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Nonconformity

Nonconformity Cover

ISBN13: 9781888363623
ISBN10: 1888363622
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The struggle to write with deep emotion is the subject of this extraordinary book, the previously unpublished credo of one of America's greatest 20th-century writers.

"You don't write a novel out of sheer pity any more than you blow a safe out of a vague longing to be rich," writes Nelson Algren in his only longer work of nonfiction, adding: "A certain ruthlessness and a sense of alienation from society is as essential to creative writing as it is to armed robbery."

Nonconformity is about 20th-century America: "Never on the earth of man has he lived so tidily as here amidst such psychological disorder." And it is about the trouble writers ask for when they try to describe America: "Our myths are so many, our vision so dim, our self-deception so deep and our smugness so gross that scarcely any way now remains of reporting the American Century except from behind the billboards . . . [where there] are still . . . defeats in which everything is lost [and] victories that fall close enough to the heart to afford living hope."

In Nonconformity, Algren identifies the essential nature of the writer's relation to society, drawing examples from Dostoyevsky, Chekhov, Twain, and Fitzgerald, as well as utility infielder Leo Durocher and legendary barkeep Martin Dooley. He shares his deepest beliefs about the state of literature and its role in society, along the way painting a chilling portrait of the early 1950s, Joe McCarthy's heyday, when many American writers were blacklisted and ruined for saying similar things to what Algren is saying here.

Synopsis:

In this major, posthumous work, the winner of the First National Book Award presents an illuminating, highly quotable essay on the craft of writing, the art of literature, and the relationship of the writer to society. Written in the early 1950s, this eagerly-sought project was suddenly canceled when Algren was denounced as a former Communist.

About the Author

Nelson Algren (1909-1981) wrote of the despised urban underbelly of America before it was fashionable to do so, and still stands as one of our most defiant and enduring novelists. His novels include The Man with the Golden Arm, winner of the first National Book Award, A Walk on the Wild Side, and Never Come Morning.

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megcampbell3, November 2, 2007 (view all comments by megcampbell3)
"Nonconformity" is an important book for all writers and thinkers to read and reread. Possibly and perhaps because it was written in the McCarthy era 1950's, and the very publishers who sought this essay declined to publish it at that time out of fear, it speaks just as clearly today of and to the place we're at in the evolution of the Republic that is America. The title of this book is perfect, as is the thought-provoking afterward by Daniel Simon. This book-length essay would be first-rate required reading in schools if we dared, in our schools, to forge individuals.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781888363623
Other:
Algren, Nelson
Publisher:
Seven Stories Press
Author:
Algren, Nelson
Author:
Simon, Daniel
Author:
O'Brien, C.S.
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Writing Skills
Subject:
History
Subject:
Authorship
Subject:
Composition & Creative Writing
Subject:
Creative writing
Subject:
Novelists, American
Subject:
Books & Reading
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Edition Number:
1st trade pbk. ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
no. 98-89
Publication Date:
19971131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
144
Dimensions:
8.2 x 5.6 x 0.4 in 6 oz

Related Subjects

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Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
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Nonconformity
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Product details 144 pages Seven Stories Press - English 9781888363623 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In this major, posthumous work, the winner of the First National Book Award presents an illuminating, highly quotable essay on the craft of writing, the art of literature, and the relationship of the writer to society. Written in the early 1950s, this eagerly-sought project was suddenly canceled when Algren was denounced as a former Communist.
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