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One of the most influential and compelling books in American literature, Walden is a vivid account of the years that Henry D. Thoreau spent alone in a secluded cabin at Walden Pond. This edition--introduced by noted American writer John Updike--celebrates the perennial importance of a classic work, originally published in 1854. Much of Walden's material is derived from Thoreau's journals and contains such engaging pieces from the lively "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For" and "Brute Neighbors" to the serene "Reading" and "The Pond in the Winter." Other famous sections involve Thoreau's visits with a Canadian woodcutter and with an Irish family, a trip to Concord, and a description of his bean field. This is the complete and authoritative text of Walden--as close to Thoreau's original intention as all available evidence allows. This is the authoritative text of Walden and the ideal presentation of Thoreau's great document of social criticism and dissent.
"In the vast literature of love, "The Seducer's Diary" is an intricate curiosity--a feverishly intellectual attempt to reconstruct an erotic failure as a pedagogic success, a wound masked as a boast," observes John Updike in his foreword to Soren Kierkegaard's narrative. This work, a chapter from Kierkegaard's first major volume, "Either/Or," springs from his relationship with his fiancee, Regine Olsen. Kierkegaard fell in love with the young woman, ten years his junior, proposed to her, but then broke off their engagement a year later. This event affected Kierkegaard profoundly. Olsen became a muse for him, and a flood of volumes resulted. His attempt to set right, in writing, what he feels was a mistake in his relationship with Olsen taught him the secret of "indirect communication." "The Seducer's Diary," then, becomes Kierkegaard's attempt to portray himself as a scoundrel and thus make their break easier for her.
Matters of marriage, the ethical versus the aesthetic, dread, and, increasingly, the severities of Christianity are pondered by Kierkegaard in this intense work."
The first book in his award-winning 'Rabbit' series, John Updike's Rabbit, Run contains an afterword by the author in Penguin Modern Classics. It's 1959 and Harry 'Rabbit' Angstrom, one time high school sports superstar, is going nowhere. At twenty-six he is trapped in a second-rate existence - stuck with a fragile, alcoholic wife, a house full of overflowing ashtrays and discarded glasses, a young son and a futile job. With no way to fix things, he resolves to flee from his family and his home in Pennsylvania, beginning a thousand-mile journey that he hopes will free him from his mediocre life. Because, as he knows only too well, 'after you've been first-rate at something, no matter what, it kind of takes the kick out of being second-rate'. John Updike (1932-2009) was born in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954, and spent a year at Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of staff at The New Yorker. Updike was the author of twenty-one novels as well as numerous collections of short stories, poems and criticism, and is one of only three authors to win more than one Pulitzer Prize. His most famous works are the Harry 'Rabbit' Angstrom series, all of which are published in Penguin Modern Classics: Rabbit, Run (1960), Rabbit Redux (1971), Rabbit is Rich (1981) and Rabbit at Rest (1990). If you enjoyed Rabbit, Run, you might like Don DeLillo's Americana, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'It is sexy, in bad taste, violent and basically cynical. And good luck to it' Angus Wilson, Observer 'That special polish, that brilliance; Updike is among the best' Malcolm Bradbury 'Brilliant and poignant ... By his compassion, clarity of insight, and crystal-bright rose, [Updike] makes Rabbit's sorrow his and our own' Washington Post
From his first collection, The Same Door, released in 1959, to his last, My Father's Tears, published fifty years later, John Updike was America's reigning master of the short story, "our second Hawthorne," as Philip Roth described him. His evocations of small-town Pennsylvania life, and of his own religious, artistic, and sexual awakening, transfixed readers of The New Yorker and of the early collections Pigeon Feathers (1962) and The Music School (1966). In these and the works that followed--the formal experiments and wickedly tart tales of suburban adultery in Museums and Women (1972) and Problems (1979), the portraits of middle-aged couples in love and at war with aging parents and rebellious children in Trust Me (1987) and The Afterlife (1994), and the fugue-like stories of memory, desire, travel, and unquenched thirst for life in Licks of Love (2000) and My Father's Tears (2009)--Updike displayed the virtuosic command of character, dialogue, and sensual description that was his signature. Here, in two career-spanning volumes, are 186 unforgettable stories, from "Ace in the Hole" (1953), a sketch of a Rabbit-like ex-basketball player written when Updike was a Harvard senior, to "The Full Glass" (2008), the author's "toast to the visible world, his own impending disappearance from it be damned." Based on new archival research, each story is presented in its final definitive form and in order of composition, established here for the first time. This unprecedented collection of American masterpieces is not just the publishing event of the season, it is a national literary treasure. LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation's literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America's best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Sally is big, blonde and pampered. She's married to Richard. But she loves Jerry. Jerry loves Sally in return, but he's also still in love with his wife Ruth. Who's been sleeping with Richard ... As a hot, feverish summer of snatched weekends, secret phone calls and illicit lovemaking on the beach comes to a head, it turns out everyone knows more than they've been letting on. And that no one knows quite when to stop.
