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Common Life: Four Generations of American Literary Friendship and Influence (Paperback)
  • Common Life: Four Generations of American Literary Friendship and Influence (Paperback)
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Common Life: Four Generations of American Literary Friendship and Influence (Paperback)

(author)
£22.50
Paperback 460 Pages / Published: 01/05/1996
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In this splendid group portrait, David Laskin tells the stories of four friendships that helped to define the course of American literature: Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville, Henry James and Edith Wharton, Katherine Anne Porter and Eudora Welty, Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. Written with uncommon grace and insight, A Common Life is a fascinating narrative of the entanglements of art and life, and an illuminating study of the nature of friendship itself. In each of these pairings, the two writers met at a critical turning point in their lives and careers, and the friendship profoundly affected the course of both. The friendships came as great shafts of light, throwing open new possibilities and relieving the numbing isolation of American literary life. The "shock of recognition" that passed between Melville and Hawthorne when they met in the Berkshires in 1850 changed the course of Melville's masterpiece, Moby-Dick. Edith Wharton was nearly forty, rich, and unhappily married when she met the sixty-year-old Henry James in London in 1903. His thunderous advice to "Do New York!" steered her toward her first triumph with The House of Mirth. Each friendship sprang from shared literary and personal admiration. But in time, each showed the strains of rivalry, resentment, anger, disappointment, and nasty gossip - hazards perhaps inherent in intimate relationships between writers. Welty became furious when the publication of her first book had to be postponed because the notoriously unreliable Porter had failed to finish her introduction to the book on time. Bishop and Lowell teetered for years on the brink of a love affair, and Bishop felt all the more betrayed when Lowell took apassage from her most anguished letter to him and "versed" it word for word into one of his poems. Love and loathing, reverence and revenge played their roles in all four of these intense relationships. A Common Life also uncovers the remarkable strands of influence and common heri

Publisher: University Press of New England
ISBN: 9780874517644
Number of pages: 460
Weight: 658 g
Dimensions: 241 x 152 x 25 mm

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