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In his third volume of memoir, Reynolds Price explores six crucial years of his life -- his departure from home in 1955 to spend three years as a student at Oxford University; then his return to North Carolina to begin his long career as a university teacher. He gives often moving, and frequently comic, portraits of his great teachers in England -- such men as Lord David Cecil, Nevill Coghill, and W. H. Auden, who was the most distinguished English-language poet of those years. In London the poet and editor Stephen Spender becomes his first publisher and a generous friend who introduces him to rewarding figures like the essayist Cyril Connolly and George Orwell's encouraging widow, Sonia. He spends rich months traveling in Britain and on the Continent; and above all he undergoes the first loves of his life -- one with an Oxford colleague whom he describes as a "romantic friend" and another with an older man. Back in the States, in his first class at Duke he meets a startlingly gifted student in the sixteen-year-old Anne Tyler; and he soon combines the difficult pleasures of teaching English composition and literature with his own hard delight in learning to write a first novel. At the end of three lonely years, he completes the novel -- A Long and Happy Life -- and returns to England for a fourth year before his novel appears in Britain and America and meets with a success that sets the pace for an ongoing life of fiction, poetry, plays, essays, and translations (Ardent Spirits is his thirty-eighth volume). The droll memories recorded here amount to the unsurpassed -- and, again, often comical -- story of a writer's beginnings; and the young man who emerges has proven his right to stand by his fellows of whatever sex and goal. Ardent Spirits is a book that penetrates deeply into the life of a writer, a teacher, and a steadfast lover.
This volume presents the full range of Reynolds Price's poetic accomplishment over the past thirty-six years. His first three collections are brought together in their entirety; and a masterful new collection, The Unaccountable Worth of the World, is introduced. In his preface to The Collected Poems, Price credits guides as various as Miss Jane Alston, a public school English teacher in North Carolina, and W. H. Auden, one of his teachers at Oxford University. The sure trajectory of Price's development as a poet is traced from the "inexplicable elation" of his adolescent discovery of Emily Dickinson, to a lengthy immersion in John Milton's "polyphonic language, with its ready access to the eloquence of plain speech," to the four-stress rhythm of the Anglo-Saxons and Coleridge on which his work often continues to depend -- that rhythm being "closely allied to the wary economy and dignity of those kinds of speech that, in my lifetime, have been most concerned for lucid and memorable communication." Those familiar with Price's earlier work will welcome having in one volume such vivid contributions as "The Annual Heron" (from Vital Provisions), "House Snake" (The Laws of Ice) and "An Afterlife, 1953 -- 1988" (The Use of Fire). All will be introduced for the first time to his latest poems from the journal called "Days and Nights." This notebook was begun in the early 1980s, shortly before Price was diagnosed with a grave illness; and the entries continue in the second of three parts of The Unaccountable Worth of the World, many of them contending with the death of friends -- "the Dying Belt, as my father called it." The whole new collection culminates in the powerful departures of such poems as "Scored by Light" and "The Closing, The Ecstasy." The Collected Poems reveals, throughout, the accumulated variety of Reynolds Price's years as a poet -- the thematic breadth, formal steadiness, narrative vitality and intense lyricism that have marked his work since 1961. It is a landmark in his creative life and in the span of contemporary American verse.
