Learning a trade: a craftsman's notebooks, 1955-1997

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Duke University Press, 1998 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 603 pages
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From Reynolds Price, much acclaimed author of award-winning novels, plays, poems, stories, and essays, comes a work that is unique among contemporary writers of American literature. For more than forty years, Price has kept a working journal of his writing life. Now published for the first time,Learning a Tradeprovides a revealing window into this writerrs"s creative process and craftsmanrs"s sensibilities. Whether Price is reflecting on the rhythm of his day-to-day writing process or ruminating about the central character in what would become, for instance,Kate Vaiden-should she be a woman, what would be her name, why would the story be told in the first person?-he envelops the reader in the task at hand, in the trade being practiced. Instead of personal memoir or a collection of literary fragments,Learning a Tradepresents what Price has called the "ongoing minutes" of his effort to learn his craft. Equally enlightening as an overview of a career of developing prominence or as a perspective on the building of individual literary works, this volume not only allows the reader to hear the authorrs"s internal dialogue on the hundreds of questions that must be turned and mulled during the planning and writing of a novel but, in an unplanned way, creates its own compelling narrative. These notebooks begin in "that distant summer in dazed Eisenhower America," a month after Pricers"s graduation from Duke University, and conclude in "the raucous millennial present" with plans for his most recent novel,Roxanna Slade. Revealing the genesis and resolution of such works asTheSurface of Earth,TheSource of Light,Kate Vaiden,Clear Pictures, andBlue Calhoun,Learning a Tradeoffers a rich reward to those seeking to enter the guild of writers, as well as those intrigued by the process of the literary life or captured by the work of Reynolds Price.

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Learning a trade: a craftsman's notebooks, 1955-1997

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Price is one of our finest novelists. His lyrical and evocative prose resounds with the cadences of biblical rhythms, and his narratives are spun of the golden threads of memory and love. Price began ... Read full review


Story Possibilities Expressions and Anecdotes
Good and Bad Dreams A Generous Man
The Tongues of Angels Full Moon Clear Pictures

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About the author (1998)

Reynolds Price was born in Macon, North Carolina in 1933. Educated at Duke University and, as a Rhodes Scholar, at Merton College, Oxford University, he has taught at Duke since 1958 and is now James B. Duke Professor of English.

His first short stories, and many later ones, are published in his "Collected Stories". "A Long and Happy Life" was published in 1962 and won the William Faulkner Award for a best first novel. "Kate Vaiden" was published in 1986 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. "The Good Priest's Son" in 2005 was his fourteenth novel. Among his thirty-seven volumes are further collections of fiction, poetry, plays, essays, and translations. Price is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his work has been translated into seventeen languages.

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