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In this powerful and intimate memoir, the beloved bestselling author of The Prince of Tides and his father, the inspiration for The Great Santini, find some common ground at long last.Pat Conroy’s father, Donald Patrick Conroy, was a towering figure in his son’s life. The Marine Corps fighter pilot was often brutal, cruel, and violent; as Pat says, “I hated my father long before I knew there was an English word for ‘hate.’” As the oldest of seven children who were dragged from military base to military base across the South, Pat bore witness to the toll his father’s behavior took on his siblings, and especially on his mother, Peg.
The Noble Hustle is Pulitzer finalist Colson Whitehead’s hilarious memoir of his search for meaning at high stakes poker tables, which the author describes as “Eat, Pray, Love for depressed shut-ins.”On one level, The Noble Hustle is a familiar species of participatory journalism–a longtime neighborhood poker player, Whitehead was given a $10,000 stake and an assignment from the online online magazine Grantland to see how far he could get in the World Series of Poker. But since it stems from the astonishing mind of Colson Whitehead (MacArthur Award-endorsed!), the book is a brilliant, hilarious, weirdly profound, and ultimately moving portrayal of–yes, it sounds overblown and ridiculous, but really!–the human condition.A
"It is not only the Hammer films based on Dennis Wheatley’s novels that are full-blooded, sensational entertainment, so was Wheatley’s life, brilliantly evoked by Phil Baker. This gripping biography draws out all the comedy from Wheatley’s history, from his childhood in a family of wine merchants who were dedicated to social climbing (the scrambling for status never left Wheatley either, even in his 70’s he was proudly joining gentlemen’s clubs such as White’s) to his experiences in World War One.
Mary Edwards Bryan became one of America’s best-known writers of popular fiction in the nineteenth century. She reached literary success despite a tough frontier life, the upheavals of secession and war, disruptive affairs with authors and politicians, the tensions of emancipation, and pervading post-war economic disorder. Pairing historical insights with selections of Bryan’s best writing, this book illustrates how the obstacles she overcame shaped what she wrote.
Bryan’s life in Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana shows how men often oppressed women-in her case, as fathers and husbands-but also sometimes allowed aspiring women writers key opportunities as publishers and editors of literary journals.
While composing what would become his most enduring and popular book, Charlotte’s Web, E. B. White was obeying that oft-repeated maxim: ‘Write what you know.’ Helpless pigs, silly geese,clever spiders, greedy rats – White knew all of these characters in the barns and stables where he spent his favourite hours as child and adult. Painfully shy, White once wrote of himself ‘this boy felt for animals a kinship he never felt for people’. Nonetheless, that tens of millions have been so moved by Charlotte’s Web, and by White’s other classics, testifies to his deep understanding of the human condition.
Bringing readers into intimate contact with E. B. White’s world, Michael Sims chronicles his animal-rich youth and dreams of being a writer; the vibrant early years of the New Yorker,where urban nature was White’s ever-present theme; the discovery of the farm in Maine where he and his wife would live; his fascinating scientific research into how spiders spin webs, lay eggs, and live in the world; his friendship with his legendary editor, Ursula Nordstrom; and the luminous creative process that led to publication of his masterpiece.
By refining the raw ore of his childhood in Mount Vernon, New York, in the first decade of the twentieth century, White translated his own passions and contradictions, delights and fears, into a book that would be read the world over. The Story of Charlotte’s Web illuminates the life of a literary icon, and will add richness and appreciation for anyone who has loved, or has yet to read, a cherished classic.
From one of our most perceptive and provocative voices comes a deeply researched account of the last days of Susan Sontag, Sigmund Freud, John Updike, Dylan Thomas, Maurice Sendak, and James Salter—an arresting and wholly original meditation on mortality.In The Violet Hour, Katie Roiphe takes an unexpected and liberating approach to the most unavoidable of subjects. She investigates the last days of six great thinkers, writers, and artists as they come to terms with the reality of approaching death, or what T.
The life of Edgar Allan Poe (1809–49) is the quintessential writer’s biography—great works arising from a life of despair, poverty, alcoholism, and a mysterious solitary death. It may seem like a cliché now, but it was Poe who helped shape this idea in the popular imagination. Despite or perhaps even inspired by his many hardships, Poe wrote some of the most well-known poems and intricately crafted stories in American literature. In Edgar Allan Poe, Kevin J. Hayes argues that Poe’s work anticipated many of the directions Western thought would take in the century to come, and he identifies links between Poe and writers and artists such as Walter Benjamin, Salvador Dalí, Sergei Eisenstein, and Jean Cocteau.
