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Becoming Ray Bradbury by Jonathan R. EllerBecoming Ray Bradbury chronicles the making of an iconic American writer by exploring Ray Bradbury's childhood and early years of his long life in fiction, film, television, radio, and theater. Jonathan R. Eller measures the impact of the authors, artists, illustrators, and filmmakers who stimulated Bradbury's imagination throughout his first three decades. Unprecedented access to Bradbury's personal papers and other private collections provides insight into his emerging talent through his unpublished correspondence, his rare but often insightful notes on writing, and his interactions with those who mentored him during those early years. Beginning with his childhood in Waukegan, Illinois, and Los Angeles, this biography follows Bradbury's development from avid reader to maturing author, making a living writing for pulp magazines. Eller illuminates the sources of Bradbury's growing interest in the human mind, the human condition, and the ambiguities of life and death--themes that became increasingly apparent in his early fiction. Bradbury's correspondence documents his frustrating encounters with the major trade publishing houses and his earliest unpublished reflections on the nature of authorship. Eller traces the sources of Bradbury's very conscious decisions, following the sudden success of The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man, to voice controversial political statements in his fiction, and he highlights the private motivations behind the burst of creative energy that transformed his novella "The Fireman" into the classic novel Fahrenheit 451. Becoming Ray Bradbury reveals Bradbury's emotional world as it matured through his explorations of cinema and art, his interactions with agents and editors, his reading discoveries, and the invaluable reading suggestions of older writers. These largely unexplored elements of his life pave the way to a deeper understanding of his more public achievements, providing a biography of the mind, the story of Bradbury's self-education and the emerging sense of authorship at the heart of his boundless creativity.
Publication Date: 2011
Ernest Hemingway by Verna KaleErnest Hemingway has enjoyed a rich legacy as the progenitor of modern fiction, as an outsized character in literary lore who wrote some of the most honest and moving accounts of the twentieth century, set against such grand backdrops as the bullrings of Spain, the savannahs of Africa, and the rivers and lakes of the American Midwest. In this portrait of the Nobel-prize winner, Verna Kale challenges many of the long-standing assumptions Hemingway's legacy has created. Drawing on numerous sources, she reexamines him, offering a real-life portrait of the historical figure as he really was: a writer, a sportsman, and a celebrity with a long and turbulent career. Kale follows Hemingway around the world and through his many roles--as a young Red Cross volunteer in World War I, as an expatriate poet in 1920s Paris, as a career novelist navigating the burgeoning middlebrow fiction market, and as a seasoned but struggling writer still trying to draft his masterpiece. She takes readers through his four marriages, his joyous big game expeditions in Africa, and his struggles with celebrity and craft, especially his decades-long attempt at a novel that was supposed to blow open the boundaries of American fiction and upset the very conventions he helped to create. It is this final aspect of Hemingway's life--Kale shows--that wreaked the greatest havoc on him, taking a steep physical and mental toll that was likely exacerbated by a medical condition that science is only beginning to understand. Concise but insightful, this book offers an acute portrait of one of the most important figures of American arts and letters.
Publication Date: 2016
Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Life by Joan D. Hedrick"Up to this year I have always felt that I had no particular call to meddle with this subject....But I feel now that the time is come when even a woman or a child who can speak a word for freedom and humanity is bound to speak." Thus did Harriet Beecher Stowe announce her decision to begin work on what would become one of the most influential novels ever written. The subject she had hesitated to "meddle with" was slavery, and the novel, of course, was Uncle Tom's Cabin. Still debated today for its portrayal of African Americans and its unresolved place in the literary canon, Stowe's best-known work was first published in weekly installments from June 5, 1851 to April 1, 1852. It caused such a stir in both the North and South, and even in Great Britain, that when Stowe met President Lincoln in 1862 he is said to have greeted her with the words, "So you are the little woman who wrote the book that created this great war!" In this landmark book, the first full-scale biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe in over fifty years, Joan D. Hedrick tells the absorbing story of this gifted, complex, and contradictory woman. Hedrick takes readers into the multilayered world of nineteenth century morals and mores, exploring the influence of then-popular ideas of "true womanhood" on Stowe's upbringing as a member of the outspoken Beecher clan, and her eventful life as a writer and shaper of public opinion who was also a mother of seven. It offers a lively record of the flourishing parlor societies that launched and sustained Stowe throughout the 44 years of her career, and the harsh physical realities that governed so many women's lives. The epidemics, high infant mortality, and often disastrous medical practices of the day are portrayed in moving detail, against the backdrop of western expansion, and the great social upheaval accompanying the abolitionist movement and the entry of women into public life. Here are Stowe's public triumphs, both before and after the Civil War, and the private tragedies that included the death of her adored eighteen month old son, the drowning of another son, and the alcohol and morphine addictions of two of her other children. The daughter, sister, and wife of prominent ministers, Stowe channeled her anguish and her ambition into a socially acceptable anger on behalf of others, transforming her private experience into powerful narratives that moved a nation. Magisterial in its breadth and rich in detail, this definitive portrait explores the full measure of Harriet Beecher Stowe's life, and her contribution to American literature. Perceptive and engaging, it illuminates the career of a major writer during the transition of literature from an amateur pastime to a profession, and offers a fascinating look at the pains, pleasures, and accomplishments of women's lives in the last century.
