By Christopher Benfey
One of many most effective critics in modern American letters, Christopher Benfey has lengthy been recognized for his very good and incisive essays. showing in such guides because the ny overview of Books, the hot Republic, and the days Literary complement, Benfey's writings have helped us reimagine the yank literary canon. In American Audacity, Benfey gathers his best writings on eminent American authors (including Emerson, Dickinson, Whitman, Millay, Faulkner, Frost, and Welty), bringing to his subjects---as the recent York occasions booklet evaluation has acknowledged of his prior work---"a scholar's thoroughness, a critic's astuteness and a storyteller's feel of drama."Although Benfey's pursuits variety from paintings to literature to social historical past, this assortment specializes in specific American writers and a number of the ways that an American id and tradition tell their paintings. damaged into 3 sections, "Northerners," "Southerners," and "The Union Reconsidered," American Audacity explores numerous canonical works, previous (Emerson, Dickinson, Millay, Whitman), smooth (Faulkner, Dos Passos), and extra modern (Gary Snyder, E. L. Doctorow).Christopher Benfey is the writer of various extremely popular books, together with Emily Dickinson: Lives of a Poet; The Double lifetime of Stephen Crane; Degas in New Orleans: Encounters within the Creole global of Kate Chopin and George Washington Cable; and, so much lately, the good Wave: Gilded Age Misfits, jap Eccentrics, and the outlet of previous Japan; and A summer season of Hummingbirds. Benfey's poems have seemed within the Paris assessment, Pequod, and Ploughshares. He has held fellowships from the Guggenheim beginning, the nationwide Endowment for the arts, and the yank Council of realized Societies. presently he's Mellon Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College."A proficient literary historian and critic."---The ny evaluate of Books "Longer than publication reports and shorter than long reappraisals of a poet or critic, the person essays convey a convinced, if modest, contact . . . His unadorned sentences . . . will inspire readers to shop for books via the bibliographers and students he reports in addition to go back readers to the audacious figures that contain America's literary history."---Larry T. Shillock, Bloomsbury Review"In its energetic and unique feedback of yankee writers, Christopher Benfey's American Audacities monitors its personal audacities on each page."---William H. Pritchard
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Extra resources for American Audacity: Literary Essays North and South (Writers on Writing)
The book ends with an anti-American diatribe: “To be an American, to be a citizen of the West, is to be a murderer. Don’t kid yourself. ” An absurdist Hawthorne, derived from Borges’s observation that “Wake‹eld” pre‹gures Kafka, ‹nds expression in Codrescu’s raucous road novel. Wake‹eld, exiled in an America of disposable architecture and computerization run amuck, leaves his home in New Orleans in search of his authentic self. In thus dividing Hawthorne’s equable smile into a ghastly scowl on the one hand and a manic grin on the other, these books unwittingly reproduce the split in the literary generations that immediately followed Hawthorne: William Dean Howells’s Realist commitment to the “smiling aspects” of American life, on the one hand, and the harsh Naturalism of Frank Norris and Stephen Crane on the other.
Though ten of her poems were published, none at her own instigation, during her lifetime, she was never seriously tempted by publication again. She did keep an orderly record of hundreds and hundreds of her poems, however, making sure at the same time that many more were in the hands of trusted friends. 39 2. A week after Dickinson’s death in 1886 from kidney failure, her sister Lavinia discovered in the Dickinson house a locked chest that held forty hand-sewn albums of Dickinson’s poems in manuscript, as well as many more poems neatly copied on loose sheets.
In a decision that showed perhaps as much hostility as impatience, Lavinia turned in early 1888 to Mabel Loomis Todd, wife of an astronomy professor at Amherst College. 2 While Mabel had corresponded with Emily Dickinson, and received poems from her, they had never met face to face—a concession, apparently, to propriety. Working in conjunction with Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who was now free to perform the surgery that Dickinson had resisted, Mabel produced three popular volumes of Dickinson’s poetry from 1890 to 1896.