In the first full, one-volume biography of Alexander Hamilton in more than two decades, award-winning historian Willard Sterne Randall takes a fresh look at one of the most brilliant, conflicted, and elusive of our nation’s founders.Orphaned at thirteen and apprenticed in a counting house, the precocious Hamilton learned principles of business that helped him, as the first U.S. secretary of the treasury, to create the American banking system and invent the modern corporation. But first the staunch, intrepid Hamilton served in the American Revolution, primarily as aide-de-camp to General Washington, acting as Washington’s spymaster.
In Ray Bradbury Unbound, Jonathan R. Eller continues the story begun in his acclaimed Becoming Ray Bradbury, following the beloved author’s evolution from a short story master to a multi-media creative force and outspoken visionary. At the height of his powers as a poetic prose stylist, Bradbury shifted his creative attention to film and television, where new successes gave him an enduring platform as a compelling cultural commentator. His passionate advocacy validated the U.S. space program’s mission, extending his pivotal role as a chronicler of human values in an age of technological wonders.
In the early fall of 1958, the notorious Olympia Press in Paris published a novel entitled Candy, an erotic, Rabelaisian satire loosely based on Voltaire’s Candide by one Maxwell Kenton, pseudonym of its coauthors, Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg. The novel drew the attention of the French censors, was banned, reissued by Olympia’s intrepid publisher under the title Lollipop, rebanned, then again reissued. Within years it became one of the most talked-about novels of the tumultuous 1960s, selling in the millions of copies in America alone, its success prompting Hollywood to turn it into a movie.T
In addition to the Voyage and Expedition, this edition also includes the dialogue The Leper of the City of Aosta, a preface by Xavier s better-known older brother (the royalist philosopher Joseph de Maistre), and an introduction by Richard Howard."
A playwright, poet, and activist, Bertolt Brecht (1898–1956) was known for his theory of the epic theater and his attempts to break down the division between high art and popular culture. He was also a committed Marxist who lived through two world wars and a global depression. Looking at Brecht’s life and works through his plays, stories, poems, and political essays, Philip Glahn illustrates how they trace a lifelong attempt to relate to the specific social, economic, and political circumstances of the early twentieth century.
In the beginning, everything was alive. The smallest objects were endowed with beating hearts . . .
Having recalled his life through the story of his physical self in Winter Journal, internationally acclaimed novelist Paul Auster now remembers the experience of his development from within, through the encounters of his interior self with the outer world.
From his baby’s-eye view of the man in the moon to his childhood worship of the movie cowboy Buster Crabbe to the composition of his first poem at the age of nine to his dawning awareness of the injustices of American life, Report from the Interior charts Auster’s moral, political and intellectual journey as he inches his way toward adulthood through the post-war fifties and into the turbulent 1960s.
Auster evokes the sounds, smells, and tactile sensations that marked his early life-and the many images that came at him, including moving images (he adored cartoons, he was in love with films), until, at its unique climax, the book breaks away from prose into pure imagery: The final section of Report from the Interior recapitulates the first three parts, told in an album of pictures.
At once a story of the times and the story of the emerging consciousness of a renowned literary artist, this four-part work answers the challenge of autobiography in ways rarely, if ever, seen before.
From a National Book Critics Circle Award winner, a brilliantly conceived and illuminating reconsideration of a key period in the life of Ernest Hemingway that will forever change the way he is perceived and understood.Focusing on the years 1934 to 1961—from Hemingway’s pinnacle as the reigning monarch of American letters until his suicide—Paul Hendrickson traces the writer’s exultations and despair around the one constant in his life during this time: his beloved boat, Pilar.We follow him from Key West to Paris, to New York, Africa, Cuba, and finally Idaho, as he wrestles with his best angels and worst demons.
