Library of America

  • Published in 1873, this autobiographical novel has been called the adult Little Women. It is supplemented here with all the usual Library of America features, plus a conversation with editor Susan Cheever, and a reading group guide.

  • On March 19, 2013, a distinguished group of writers and critics gathered at the Newark Museum’s Billy Johnson Auditorium in Newark, New Jersey, to celebrate the extraordinary career and lasting literary legacy of Philip Roth on the occasion of his 80th birthday. This keepsake volume gathers remarks from the evening’s speakers, a fitting tribute to the only living novelist whose work is collected in the Library of America series. Here you’ll find Jonathan Lethem, hilariously recounting his first consciousness-raising encounter with Roth’s work through the Kafkaesque novel The Breast; Hermione Lee, tracing the Shakespearian themes in Roth’s books, from Portnoy’s Complaint to The Humbling; Alain Finkielkraut, offering a deep reading of Roth’s final novel, Nemesis; Claudia Roth Pierpont, assessing Roth’s portrayal of women in such books as Sabbath’s Theater and The Human Stain; Edna O’Brien, recalling her long friendship with Roth; and the author himself, offering a quintessentially Rothian valediction.

  • The classic trilogy, in a hardcover collector's edition complete with the original illustrations. From the incidents of her own remarkable childhood, Louisa May Alcott fashioned a trilogy of novels that catapulted her to fame and fortune and that remain among the most beloved works in all of American literature. Here, in an authoritative single-volume edition, is the complete series. In Little Women, set in New England during the Civil War, Alcott introduces the unforgettable March sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. Little Men follows Jo, now married, into adulthood, as she finds herself the caretaker of a houseful of rambunctious children at Plumfield School. Jo's Boys returns to Plumfield a decade later; now grown, Jo's children recount adventures of their own.

  • Gwendolyn Brooks was one of the most accomplished and acclaimed poets of the last century, the first black author to win the Pulitzer Prize and the first black woman to serve as poetry consultant to the Library of Congress--the forerunner of the U.S. Poet Laureate. Here, in an exclusive Library of America E-Book Classic edition, is her groundbreaking first book of poems, a searing portrait of Chicago’s South Side. “I wrote about what I saw and heard in the street,” she later said. “There was my material.”

  • Experience the creative explosion that transformed American art, in the words of the artists, writers, and critics who were there: In the quarter century after the end of World War II, a new generation of painters, sculptors, and photographers transformed the face of American art and shifted the center of the art world from Paris to New York. Signaled by the triumph of abstraction and the ascendancy of painters such as Pollock, Rothko, de Kooning, and Kline, this revolution generated an exuberant and contentious body of writing without parallel in our cultural history. In the words of editor Jed Perl, "there has never been a period when the visual arts have been written about with more mongrel energy--with more unexpected mixtures of reportage, rhapsody, analysis, advocacy, editorializing, and philosophy." Perl has gathered the best of this writing together for the first time, interwoven with fascinating headnotes that establish the historical background, the outsized personalities of the artists and critics, and the nature of the aesthetic battles that defined the era. Here are statements by the most significant artists, and major critical essays by Clement Greenberg, Susan Sontag, Hilton Kramer, and other influential figures. Here too is an electrifying array of responses by poets and novelists, reflecting the free interplay between different art forms: John Ashbery on Andy Warhol, James Agee on Helen Levitt, James Baldwin on Beauford Delaney, Truman Capote on Richard Avedon, Tennessee Williams on Hans Hofmann, Jack Kerouac on Robert Frank. The atmosphere of the time comes to vivid life in memoirs, diaries, and journalism by Peggy Guggenheim, Dwight Macdonald, Calvin Tomkins, and others. Lavishly illustrated with scores of black-and-white images and a 32-page color insert, this is a book that every art lover will treasure.

  • “The history of Shakespeare in America,” writes James Shapiro in his introduction to this groundbreaking anthology, “is also the history of America itself.” Shakespeare was a central, inescapable part of America’s literary inheritance, and a prism through which crucial American issues--revolution, slavery, war, social justice--were refracted and understood. In tracing the many surprising forms this influence took, Shapiro draws on many genres--poetry, fiction, essays, plays, memoirs, songs, speeches, letters, movie reviews, comedy routines--and on a remarkable range of American writers from Emerson, Melville, Lincoln, and Mark Twain to James Agee, John Berryman, Pauline Kael, and Cynthia Ozick. Americans of the revolutionary era ponder the question “to sign or not to sign;” Othello becomes the focal point of debates on race; the Astor Place riots, set off by a production of Macbeth, attest to the violent energies aroused by theatrical controversies; Jane Addams finds in King Lear a metaphor for American struggles between capital and labor. Orson Welles revolutionizes approaches to Shakespeare with his legendary productions of Macbeth and Julius Caesar; American actors from Charlotte Cushman and Ira Aldridge to John Barrymore, Paul Robeson, and Marlon Brando reimagine Shakespeare for each new era. The rich and tangled story of how Americans made Shakespeare their own is a literary and historical revelation. As a special feature, the book includes a foreword by Bill Clinton, among the latest in a long line of American presidents, including John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Abraham Lincoln, who, as the collection demonstrates, have turned to Shakespeare’s plays for inspiration.

