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Archive for the 'A Week in Literary History' Category

A Week in Literary History

December 20th, 2002

American novelist David Markson (Wittgenstein’s Mistress, 1988) is born in Albany, N.Y.

David Markson, b. December 20, 1927

markson.jpgFor fifty years David Markson has been writing challenging, innovative fiction, avant garde in style and method. At his best, his works rise well above their preoccupation with form and assume all the best attributes of “traditional” fiction. Wittgenstein’s Mistress is a very moving book, and Markson always repays the reader’s attention with a wide, wise, and amusing array of literary allusions. A real reader’s writer, and an American treasure.

Suggested Reading Novels Epitaph for a Tramp, 1959. Epitaph for a Dead Beat, 1961. Miss Doll, Go Home, 1965. The Ballad of Dingus Magee, 1966. Going Down, 1970. Springer’s Progress, 1977. Wittgenstein’s Mistress, 1988. Reader’s Block, 1996. This Is Not a Novel, 2001. Vanishing Point, 2004. The Last Novel, 2007. Poems Collected Poems, 1993. Other Malcolm Lowry’s Volcano: Myth, Symbol, Meaning, 1978.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

December 19th, 2002

Italian writer Italo Svevo (The Confessions of Zeno, 1923) is born Aron Ettore Schmitz in Trieste in 1861.

Italo Svevo, b. December 19, 1861, d. 1928

svevoSvevo would have been utterly unnoticed as a writer had it not been for James Joyce, who read The Confessions of Zeno and had it translated into French and published in Paris. There the Italian critics finally discovered it, which enabled Svevo to take his place as a minor figure in world literature.

Suggested Reading Novels Senilità, 1898. The Confessions of Zeno, 1923.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

December 17th, 2002

English novelist Ford Madox Ford (The Good Soldier, 1915) is born in Merton, Surrey, 1873.

Ford Madox Ford, b. December 17, 1873, d. 1939

fordmadoxford.jpgFord was an immensely prolific writer of novels, travelogues, history tales, poems, and art criticism, and in each genre he excelled. Throughout his life he was constantly at work on one book or another; he represents a career devoted to his art. The Good Soldier is one of the finest novels of the twentieth century, and Ford’s World War I tetralogy Parade’s End is the best writing we have on that conflict and its aftermath in Britain. A master. The list below is very selective.

Suggested Reading Novels The Fifth Queen, 1906. An English Girl, 1907. Ladies Whose Bright Eyes, 1911. The Good Soldier, 1915. The Parade’s End novels Some Do Not, 1924. No More Parades, 1925. A Man Could Stand Up, 1926. The Last Post, 1928. Poetry Collected Poems, 1913. Collected Poems, 1936. Reminiscences Thus to Revisit, 1921. Joseph Conrad: A Personal Remembrance, 1924. No Enemy, 1929. Return to Yesterday, 1931. It Was the Nightingale, 1933. Criticism, Studies, & Travel Ford Madox Brown, 1896. The Cinque Ports, 1900. Rossetti, 1902. Hans Holbein, the Younger, 1905. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, 1907. Henry James, 1913. Between St. Denis and St. George, 1915. A Mirror to France, 1926. The English Novel, 1926. Provence: from Minstrels to the Machine, 1935.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

December 16th, 2002

In 1775, English novelist Jane Austen (Emma, 1815) is born in Steventon, Hampshire.

Jane Austen, b. December 16, 1775, d. 1817

The Divine Jane may be the most loved writer in all of English literature, and she deserves the adulation. Her narrative technique, far ahead of its time, has never been bettered, and her style — clear, flexible, animated — is perfect for revealing the humor and nuance in her rich, complicated stories. One returns to her novels with a sense of awe and gratitude. Start with Northanger Abbey, the earliest written and last published, and finish with the masterpieces Pride and Prejudice and Emma, where her protagonists practically leap off the page in their complex vitality.

Suggested Reading Novels Sense and Sensibility, 1811. Pride and Prejudice, 1813. Mansfield Park, 1814. Emma, 1815. Persuasion, 1818. Northanger Abbey, 1818.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

December 16th, 2002

In 1900, English critic and short story writer V.S. (Victor Sawdon) Pritchett (Blind Love, 1969) is born in Ipswich, Suffolk.

V.S. Pritchett, b. December 16, 1900, d. 1997

pritchett47.pngPritchett began his long career writing stories, but he will be remembered more for his essays on literature, which range far and wide, and for his memoirs and travel books. In all he published about sixty books, including ten in his sixties, nine in his seventies, and nine in his eighties!

