Significantly deepening our understanding of two key figures from the modernist period, The Humane Particulars collects the letters between William Carlos Williams and Kenneth Burke. Written during forty-two years of close friendship and literary debate, these nearly 250 letters span two long lives, two complicated personalities, and two brilliantly productive careers. The animated exchange between a canonical poet and the leading American rhetorical critic of the twentieth century offers a more complete vision of their outlooks and their contributions to the shape and tenor of the modernist scene. Set in context by James H. East's introduction and explanatory notes, the letters begin just after Burke and Williams's initial meeting in 1921 during a tramp through a New Jersey swamp and surrounding meadowlands. Their written exchange follows the maturing of their friendship and professional regard. The correspondence shows that Williams and Burke were fast friends during the experimental twenties, preoccupied by individual and divergent projects in the thirties and early forties, and reunited as enthusiastic correspondents after the Second World War. The letters refer to happy times spent together - walks in the woods, picnics and swimming, and visits to Burke's farm in Andover, New Jersey. They reveal, among other interesting personal matters, Burke's fascination with Williams's double life as physician and poet, Burke's hypochondria, and Williams's at times chastising medical advice to Burke. But, more important, the letters preserve the continual wrangling over the origin and nature of literary form that enlightened the pair's many disagreements. Of particular interest, the correspondence documents a largely unexplored aspect of Burke's career - his reciprocally influential relationship with the writers of the late modern and midcentury periods.
Publisher: University of South Carolina Press
Number of pages: 296
Weight: 653 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 30 mm