For over three decades, Reynolds Price has been one of America's most distinguished writers, in a career that has been remarkable both for its virtuosity and for the variety of literary forms he has embraced. Now he shows himself as much a master of the story as he is of the novel, in a volume that presents fifty stories, including two early collections -- The Names and Faces of Heroes and Permanent Errors -- as well as more than two dozen new stories that have never been gathered together before. In his introduction, Mr. Price explains how, after the publication of his first two collections, he wrote no new stories for almost twenty years. "But once I needed -- for unknown reasons in a new and radically altered life -- to return to the story, it opened before me like a new chance....A collection like this then," he adds, "...will show a writer's preoccupations in ways the novel severely rations (novels are partly made for that purpose -- the release from self, long flights through the Other). John Keats's assertion that 'the excellence of every Art is its intensity' has served as a license and standard for me. From the start my stories were driven by heat -- passion and mystery, often passion for the mystery I've found in particular rooms and spaces and the people they threaten or shelter -- and my general aim is the transfer of a spell of keen witness, perceived by the reader as warranted in character and act." There is, indeed, much for the reader to "witness" here of passion and mystery, of character and act. And the variety of stories -- many of them set in Reynolds Price's native North Carolina, but a surprising number set in distant parts: Jerusalem in "An Early Christmas," the American Southwest in "Walking Lessons," and a number in Europe -- will astonish even his most devoted readers. In short, The Collected Stories of Reynolds Price is as deeply rewarding a book as any he has yet published.
A landmark collection that brings together Truman Capote's life's work in the form he called his "great love," The Complete Stories confirms Capote's status as a master of the short story. Ranging from the gothic South to the chic East Coast, from rural children to aging urban sophisticates, all the unforgettable places and people of Capote's oeuvre are here, in stories as elegant as they are heartfelt, as haunting as they are compassionate. Reading them reminds us of the miraculous gifts of a beloved American original.made-for-TV movie . . . and "The Bargain," Capote's melancholy, never-before-published 1950 story about a suburban housewife's shifting fortunes.From the gothic South to the chic East Coast, from rural children to aging urban sophisticates, all the unforgettable places and people of Capote's oeuvre are captured in this first-ever compendium. The Collected Stories of Truman Capote should restore its author to a place above mere celebrity, to the highest levels of American letters.
In the fall of 1993, Alice Winkler of National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" asked Reynolds Price to write a short story for a Christmas morning broadcast. This assignment would result in NPR's inviting Price to join its varied group of commentators on "All Things Considered." The laws of radio require a concision that has become a welcome new discipline for Price; and here are all the personal essays which he has broadcast since July 25, 1995. Whether recounting events from his past, examining the details of his current experience as a writer, teacher, traveler, and general witness of the world, Price demonstrates in his direct prose that a writer can instantly connect with his audience. He discusses a few predictable topics -- family, the poisonous mysteries of racial intolerance, and faith -- but he also deals with new matters: capital punishment, Gone With the Wind, his adventures while navigating an immensely inaccessible America in a wheelchair; and he provides a memorable piece on childlessness. Throughout, Price never loses sight of the origin of either the word or the spirit of the essay -- the French word connotes a try, an attempt -- and each piece here is a well-formed, revealing, often amusing and refreshing foray into a moment unlike any we've encountered in other forms from him. We're unlikely to read more thought-provoking work from a commentator for a great time to come.
Reynolds Price's long and distinguished career has been remarkable both for his virtuosity and for the variety of forms he has embraced -- novels, stories, poems, essays, translations and plays. Now one of America's most respected and accomplished men of letters brings his formidable talents to bear on the long story, a form of novelistic scope and poetic intensity. In the three stories that compriseThe Foreseeable Future,we encounter some of Price's most arresting and moving characters, set against large vistas, namely the future, its banquet of promises and terrifying consequences. For Kayes Paschal in "The Fare to the Moon" this means leaving the black woman he loves -- and for whom he has already left his wife and son -- as he is called off to World War II ("Forget about Hitler and the wide Pacific, I could die this minute in full possession of all I hoped to find in life, whoever I hurt"). In the title story, for Whit Wade -- returning severely wounded from that same war and "dead" a long year afterwards -- it will mean unearthing his life again, and all its possibilities, among his family and the people he loves. And for Dean Walker -- loyal father and son, football coach and troubled young husband, the protagonist of "Back Before Day" -- the most important hours of his life till now will occur one hectic night before dawn breaks on a day that will be unlike any other in the knowledge and promise it brings. Generous, wise, rich with the details of very human lives,The Foreseeable Futureis proof again of Reynolds Price's mastery and vision.