  • An All-Pro line-up of writers including Red Smith, Frank Deford, Jimmy Breslin, George Plimpton, Richard Price, Charles Pierce, Michael Lewis, and Roy Blount Jr tackle our most popular pastime: Since football's meteoric rise in the mid-twentieth century, the standout writers on the sport have gone behind and beyond the spectacle to reveal the complexity, the contradictions, and the deeper humanity at the heart of the game. Now, in a landmark collection, The Library of America brings together the very best of their work: gems of deadline reportage, incisive longform profiles of football's storied figures, and autobiographical accounts by players and others close to the game. Celebrating the sport without shying away from its sometimes devastating personal and social costs, the forty-four pieces gathered here testify to football's boundless capacity to generate outsized characters and memorable tales.

  • In a lifetime of exploration, writing, and passionate political activism, John Muir became America's most eloquent spokesman for the mystery and majesty of the wilderness. A crucial figure in the creation of our national parks system and a far-seeing prophet of environmental awareness who founded the Sierra Club in 1892, he was also a master of natural description who evoked with unique power and intimacy the untrammeled landscapes of the American West. The Library of America's Nature Writings collects his most significant and best-loved works in a single volume, including: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth (1913), My First Summer in the Sierra (1911), The Mountains of California (1894) and Stickeen (1909). Rounding out the volume is a rich selection of essays--including "Yosemite Glaciers," "God's First Temples," "Snow-Storm on Mount Shasta," "The American Forests," and the late appeal "Save the Redwoods"--highlighting various aspects of his career: his exploration of the Grand Canyon and of what became Yosemite and Yellowstone national parks, his successful crusades to preserve the wilderness, his early walking tour to Florida, and the Alaska journey of 1879.

  • This Library of America book, with its companion volume, is the most comprehensive collection ever published of Mark Twain's short writings -- the incomparable stories, sketches, burlesques, hoaxes, tall tales, speeches, satires, and maxims of America's greatest humorist. Arranged chronologically and containing many pieces restored to the form in which Twain intended them to appear, the volumes show with unprecedented clarity the literary evolution of Mark Twain over six decades of his career. The nearly two hundred separate items in this volume cover the years from 1852 to 1890. As a riverboat pilot, Confederate irregular, silver miner, frontier journalist, and publisher, Twain witnessed the tragicomic beginning of the Civil War in Missouri, the frenzied opening of the West, and the feverish corruption, avarice, and ambition of the Reconstruction era. He wrote about political bosses, jumping frogs, robber barons, cats, women's suffrage, temperance, petrified men, the bicycle, the Franco-Prussian War, the telephone, the income tax, the insanity defense, injudicious swearing, and the advisability of political candidates preemptively telling the worst about themselves before others get around to it. Among the stories included here are "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog," which won him instant fame when published in 1865, "Cannibalism in the Cars," "The Invalid's Story," and the charming "A Cat's Tale," written for his daughters' private amusement. This volume also presents several of his famous and successful speeches and toasts, such as "Woman -- God Bless Her," "The Babies," and "Advice to Youth." Such writings brought Twain immense success on the public lecture and banquet circuit, as did his controversial "Whittier Birthday Speech," which portrayed Boston's most revered men of letters as a band of desperadoes.

  • Incomparable in their dramatic clarity and emotional force, the nine gems in this 1944 collection, now available in an exclusive Library of America e-book edition, affirm Katherine Anne Porters genius for writing stories, as Eudora Welty observed, with a power that stamps them to their very last detail on the memory.

  • Published in 1939, this landmark collection of three short novels, now available in an exclusive Library of America e-book edition, elevated Katherine Anne Porter, in the words of one contemporary reviewer, into the illustrious company headed by Hawthorne, Flaubert, and Henry James.

  • The Library of America presents an exclusive e-book edition of the astonishing 1930 collection that introduced a major new voice in American literature. If Katherine Anne Porter had written nothing but these short narratives," observed the New York Times, "she would be among the most distinguished masters of her craft in this country.

  • "If you wanted a poem," wrote Gwendolyn Brooks, "you only had to look out of a window. There was material always, walking or running, fighting or screaming or singing." From the life of Chicago's South Side she made a forceful and passionate poetry that fused Modernist aesthetics with African-American cultural tradition, a poetry that registered the life of the streets and the upheavals of the 20th century. Starting with A Street in Bronzeville (1945), her epoch-making debut volume, The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks traces the full arc of her career in all its ambitious scope and unexpected stylistic shifts. "Her formal range," writes editor Elizabeth Alexander, "is most impressive, as she experiments with sonnets, ballads, spirituals, blues, full and off-rhymes. She is nothing short of a technical virtuoso." That technical virtuosity was matched by a restless curiosity about the life around her in all its explosive variety. By turns compassionate, angry, satiric, and psychologically penetrating, Gwendolyn Brooks's poetry retains its power to move and surprise.

