Listening to the Page: Adventures in Reading and Writing

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Columbia University Press, Aug 14, 2012 - Literary Criticism - 256 pages
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When he sold his first short story to The New Yorker in 1979, Alan Cheuse was hardly new to the literary world. He had studied at Rutgers under John Ciardi, worked at the Breadloaf Writing Workshops with Robert Frost and Ralph Ellison, written hundreds of reviews for Kirkus Reviews, and taught alongside John Gardner and Bernard Malamud at Bennington College for nearly a decade. Soon after the New Yorker story appeared, Cheuse wrote a freelance magazine piece about a new, publicly funded broadcast network called National Public Radio, and a relationship of reviewer and radio was born.

In Listening to the Page, Alan Cheuse takes a look back at some of the thousands of books he has read, reviewed, and loved, offering retrospective pieces on modern American literary figures such as Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, Bernard Malamud, and John Steinbeck, as well as contemporary writers like Elizabeth Tallent and Vassily Aksyonov. Other essays explore landscape in All the Pretty Horses, the career of James Agee, Mario Vargas Llosa and naturalism, and the life and work of Robert Penn Warren.
 

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Listening to the page: adventures in reading and writing

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The learned, lively, and handsomely crafted essays in this collection revive some neglected authors as varied as the dazzling Cuban novelist Alejo Carpentier, the magisterial Tom Wolfe (the elder ... Read full review

Contents

Rereading
117
You Can Read Wolfe Again
119
Stories of Deep Delight
134
Of Steinbeck and Salinas
150
The Return ofJames Agee
159
The Question of Naturalism
176
Elizabeth Tallents No Ones a Mystery and the Poetry of Female Initiation
184
A Wintry Saga
192
Fitzgeralds Christmas Carol or the Burden of The Camels Back
207
A Note on Landscape in All the Pretty Horses
215
Rereading Traven
220
Writing
225
Confessions of an ExMinimalist
227
On the Contemporary
243
Of the Making of Books
254
A Conversation
272

Romance and Desire in Malamuds High Art
198

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About the author (2012)

Alan Cheuse is a fiction writer, a long-time critic, and the book commentator on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. He is the author of eight books including The Grandmothers'Club, The Light Possessed, The Tennessee Waltz and Other Stories, and the memoir Fall Out of Heaven. He has written for many national publications and has taught at the University of Virginia and the University of Michigan, among other places. He currently serves as a member of the writing program at George Mason University.


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