Reynolds Price, one of America's most distinguished and honored writers, has produced such masterpieces as Noble Norfleet, Roxanna Slade, and Kate Vaiden, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. Now in The Good Priest's Son, his fourteenth novel and thirty-sixth book, Price gives us another penetrating study -- full-length portraits of five arresting characters. On September 11, 2001, Mabry Kincaid -- a fiftyish art conservator -- is flying home after a much-needed rest in Rome and Paris. Halfway across the Atlantic, his plane is diverted from New York to Nova Scotia. Two days later, when the United States has recovered sufficiently from the attack on the World Trade Center, Mabry discovers that his downtown New York loft is uninhabitable. He flies south to North Carolina instead to visit his aged father. A widowed Episcopal priest, Tasker Kincaid has been injured in a recent fall and is cared for by live-in Audrey Thornton, an African-American divinity student at Duke University, and her grown son, Marcus, an ambitious painter. During a week in North Carolina -- with help from his cantankerous father, from Audrey and Marcus and from Gwyn Williams, an old flame -- Mabry is compelled to explore his tormented relationship with his father and with a world that still harbors much that he's loved but has long since abandoned. On his return to New York -- and in a swift and unexpected return to the south -- Mabry must deal with the near-ruin of his loft, with haunting memories of his infidelities to his recently deceased wife, with the end of his childhood family, the uncertainty of his professional career, the ambivalence of his adult daughter, and with a daunting likelihood that is terrifyingly at work inside his body. Reynolds Price writes at peak form in this lean and masterful, comic yet profoundly moving novel -- one that unfolds the stages of one man's hope for ransom in old familiar worlds that are now forever changed.
Reissued to coincide with the publication of Price's new novel, "Roxanna Slade", this bestselling chronicle of a lifetime of joy and sadness--narrated by the feisty, irrepressible woman who lived it--"is a wise and wonderful story told by an artist at the peak of his powers" ("Chicago Tribune"). Copyright © Libri GmbH. All rights reserved.
In the year 2000 acclaimed author Reynolds Price became honorary godfather to Harper Peck Voll. As a christening gift, Price composed a letter to the child, one intended as a brief guide for Harper's spiritual future. The letter sketched the crucial roles which faith had played in Price's own life and whittled down those lessons the author felt were most valuable. Later, Price realized that in a rapidly complicating world, his thoughts might also be useful for other children and their parents. Here, then, is an expanded version of the original letter -- an eloquent, thoughtful, and inspiring look at faith from one of the most revered American writers and most respected students of religion. In Letter to a Godchild, Price recounts how his life has been shaped by numerous and varied spiritual influences -- from the Bible-story books his parents bought him before he could read, to the childhood days spent exploring dense woods near his home (woods where he searched for arrowheads and spied on numerous wild animals), to Sundays at church with his father and mother, his travels around the world to magisterial structures as various as St. Peter's and the old Penn Station, and years of study both in and out of the classroom. With no trace of self-pity, he explains how his faith grew and deepened when in 1984 -- after a life of robust health -- he suffered a cancer that eventually led to paralysis of his lower body. Letter to a Godchild includes striking pictures of the buildings, objects, places, and events that have deepened the author's religious sensibility. He has also compiled a comprehensive section on further reading, looking, and listening that provides suggestions for books, art, and music that will entertain as well as enhance this volume. A profoundly intelligent and moving explication of religion and spirituality, Letter to a Godchild is an exhilarating experience for readers of all faiths.
