Reading The Novels Of John Williams

Author: Mark Asquith
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 1498545432
Size: 54.41 MB
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John Williams, as the New Yorker noted recently, was author of ‘the greatest American novel you’ve have never heard of.’ He died in obscurity, but has enjoyed a literary renaissance due to the worldwide critical acclaim greeting recent reissues of his major novel Butcher’s Crossing, Augustus and particularly Stoner. With films of both Butcher’s Crossing and Stoner already in pre-production it is clear that Williams’ star is in the ascendant. This book is designed to offer a critical introduction to his writing. It is developed through solid scholarly research but is structured and written in a clear and direct style that makes it accessible for academics, students and general readers alike. It offers a clear sense of the novelist’s early life and work, which includes an evaluation of his academic life (he was a professor at the University of Denver) and neglected poetry. The bulk of the book is given over to readings of the three major novels: they offer an appreciation of Williams’ literary craft combined with an assessment of literary and cultural influences and an overview of contemporary critical reactions. Few authors have written such disparate works in terms of subject matter, genre and style, however they are all united in their effort to grapple with deeper existential questions. For whether his characters are riding the Western plains, speaking in the Roman Forum or reading in a dusty library, they all demonstrate Williams’ preoccupation with the ways in which youthful hopes and a strong sense of who we are shaped by life’s accidents. How we make the life meaningful, learn to love another human being, confront failure – these are the well points of Williams’ understated tragedies. Unfortunately, such meditations are rarely fashionable; but neither are they ever unfashionable. George Orwell observed that the only true critic is time: this study makes clear that Williams’ time has come.

Love Of The World

Author: John McGahern
Publisher: Faber & Faber
ISBN: 0571313124
Size: 73.20 MB
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John McGahern did not spread himself thinly as a writer. Nearly all of his creative energy went into what was central for him: the great novels and stories that are now part of the canon of Irish and world literature. Yet he spoke out when he felt he had something worth saying and his non-fiction writings are of great interest to anyone who loves his work, and to all those interested in the recent history of Ireland. This book brings together all of McGahern's surviving essays, reviews and speeches. In them his canon of great writers - Tolstoy, Chekhov, James, Proust and Joyce - is cited many times, with deep and subtle appreciation. His discussions of Irish writers who influenced him are generous and brilliant - among them Michael McLaverty, Ernie O'Malley and Forrest Reid. His interventions on issues he felt strongly about - sectarianism, women's rights, the power of the church in Ireland - are lucid and far-sighted.

Augustus

Author: John Williams
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 1448180961
Size: 63.50 MB
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By the author of Stoner, the surprise international bestseller After the brutal murder of his great-uncle, Julius Caesar, Octavian, a shy and scholarly youth of nineteen, suddenly finds himself heir to the vast power of Rome. He is destined, despite vicious power struggles, bloody wars and family strife, to transform his realm and become the greatest ruler the western world had ever seen: Augustus Caesar, the first Roman Emperor. Building on impeccable research, John Williams brings the legendary figure of Augustus vividly to life, and invests his characters with such profound humanity that we enter completely into the heat and danger of their lives and times.

The Man Who Wrote The Perfect Novel

Author: Charles J. Shields
Publisher: University of Texas Press
ISBN: 1477317384
Size: 15.41 MB
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When Stoner was published in 1965, the novel sold only a couple of thousand copies before disappearing with hardly a trace. Yet John Williams’s quietly powerful tale of a Midwestern college professor, William Stoner, whose life becomes a parable of solitude and anguish eventually found an admiring audience in America and especially in Europe. The New York Times called Stoner “a perfect novel,” and a host of writers and critics, including Colum McCann, Julian Barnes, Bret Easton Ellis, Ian McEwan, Emma Straub, Ruth Rendell, C. P. Snow, and Irving Howe, praised its artistry. The New Yorker deemed it “a masterly portrait of a truly virtuous and dedicated man.” The Man Who Wrote the Perfect Novel traces the life of Stoner’s author, John Williams. Acclaimed biographer Charles J. Shields follows the whole arc of Williams’s life, which in many ways paralleled that of his titular character, from their shared working-class backgrounds to their undistinguished careers in the halls of academia. Shields masterfully recounts Williams’s development as an author, whose other works include the novels Butcher’s Crossing and Augustus (for the latter, Williams shared the 1972 National Book Award). Shields also reveals the astonishing afterlife of Stoner, which garnered new fans with each American reissue, and then became a bestseller all over Europe after Dutch publisher Lebowski brought out a translation in 2013. Since then, Stoner has been published in twenty-one countries and has sold over a million copies.

