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In the American Grain (New Directions Paperbook)by William Carlos Williams
Synopses & Reviews
Although admired by D. H. Lawrence, this modern classic went generally unnoticed during the years after its publication in 1925. Yet it is "a fundamental book, essential if one proposes to come to terms with American literature" (). William Carlos Williams was not a historian, but he was fascinated by the texture of American history. Beginning with Columbus's discovery of the Indies and moving on through Sir Walter Raleigh, Cotton Mather, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Ben Franklin, Aaron Burr, Edgar Allan Poe, and Abraham Lincoln, Williams found in the fabric of familiar episodes new shades of meaning and configurations of character. He brought a poetic imagination to the task of reconstructing a live tradition for Americans, and what results is one of the finest works of prose to have been penned by any writer of the twentieth century.
Book News Annotation:
In this reprint from 1925, Williams discusses aspects of American history from Christopher Columbus to Abraham Lincoln. He describes the Mayflower, the founding of Quebec, Cotton Mather, Eric the Red, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Edgar Allan Poe, Aaron Burr, and other icons, and uses a variety of voices and writing styles to depict America. In the introduction, novelist Rick Moody explains how the descriptions are interpretations of historical characters rather than straight history, and how the work falls somewhere between history and poetry, as exemplified in Williams' focus on Aaron Burr's lustfulness and Edgar Allan Poe's marriage to his young cousin. There is no index. Williams (1883-1963) was an author and poet. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Essays ranging in theme from Christopher Columbis to Abraham Lincoln about what it means to be an American.
A new edition of William Carlos Williams' loving and groundbreaking book about American history, with a new introduction by Rick Moody.
A new edition of William Carlos Williams’ loving and groundbreaking book about American history, with a new introduction by Rick Moody.
About the Author
William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) was born in Rutherford, New Jersey. He received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he met and befriended Ezra Pound and H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). At the same time as maintaining a popular medical practice, he became a prolific poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright. Experimenting with new techniques of meter and lineation, Williams sought to invent an entirely fresh--and singularly American--poetics, whose subject matter was centered on the everyday circumstances of life and the lives of common people. He was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2009.Rick Moody is the award-winning author of Black Veil, Demonology, The Diviners, Garden State, The Ice Storm, Purple America, and Right Livelihoods.
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