Does God Exist and Does He Care? In April 1997 Reynolds Price received an eloquent letter from a reader of his cancer memoir, A Whole New Life. The correspondent, a young medical student diagnosed with cancer himself and facing his own mortality, asked these difficultQuestions. The two began a long-distance correspondence, culminating in Price's thoughtful response, originally delivered as the Jack and Lewis Rudin Lecture at Auburn Theological Seminary, and now expanded onto the printed page as Letter to a Man in the Fire. Harvesting a variety of sources -- diverse religious traditions, classical and modern texts, and a lifetime of personal experiences, interactions, and spiritual encounters -- Price meditates on God's participation in our fate. With candor and sympathy, he offers the reader such a rich variety of tools to explore these questions as to place this work in the company of other great tetsaments of faith from St. Augustine to C. S. Lewis. Letter to a Man in the Fire moves as much as it educates. It is a rare combination of deep erudition, vivid prose, and profound humanity.
FROM ITS DAZZLING OPENING PAGE, WHICH ANNOUNCED THE appearance of a stylist of the first rank, to its moving close, this brief novel has charmed and captivated millions of readers since its original publication almost fifty years ago. The troubled love story of pretty, headstrong Rosacoke Mustian and the motorcycle-riding, stoic Wesley Beavers, A Long and Happy Life beautifully evokes a rural North Carolina now long gone. Ecstatically reviewed and winner of the William Faulkner Award for a notable first novel when it was published in 1962, A Long and Happy Life launched the career of Reynolds Price, a writer considered to be "one of our greatest novelists" (HARPER LEE).
The final book from Reynolds Price, "one of the most important voices in modern Southern fiction" (The New York Times)--with a foreword by Anne Tyler and an afterwordby William Price WHEN REYNOLDS PRICE DIED IN JANUARY 2011, he left behind one final piece of writing--two hundred candid, heartrending, and marvelously written manuscript pages about a critical period in his young adulthood. Picking up where his previous memoir, Ardent Spirits, left off, the work documents a brief time from 1961 to 1965, perhaps the most leisurely of Price's life, but also one of enormous challenge and growth. Price gave it the title Midstream. Approaching thirty, Price writes, is to face the notion that "This is it. I'm now the person I'm likely to be . . . from here to the end." Midstream, which begins when Price is twenty-eight, details the final youthful adventures of a man on the cusp of artistic acclaim. Here, Price chases a love to England, only to meet heartbreak. Determined to pursue other pleasures, he travels to Sweden for a friend's wedding, then journeys to Rome with British poet Stephen Spender and spends an afternoon with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Price returns to the United States, where he finds company with a group of artists as he awaits the 1962 publication of his first novel, A Long and Happy Life. "Few writers have made as dramatic an entrance on the American literary stage," declared The New York Times on the book's success. Price would settle into a tranquil life in North Carolina, buy a house, and resume teaching. Concluding with his mother's death and Price's new endeavors--a second novel and foray into Hollywood screenwriting--Midstream offers a poignant portrait of a man at the threshold of true adulthood, navigating new responsibilities and pleasures alike. It is a fitting bookend for Price's remarkable career, and it reinforces his place in the pantheon of American literature. *** FROM ANNE TYLER'S FOREWORD TO MIDSTREAM "Just look at him flying across the campus, curls bouncing, dark eyes flashing, and a black cape (I swear it) flaring out behind him. Actually he never owned a black cape; he told me that, years later. He said it was a navy jacket, just tossed over his shoulders. But still, he was wearing a virtual cape, if you know what I mean. He was an exclamation point in a landscape of mostly declarative sentences. He lived in a house-trailer out in the woods; he invited us to come there and drink smoky-tasting tea in handmade mugs. Speaking with a trace of an English accent from his recent studies at Oxford (for he had a genius for unintentional mimicry, which he said could become a curse in certain situations), he told us funny, affectionate tales about his childhood in backwater Macon. Most of us came from Macons of our own; we were astonished to hear that they were fit subjects for storytelling. All over again, inspiration hit. Let us out of there! We had to get back to our rooms and start writing."