Publication Date: 1995
Henry James: Autobiography by Frederick Wilcox Dupee; Henry JamesOriginally written as three complete books, this one-volume edition includes A Small Boy and Others, Notes of a Son and Brother, and The Middle Years. Begun when James was sixty-eight years old, it was written at a time when his great critical mind was actively devoted to the understanding of his existence in its complicated wholeness. The reader will come away from the book with a picture of the man within the novelist--the intimate basis of James's themes and methods. Taking its place beside The Education of Henry Adams and Hawthorne's "The Custom House," the work is an important contribution to America's autobiographic literature. It is a highly personal account of the great novelist's discovery of Europe and of his artistic vocation, as well as a fascinating story of the life of one of the most remarkable families of the nineteenth century, the members of which experienced, in James's own words, "the classic years of the great Americano-European legend." Originally published in 1983. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
Publication Date: 2014
Myself and the World: A Biography of William Faulkner by Robert W. HamblinWilliam Faulkner (1897-1962) once said of his novels and stories, "I am telling the same story over and over, which is myself and the world." This biography provides an overview of the life and career of the famous author, demonstrating the interrelationships of that life, centered in Oxford, Mississippi, with the characters and events of his fictional world. The book begins with a chapter on Faulkner's most famous ancestor, W. C. Falkner, "the Old Colonel," who greatly influenced both the content and the form of Faulkner's fiction. Robert W. Hamblin then proceeds to examine the highlights of Faulkner's biography, from his childhood to his youthful days as a fledgling poet, through his time in New Orleans, the creation of Yoknapatawpha, the years of struggle and his season of prolific genius, and through his time in Hollywood and his winning of the Nobel Prize. The book concludes with a description of his last years as a revered author, cultural ambassador, and university writer-in-residence. In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Faulkner spoke of "the agony and sweat of the human spirit" that goes into artistic creation. For Faulkner, that struggle was especially acute. Poor and neglected for much of his life, suffering from chronic depression and alcoholism, and unhappy in his personal life, Faulkner overcame tremendous obstacles to achieve literary success. One of the major themes of his novels and stories remains endurance, and his biography exhibits that quality in abundance. Faulkner the man endured and ultimately prevailed.
Publication Date: 2016
Thoreau in His Own Time : A Biographical Chronicle of His Life, Drawn from Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, Friends, and Associates by Sandra Harbert Petrulionis (Editor)More than any other Transcendentalist of his time Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) embodied the full complement of the movement's ideals and vocations: author, advocate for self-reform, stern critic of society, abolitionist, philosopher, and naturalist. The Thoreau of our time--valorized anarchist, founding environmentalist, and fervid advocate of civil disobedience--did not exist in the nineteenth century. In this rich and appealing collection, Sandra Harbert Petrulionis untangles Thoreau's multiple identities by offering a wide range of nineteenth-century commentary as the opinions of those who knew him evolved over time. The forty-nine recollections gathered in Thoreau in His Own Time demonstrate that it was those who knew him personally, rather than his contemporary literati, who most prized Thoreau's message, but even those who disparaged him respected his unabashed example of an unconventional life. Included are comments by Ralph Waldo Emerson--friend, mentor, Walden landlord, and progenitor of the spin on Thoreau's posthumous reputation; Nathaniel Hawthorne, who could not compliment Thoreau without simultaneously denigrating him; and John Weiss, whose extended commentary on Thoreau's spirituality reflects unusual tolerance. Selections from the correspondence of Caroline Healey Dall, Maria Thoreau, Sophia Hawthorne, Sarah Alden Bradford Ripley, and Amanda Mather amplify our understanding of the ways in which nineteenth-century women viewed Thoreau. An excerpt by John Burroughs, who alternately honored and condemned Thoreau, asserts his view that Thoreau was ever searching for the unattainable. The dozens of primary sources in this crisply edited collection illustrate the complexity of Thoreau's iconoclastic singularity in a way that no one biographer could. Each entry is introduced by a headnote that places the selection in historical and cultural context. Petrulionis' comprehensive introduction and her detailed chronology of personal and literary events in Thoreau's life provide a lively and informative gateway to the entries themselves. The collaborative biography that Petrulionis creates in Thoreau in His Own Time contextualizes the strikingly divergent views held by his contemporaries and highlights the reasons behind his profound legacy.
