Perhaps no twentieth century writer was so observant and elegant a chronicler of his times as Truman Capote. Whether he was profiling the rich and famous or creating indelible word-pictures of events and places near and far, Capote’s eye for detail and dazzling style made his reportage and commentary undeniable triumphs of the form.
Portraits and Observations is the first volume devoted solely to all the essays ever published by this most beloved of writers. From his travel sketches of Brooklyn, New Orleans, and Hollywood, written when he was twenty-two, to meditations about fame, fortune, and the writer’s art at the peak of his career, to the brief works penned during the isolated denouement of his life, these essays provide an essential window into mid-twentieth-century America as offered by one of its canniest observers. Included are such celebrated masterpieces of narrative nonfiction as “The Muses Are Heard” and the short nonfiction novel “Handcarved Coffins,” as well as many long-out-of-print essays, including portraits of Isak Dinesen, Mae West, Marcel Duchamp, Humphrey Bogart, and Marilyn Monroe.
Among the highlights are “Ghosts in Sunlight: The Filming of In Cold Blood, “Preface to Music for Chameleons, in which Capote candidly recounts the highs and lows of his long career, and a playful self-portrait in the form of an imaginary self-interview. The book concludes with the author’s last written words, composed the day before his death in 1984, the recently discovered
“Remembering Willa Cather,” Capote’s touching recollection of his encounter with the author when he was a young man at the dawn of his career.
Portraits and Observations puts on display the full spectrum of Truman Capote’s brilliance. Certainly, Capote was, as Somerset Maugham famously called him, “a stylist of the first quality.” But as the pieces gathered here remind us, he was also an artist of remarkable substance.
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- The Columbia Companion to the Twentieth-Century American Short Story by Blanche H. Gelfant (Editor)Publication Date: 2001-03-08Esteemed critic Blanche Gelfant's brilliant companion gathers together lucid essays on major writers and themes by some of the best literary critics in the United States. Part 1 is comprised of articles on stories that share a particular theme, such as "Working Class Stories" or "Gay and Lesbian Stories." The heart of the book, however, lies in Part 2, which contains more than one hundred pieces on individual writers and their work, including Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Richard Ford, Raymond Carver, Eudora Welty, Andre Debus, Zora Neal Hurston, Anne Beattie, Bharati Mukherjee, J. D. Salinger, and Jamaica Kincaid, as well as engaging pieces on the promising new writers to come on the scene.
- Student Companion to Edith Wharton by Melissa McFarland PennelThis volume of essays offers fresh examinations of Wharton's fiction designed both to engage the interest of the student or general reader encountering Wharton for the first time, and to be valuable to advanced scholars looking for new insights into her creative achievement. Written by a mix of established commentators on Wharton and newer scholars in the field, the essays cover Wharton's most important novels as well as some of her shorter fiction.
- Margaret Atwood by Nathalie CookePublication Date: 2004-10-30"This book offers readers a concise introduction to Margaret Atwood's published novels and the central themes motivating her writing. The volume starts with an overview of the author's biography and the relationship of her writing to relevant literary traditions. Because Atwood is internationally renowned, many commentaries ignore the Canadian roots of her work. Nathalie Cooke corrects this oversight by sketching the ways in which her work is shaped by, and has shaped, the Canadian literary scene. As the author of a full-length Atwood biography, Cooke is able to summarize feminist, Canadian nationalist, and postmodern influences on Atwood's work and on her development as a writer. The book offers close scrutiny of three illustrative works: Cat's Eye as the artist novel, The Handmaid's Tale as a dystopian novel, and The Blind Assassin as a villainess novel."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
- Student Companion to Ernest Hemingway by Lisa Tylerhe fully-lived, yet tragically ended life of Ernest Hemingway has attracted nearly as much attention as his extensive canon of writings. This critical study introduces students to both the man and his fiction, exploring how Hemingway confronted in his own life the same moral issues that would later create thematic conflicts for the characters in his novels. In addition to the biographical chapter which focuses on the pivotal events in Hemingway's personal life, a literary heritage chapter overviews his professional developments, relating his distinctive style to his early years as a journalist. With clear concise analysis, students are guided through all of Hemingway's major works including The Sun Also Rises (1926), A Farewell to Arms (1929), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), and The Old Man and the Sea (1952). Full chapters are also devoted to examining his collections of short fiction, the African Stories, and the posthumous works.
- Student Companion to William Faulkner by John D. AndersonPublication Date: 2007-01-01One of America's greatest writers, William Faulkner wrote fiction that combined spellbinding Southern storytelling with modernist formal experimentation to shape an enduring body of work. In his fictional Yoknapatawpha County—based on the region around his hometown of Oxford, Mississippi—he created an entire world peopled with unforgettable characters linked into an intricate historical and social web. An introduction to the Nobel-Prize-winning author's life and work, this book devotes opening chapters to his biography and literary heritage and subsequent chapters to each of his major works. The analytical chapters start with his most accessible book, The Unvanquished, a Civil-War-era account of a boy's coming of age.
- Toni Morrison by Missy Dehn KubitschekWinner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993, Toni Morrison is among our most distinguished contemporary novelists. Morrison describes herself as a "black woman novelist," and all her novels deal with African American characters and communities. Exploring the entire cycle of human life in a spiritual context, her novels are also universal in their depiction of families, especially mothers and their children. From her first novel, The Bluest Eye, to her most recent, Paradise, Toni Morrison has explored the African American experience, and by extension, the human experience. The characters she creates linger in our minds long after we have finished reading the novel. This is the only book-length study of Morrison's novels to discuss all of her novels published to date.
- Amy Tan by Edelma D. Huntley (Editor)Publication Date: 2000-01-01Amy Tan has established a reputation as a major novelist of not only the Asian American experience but the universal experience of family relationships. With the publication of her first novel, The Joy Luck Club, which touched the hearts of millions of readers, Tan joined the ranks of major contemporary novelists. Adapting her brand of Chinese traditional talk story as a vehicle for exploring the lives of the mothers and daughters at the center of her novels, Tan allows readers to experience the lives of her characters from multiple perspectives in parallel and intersecting narratives.
- Anton Chekhov by Harold BloomPublication Date: 2000-01-01Anton Chekov was known for his ability to create parodies, including the character of Trigorin--an outrageous self-parody. His works are examined in this volume with numerous critical essays on The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, The Three Sisters, and The Cherry Orchard.