Written between 1920 and 1932, all five were first published in small editions, three of them in France. These are pivotal and seminal works, books in which a great writer was charting the course he later would follow, experimenting freely, boldly searching for a new kind of prose style to express "the power of the imagination to hold human beings to life and propel them onward." The prose-poem improvisations (Kora in Hell) ...the interweaving of prose and poetry in alternating passages (Spring and All and The Descent of Winter) ...an antinovel whose subject is the impossibility of writing "The Great American Novel" in America ...automatic writing (A Novelette) ...these are the challenges which Williams accepted and brilliantly met in his early work.
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(203mm x 134mm x 28mm)
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
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US Kirkus Review »
Four early poetry/prose books of the late William Carlos Williams, republished in original and complete forms, appropriately by the publisher through whom Williams found his American readership. All early Williams is maddening, frustrating, mind-exploding - like listening to beautiful material through static at an unreal five o'clock in the morning. ". . . the thing (the reader) never knows and never dares to know is what he is at the exact moment that he is. . . . And this moment is the only thing in which I am at all interested. . . " Williams wrote in Spring and All (1923); and the moment, with Williams, is of a singular intensity, mingling experiential, fragmented cognitions with a raunchy, clear, American idiom. ("Why man, Europe is YEARNING to see something come out of America. In a soup of passion they would see a little clam. . .") In Kora in Hell (1920) Williams in his prologue has some cocky comments on contemporary poetry, including Eliot: "On (an admiring critic's) filet Eliot balances his mushroom." His anti-novel, The American Novel (1923) is indeed "delicious" upon second reading, as editor Schott suggests. Beginning with satirical irreverence, Williams made good, rummy mincemeat out of a nation of unappetizing oddments. A Novelette (1932) is again a total fusion of Iris life experience (as a doctor, husband, poet, etc.) moment by "eternal moment." With a fine introduction and commentary by Webster Schott. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - William Carlos Williams
William Carlos Williams (1883-1963), author of Paterson and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Pictures from Brueghel, is widely considered one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century. Also a short-story writer, novelist, essayist, and translator, he helped in a big way to establish modernism in America.