Listening to the Page: Adventures in Reading and Writing

Listening to the Page: Adventures in Reading and Writing

by Alan Cheuse


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231122702
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 04/28/2001
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.08(w) x 9.53(h) x 0.91(d)
Lexile: 1400L (what's this?)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

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.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Getting Started; or, Two Thousand Books
Part 1. Reading
1. Writing It Down for James: Some Thoughts on Reading Toward the Millennium
2. Books in Flames: A View of Latin American Literature
3. The Lost Books
4. Hamlet in Haiti: Style in Carpentier's The Kingdom of This World
5. Traces of Light: The Paradoxes of Narrative Painting and Pictorial Fiction
6. Truth as Fiction: Or, the Tail of the Monstrous Peacock
7. The Consolation of Art
Part 2. Rereading
8. You Can Read Wolfe Again
9. Stories of Deep Delight
10. Of Steinbeck and Salinas
11. The Return of James Agee
12. Mario Vargas Llosa and Conversation in the Cathedral: The Question of Naturalism
13. Where Is She Going? Where Has She Been?: Elizabeth Tallent's "No One's a Mystery'' and the Poetry of Female Initiation
14. A Wintry Saga
15. Bernard and Juliet: Romance and Desire in Malamud's High Art
16. Fitzgerald's Christmas Carol, or the Burden of "The Camel's Back''
17. A Note on Landscape in All the Pretty Horses
18. Rereading Traven
Part 3. Writing
19. Confessions of an Ex-Minimalist
20. On the Contemporary
21. Of the Making of Books
22. Voices: A Conversation

What People are Saying About This

Madison Smartt Bell

A privileged tour of the literary universe, guided by one of its most witty, wise, and well-traveled pilgrims.

Madison Smartt Bell, author of All Souls' Rising

John W. Aldridge

This is a lively and wide-ranging selection of Alan Cheuse's best non-fiction. I found particularly impressive his acute observations about the state of contemporary letters and the literary life.

John W. Aldridge, author of Classics & Contemporaries

Sven Birkerts

Steady, but also passionate, boundlessly receptive, but willing to tender strong judgment, Alan Cheuse is the reader any writer would want. For the same reasons, he is a writer serious readers will feel instantly connected to. Listening to the Page is a generous and wise and quietly instructive book of essays.

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