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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.
An acclaimed American poet, Jay Parini is widely recognized for his ability to confront modern issues in a variety of forms, while adding a highly musical sense of phrasing and a relentless sense of humor. Parini, as seen in his previous works of poetry-Anthracite Country (1982), Town Life (1988), andHouse of Days (1998)-has created a remarkable voice of his own. The Art of Subtraction: New and Selected Poems is a testament to Parini's unique poetic style and constantly evolving vision. A compilation of fifty-nine new poems and forty-three from previous collections, The Art of Subtraction demonstrates Parini's wide range of poetic registers. One sequence of poems responds to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Others deal with personal themes and continue Parini's ongoing exploration of the relationship between language and mind. The poems drawn from previous collections have been carefully chosen to represent the breadth of his work and of his experience as an American poet over the course of his career.
Introduction by Hortense Calisher Commentary by Edmund Wilson, Henry Seidel Canby, and Arthur Mizener Fitzgerald's second novel, a devastating portrait of the excesses of the Jazz Age, is a largely autobiographical depiction of a glamorous, reckless Manhattan couple and their spectacular spiral into tragedy. Published on the heels of This Side of Paradise, the story of the Harvard-educated aesthete Anthony Patch and his willful wife, Gloria, is propelled by Fitzgerald's intense romantic imagination and demonstrates an increased technical and emotional maturity. The Beautiful and Damned is at once a gripping morality tale, a rueful meditation on love, marriage, and money, and an acute social document. As Hortense Calisher observes in her Introduction, "Though Fitzgerald can entrance with stories so joyfully youthful they appear to be safe--when he cuts himself, you will bleed."Includes a Modern Library Reading Group Guide
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 classic collection From the exquisite lyric "To Helen," to the immortal masterpieces "Annabel Lee," "The Bells," and "The Raven," The Complete Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe demonstrates the author's gift for the form.
An intimate, authorized yet frank biography of Gore Vidal (1925-2012), one of the most accomplished, visible and controversial American novelists and cultural figures of the past century. The product of thirty years of friendship and conversation, Jay Parini's EMPIRE OF SELF probes behind the glittering surface of Gore Vidal's colorful life to reveal the complex emotional and sexual truth underlying his celebrity-strewn life. But there is plenty of glittering surface as well--a virtual Who's Who of the American Century, from Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart through the Kennedys, Princess Margaret and the crème de la crème of Hollywood. The life of Gore Vidal was an amazingly full one, full of colorful incident, famous people, and lasting achievements that calls out for careful evocation and examination. Jay Parini crafts Vidal's life into an accessible, entertaining story that puts the experience of one of the great American figures of the postwar era into context; introduces the author and his works to a generation who may not know him; and looks behind the scenes at the man and his work in ways never possible before his death. Provided with unique access to Vidal's life and his papers, he excavates many buried skeletons yet never loses sight of his deep respect for Vidal and his astounding gifts. This is the biography Gore Vidal has long needed.
A collection of critical essays from various literary critics.
In House of Days, his fourth collection of poems, Jay Parini moves beyond his earlier work to address the environmental and spiritual crises that afflict us in the late twentieth century. The book moves from "Nature Revisited," an elegiac sequence of poems about the ontological status of nature itself, to the title sequence, "House of Days," which might be thought of as the poet's field notes as he moves through a season, month by month. "The Ruined House," Part III, is an autobiographical sequence that revisits scenes from Anthracite Country (1982), Parini's acclaimed second volume of verse. From there, Parini moves through a series of spiritual explorations in "Another Kingdom." And in a highly inventive final sequence, "Reading Emerson in My Forty-Seventh Summer," Parini meditates on many of the great themes of Emerson--the quintessential American visionary--often blending his own language with quotations from Emerson. In all, House of Days represents a major development in the richly varied career of this hugely accomplished poet, novelist, and biographer.
Jude Fawley is a bright but impoverished stonemason who aspires to attend university and become a scholar. H is failure to fulfill the expectations of the two women he loves points to his final tragedy. Concerned with the destructive conventions of marriage and the English class system, Jude the Obscure is a raging indictment of Victorian society; the censure of this insightful book was almost without precedent in the history of English literature.
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.
Fifteen-year-old Sammy di Cantini, resident of a mining region of Pennsylvania, is determined to rise above his class, falls disastrously in love with a Protestant, and visits his Mafia brother in New York where he becomes involved in impossible struggles
"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."
Jay Parini's biography of the poet, Theodore Roethke. Parini views Roethke through the lens of a Romantic poet. <P><P>With this incredibly researched and well written work, Parini reaffirms Roethke's reputation as a poet that came into his own after the publication of "The Lost Son," and then continued to develop from there and greatly extended his reputation with further works.
For almost half a century, Donald Everett Axinn has been writing poetry in which, as Jay Parini notes in his introduction, "the stamp of individuality, the personal voice of the poet, lives on every page." A seasoned pilot, as well as a poet and novelist, Axinn revels as much in viewing the world from above as he lovingly, though often wryly, surveys the scene around him here below. Whether in his charming love poems, his delight in the evolving seasons, or his search to understand people and places - and indeed himself - Axinn offers a fresh look at the world through the eyes of a constantly questing, and questioning, poet. "Here is a man," writes Parini, "who has looked at the world from many angles . . . with a sense of gathering wisdom."
The 50th anniversary deluxe edition of Travels with Charley in Search of America features an updated introduction by Jay Parini and first edition cover art and illustrated maps of Steinbeck's route by Don Freeman. <P> In September 1960, John Steinbeck embarked on a journey across America. He felt that he might have lost touch with the country, with its speech, the smell of its grass and trees, its color and quality of light, the pulse of its people. To reassure himself, he set out on a voyage of rediscovery of the American identity, accompanied by a distinguished French poodle named Charley; and riding in a three-quarter-ton pickup truck named Rocinante. <P> His course took him through almost forty states: northward from Long Island to Maine; through the Midwest to Chicago; onward by way of Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana (with which he fell in love), and Idaho to Seattle, south to San Francisco and his birthplace, Salinas; eastward through the Mojave, New Mexico, Arizona, to the vast hospitality of Texas, to New Orleans and a shocking drama of desegregation; finally, on the last leg, through Alabama, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey to New York. Travels with Charley in Search of America is an intimate look at one of America's most beloved writers in the later years of his life-a self-portrait of a man who never wrote an explicit autobiography. Written during a time of upheaval and racial tension in the South-which Steinbeck witnessed firsthand-Travels with Charley is a stunning evocation of America on the eve of a tumultuous decade. .
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