friendship. The Work of Mourning is a collection that honors those friendships in the wake of passing.
Gathered here are texts—letters of condolence, memorial essays, eulogies, funeral orations—written after the deaths of well-known figures: Roland Barthes, Paul de Man, Michel Foucault, Louis Althusser, Edmond Jabès, Louis Marin, Sarah Kofman, Gilles Deleuze, Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-François Lyotard, Max Loreau, Jean-Marie Benoist, Joseph Riddel, and Michel Servière.
With his words, Derrida bears witness to the singularity of a friendship and to the absolute uniqueness of each relationship. In each case, he is acutely aware of the questions of tact, taste, and ethical responsibility involved in speaking of the dead—the risks of using the occasion for one's own purposes, political calculation, personal vendetta, and the expiation of guilt. More than a collection of memorial addresses, this volume sheds light not only on Derrida's relation to some of the most prominent French thinkers of the past quarter century but also on some of the most important themes of Derrida's entire oeuvre-mourning, the "gift of death," time, memory, and friendship itself.
"In his rapt attention to his subjects' work and their influence upon him, the book also offers a hesitant and tangential retelling of Derrida's own life in French philosophical history. There are illuminating and playful anecdotes—how Lyotard led Derrida to begin using a word-processor; how Paul de Man talked knowledgeably of jazz with Derrida's son. Anyone who still thinks that Derrida is a facetious punster will find such resentful prejudice unable to survive a reading of this beautiful work."—Steven Poole, Guardian
"Strikingly simpa meditations on friendship, on shared vocations and avocations and on philosophy and history."—Publishers Weekly
Booker T. Washington, the founder of Tuskegee Institute, and Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears, Roebuck, and Company, first met in 1911 at a Chicago luncheon. By charting the lives of these two men both before and after the meeting, Stephanie Deutsch offers a fascinating glimpse into the partnership that would bring thousands of modern schoolhouses to African American communities in the rural South in the era leading up to the civil rights movement. Trim and vital at just shy of fifty, Rosenwald was the extraordinarily rich chairman of one of the nation’s largest businesses, interested in using his fortune to do good not just in his own Jewish community but also to promote the well-being of African Americans.
Washington, though widely admired, had weathered severe crises both public and private in his fifty-six years. He had dined with President Theodore Roosevelt and drunk tea with Queen Victoria, but he had also been assaulted on a street in New York City. He had suffered personal heartbreak, years of overwork, and the discouraging knowledge that, despite his optimism and considerable success, conditions for African Americans were not improving as he had assumed they would. From within his own community, Washington faced the bitter charge of accommodationism that haunts his legacy to this day. Despite their differences, the two men would work together well and their collaboration would lead to the building of five thousand schoolhouses. By the time segregation ended, the “Rosenwald Schools” that sprang from this unlikely partnership were educating one third of the South’s African American children. These schoolhouses represent a significant step in the ongoing endeavor to bring high quality education to every child in the United States—an ideal that remains to be realized even today.