Being Elsewhere

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Eastern Washington University Press, Jan 1, 1994 - Literary Collections - 154 pages
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This is the third collection of essays by the doyen of American essayists, author of Person and Institution (1970) and The Tyrannies of Virtue (1990), whose finely wrought style and erudite, discursive "journeys" have won praise from readers of the nation's most prestigious journals—from Harper's and The Atlantic Monthly to Commonweal and The American Spectator, from The Hudson Review and The Virginia Quarterly Review to The New York Times and First Things.

Being Elsewhere derives from Professor Sisk's personal experiences, which draw us back in time to the building of the Grand Coulee Dam in the late twenties and to the life of a caddy in the era of the Great Depression. The geography stretches as far as Guyana, London, Paris, and Venice. His ideas travel from rooming to caddying, from recent Roman ruminations to popular-pulse-taking in Paris. . . .

The "elsewheres" of the author's mind are scattered broadly: war and its generals, society and its celebrities, love and fear, couture and fanaticism, hope and acceptance. . . .

His ability to blend and contrast ideas, to oppose the trendy preoccupations of the moment with classical allusion or the trendy fads of a previous fin de siècle, repeatedly delights and surprises his readers. When he is being provocative, he is seldom bitter; when he is engaging, he is never saccharine. Traveling through the life of John Sisk, we make an eclectic humanist's journey toward and understanding of our history.

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About the author (1994)

JOHN P. SISK, a native of Spokane, was educated at Gonzaga University and the University of Washington. He has been a member of the English Department Faculty at Gonzaga University since 1938, teaching Shakespeare, American Literature, and English Romanticism. He served in the U.S. Air Force in World War II and was discharged in 1946 as a captain.

He was a Senior Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1972-73 and has served as a consultant and panelist for the Aspen Institute program on Communications and Society (1974, 1975); National Endowment for the Humanities (1975-79, 1982); and the National Humanities Center (1980, 1981). He is an Associate of the National Faculty and Arnold Professor of the Humanities (Emeritus) at Gonzaga, where he also holds the position of Scholar-in-Residence.

His critical essays, short fiction, and reviews have appeared in the nation's most important periodicals since 1949, most recently in The American Scholar, First Things, The Georgia Review, The Hudson Review, America, and Salmagundi. These have been collected in two previous works, Person and Institution (Notre Dame University, Fides Press, 1970) and The Tyrannies of Virtue (University of Oklahoma Press, 1990). A Trial of Strength won the Carl Foreman Award for best short novel in an international competition sponsored by Harcourt, Brace; Highroads Productions; and Collins (England) in 1961.

He lives in Spokane with his wife Gwen, when they are not traveling.

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