All the King's Men

     Robert Penn Warren

All the King's Men

This dramatic version of the widely known work, which, as a novel, was the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, had a highly successful Off-Broadway run during the 1959 season. As told by Atkinson: "Eliminate the story of Huey Long, which Mr. Warren says is not what he is trying to interpret. He is anatomizing the career with nothing but purity in his heart. Discovering that he is being used by a cynical machine, [Willie] adopts their methods, and presently, he is in control of the state. By resorting to corrupt methods he accomplishes things for the people that were only abstract ideals when he was campaigning honestly. As a portrait of politics, this is effective and provocative."

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    Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare

     Stephen Greenblatt

Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare

"So engrossing, clearheaded, and lucid that its arrival is not just welcome but cause for celebration."—Dan Cryer, *Newsday*Stephen Greenblatt, the charismatic Harvard professor who "knows more about Shakespeare than Ben Jonson or the Dark Lady did" (John Leonard, Harper's), has written a biography that enables us to see, hear, and feel how an acutely sensitive and talented boy, surrounded by the rich tapestry of Elizabethan life; full of drama and pageantry, and also cruelty and danger; could have become the world's greatest playwright. A young man from the provinces—a man without wealth, connections, or university education—moves to London. In a remarkably short time he becomes the greatest playwright not just of his age but of all time. His works appeal to urban sophisticates and first-time theatergoers; he turns politics into poetry; he recklessly mingles vulgar clowning and philosophical subtlety. How is such an achievement to be explained?
Will in the World interweaves a searching account of Elizabethan England with a vivid narrative of the playwright's life. We see Shakespeare learning his craft, starting a family, and forging a career for himself in the wildly competitive London theater world, while at the same time grappling with dangerous religious and political forces that took less-agile figures to the scaffold. Above all, we never lose sight of the great works—A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, and more—that continue after four hundred years to delight and haunt audiences everywhere. The basic biographical facts of Shakespeare's life have been known for over a century, but now Stephen Greenblatt shows how this particular life history gave rise to the world's greatest writer. Bringing together little-known historical facts and little-noticed elements of Shakespeare's plays, Greenblatt makes inspired connections between the life and the works and deliver "a dazzling and subtle biography" (Richard Lacayo, Time). Readers will experience Shakespeare's vital plays again as if for the first time, but with greater understanding and appreciation of their extraordinary depth and humanity.
A Best Book of the Year: The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2004; Time magazine's #1 Best Nonfiction Book; A Washington Post Book World Rave ; An Economist Best Book ; A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book; A Christian Science Monitor Best Book; A Chicago Tribune Best Book; A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Best Book ; NPR's Maureen Corrigan's Best. 16 pages of color illustrations

Amazon.com Review

There's no shortage of good Shakespearean biographies. But Stephen Greenblatt, brilliant scholar and author of Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, reminds us that the "surviving traces" are "abundant but thin" as to known facts. He acknowledges the paradox of the many biographies spun out of conjecture but then produces a book so persuasive and breathtakingly enjoyable that one wonders what he could have done if the usual stuff of biographical inquiry--memoirs, interviews, manuscripts, and drafts--had been at his disposal. Greenblatt uses the "verbal traces" in Shakespeare's work to take us "back into the life he lived and into the world to which he was so open." Whenever possible, he also ushers us from the extraordinary life into the luminous work. The result is a marvelous blend of scholarship, insight, observation, and, yes, conjecture--but conjecture always based on the most convincing and inspired reasoning and evidence. Particularly compelling are Greenblatt's discussions of the playwright's relationship with the university wit Robert Greene (discussed as a chief source for the character of Falstaff) and of Hamlet in relation to the death of Shakespeare's son Hamnet, his aging father, and the "world of damaged rituals" that England's Catholics were forced to endure. Will in the World is not just the life story of the world's most revered writer. It is the story, too, of 16th- and 17th-century England writ large, the story of religious upheaval and political intrigue, of country festivals and brutal public executions, of the court and the theater, of Stratford and London, of martyrdom and recusancy, of witchcraft and magic, of love and death: in short, of the private but engaged William Shakespeare in his remarkable world. Throughout the book, Greenblatt's style is breezy and familiar. He often refers to the poet simply as Will. Yet for all his alacrity of style and the book's accessibility, Will in the World is profoundly erudite, an enormous contribution to the world of Shakespearean letters. --Silvana TropeaInterview with Stephen Greenblatt
Stephen Greenblatt shares his thoughts about what make Shakespeare Shakespeare and why the Bard continues to fascinate us endlessly.

