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The Critical Response to William Styron

The Critical Response to William Styron

by Daniel Ross


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William Styron has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity with the publication of Darkness Visible (1990), his account of his struggle with near-suicidal depression. His works are known for discussing psychological conflicts within families, religious doubt, existentialism, racial tension, and the role of history in fiction. Often compared with William Faulkner, Styron has emerged as one of the most important figures in contemporary American literature and is best known for his continuation of the Southern gothic tradition.

Through original essays, reprints of previously published criticism, and excerpts from reviews, this volume traces the critical reception of Styron's writings over the last 40 years. All of Styron's novels are covered, but the majority of the selections focus on his three most important works: Lie Down in Darkness, The Confessions of Nat Turner, and Sophie's Choice. The pieces reflect a variety of critical perspectives, and the introduction overviews significant trends and omissions in Styron criticism. A bibliography lists Styron's writings, along with critical studies of his work.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780313280009
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 12/30/1995
Series: Critical Responses in Arts and Letters , #22
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile: 1420L (what's this?)

About the Author

DANIEL W. ROSS is Associate Professor of English at Columbus College in Columbus, Georgia, where he specializes in Southern literature. His articles have appeared in such journals as Studies in English Literature, Modern Fiction Studies, Mississippi Quarterly, and Conradiana.

Table of Contents

Series Foreword by Cameron Northouse

William Styron's Published Writings: A Checklist


Lie Down in Darkness

Domestic Tragedy in Virginia by Maxwell Geisman (1951)

Memorable First Novel Demolishes a Family by Lee Grove (1951)

What to Do About Chaos by Louis D. Rubin (1951)

Discarded Watermelon Rinds: The Rainbow Aesthetic of Styron's Lie Down in Darkness by William J. Scheick (1978)

In Quest of Redemption: The Religious Background of Peyton's Monologue in Lie Down in Darkness by John Lang (1983)

"a new father, a new home": Styron, Faulkner, and Southern Revisionism by Christopher Metress (1990)

Darkness Visible and Invisible: The Landscape of Depression in Lie Down in Darkness by Jeffrey Berman (1994)

The Long March

William Styron by Richard Pearce (1971)

Styron's Farewell to Arms: Writings on the Military by Judith Ruderman (1987)

Set This House on Fire

Review, Thomas F. Curley (1960)

Review, Charles Monaghan (1960)

The Absurd Hero in American Fiction: Updike, Styron, Bellow, Salinger by David D. Galloway (1970)

Styron's Disguises: A Provisional Rebel in Christian Masquerade by Samuel Coale (1985)

The Confessions of Nat Turner

The Fire Last Time by George Steiner (1967)

Through the Midst of Jerusalem by Philip Rahv (1967)

You've Taken My Nat and Gone by Vincent Harding (1968)

The Confessions of Nat Turner: History and Imagination by Floyd C. Watkins (1977)

This Unquiet Dust: The Problem of History in Styron's The Confessions of Nat Turner by James M. Mellard (1983)

Sophie's Choice

A Novel of Evil by John Gardner (1979)

Evil and William Styron by Pearl K. Bell (1979)

Speaking and Unspeakable in Styron's Sophie's Choice by Michael Kreyling (1984)

The Thematic Unity of Sophie's Choice by John Kenny Crane (1985)

William Styron's Sophie's Choice: The Structure of Oppression by Carolyn A. Durham (1984)

The Reach of Fiction: Narrative Technique in Styron's Sophie's Choice by Richard G. Law (1991)

Darkness Visible

Surmounting the Intolerable: Reconstructing Loss in Sophie's Choice, "A Tidewater Morning," and Darkness Visible by Thornton F. Jordan (1994)

Bibliography of Criticism


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