Having given voice in previous novels to the extraordinary Kate Vaiden, Blue Calhoun, and Roxanna Slade, Reynolds Price -- one of America's most respected men of letters -- adds Noble Norfleet to his gallery of compelling portraits. A few days before Noble Norfleet's eighteenth birthday, his family suffers a violent catastrophe. The sole survivor, Noble throws himself into a reckless affair with his Spanish teacher, whose husband is fighting in Vietnam. When Noble graduates, he enlists as well and, while serving as an army medic, experiences a mysterious vision that seems tied to uncanny events in his recent past. Not until thirty years later -- after a life short on friends and troubled by a compulsion to worship women's bodies -- is Noble challenged to rethink the decades-old mystery of his family tragedy. Faced with an ominous choice, Noble finally comes to accept an enormous duty he's long tried to ignore. Soon, perhaps for the first time, his future seems hopeful.
A Moving Fable For Readers Of All Ages -- From National Book Critics Circle Award-Winning Author Reynolds Price Ben Barks loved elephants long before he'd seen one. He sometimes wondered how that love started.... It's been a whole year since Ben's mother died, and nothing has soothed his broken heart -- except thinking about elephants, those magnificent creatures his mother loved too. Imagining their awesome grace always calms him in a way that his sad father and closest friends never can. When a one-ring circus comes to Ben's small town, he discovers Sala, an elephant who survived a wicked trainer's abuses. And soon, their powerful bond becomes a miraculous healer -- and gives Ben renewed hope for the future.
In this stunning and fully independent conclusion to A Great Circle, Reynolds Price tells the complex, moving story of a man's return home to die of AIDS and of the unexpected effect that his arrival -- and his death -- has on his family. Wade Mayfield's parents are separated, but for the remaining months of his life they and their friends come together to care for Wade with the love they can muster. They are unprepared, however, for the astonishing mystery Wade has prepared to reveal once he is gone -- a mystery that initiates the possible reunion of his parents and promises to continue the proud traditions of a complex, multiracial family.
When renowned novelist and poet Reynolds Price, one of Christianity's most eloquent outlaws, was invited to deliver the annual Peabody Lecture at Harvard University Memorial Church in 2001, he chose to explore a subject of fierce debate and timeless relevance: the ethics of Jesus. In two succeeding lectures at the National Cathedral and at Auburn Seminary, Price continued to explore the apparently contradictory ethics that Jesus articulates in the Gospels; and in a controversial act of artistic license, Price reimagined the historical Jesus. InA Serious Way of Wondering, Price expands these lectures to present Jesus with three problems of burning moral concern -- suicide, homosexuality, and the plight of women in male-dominated cultures and faiths. A sweeping view of the inescapable implications of Jesus' merciful life and all-embracing thought -- and of the benefits of enlarging our notions of humanity, community, and equality --A Serious Way of Wonderingis a significant contribution to Price's penetrating works of religious inquiry.
"As nearly perfect as any American fiction I know," is how Reynolds Price ( The New York Times ) described this classic that has been a favorite of readers, both here and in Europe, for almost forty years. Set in provincial France in the 1960s, it is the intensely carnal story - part shocking reality, part feverish dream - of a love affair between a footloose Yale dropout and a young French girl. There is the seen and the unseen - and pages that burn with a rare intensity. Note: Does not use standard American spelling or punctuation.