From Publishers Weekly

This much-awaited new biography of the elusive Bard is brilliant in conception, often superb in execution, but sometimes—perhaps inevitably—disappointing in its degree of speculativeness. Bardolators may take this last for granted, but curious lay readers seeking a fully cohesive and convincing life may at times feel the accumulation of "may haves," "might haves" and "could haves" make it difficult to suspend disbelief. Greenblatt's espousing, for instance, of the theory that Shakespeare's "lost" years before arriving in London were spent in Lancashire leads to suppositions that he might have met the Catholic subversive Edmund Campion, and how that might have affected him—and it all rests on one factoid: the bequeathing by a nobleman of some player's items to a William Shakeshafte, who may, plausibly, have been the young Shakespeare. Nevertheless, Norton Shakespeare general editor and New Historicist Greenblatt succeed impressively in locating the man in both his greatest works and the turbulent world in which he lived. With a blend of biography, literary interpretation and history, Greenblatt persuasively analyzes William's father's rise and fall as a public figure in Stratford, which pulled him in both Protestant and Catholic directions and made his eldest son "a master of double consciousness." In a virtuoso display of historical and literary criticism, Greenblatt contrasts Christopher Marlowe's Jew of Malta, Elizabeth's unfortunate Sephardic physician—who was executed for conspiracy—and Shakespeare's ambiguous villain Shylock. This wonderful study, built on a lifetime's scholarship and a profound ability to perceive the life within the texts, creates as vivid and full portrait of Shakespeare as we are likely ever to have. 16 pages color illus. not seen by PW.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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    Where Three Roads Meet: Novellas

     John Barth

Where Three Roads Meet: Novellas

From the acclaimed John Barth, "one of the greatest novelists of our time" (Washington Post Book World) and "a master of language" (Chicago Sun-Times), comes a lively triad of tales that delight in the many possibilities of language and its users. The first novella, "Tell Me," explores a callow undergraduate's initiation into the mysteries of sex, death, and the Heroic Cycle. The second novella, "I've Been Told," traces no less than the history of storytelling and examines innocence and modernity, ignorance and self-consciousness. And the three elderly sisters of the third novella, "As I Was Saying . . . ," record an oral history of their youthful muse-like services to (and servicings of) a subsequently notorious and now mysteriously vanished novelist. Sexy, humorous, and brimming with Barth's deep intelligence and playful irreverence, Where Three Roads Meet will surely delight loyal fans and draw new ones. John Barth is the author of numerous works of fiction, including The Sot-Weed Factor, The Tidewater Tales, Lost in the Funhouse, The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor, the National Book Award winner Chimera, and most recently The Book of Ten Nights and a Night. He taught for many years in the writing program at Johns Hopkins University. "Teller, tale, torrid . . . inspiration: Barth's seventeenth book brings these three narrative 'roads' together inimitably, and thrice. [Where Three Roads Meet] employs all of his familiar devices -- alliteration, shifts in diction and time, puns -- to tease and titillate, while at the same time articulate -- obliquely, sadly, angrily, gloriously -- a farewell to language and its objects: us." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

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    The Sot-Weed Factor

     John Barth

The Sot-Weed Factor

Considered by critics to be Barth's masterpiece, The Sot-Weed Factor has acquired the status of a modern classic. Set in the late 1600s, it recounts the wildly chaotic odyssey of hapless, ungainly Ebenezer Cooke, sent to the New World to look after his father's tobacco business & to record the struggles of the Maryland colony in an epic poem. On his mission, Cooke experiences capture by pirates & Indians; the loss of his father's estate to roguish impostors; love for a farmer prostitute; stealthy efforts to rob him of his virginity, which he's almost determined to protect; & an extraordinary gallery of treacherous characters who continually switch identities. A hilarious, bawdy tribute to all the most insidious human vices, The Sot-Weed Factor has lasting relevance for all readers.

