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Slouching towards Bethlehem: Essays

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Slouching towards Bethlehem: Essays Cover

ISBN13: 9780374521721
ISBN10: 0374521727
Condition: Student Owned
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Staff Pick

Joan Didion's lucid, canny prose style is painstakingly situated around the art of the sentence. Slouching towards Bethlehem, her first collection of nonfiction, serves as a prime example of exactly how well she can wield one. Each of these essays, including one titled "On Self-Respect" (which, years later, I continually refer back to as a philosophical dare to regard the self no matter what incarnation), conveys Didion's remarkable perspective and her ability to detail, without sentimentality, a full sense of whatever she trains her shrewd gaze on.
Recommended by Jae, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Please note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.

Publisher Comments:

Upon its publication in 1968, Slouching towards Bethlehem confirmed Joan Didion as one of the most prominent writers on the literary scene. Her unblinking vision and deadpan tone have influenced subsequent generations of reporters and essayists, changing our expectations of style, voice, and the artistic possibilities of nonfiction.

"In her portraits of people," The New York Times Book Review wrote, "Didion is not out to expose but to understand, and she shows us actors and millionaires, doomed brides and naïve acid-trippers, left-wing ideologues and snobs of the Hawaiian aristocracy in a way that makes them neither villainous nor glamorous, but alive and botched and often mournfully beautiful....A rare display of some of the best prose written today in this country."

In essay after essay, Didion captures the dislocation of the 1960s, the disorientation of a country shredding itself apart with social change. Her essays not only describe the subject at hand — the murderous housewife, the little girl trailing the rock group, the millionaire bunkered in his mansion — but also offer a broader vision of America, one that is both terrifying and tender, ominous and uniquely her own. Joyce Carol Oates has written, "Joan Didion is one of the very few writers of our time who approaches her terrible subject with absolute seriousness, with fear and humility and awe. Her powerful irony is often sorrowful rather than clever....She has been an articulate witness to the most stubborn and intractable truths of our time, a memorable voice, partly eulogistic, partly despairing; always in control."

Review:

"A slant vision that is arresting and unique...Didion might be an observer from another planet — one so edgy and alert that she ends up knowing more about our own world than we know ourselves." Anne Tyler

Review:

"The story between the lines of Slouching towards Bethlehem is surely not so much 'California' as it is [Didion's] ability to make us share her passionate sense of it." Alfred Kazin

Synopsis:

Universally acclaimed when it was first published in 1968, Slouching Towards Bethlehem has become a modern classic. More than any other book of its time, this collection captures the mood of 1960s America, especially the center of its counterculture, California. These essays, keynoted by an extraordinary report on San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury, all reflect that, in one way or another, things are falling apart, "the center cannot hold." An incisive look at contemporary American life, Slouching Towards Bethlehem has been admired for several decades as a stylistic masterpiece.

Contents:

I. LIFE STYLES IN THE GOLDEN LAND

Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream

John Wayne: A Love Song

Where the Kissing Never Stops

Comrade Laski, C.P.U.S.A. (M.-L.)

7000 Romaine, Los Angeles 38

California Dreaming

Marrying Absurd

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

II. PERSONALS

On Keeping a Notebook

On Self-Respect

I Can't Get That Monster out of My Mind

On Morality

On Going Home

III. SEVEN PLACES OF THE MIND

Notes from a Native Daughter

Letter from Paradise, 21° 19' N., 157° 52' W

Rock of Ages

The Seacoast of Despair

Guaymas, Sonora

Los Angeles Notebook

Goodbye to All That

About the Author

Joan Didion is the author of five novels and six works of nonfiction: Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The White Album, Miami, Salvador, After Henry, and Political Fictions. She lives in New York City.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

jamesdow777, December 30, 2009 (view all comments by jamesdow777)
I knew Lucille Miller; she was a neighbor of mine. I lived at 1205 Monte Verde Avenue, Upland, California from September 1957 until June 1959. The Millers lived just a few houses north of me.

I remember the Millers. They were the typical Leave it to Beaver, Donna Read, Ozzie and Harritt folks. Very nice.

When the fire happened, I was working at Taka Taco on Foothill Boulevard, a couple of blocks south of where we were neighbors. One of my co workers was a fireman from Alta Loma. Right after the fire, he informed me that the fire was definitely intentional, no ifs, ands or buts.

This is heresay, and no scientific evidence was presented. But why do you suppose a disinterested third party would accuse the wife? He had a wife of his own etc., and a daughter too.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(11 of 22 readers found this comment helpful)
traybabineaux, September 3, 2007 (view all comments by traybabineaux)
My parents and I lived right the other side of our backyard fence from the Millers for several years, when they lived in Ontario, CA. I remember playing with their daughter Debra and the two little boys. Dr. Miller was always nice and hospitable to me, but his wife always chased me out of their yard. If I had done anything to offend her, I really can't recall what it was. Shortly after they moved up and away, the murder occurred. I think I was a year or two older than Debra.
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(15 of 44 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780374521721
Subtitle:
Essays
Author:
Didion, Joan
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Location:
New York, NY :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Essays
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series Volume:
no. 45
Publication Date:
19901001
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
238
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Slouching towards Bethlehem: Essays Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.00 In Stock
Product details 238 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374521721 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Joan Didion's lucid, canny prose style is painstakingly situated around the art of the sentence. Slouching towards Bethlehem, her first collection of nonfiction, serves as a prime example of exactly how well she can wield one. Each of these essays, including one titled "On Self-Respect" (which, years later, I continually refer back to as a philosophical dare to regard the self no matter what incarnation), conveys Didion's remarkable perspective and her ability to detail, without sentimentality, a full sense of whatever she trains her shrewd gaze on.

"Review" by , "A slant vision that is arresting and unique...Didion might be an observer from another planet — one so edgy and alert that she ends up knowing more about our own world than we know ourselves."
"Review" by , "The story between the lines of Slouching towards Bethlehem is surely not so much 'California' as it is [Didion's] ability to make us share her passionate sense of it."
"Synopsis" by ,
Universally acclaimed when it was first published in 1968, Slouching Towards Bethlehem has become a modern classic. More than any other book of its time, this collection captures the mood of 1960s America, especially the center of its counterculture, California. These essays, keynoted by an extraordinary report on San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury, all reflect that, in one way or another, things are falling apart, "the center cannot hold." An incisive look at contemporary American life, Slouching Towards Bethlehem has been admired for several decades as a stylistic masterpiece.

Contents:

I. LIFE STYLES IN THE GOLDEN LAND

Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream

John Wayne: A Love Song

Where the Kissing Never Stops

Comrade Laski, C.P.U.S.A. (M.-L.)

7000 Romaine, Los Angeles 38

California Dreaming

Marrying Absurd

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

II. PERSONALS

On Keeping a Notebook

On Self-Respect

I Can't Get That Monster out of My Mind

On Morality

On Going Home

III. SEVEN PLACES OF THE MIND

Notes from a Native Daughter

Letter from Paradise, 21° 19' N., 157° 52' W

Rock of Ages

The Seacoast of Despair

Guaymas, Sonora

Los Angeles Notebook

Goodbye to All That

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