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Adventures in American Literature: Curriculum and Writing (Heritage Edition, Revised)

by Kenneth Silverman Francis Hodgins

A high school textbook of the literature produced in the United States since colonial times, with some American Indian offerings and with study and discussion material.

Begin Again: A Biography of John Cage

by Kenneth Silverman

John Cage was a man of extraordinary and seemingly limitless talents: musician, inventor, composer, poet. He became a central figure of the avant-garde early in his life and remained at that pinnacle until his death in 1992 at the age of eighty. Now award-winning biographer Kenneth Silverman gives us the first comprehensive life of this remarkable artist. We follow Cage from his Los Angeles childhood--his father was a successful inventor--through his stay in Paris from 1930 to 1931, where immersion in the burgeoning new musical and artistic movements triggered an explosion of creativity in him and, after his return to the States, into his studies with the seminal modern composer Arnold Schoenberg. We see Cage's early experiments with sound and percussion instruments, and watch as he develops his signature work with prepared piano, radio static, random noise, and silence. We learn of his many friendships over the years with other composers, artists, philosophers, and writers; of his early marriage and several lovers, both female and male and of his long relationship with choreographer Merce Cunningham, with whom he would collaborate on radically unusual dances that continue to influence the worlds of both music and dance. Drawing on interviews with Cage's contemporaries and friends and on the enormous archive of his letters and writings, and including photographs, facsimiles of musical scores, and Web links to illustrative sections of his compositions, Silverman gives us a biography of major significance: a revelatory portrait of one of the most important cultural figures of the twentieth century. The book contains 11 URLs which take you to the publisher's website where you can hear excellent recordings of excerpts from several of Cage's compositions.

The Life and Times of Cotton Mather

by Kenneth Silverman

A sophisticated work which succeeds admirably in presenting a complete portrait of a complex man and a groundbreaking study that accurately portrays Mather and his contemporaries as the first true Americans rather than European expatriates.

Lightning Man: The Accursed Life of Samuel F. B. Morse

by Kenneth Silverman

In this brilliantly conceived and written biography, Pulitzer Prize winning Kenneth Silverman gives us the long and amazing life of the man eulogized by the New York Herald in 1872 as perhaps the most illustrious American of his age. Silverman presents Samuel Morse in all his complexity. There is the gifted and prolific painter (more than three hundred portraits and larger historical canvases) and pioneer photographer, who gave the first lectures on art in America, became the first Professor of Fine Arts at an American college (New York University), and founded the National Academy of Design. There is the republican idealist, prominent in antebellum politics, who ran for Congress and for mayor of New York. But most important, there is the inventor of the American electromagnetic telegraph, which earned Morse the name Lightning Man and brought him the fame he sought. In these pages, we witness the evolution of the great invention from its inception as an idea to its introduction to the world--an event that astonished Morse's contemporaries and was considered the supreme expression of the country's inventive genius. We see how it transformed commerce, journalism, transportation, military affairs, diplomacy, and the very shape of daily life, ushering in the modern era of communication. But we discover as well that Morse viewed his existence as accursed rather than illustrious, his every achievement seeming to end in loss and defeat: his most ambitious canvases went unsold; his beloved republic imploded into civil war, making it unlivable for him; and the commercial success of the telegraph engulfed him in lawsuits challenging the originality and ownership of his invention. Lightning Man is the first biography of Samuel F. B. Morse in sixty years. It is a revelation of the life of a fascinating and profoundly troubled American genius.

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