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When Alex Massolini's brother is killed in Vietnam, he drops out of Columbia University and leaves his conservative family behind for Capri to become secretary to Rupert Grant, a famous British novelist and poet who dominates the island like a latter -- day Prospero. Alex soon finds himself ensnared in a web of love affairs, friendships, and rivalries within the eccentric community that inhabits the idyllic beauty of the isolated Italian island. The Apprentice Lover traces a young American's enchantment and disenchantment -- with his American past, his new European mentor, and the various inhabitants on an island famous for its characters.
A novel, but based on a true person confronting the philosophy of civilization.
Intriguing personal essays by Italian American writers.
Selections from America's best-known poets; includes an excellent introduction.
A collection of critical essays from various literary critics.
1910. Anna Karenina and War and Peace have made Leo Tolstoy the world's most famous author. But fame comes at a price. In the tumultuous final year of his life, Tolstoy is desperate to find respite, so leaves his large family and the hounding press behind and heads into the wilderness. Too ill to venture beyond the tiny station of Astapovo, he believes his last days will pass in peaceful isolation. But the battle for Tolstoy's soul will not be so simple.
The Editor's opinion of the best of autobiography from American writers since the founding of the Nation.
Biography and literary analysis of William Faulkner.
From the author of the international bestseller The Last Station, a stirring novel about the adventurous life and tragic literary career of Herman Melville. As The Passages of H. M. opens, we see, through the eyes of his long-suffering wife Lizzie, an aging, angry, and drunken Herman Melville wreaking domestic havoc in his unhappy New York home. He is decades past his flourishing career as a writer of bestselling tales of seagoing adventures like Typee and Omoo. His epic but ungainly novel Moby-Dick was meant to make him immortal, but critics scoffed and readers fled. His days are spent trudging the docks of New York as a customs inspector and contemplating his malign literary fate. But within him is stirring, perhaps, one great work yet--the tale of a handsome sailor in the Napoleonic Wars, undone by one moment of uncontrollable rage . . . Lizzie's chapters alternate with third-person accounts of Melville's crowded life: his shipping off to sea on a merchant vessel as an impoverished young aristocrat; his fateful voyage on a whaling ship; his desertion in the Marquesas Islands and sojourn with cannibals--a great adventure and polymorphous sexual idyll--and his instant fame as a novelist; his fateful encounter and soul-deep friendship with Nathaniel Hawthorne; and the long years of physical decline and literary obscurity. Jay Parini creates a Melville who is at once sympathetic and maddening, in sync with the vast forces of the universe and hopelessly impractical and abstracted. And one who, in thought and deed, is unambiguously attracted to men--a surmise well supported by the known biographical facts but still sure to create controversy. Parini penetrates the mind and soul of a literary titan, using the resources of fiction to humanize a giant while illuminating the sources of his matchless creativity.From the Hardcover edition.
"These thirteen books must be seen as representative, not definitive, works. They are nodal points, places where vast areas of thought and feeling gathered and dispersed, creating a nation as various and vibrant as the United States, which must be considered one of the most successful nation-states in modern history, and a republic built firmly on ideas, which are contained in its major texts. Where we have been must, of course, determine where we are going. My hope is that this book helps to show us where we have been and engenders a lively conversation about our destination, which seems perpetually in dispute." --from Promised Land. Americans need periodic reminding that they are, to a great extent, people of the book--or, rather, books. In Promised Land, Jay Parini repossesses that vibrant, intellectual heritage by examining the life and times of thirteen "books that changed America." Each of the books has been a watershed, gathering intellectual currents already in motion and marking a turn in American life and thought. Their influence remains pervasive, however hidden, and in his essays Jay Parini demonstrates how these books entered American life and altered how we think and act in the world. The thirteen "books that changed America": Of Plymouth Plantation * The Federalist Papers * The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin * The Journals of Lewis and Clark * Walden * Uncle Tom's Cabin * Adventures of Huckleberry Finn * The Souls of Black Folk * The Promised Land * How to Win Friends and Influence People * The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care * On the Road * The Feminine Mystique. Promised Land offers a reading of the American psyche, allowing us to reflect on what our past means for who we are now. It is a rich and immensely readable work of cultural history that will appeal to all book lovers and students of the American character alike.
"I have tried to understand how Frost got from day to day and from poem to poem, tracing his rich, always developing, intellectual and artistic life over many decades. My intention was not to supplant or overtake previous biographers and critics but merely to add a significant layer. I can say without fear of exaggeration that this life of Frost was a labor of love. It is one of the few books I have ever finished with deep reluctance."
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