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A bestseller in 1945, this book has been out of print for over thirty years Like Wescott's extraordinary novella The Pilgrim Hawk (which Susan Sontag described in The New Yorker as belonging "among the treasures of 20th-century American literature"), Apartment in Athens concerns an unusual triangular relationship. In this story about a Greek couple in Nazi-occupied Athens who must share their living quarters with a German officer, Wescott stages an intense and unsettling drama of accommodation and rejection, resistance and compulsion--an account of political oppression and spiritual struggle that is also a parable about the costs of closeted identity.
Charm, wit, compassion, wisdom, literature, nature, sex, humor, politics, sorrow, love: these themes fill the late journal pages of enigmatic American writer Glenway Wescott. From humble beginnings on a poor Wisconsin farm, Wescott went on to study at the University of Chicago, narrowly survive the Spanish flu pandemic, and eventually emerge as an influential poet and novelist. A major figure in the American literary expatriate community in Paris during the 1920s and a prominent American novelist in the years leading up to World War II, he spent a decade living abroad before relocating permanently to New York and New Jersey with his partner, Museum of Modern Art publications director and curator Monroe Wheeler. Together they mixed with such intellectual and creative greats as Jean Cocteau, Colette, George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus, Somerset Maugham, Christopher Isherwood, Marianne Moore, W. H. Auden, Truman Capote, Joseph Campbell, and scores of other luminaries. During the second half of his life, Wescott wrote nonfiction essays and worked for the Academy Institute of Arts and Letters, all the while keeping journals in which he recorded the experiences that fostered his love of life, literature, the arts, and humanity. A Heaven of Words looks back on Wescotts entire fascinating life and reveals the riveting narrative of his last decades.
This powerful short novel describes the events of a single afternoon. Alwyn Tower, an American expatriate and sometime novelist, is staying with a friend outside of Paris, when a well-heeled, itinerant Irish couple drops in--with Lucy, their trained hawk, a restless, sullen, disturbingly totemic presence. Lunch is prepared, drink ﬂows. A masquerade, at once harrowing and farcical, begins. A work of classical elegance and concision, The Pilgrim Hawk stands with Faulkner's The Bear as one of the ﬁnest American short novels: a beautifully crafted story that is also a poignant evocation of the implacable power of love.
Just as E. M. Forster's novel of gay love, Maurice, remained unpublished throughout his lifetime, Glenway Wescott's long story "A Visit to Priapus" was also destined to be a posthumous work, buried from 1938 until this century in Wescott's massive archive of manuscripts, journals, notebooks, and letters. The autobiographical story is about a literary man, frustrated in love, who puts aside his pride and makes a date with a young artist in Maine. Lavishly rendered in Wescott's elegant prose, the tale is explicit where it needs to be, but--as is typical of Wescott--it is filled with descriptive beauty and introspective lessons about sex and sexuality, love and creativity. Previously published in anthology form in the United Kingdom, "A Visit to Priapus" is presented for the first time in book form in America, containing previously uncollected stories, including three never before published. The result is a candid portrayal of the gifted but enigmatic writer who was famous in youth and remained a perceptive and compassionate voice throughout his long life. Drawn together from midcentury literary journals and magazines of the 1920s and 1930s, as well as from Wescott's papers, the stories were inspired by his life, from childhood to old age, from Wisconsin farm country to New York, London, Germany, and Paris.
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