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    Final Fridays

     John Barth

Final Fridays

For decades, acclaimed author John Barth has strayed from his Monday-through-Thursday-morning routine of fiction-writing and dedicated Friday mornings to the muse of nonfiction. The result is Final Fridays, his third essay collection, following The Friday Book (1984) and Further Fridays (1995). Sixteen years and six novels since his last volume of non-fiction, Barth delivers yet another remarkable work comprised of 27 insightful essays. With pieces covering everything from reading, writing, and the state of the art, to tributes to writer-friends and family members, this collection is witty and engaging throughout. Barth’s “unaffected love of learning” (San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle) and “joy in thinking that becomes contagious” (Washington Post), shine through in this third, and, with an implied question mark, final essay collection.

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    Suicide Plunge

     Philip Arnold

Suicide Plunge

Billy Frank has just one goal in life; to restore his family honor by winning the most dangerous horse race of all, the Suicide Plunge. With little time to train and riding a horse that has just recovered from a serious injury, Billy figures he has nothing to lose..except his life. This high octane novel is a fast paced adventure that will keep the reader in suspense until the last page is turned.Billy Frank has just one goal in life; to restore his family honor by winning the most dangerous horse race of all, the Suicide Plunge. With little time to train and riding a horse that has just recovered from a serious injury, Billy figures he has nothing to lose..except his life. Can Billy overcome the apparent betrayal of those he loves the most? Can he conquer the stigma of being an 18 year old Native American growing up in a white man's world? This high octane novel is a fast paced adventure that will keep the reader in suspense until the last page is turned.

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    Every Third Thought: A Novel in Five Seasons

     John Barth

Every Third Thought: A Novel in Five Seasons

John Barth stays true to form in Every Third Thought, * written from the perspective of a character Barth introduced in his short story collection The Development.* George I. Newett and his wife Amanda Todd lived in the gated community of Heron Bay Estates until its destruction by a fluke tornado. This event, Newett notes, occurred on the 77th anniversary of the 1929 stock market crash, a detail that would appear insignificant if it were not for several subsequent events. The stress of the tornado's devastation prompts the Newett-Todds to depart on a European vacation, during which George suffers a fall on none other than his 77th birthday, the first day of autumn (or more cryptically, Fall). Following this coincidence, George experiences the first of what is to become five serial visions, each appearing to him on the first day of the ensuing seasons, and each corresponding to a pivotal event in that season of his life. As the novel unfolds, so do these uncanny coincidences, and it is clear that, as ever, Barth possesses an unmatched talent in balancing his characteristic style and wit with vivid, page-turning storytelling.

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    The Friday Book

     John Barth

The Friday Book

"Whether discussing modernism, postmodernism, semiotics, Homer, Cervantes, Borges, blue crabs or osprey nests, Barth demonstrates an enthusiasm for the life of the mind, a joy in thinking (and in expressing those thoughts) that becomes contagious... A reader leaves The Friday Book feeling intellectually fuller, verbally more adept, mentally stimulated, with algebra and fire of his own."--Washington PostBarth's first work of nonfiction is what he calls "an arrangement of essays and occasional lectures, some previously published, most not, most on matters literary, some not, accumulated over thirty years or so of writing, teaching, and teaching writing." With the full measure of playfulness and erudition that he brings to his novels, Barth glances into his crystal ball to speculate on the future of literature and the literature of the future. He also looks back upon historical fiction and fictitious history and discusses prose, poetry, and all manner of letters: "Real letters, forged letters, doctored letters... and of course alphabetical letters, the atoms of which the universe of print is made." "The pieces brought together in The Friday Book reflect Mr. Barth's witty, playful, and engaging personality... They are lively, sometimes casual, and often whimsical--a delight to the reader, to whom Mr. Barth seems to be writing or speaking as a learned friend."--Kansas City Star "No less than Barth's fiction these pieces are performances, agile, dexterous, robust, offering the cerebral delights of playful lucidity."--Richmond News Leader

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    Miss Marjoribanks

     Mrs. Oliphant

Miss Marjoribanks

Excerpt from Miss. Marjoribanks, Vol. 2 of 3 While Lucilla made this rapid summary of affairs and took her stand in her own mind, Mr Cavendish had taken a chair and had opened the conversation. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.

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