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An anthology of the best contemporary American short stories as told by various world renowned authors of both fiction and non-fiction. With Elizabeth Hardwick as the guest editor for this edition.
Originally published in The Cornhill Magazine in 1878 and in book form in 1879, Daisy Miller brought Henry James his first widespread commercial and critical success. The young Daisy Miller, an American on holiday with her mother on the shores of Switzerland's Lac Leman, is one of James's most vivid and tragic characters. Daisy's friendship with an American gentleman, Mr. Winterbourne, and her subsequent infatuation with a passionate but impoverished Italian bring to life the great Jamesian themes of Americans abroad, innocence versus experience, and the grip of fate. As Elizabeth Hardwick writes in her Introduction, Daisy Miller "lives on, a figure out of literature who has entered history as a name, a vision."From the Trade Paperback edition.
A single novel, an eternal classic, established him as a founding father of American literature. Now, a century after his death, a new popular surge of interest in Herman Melville calls for Elizabeth Hardwick's rich analysis of "the whole of Melville's works, uneven as it is, and the challenging shape of his life ... a story of the creative history of an extraordinary American genius. "Hardwick's superb critical interpretation and award-winning novelistic flair reveal a former whaleship deckhand whose voyages were the stuff of travel romances that seduced the public. Later, a self-described "thought-diver" into "the truth of the human heart," Melville harbored a bitterness that knew no bounds when that same public failed to embrace his masterwork, Moby-Dick. Invaluable for enthusiasts of American literature, Herman Melville is itself a masterpiece of critical commentary in the tradition of D. H. Lawrence's Studies in Classic American Literature.
Winner of The 1963 National Book Award for Fiction.The hero of J.F. Powers's comic masterpiece is Father Urban, a man of the cloth who is also a man of the world. Charming, with an expansive vision of the spiritual life and a high tolerance for moral ambiguity, Urban enjoys a national reputation as a speaker on the religious circuit and has big plans for the future. But then the provincial head of his dowdy religious order banishes him to a retreat house in the Minnesota hinterlands. Father Urban soon bounces back, carrying God's word with undaunted enthusiasm through the golf courses, fishing lodges, and backyard barbecues of his new turf. Yet even as he triumphs his tribulations mount, and in the end his greatest success proves a setback from which he cannot recover.First published in 1962, Morte D'Urban has been praised by writers as various as Gore Vidal, William Gass, Mary Gordon, and Philip Roth. This beautifully observed, often hilarious tale of a most unlikely Knight of Faith is among the finest achievements of an author whose singular vision assures him a permanent place in American literature.
Elizabeth Hardwick was one of America's great postwar women of letters, celebrated as a novelist and as an essayist. Until now, however, her slim but remarkable achievement as a writer of short stories has remained largely hidden, with her work tucked away in the pages of the periodicals--such as Partisan Review, The New Yorker, and The New York Review of Books--in which it originally appeared. This first collection of Hardwick's short fiction reveals her brilliance as a stylist and as an observer of contemporary life. A young woman returns from New York to her childhood Kentucky home and discovers the world of difference within her. A girl's boyfriend is not quite good enough, his "silvery eyes, light and cool, revealing nothing except pure possibility, like a coin in hand." A magazine editor's life falls strangely to pieces after she loses both her husband and her job. Individual lives and the life of New York, the setting or backdrop for most of these stories, are strikingly and memorably depicted in Hardwick's beautiful and razor-sharp prose.
The novelist and essayist Elizabeth Hardwick is one of contemporary America's most brilliant writers, and Seduction and Betrayal, in which she considers the careers of women writers as well as the larger question of the presence of women in literature, is her most passionate and concentrated work of criticism. A gallery of unforgettable portraits--of Virginia Woolf and Zelda Fitzgerald, Dorothy Wordsworth and Jane Carlyle--as well as a provocative reading of such works as Wuthering Heights, Hedda Gabler, and the poems of Sylvia Plath, Seduction and Betrayal is a virtuoso performance, a major writer's reckoning with the relations between men and women, women and writing, writing and life.
It is only in a country where newness and change and brevity of tenure are the common substance of life," wrote Henry James, "that the fact of one's ancestors having lived for a hundred and seventy years in a single spot would become an element of one's morality." Newness and rootedness are the twin poles of Sight-Readings, Elizabeth Hardwick's brilliant new collection of essays. (Her first, Seduction and Betrayal, was nominated for the National Book Award.) Hardwick's focus here is on American writers, at home and abroad, and especially women, as writers and as characters: Edith Wharton, Djuna Barnes, Gertrude Stein, Mary McCarthy, Elizabeth Bishop, Katherine Anne Porter, and Joan Didion, among others. In sections on Old New York, Americans Abroad, and Fictions of America, Hardwick considers writers and their landscapes, real and imagined. Her essays on Edith Wharton and Henry James illuminate aspects of their inventions of New York. From there she takes us to the Paris of Gertrude Stein and Djuna Barnes, into the hermetic world of Boston Transcendentalism, and on to the suburbs of John Cheever, the America of Philip Roth and John Updike, and the restless expanses of Richard Ford and the Prairie poets. Elizabeth Hardwick has achieved a permanent place in American letters for her sharp and elegant criticism. Her essays on American writers are themselves a work of literature.
In Sleepless Nights a woman looks back on her life--the parade of people, the shifting background of place--and assembles a scrapbook of memories, reflections, portraits, letters, wishes, and dreams. An inspired fusion of fact and invention, this beautifully realized, hard-bitten, lyrical book is not only Elizabeth Hardwick's finest fiction but one of the outstanding contributions to American literature of the last fifty years.
"A View of My Own: Essays on Literature and Society is renowned author Elizabeth Hardwick's insightful, sophisticated, witty, and often acerbic anthology of some of the essays she has written throughout her illustrious career.
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