“One man in his time plays many parts,His acts being seven ages.”In this illuminating, innovative biography, Jonathan Bate, one of today’s most accomplished Shakespearean scholars, has found a fascinating new way to tell the story of the great dramatist. Using the Bard’s own immortal list of a man’s seven ages in As You Like It, Bate deduces the crucial events of Shakespeare’s life and connects them to his world and work as never before.Here is the author as an infant, born into a world of plague and syphillis, diseases with which he became closely familiar; as a schoolboy, a position he portrayed in The Merry Wives of Windsor, in which a clever, cheeky lad named William learns Latin grammar; as a lover, married at eighteen to an older woman already pregnant, perhaps presaging Bassanio, who in The Merchant of Venice won a wife who could save him from financial ruin.
Carl von Clausewitz’s On War, is generally considered the greatest text on military theory ever written. Clausewitz is a touchstone for the field today, and is read by scholars, students, and military personnel around the world. And yet to Clausewitz himself, far more important than achieving recognition for his scholarly and theoretical contributions was achieving glory on the field of battle-winning renown not with his pen but with his sword.Military historian Donald Stoker’s perceptive biography of Carl von Clausewitz moves skillfully between Clausewitz’s career as a solider and his work as a theoretician and author, exploring the composition of On War and other works while also emphasizing the many military engagements in which Clausewitz fought.
Nancy Mitford’s life was as glamorous and as dramatic as her most famous novels, The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate.Mitford was witty, intelligent, often acerbic, a great tease, and an acute observer of upper-class English idiosyncrasies. With the publication of her comic novels, based in part on her eccentric family, she became a huge bestseller and household name. An inspired letter writer, she wrote almost daily to a wide variety of correspondents, among them Evelyn Waugh, Harold Acton, John Betjeman, and, of course, her famous sisters.
A groundbreaking biography that places an obsessive, unrequited love at the heart of the writer’s life story, transforming her from the tragic figure we have previously known into a smoldering Jane Eyre.Famed for her beloved novels, Charlotte Brontë has been known as well for her insular, tragic family life. The genius of this biography is that it delves behind this image to reveal a life in which loss and heartache existed alongside rebellion and fierce ambition. Harman seizes on a crucial moment in the 1840s when Charlotte worked at a girls’ school in Brussels and fell hopelessly in love with the husband of the school’s headmistress.
Versatile and prolific, Robertson Davies was an actor, journalist and newspaper publisher, playwright, essayist, founding master of Massey College at the University of Toronto, and one of Canada’s greatest novelists. He was also an obsessive, complex, and self-revealing diarist. His diaries, which he began as a teenager, grew to over 3 million words and are an astonishing literary legacy. This first published selection of his diaries spans 1959 to 1963, years in which Davies, in mid-life, experienced both daunting failure and unexpected success.B
The author of the immortal Lolita and Pale Fire, born to an eminent Russian family, conjures the apotheosis of the high modernist artist: cultured, refined–as European as they come. But Vladimir Nabokov, who came to America fleeing the Nazis, came to think of his time here as the richest of his life. Indeed, Nabokov was not only happiest here, but his best work flowed from his response to this exotic land.
Robert Roper fills out this period in the writer’s life with charm and insight–covering Nabokov’s critical friendship with Edmund Wilson, his time at Cornell, his role at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology.
Agatha Christie is revered around the world for her books and the indelible characters she created. Lesser known is her writing for the stage—an extraordinary repertoire of plays that firmly established her as the most successful female dramatist of all time. Now author Julius Green raises the curtain on Christie’s towering contribution to popular theatre, an element of her work previously disregarded by biographers and historians.Starting with her childhood theatregoing experiences, Curtain Up uncovers Christie’s first serious attempts at playwriting, with scripts that reveal a very different style from the now familiar whodunits for which she became famous.
After two producers, four directors, thirteen years, and uncounted rewrites, the movie version of John Irving’s acclaimed novel, The Cider House Rules, at last made it to the big screen. Here is the author’s account of the novel-to-film process. Anecdotal, affectionate, and delightfully candid, My Movie Business dazzles with Irving’s incomparable wit and style.
A major literary event–the complete, uncensored journals of Sylvia Plath, published in their entirety for the first time.Sylvia Plath’s journals were originally published in 1982 in a heavily abridged version authorized by Plath’s husband, Ted Hughes. This new edition is an exact and complete transcription of the diaries Plath kept during the last twelve years of her life. Sixty percent of the book is material that has never before been made public, more fully revealing the intensity of the poet’s personal and literary struggles, and providing fresh insight into both her frequent desperation and the bravery with which she faced down her demons.
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