Publication Date: 2012
Allen GinsbergVideotaped shortly before his death, this interview gives an intimate overview of Ginsberg’s work and of the Beat literary movement.
A Conversation with Robert Frost—From NBC's Wisdom SeriesFeaturing Robert Frost at his home in Ripton, Vermont, this 1952 program from the NBC archives opens out in the fields with the poet feeding his horses, then moves to his living room where he proceeds to discuss topics spanning his long and fruitful career.
Ernest Hemingway: Wrestling with LifeErnest Hemingway claimed he didn’t want his biography written until at least 100 years after his death—but by then it might be hard to separate fact from fiction. This episode of Biography, narrated by Mariel Hemingway, follows in the footsteps of the Nobel laureate in search of the enormous man behind the enormous myth.
F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Concise BiographyThis overview of the biography and writing of F. Scott Fitzgerald from the Famous Authors series traces Fitzgerald’s life and influences—from his birth in St. Paul, Minnesota, to his university days at Princeton, literary celebrity, and frivolity in New York; to his status as social purveyor of modernists in Paris; to his tumultuous marriage to the talented but troubled Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald and following alcoholic spiral.
HawthorneNathaniel Hawthorne was an American novelist and short story writer who enjoyed considerable success with his romantic tales usually set in in the puritanical world of his home state Massachusetts... This video explores his roots in puritanical culture, his growth at Bowdoin College, his explosion in the literary world, his political appointments and his journey abroad.
Henry James: A Concise BiographyThis overview of Henry James' life and literature from the Famous Authors series begins with James' comfortable boyhood in New York, during which his father moved James and his brother around and back and forth from Europe frequently for the sake of education. He eventually went to Harvard to study law and began writing, but felt uncomfortable with American culture and left for England, where he spent most of the rest of his life.
Jack KerouacJack Kerouac, cult writer of the Beat generation, remains an American icon. This documentary focuses on the creative pinnacle of his life—63 days spent as a fire warden on Desolation Peak in Washington State.
Mark Twain: A Film Directed by Ken BurnsConsidered by many the funniest man of his time, Mark Twain was a critic of human nature who used humor to attack hypocrisy, greed, and racism. As one of America’s most beloved authors, he created some of our most memorable characters, stories, and quotable sayings. In this two-part documentary series, director Ken Burns digs beneath the legend to discover the true Samuel Clemens—revealing an extraordinary life filled with adventure, comedy, literary success and failure, and more than its share of tragedy. A wealth of archival photos and material enriches both programs. Distributed by PBS Distribution. 2-part series, 112 minutes each.
The Mystery of Edgar Allan PoeThis episode of Biography sheds light on a man greatly blessed and supremely cursed: blessed with immortal genius and cursed by a life of lost loves and shattered hopes.
William Faulkner: A Concise BiographyThis overview of the biography and fiction of William Faulkner from the Famous Authors series introduces the major themes of Faulkner’s poems, plays, short stories, and novels.
Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the SunThis definitive film biography portrays Hurston in all her complexity: gifted, flamboyant, controversial, and always fiercely original. The program intersperses insights from scholars and rare footage of the rural South (some of it shot by Hurston herself) with reenactments of a revealing 1943 radio interview—and examines her life both as a writer and as an ethnographer. (84 minutes)
Circulating Print Books
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The Cambridge Introduction to Edgar Allan Poe by Benjamin F. FisherMuch remains uncertain about the life of Edgar Allan Poe, the mysterious author of one of the best-known American poems, 'The Raven', the Gothic romance The Fall of the House of Usher, and the first detective fiction, The Murders in the Rue Morgue. This book provides a balanced overview of Poe's career and writings, resisting the tendency of many scholars to sensationalize the more enigmatic aspects of his life. Benjamin F. Fisher outlines Poe's experiments with a wide range of literary forms and genres, and shows how his fiction evolved from Gothic fantasy to plausible, sophisticated psychological fiction. Fisher makes fruitful connections within this diverse body of work, and offers analyses of the major works. The critical afterlife of Poe's work is charted, and the book includes a guide to further reading, making this a handy starting-point for students and readers new to Poe.
Call Number: PS2638 .F45 2008
Publication Date: 2008
The Cambridge Introduction to Nathaniel Hawthorne by Leland S. PersonAs the author of The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne has been established as a major writer of the nineteenth century and the most prominent chronicler of New England and its colonial history. This introductory book for students coming to Hawthorne for the first time outlines his life and writings in a clear and accessible style. Leland S. Person also explains some of the significant cultural and social movements that influenced Hawthorne's most important writings: Puritanism, Transcendentalism and Feminism. The major works, including The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables and The Blithedale Romance, as well as Hawthorne's important short stories and non-fiction, are analysed in detail. The book also includes a brief history and survey of Hawthorne scholarship, with special emphasis on recent studies. Students of nineteenth-century American literature will find this a rewarding and engaging introduction to this remarkable writer.
Call Number: PS1888 .P47 2007
Publication Date: 2007
Kate Chopin: A Literary Life by Nancy A. WalkerIn a career that lasted little more than a decade, Kate Chopin became well-known for stories set in the Creole and Acadian regions of Louisiana, but her masterwork, The Awakening (1899), told the daring story of a woman who defied social and sexual conventions, eliciting negative reviews that denied Chopin prominence until the middle of the twentieth century. Kate Chopin: A Literary Life sets the author in the context of nineteenth-century American women writers to show how standards of literary propriety affected the career of a major American writer.
Call Number: PS1294.C63 Z94 2001
Publication Date: 2001
Mark Twain: A Life by Ron PowersRon Powers' tour de force has been widely acclaimed as the best life and times, filled with Mark Twain's voice, and as a great American story. Samuel Clemens, the man known as Mark Twain, invented the American voice and became one of our greatest celebrities. His life mirrored his country's, as he grew from a Mississippi River boyhood in the days of the frontier, to a Wild-West journalist during the Gold Rush, to become the king of the eastern establishment and a global celebrity as America became an international power. Along the way, Mark Twain keenly observed the characters and voices that filled the growing country, and left us our first authentically American literature. Ron Powers' magnificent biography offers the definitive life of the founding father of our culture.
Call Number: PS1331 .P67 2005
Publication Date: 2006
Melville: His World and Work by Andrew DelbancoWith Moby-Dick Herman Melville set the standard for the Great American Novel, and with Bartleby, the Scrivener, Benito Cereno,,and Billy Buddhe completed perhaps the greatest oeuvre of any of our writers. Now Andrew Delbanco, hailed by Time as America's best social critic uses unparalleled historical and critical perspective to give us both a commanding biography and a riveting portrait of the young nation. The grandson of Revolutionary War heroes, Melville was born into a family that in the fledgling republic had lost both money and status. Half New Yorker, half New Englander, and toughened at sea as a young man, he returned home to chronicle the deepest crises of his era, from the increasingly shrill debates over slavery through the bloodbath of the Civil War to the intellectual and spiritual revolution wrought by Darwin. Meanwhile, the New York of his youth, where letters were delivered by horseback messengers, became in his lifetime a city recognizably our own, where the Brooklyn Bridge carried traffic and electric lights lit the streets. Delbanco charts Melville's growth from the bawdy storytelling of Typee the "labial melody" of his indulgent captivity among the Polynesians through the spiritual preoccupations building up to Moby-Dick and such later works as Pierre, or the Ambiguities and The Confidence-Man, His Masquerade. And he creates a vivid narrative of a life that left little evidence in its wake: Melville's peculiar marriage, the tragic loss of two sons, his powerful friendship with Nathaniel Hawthorne and scores of literary cronies, bouts of feverish writing, relentless financial pressure both in the Berkshires and in New York, declining critical and popular esteem, and ultimately a customs job bedeviled by corruption. Delbanco uncovers autobiographical traces throughout Melville's work, even as he illuminates the stunning achievements of a career that, despite being consigned to obscurity long before its author's death, ultimately shaped our literature. Finally we understand why the recognition of Melville's genius led by D. H. Lawrence and E. M. Forster, and posthumous by some forty years still feels triumphant; why he, more than any other American writer, has captured the imaginative, social, and political concerns of successive generations; and why Ahab and the White Whale, after more than a century and a half, have become durably resounding symbols not only here but around the world.
