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In a luminous memoir of a life richly lived, one of America's finest writers explores the themes that have shaped his life and work: the glories of the natural world, the lure of working for a circus and fighting forest fires, the afflictions of temporary blindness and blocked speech, and the enduring influence of literary friendships, including John Berryman's, Edward Abbey's, and his mentor, Archibald MacLeish. From his childhood in rural Connecticut to some of the earth's last remaining wildernesses, Hoagland has traveled the world wielding his unusual gift for observation. InCompass Pointshe delivers an honest and lively accounting of his voyages through two marriages; the New York parties he attended as a precocious young writer; Vermont hippiedom and academia; his many vivid sojourns into Europe, Alaska, British Columbia, the Sudan; and, perhaps most unforgettably, his stint in the "Animal Department" of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus fifty years ago. Leavened with Hoagland's trademark humor and insight,Compass Pointsis an entertaining and moving account of the days and nights of one of our most eminent literary voices. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The essays vary in subject matter from "nature" essays to "city" essays.
When artist, illustrator, writer, and adventurer Rockwell Kent first published N by E in a limited edition in 1930, his account of a voyage on a 33-foot cutter from New York Harbor to the rugged shores of Greenland quickly became a collectors' item. Little wonder, for readers are immediately drawn to Kent's vivid descriptions of the experience; we share "the feeling of wind and wet and cold, of lifting seas and steep descents, of rolling over as the wind gusts hit," and the sound "of wind in the shrouds, of hard spray flung on a drum-tight canvas, of rushing water at the scuppers, of the gale shearing a tormented sea." When the ship sinks in a storm-swept fjord within 50 miles of its destination, the story turns to the stranding and subsequent rescue of the three-man crew, salvage of the vessel, and life among native Greenlanders. Magnificently illustrated by Kent's wood-block prints and narrated in his poetic and highly entertaining style, this tale of the perils of killer nor'easters, treacherous icebergs, and impenetrable fog -- and the joys of sperm whales breaching or dawn unmasking a longed-for landfall -- is a rare treat for old salts and landlubbers alike.
In 1966, Edward Hoagland made a three-month excursion into the wild country of British Columbia and encountered a way of life that was disappearing even as he chronicled it. Showcasing Hoagland's extraordinary gifts for portraiture--his cast runs from salty prospector to trader, explorer, missionary, and indigenous guide--Notes from the Century Before is a breathtaking mix of anecdote, derring-do, and unparalleled elegy from one of the finest writers of our time.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Called the best essayist of his time by luminaries like Philip Roth, John Updike and Edward Abbey, Edward Hoagland brings readers his ultimate collection. In Sex and the River Styx, the author's sharp eye and intense curiosity shine through in essays that span his childhood exploring the woods in his rural Connecticut, his days as a circus worker, and his travels the world over in his later years. Here, we meet Hoagland at his best: traveling to Kampala to meet a family he'd been helping support only to find a divide far greater than he could have ever imagined; reflecting on aging, love, and sex in a deeply personal, often surprising way; and bringing us the wonder of wild places, alongside the disparity of losing them, and always with a twist that brings the genre of nature writing to vastly new heights. His keen dissection of social realities and the human spirit will both startle and lure readers as they meet African matriarchs, Tibetan yak herders, circus aerialists, and the strippers who entertained college boys in 1950s Boston. Says Howard Frank Mosher in his foreword, the self-described rhapsodist, "could fairly be considered our last, great transcendentalist. "
In the late 1800s, John Muir made several trips to the pristine, relatively unexplored territory of Alaska, irresistibly drawn to its awe-inspiring glaciers and its wild menagerie of bears, bald eagles, wolves, and whales. Half-poet and half-geologist, he recorded his experiences and reflections in Travels in Alaska, a work he was in the process of completing at the time of his death in 1914. As Edward Hoagland writes in his Introduction, "A century and a quarter later, we are reading [Muir's] account because there in the glorious fiords . . . he is at our elbow, nudging us along, prompting us to understand that heaven is on earth--is the Earth--and rapture is the sensible response wherever a clear line of sight remains."This Modern Library Paperback Classic includes photographs from the original 1915 edition.From the Trade Paperback edition.
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