A decade after he published his famous first novel, A Long and Happy Life, Reynolds Price began a serious study of the Hebrew and Greek narratives which combine to form that crucial document of Western civilization we call the Bible. Since early childhood, Price had known Bible stories of patriarchs, kings, prophets, and the boldly assertive women of Ancient Israel, as well as the four-fold gospel story of the life of Jesus -- another Jew whose career has exerted immense fascination on subsequent history. In Price's early middle age, however, he felt compelled to go further than simple reading; he began to investigate the rudiments of the Bible stories as deeply as possible. He focused on the Hebrew and Greek originals that are unquestionably the most discussed and annotated texts with the close assistance of other literal versions and of numerous scholarly commentaries, old and modern. He was likewise encouraged and helped by frequent discussions with distinguished scholar-colleagues at Duke University, where he has taught since 1958. As the work continued over several years, Price expanded his translation attempts into the Greek New Testament. And soon he had begun an informal navigation of the shoals of Koine Greek -- that common Mediterranean dialect in which a good deal of the business of the Roman empire was conducted and in which the gospels and all other books of the New Testament were written. Gradually, his translations of separate incidents from the four gospels evolved into a literal translation of the whole of the oldest gospel, Mark. His first version of Mark appeared, along with other translations from the Old and New Testaments, in A Palpable God (Atheneum, 1978). The book met with a wide and favorable reception from scholars, writers, and critics. Price's studies have expanded steadily in the intervening decades; and in recent years he has worked at both a revised version of his early translation of Mark and an entirely new literal version of the Gospel of John (John is the last published gospel and almost surely the one that comes, at its core, from an eyewitness of the life of Jesus). To his new translations, Price has added extensive prefaces, which he hopes will be of interest to scholars and casual readers alike. The prefaces are the result not only of his own work as a translator and his discussions with New Testament scholars of more than twenty years reading in textual exegesis, in the life of the first-century Roman world (including the immensely complicated realities of Roman Palestine), but also in consideration of the widespread and ongoing attempt to reconsider the historical bases of our knowledge of Jesus. Finally, after twice teaching a semester-long seminar on the gospels of Mark and John at Duke University, Price has written a gospel of his own. The new gospel, which he calls "apocryphal" in a non-canonical sense, makes a fresh attempt at a compact narrative of the life and work of Jesus. Yet it is an attempt grounded meticulously in the earliest available historic, biographical, and theological evidence. In a third and final preface, Price describes the motive for writing a gospel of his own. In brief, his new gospel (like the whole of Three Gospels) aims to render the highest possible contemporary justice to a life lived two thousand years ago, a life presented in -- and, to a startling extent, still recoverable from -- documents that have proved the most influential in Western history.
"I'm as peaceful a man as you're likely to meet in America now, but this is about a death I may have caused. Not slowly over time by abuse or meanness but on a certain day and by ignorance, by plain lack of notice. Though it happened thirty-four years ago, and though I can't say it's haunted my mind that many nights lately, I suspect I can draw it out for you now, clear as this noon. I may need to try. "Set in a summer camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains during the deceptively tranquil 1950s,The Tongues of Angelsis a story of the twenty-one-year-old painting teacher, a superbly gifted boy, and their advance toward a startling fate. As the now-older man looks back at on that summer, he reflects on the meanings he thought he had learned on the threshold of manhood from the perspective of full maturity.
Reynolds Price has long been one of America's most acclaimed and accomplished men of letters -- the author of novels, stories, poems, essays, plays, and a memoir. In A Whole New Life, however, he steps from behind that roster of achievements to present us with a more personal story, a narrative as intimate and compelling as any work of the imagination. In 1984, a large cancer was discovered in his spinal cord ("The tumor was pencil-thick and gray-colored, ten inches long from my neck-hair downward"). Here, for the first time, Price recounts without self-pity what became a long struggle to withstand and recover from this appalling, if all too common, affliction (one American in three will experience some from of cancer). He charts the first puzzling symptoms; the urgent surgery that fails to remove the growth and the radiation that temporarily arrests it (but hurries his loss of control of his lower body); the occasionally comic trials of rehab; the steady rise of severe pain and reliance on drugs; two further radical surgeries; the sustaining force of a certain religious vision; an eventual discovery of help from biofeedback and hypnosis; and the miraculous return of his powers as a writer in a new, active life. Beyond the particulars of pain and mortal illness, larger concerns surface here -- a determination to get on with the human interaction that is so much a part of this writer's much-loved work, the gratitude he feels toward kin and friends and some (though by no means all) doctors, the return to his prolific work, and the "now appalling, now astonishing grace of God. "A Whole New Life offers more than the portrait of one brave person in tribulation; it offers honest insight, realistic encouragement and inspiration to others who suffer the bafflement of catastrophic illness or who know someone who does or will.
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