The air of Eastwick breeds witches - women whose powerful longings can stir up thunderstorms and fracture domestic peace. Jane, Alexandra and Sukie, divorced and dangerous, have formed a coven. Into the void of Eastwick breezes Darryl Van Horne, a charismatic magus of a man who entrances the trio, luring them to his mansions...
It's 1989, and Harry 'Rabbit' Angstrom is far from restful. Fifty-six and overweight, he has a struggling business on his hands and a heart that is starting to fail. His family, too, are giving him cause for concern. His son Nelson is a wreck of a man, a cocaine addict with shattered self-respect. Janice, his wife, has decided that she wants to be a working girl. And as for Pru, his daughter-in-law, she seems to be sending out signals to Rabbit that he knows he should ignore, but somehow can't. He has to make the most of life, after all. He doesn't have much time left ...
Since the series' inception in 1915, the annual volumes of The Best American Short Stories have launched literary careers, showcased the most compelling stories of each year, and confirmed for all time the significance of the short story in our national literature. Now THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES OF THE CENTURY brings together the best -- fifty-six extraordinary stories that represent a century's worth of unsurpassed achievements in this quintessentially American literary genre. This expanded edition includes a new story from The Best American Short Stories 1999 to round out the century, as well as an index including every story published in the series. Of all the writers whose work has appeared in the series, only John Updike has been represented in each of the last five decades, from his first appearance, in 1959, to his most recent, in 1998. Updike worked with coeditor Katrina Kenison to choose the finest stories from the years since 1915. The result is "extraordinary . . . A one-volume literary history of this country's immeasurable pains and near-infinite hopes" (Boston Globe).
The last priest is on the run. During an anti-clerical purge in one of the southern states of Mexico, he is hunted like a hare. Too human for heroism, too humble for martyrdom, the little world 'whisky priest' is nevertheless impelled towards his squalid Calvary as much by his own compassion for humanity as by the efforts of his pursuers. A baleful vulture of doom hovers over this modern crucifixion story, but above the vulture soars an eagle - the inevitability of the Church's triumph.
In this short novel, Joey Robinson, a thirty-five-year-old New Yorker, describes a visit he makes, with his second wife and eleven-year-old stepson, to the Pennsylvania farm where he grew up and where his aging mother now lives alone. For three days, a quartet of voices explores the air, making confessions, seeking alignments, quarreling, pleading, and pardoning. They are not entirely alone: ghosts (fathers, lovers, children) press upon them, as do phantoms from the near future (nurses, lawyers, land developers). "Of the Farm "concerns the places people choose to live their lives, and the strategies they use to stand their ground.
"IT WILL LEAVE YOU STUNNED AND BREATHLESS. . . . With grand ambition, [Updike] not only tracks the fortunes and falls of an American family through four generations and eight decades but also creates a shimmering, celluloid portrait of the whole century as viewed through the metaphor of the movies."
It's 1969, and the times are changing. America is about to land a man on the moon, the Vietnamese war is in full swing, and racial tension is on the rise. Things just aren't as simple as they used to be - at least, not for Rabbit Angstrom. His wife has left him with his teenage son, his job is under threat and his mother is dying. Suddenly, into his confused life - and home - comes Jill, an eighteen-year-old runaway who becomes his lover. But when she invites her friend to stay, a young black radical named Skeeter, the pair's fragile harmony soon begins to fail ...
