Author, Author

Author, Author

A Novel

Book - 2004
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Framed by a dramatic and moving account of Henry James’s last illness, Author, Authorbegins in the early 1880s, describing James’s friendship with the genial Punchartist, George Du Maurier, and his intimate but problematic relationship with fellow American novelist Constance Fenimore Woolson. At the end of the decade Henry, worried by the failure of his books to sell, resolves to achieve fame and fortune as a playwright while Du Maurier diversifies into writing novels. The consequences that ensue mingle comedy, irony, pathos, and suspense. As Du Maurier’s novel Trilbybecomes the bestseller of the century, Henry anxiously awaits the opening night of his make-or-break play, Guy Domville. This event, on January 5, 1895, and its complex sequel form the climax to Lodge’s absorbing novel.Thronged with vividly drawn characters, some of them with famous names, Author, Authorpresents a fascinating panorama of literary and theatrical life in late Victorian England. But at its heart is a portrait, rendered with remarkable empathy, of a writer who never achieved popular success in his lifetime or resolved his sexual identity, yet wrote some of the greatest novels about love in the English language.
Publisher: New York, NY : Viking : 2004
ISBN: 9780670033492
Branch Call Number: FIC Lodg
Characteristics: 389p


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Sep 28, 2014

"We work in the dark-we do what we can-we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art."-Henry James, "The Middle Years"
Henry James was perhaps the first American author to totally devote himself to the art of fiction and believed that it was just as important, if not more so, than making money or having a job. His books remain intimidating for the novice reader: dense, wordy, plunged into the psychology of his characters. You could make the argument that his books are proto-stream of consciousness (a term his brother William coined) and that he stands as the first truly modern novelist. This witty, smart, and moving book by writer and critic David Lodge is a novel about James, focusing on his time in London and his unsuccessful attempts to become a playwright, the nadir of which was being booed on stage after the premier of "Guy Domville." It is both a rich and subtle portrait of James and of the Later Victorian era, full of fellow authors like Shaw, Wells (whom Lodge also wrote a novel about), Wilde, Sargent, and James's good friend, the artist and writer George Du Maurier. Indeed, their friendship is the heart of the novel. One of the best fiction books written about an author.

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