Augustus

Author: John Edward Williams
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307513599
Size: 49.27 MB
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A brilliant and beautifully written novel in the tradition of Robert Graves’ I, Claudius, Augustus is a sweeping narrative that brings vividly to life a compelling cast of historical figures through their letters, dispatches, and memoirs. A mere eighteen years of age when his uncle, Julius Caesar, is murdered, Octavius Caesar prematurely inherits rule of the Roman Republic. Surrounded by men who are jockeying for power–Cicero, Brutus, Cassius, and Mark Antony–young Octavius must work against the powerful Roman political machinations to claim his destiny as first Roman emperor. Sprung from meticulous research and the pen of a true poet, Augustus tells the story of one man’s dream to liberate a corrupt Rome from the fancy of the capriciously crooked and the wildly wealthy. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Rivers And The Power Of Ancient Rome

Author: Brian Campbell
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 080786904X
Size: 37.58 MB
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Figuring in myth, religion, law, the military, commerce, and transportation, rivers were at the heart of Rome's increasing exploitation of the environment of the Mediterranean world. In Rivers and the Power of Ancient Rome, Brian Campbell explores the role and influence of rivers and their surrounding landscape on the society and culture of the Roman Empire. Examining artistic representations of rivers, related architecture, and the work of ancient geographers and topographers, as well as writers who describe rivers, Campbell reveals how Romans defined the geographical areas they conquered and how geography and natural surroundings related to their society and activities. In addition, he illuminates the prominence and value of rivers in the control and expansion of the Roman Empire--through the legal regulation of riverine activities, the exploitation of rivers in military tactics, and the use of rivers as routes of communication and movement. Campbell shows how a technological understanding of--and even mastery over--the forces of the river helped Rome rise to its central place in the ancient world.

The Workings Of Fiction

Author: Robert Bechtold Heilman
Publisher: University of Missouri Press
ISBN: 9780826207876
Size: 69.83 MB
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The Workings of Fiction is a collection of essays, chiefly on British and American novels and novelists, that shows a masterful critic at work. Each of the essays examines a different aspect of the novelists' art as one uniquely astute critical mind observes them. The central issue Robert Heilman confronts--often by studying the novels in pairs--is how the novelist does what he does. Dealing with subjects as diverse as Charlotte Bronte, Henry James, D. H. Lawrence, Thomas Hardy, and Evelyn Waugh, Heilman studies the workings of fiction from varied stances. He investigates the uses of the verbal medium and the several means by which a given theme is developed. As Heilman identifies and traces particular themes, he studies how parts are assembled into a whole. In addition, he explores particular generic types--like the picaresque, the gothic, the tragic--as they are used by a variety of novelists. Written by a gifted man of letters, The Workings of Fiction takes us inside the process of criticism. The book offers us an original and perceptive view of Under the Volcano as it offers of Pride and Prejudice or The Turn of the Screw. Each essay presents a fresh way of looking at and understanding these novels. This collection will be of interest to anyone who desires insight into the workings of fiction.

Syrian Identity In The Greco Roman World

Author: Nathanael J. Andrade
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1107244560
Size: 36.40 MB
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By engaging with recent developments in the study of empires, this book examines how inhabitants of Roman imperial Syria reinvented expressions and experiences of Greek, Roman and Syrian identification. It demonstrates how the organization of Greek communities and a peer polity network extending citizenship to ethnic Syrians generated new semiotic frameworks for the performance of Greekness and Syrianness. Within these, Syria's inhabitants reoriented and interwove idioms of diverse cultural origins, including those from the Near East, to express Greek, Roman and Syrian identifications in innovative and complex ways. While exploring a vast array of written and material sources, the book thus posits that Greekness and Syrianness were constantly shifting and transforming categories, and it critiques many assumptions that govern how scholars of antiquity often conceive of Roman imperial Greek identity, ethnicity and culture in the Roman Near East, and processes of 'hybridity' or similar concepts.