Suggested Reading Stories The Spanish Virgin and Other Stories, 1930. You Make Your Own Life, 1938. It May Never Happen, 1945. When My Girl Comes Home, 1961. Complete Short Stories, 1990. Memoirs A Cab at the Door, 1968. Midnight Oil, 1971. Literary Criticism Complete Collected Essays, 1991. Travel The Spanish Temper, 1954. London Perceived, 1962. New York Proclaimed, 1965. Dublin: A Portrait, 1967.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

December 16th, 2002

English playwright Noël Coward (Blithe Spirit, 1941) is born in 1899 in Teddington, Middlesex.

Noël Coward. b. December 16, 1899, d. 1973

coward.pngThe quintessence of suavity and sophistication, Coward is impossible to emulate. His wonderful plays will live forever on stage, long after the world his characters inhabited has disappeared, if it hasn’t already. And his memoirs and diaries, not to be missed, reveal a man of deep feeling, intelligence, and perspicacity.

Suggested Reading Plays The Vortex, 1924. Hay Fever, 1925. Fallen Angels, 1925. Easy Virtue, 1926. Private Lives, 1930. Design for Living, 1932. Present Laughter, 1939. Blithe Spirit, 1941. Waiting in the Wings, 1960. Memoirs/Diaries Middle East Diary, 1944. Future Indefinite, 1954. The Noël Coward Diaries, 1982.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

December 15th, 2002

In 1932, Irish short story writer and novelist Edna O’Brien (Girl with Green Eyes, 1965) is born in Twarngraney, County Clare.

Edna O’Brien, b. December 15, 1930

Over her long career O’Brien has won almost every conceivable award for her novels and short stories. She began writing about women and women’s issues and then moved to writing what she calls “state-of-the-nation novels” concerning Ireland. A perpetual Nobel nominee, she is still active at the age of 81.

Suggested Reading Novels The Country Girls Trilogy The Country Girls, 1960. The Lonely Girl, 1962. Girls in Their Married Bliss, 1963. A Pagan Place, 1970. The Dazzle, 1981. House of Splendid Isolation, 1994. Down by the River, 1996. Short stories The Love Object, 1968. A Scandalous Woman: And Other Stories, 1972. A Rose in My Heart: Love Stories, 1978. A Fanatic Heart: Selected Stories, 1984. Lantern Slides, 1990. Saints and Sinners, 2011. Non-fiction Mother Ireland, 1976. James Joyce: A Biography, 1999. Byron in Love, 2009.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

December 12th, 2002

English playwright John Osborne (Look Back in Anger, 1956) is born in 1929 in Fulham, London.

osborneJohn Osborne, b. December 12, 1929, d. 1994

Osborne revolutionized English and American theater and greatly influenced theater elsewhere with his first professional play, Look Back in Anger. He then went on to prove that he wasn’t a flash in the pan with a long career of intense, brilliant plays, screenplays, and television dramas. A modern giant.

Suggested Reading Plays Look Back in Anger, 1956. The Entertainer, 1957. Luther, 1961. Inadmissable Evidence, 1964. Time Present, 1968. West of Suez, 1971. Screenplays Tom Jones, 1963. The Charge of the Light Brigade, 1968. Memoirs A Better Class of Person, 1981. Almost a Gentleman, 1991.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

December 11th, 2002

In 1922, American short story writer Grace Paley (Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, 1974) is born in New York City.

paley.jpgGrace Paley, b. December 11, 1922

Grace Paley will perhaps not loom large in histories of late-twentieth-century American literature, because she wrote only in the short story genre, and wrote slowly. But what stories! Like Hemingway and Raymond Carver, she taught a generation how to make a piece of short fiction memorable, and her stories can be returned to time and again for the sheer delight they give in exuberant, witty, and wise writing.

Suggested Reading Short stories The Little Disturbances of Man, 1959. Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, 1974. Later the Same Day, 1985. Essays Just As I Thought, 1998.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

December 10th, 2002

American poet Emily Dickinson is born in 1830 in Amherst, Mass.

Emily Dickinson, b. December 10, 1830, d. 1886

dickinsonphotoIn 1862, when Dickinson sent four of her poems to T.W. Higginson, asking him if they were publishable, he didn’t know what to make of them. Now, a century-and-a-half later, her 1,775 short poems and fragments have long since taken their place in the canon of essential reading, and they remain as fresh, new, and surprising as when Higginson first saw them.

Suggested Reading Poems The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, ed. Thomas H. Johnson, 1960.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

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