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Original Essays | September 4, 2014

Edward E. Baptist: IMG The Two Bodies of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

My new book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, is the story of two bodies. The first body was the new... Continue »
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Glenway Wescott Personally: A Biography by Jerry Rosco
Glenway Wescott Personally: A Biography

RNJ, April 8, 2014

Glenway Wescott is a writer who wrote because he loved to, not because he felt he should make a living from it. Had he more been more "ambitious," he might have been as successful as his contemporaries. As a friend of Isherwood, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Marianne Moore, Katherine Anne Porter, Wescott and his work may be as significant as theirs. Rosco has thoroughly analyzed and commemorated Wescott's life and work. Well worth your time, especially if you are interested in gay male writers of American literature.
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The Hours by Michael Cunningham
The Hours

RNJ, January 11, 2010

Michael Cunningham takes the life of the literary icon, Virginia Woolf, and juxtaposes it with Mrs. Dalloway, a Woolf character, as well as a contemporary American woman, Laura. He derives even the title, in part, from Woolf's own work (see epigram). He seems to be a master at balancing or exploring themes in threes, subtly linking the three characters through alternating chapters. The Hours brings to fruition topics or motifs he has explored in his first two novels--a sign that Cunningham has so much to say, he can't do it all in one work. The image of a woman working toward the baking of "perfect" cake is used in his second novel, Flesh and Blood, but in the Hours its use may be more poignant. Mrs. Brown "wants to have produced a cake that banishes sorrow, even if only for a little while. She wants to have produced something marvelous, something that would be marvelous even to those who do not love her." In this passage and throughout the novel, Cunningham's prose rivals that of his subject: strong yet delicate. The Hours is a novel that will resonate with the reader for a long time, begging to be read again and again, and the reader will comply, happily.
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