Call Number: PS2386 .R635 1996
Publication Date: 2005
Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee by Charles J. ShieldsThe colorful life of the remarkable woman who created To Kill a Mockingbird - the classic that became a touchstone for generations of Americans To Kill a Mockingbird, the twentieth-century's most widely read American novel, has sold thirty million copies and still sells a million yearly. Yet despite the book's perennial popularity, its creator, Harper Lee has become a somewhat mysterious figure. Now, after years of research, Charles J. Shields has brought to life the warmhearted, high-spirited, and occasionally hardheaded woman who gave us two of American literature's most unforgettable characters - Atticus Finch and his daughter, Scout - and who contributed to the success of her lifelong friend Truman Capote's masterpiece, In Cold Blood. At the center of Shields's lively book is the story of Lee's struggle to create her famous novel. But her life contains many other highlights as well: her girlhood as a tomboy in overalls in tiny Monroeville, Alabama; the murder trial that made her beloved father's reputation and inspired her great work; her journey to Kansas as Capote's ally and research assistant to help report the story of the Clutter murders; the surrogate family she found in New York City. Drawing on six hundred interviews and much new information, Mockingbird is the first book ever written about Harper Lee. Highly entertaining, filled with humor and heart, this is an evocative portrait of a writer, her dream, and the place and people whom she made immortal.
Call Number: PS3562.E353 Z87 2006
Publication Date: 2006
Scott Fitzgerald: A Biography by Jeffrey MeyersScott Fitzgerald, a romantic and tragic figure who embodied the decades between the two world wars, was a writer who took his material almost entirely from his life. Despite his early success with The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald battled against failure and disappointment. This book, by the acclaimed biographer of Hemingway, is the first to analyze frankly the meaning as well as the events of Fitzgerald's life and to illuminate the recurrent patterns that reveal his inner self. Meyers emphasizes Fitzgerald's alcoholism, Zelda's illnesses and her doctors, Fitzgerald's love affairs both before and after her breakdown, and his wide-ranging friendships, from the polo star Tommy Hitchcock to the Hollywood executive Irving Thalberg. His writer friends included Ring Lardner, John Dos Passos, James Joyce, Edith Wharton, and Dorothy Parker. His friend and lifelong hero, Ernest Hemingway, was a harsh critic of both his behavior and his novels, but Fitzgerald accepted this with remarkable humility. Meyers portrays the volatile connection between these two writers and Fitzgerald's marriage to the schizophrenic Zelda with insight and poignancy. Meyers also discusses Fitzgerald's fascinating relationship with his daughter, Scottie. Exercising a fine critical balance, he details Fitzgerald's weaknesses but ultimately reveals a man capable of fierce loyalty and great moral courage.
Call Number: PS3511.I9 Z687 2014
Publication Date: 2014
Washington Irving: An American Original by Brian Jay JonesThe first American writer to make his pen his primary means of support, Washington Irving rocketed to fame at the age of 26. In 1809 he published A History of New York under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker to great acclaim. The public's appetite for all things Irving was insatiable; his name alone guaranteed sales. At the time, he was one of the most famous men in the world, a friend of Dickens, Hawthorne, and Longfellow, as well as Astor, Van Buren, and Madison. But his sparkling public persona was only one side of this gentleman author. In brilliant, meticulous strokes, Brian Jay Jones renders Washington Irving in all his flawed splendor - someone who fretted about money and employment, suffered from writer's block, and doggedly cultivated his reputation. Jones offers as never before a very human portrait of the often contrasting public and private lives of this true American original.