In his extraordinary and highly charged new novel, John Updike tackles one of America's most burning issues - the threat of Islamist terror from within. Set in contemporary New Jersey, Terrorist traces the journey of one young man, from radicalism to fundamentalism to terrorism, against the backdrop of a fraying urban landscape and an increasingly fragmented community. In beautiful prose, Updike dramatizes the logic of the fundamentalist terrorist - but also suggests ways in which we can counter it, in our words and our actions . . .
"Rabbit, Run "is the book that""established John Updike as one of the major American novelists of his--or any other--generation. Its hero is Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, a onetime high-school basketball star who on an impulse deserts his wife and son. He is twenty-six years old, a man-child caught in a struggle between instinct and thought, self and society, sexual gratification and family duty--even, in a sense, human hard-heartedness and divine Grace. Though his flight from home traces a zigzag of evasion, he holds to the faith that he is on the right path, an invisible line toward his own salvation as straight as a ruler's edge.
Updike's seventh novel concerns a month of seven days, a month of enforced rest and recreation as experienced by the Reverend Tom Marshfield, sent west from his Midwestern church in disgrace.
Ben Turnbull is a 66 year-old retired investment consultant living north of Boston in the year 2020. A recent war between the United States and China has thinned the population and brought social chaos. Nevertheless, Ben's life, traced by his journal entries over the course of the year, retains much of its accustomed comforts. Something of a science buff, he finds his personal history cuaght up in the dysjunctions and vagaries of the 'many universes'; his identity branches into variants extending back through history and ahead in the evolution of the universe, as both it and his own mortal, nature-shrouded existence move toward the end of time ...
Written in diary form, "The Diary of Adam and Eve" is an ingenious, witty, and ultimately delightful retelling of the dawn of human creation with many a grain of truth for today's gender disputes. Master storyteller Mark Twain hilariously recreates the very first days, portraying Adam as something of a recluse, and a man who is ill prepared for the arrival of Eve, a talkative, emotional, and highly charged female. Yet in time, and after many moments of conflict, they begin to learn to live together and come to realize that men and women can, in fact, exist in harmony.
By turns heartbreaking, hilarious, and utterly human, The House of God is a mesmerizing and provocative novel about what it really takes to become a doctor. "The raunchy, troubling, and hilarious novel that turned into a cult phenomenon. Singularly compelling...brutally honest."--The New York Times Struggling with grueling hours and sudden life-and-death responsibilities, Basch and his colleagues, under the leadership of their rule-breaking senior resident known only as the Fat Man, must learn not only how to be fine doctors but, eventually, good human beings. A phenomenon ever since it was published, The House of God was the first unvarnished, unglorified, and uncensored portrait of what training to become a doctor is truly like, in all its terror, exhaustion and black comedy. With more than two million copies sold worldwide, it has been hailed as one of the most important medical novels ever written. With an introduction by John Updike
DREAM OF VENUS (OR LIVING PICTURES), a novel set in the 1939 New York World's Fair, is a speculative history reanimating the last great international fair this world would ever know. Meshing actualities with invention, DREAM OF VENUS renders a future past that is nostalgic and predictive, an account of hope and longing at the onset of World War II. Focusing on Zeke Lichtenquist - -an artist moved into the Fair's Town of Tomorrow -- VENUS takes us on a search for authenticity and meaning. Franklin Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, and the Fair's president Grover Whalen all pop in and out, players in a fabled New York of the late 1930s. Publishers Weekly compared the novel to the work of Nathaniel West, William Gaddis, and E.L. Doctorow, lauding DREAM for "challenging the distinction between fiction and fact." Book Magazine recommended DREAM OF VENUS as "a risky and ingenious experiment that makes the novel like the fairgrounds." Donald Margulies praised DREAM OF VENUS as "an impressive work of historical fiction," the author deploying "the past as a prism through which he views our present and has ironic, witty, and disturbing things to say about the particular dream life of Americans." Steve Erickson judged DREAM OF VENUS "the gateway to a secret new literature...beyond the limits of what today's constricted fiction can conceive."
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