The first-ever collection of essays from across Elizabeth Hardwick's illustrious writing career, including works not seen in print for decades. A New York Times Notable Book of 2017 Elizabeth Hardwick wrote during the golden age of the American literary essay. For Hardwick, the essay was an imaginative endeavor, a serious form, criticism worthy of the literature in question. In the essays collected here she covers civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s, describes places where she lived and locations she visited, and writes about the foundations of American literature--Melville, James, Wharton--and the changes in American fiction, though her reading is wide and international. She contemplates writers' lives--women writers, rebels, Americans abroad--and the literary afterlife of biographies, letters, and diaries. Selected and with an introduction by Darryl Pinckney, the Collected Essays gathers more than fifty essays for a fifty-year retrospective of Hardwick's work from 1953 to 2003. "For Hardwick," writes Pinckney, "the poetry and novels of America hold the nation's history." Here is an exhilarating chronicle of that history.
About the Author
Elizabeth Hardwick (1916-2007) was born in Lexington, Kentucky, and educated at the University of Kentucky and Columbia University. A recipient of a Gold Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she is the author of three novels, a biography of Herman Melville, and four collections of essays. She was a co-founder and advisory editor of The New York Review of Books and contributed more than one hundred reviews, articles, reflections, and letters to the magazine. Darryl Pinckney selected The New York Stories of Elizabeth Hardwick (2010). He is the author of two novels, High Cotton (1992) and Black Deutschland (2016), and of two works of nonfiction, Out There: Mavericks of Black Literature (1992) and Blackballed: The Black Vote and US Democracy (2014). He also worked for Robert Wilson on his productions of The Forest, Orlando, Time Rocker, The Old Woman, Letter to a Man, and Garrincha: A Street Opera.
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