  • Pioneering feminist novels and rare stories from the author of Little Women: After the success of her beloved masterpiece Little Women, Louisa May Alcott brought her genius for characterization and eye for detail to a series of revolutionary novels and stories that are remarkable in their forthright assertion of women's rights. This second volume of The Library of America's Alcott edition gathers these works for the first time, revealing a fascinating and inspiring dimension of a classic American writer. The first of a trio of novels written over a fruitful three-year period, Work: A Story of Experience (1873) has been called the adult Little Women. It follows the semi-autobiographical story of an orphan named Christie Devon, who, having turned twenty-one, announces "a new Declaration of Independence" and leaves her uncle's house in order to pursue economic self-sufficiency and to find fulfillment in her profession. Against the backdrop of the Civil War years, Christie works as a servant, actress, governess, companion, seamstress, and army nurse--all jobs that Alcott knew from personal experience--exposing the often insidious ways in which the employments conventionally available to women constrain their selfdetermination. Alcott's most overtly feminist novel, Work breaks new ground in the literary representation of women, as its heroine pushes at the boundaries of nineteenth-century expectations and assumptions. Eight Cousins (1875) concerns the education of Rose Campbell, another orphan who, in her delicate nature and frail health, seems to embody many of the stereotypes of girlhood that shaped Alcott's world. But with the benefit of an unorthodox, progressive education (one informed by the theories of Alcott's transcendentalist father Bronson Alcott) and the good and bad examples of her many crisply drawn relations-- especially her seven boy cousins--Rose regains her health and envisions a career both as a wife and mother and as a philanthropist. Further advancing Alcott's passionate advocacy of women's rights, Rose insists that she will manage her own fortune rather than find a husband to do it for her. This Library of America edition includes several noteworthy features. All three novels are presented with beautifully restored line art from the original editions and are supplemented by seven hard-to-find stories and public letters (two restored to print for the first time in more than a century), an authoritative chronology of Alcott's life, and notes identifying her allusions, quotations, and the autobiographical episodes in her fiction.

  • Samuel Menashe (1925-2011) was the first recipient of The Poetry Foundation's Neglected Masters Prize in 2004 and this volume was published in conjunction with that award. Born in New York City, Menashe practiced his art of "compression and crystallization" (in Derek Mahon's phrase) in poems that are brief in form but startlingly wide-ranging and profound in their engagement with ultimate questions. Dana Gioia has written: "Menashe is essentially a religious poet, though one without an orthodox creed. Nearly every poem he has ever published radiates a heightened religious awareness." Intensely musical and rigorously constructed, Menashe's poetry stands apart in its solitary meditative power. But it is equally a poetry of the everyday, suffused, in the words of Christopher Ricks, with "the courage of comedy, flanked by the respect of innocence." The humblest of objects, the minutest of natural forms here become powerfully suggestive, and even the shortest of the poems are spacious in the perspectives they open.

  • The most comprehensive one-volume selection of Jefferson ever published. Contains the "Autobiography," "Notes on the State of Virginia," public and private papers, including the original and revised drafts of the Declaration of Independence, addresses, and 287 letters.

  • Revisit the Golden Age of classical music in America through the witty and adventurous reviews of our greatest critic-composer: For fourteen memorable years Virgil Thomson surveyed the worlds of opera and classical music as the chief music critic for the New York Herald Tribune. An accomplished composer who knew music from the inside, Thomson communicated its pleasures and complexities to a wide readership in a hugely entertaining, authoritative style, and his daily reviews and Sunday articles set a high-water mark in American cultural journalism. Thomson collected his newspaper columns in four volumes: The Musical Scene, The Art of Judging Music, Music Right and Left, and Music Reviewed. All are gathered here, together with a generous selection of Thomson's uncollected writings. The result is a singular chronicle of a magical time when an unrivaled roster of great conductors (Koussevitzky, Toscanini, Beecham, Stokowski) and legendary performers (Horowitz, Rubinstein, Heifetz, Stern) presented new masters (Copland, Stravinsky, Britten, Bernstein) and re-introduced the classics to a rapt American audience.

  • This first volume of The Library of America's three-volume edition of the complete prose works of Herman Melville includes three romances of the South Seas. Typee and Omoo, based on the young Melville's experiences on a whaling ship, are exuberant accounts of the idyllic life among the "cannibals" in Polynesia. They remained his most popular works well into the 20th century. Mardi("the world" in Polynesian) is a mixture of love story, adventure, and political allegory, set on a mythical Pacific island, that looks forward to the complexities of Moby-Dick. Together, these three romances give early evidence of the genius and daring that make Melville the master novelist of the sea and a precursor of modernist literature. Two companion volumes--Herman Melville: Redburn, White-Jacket, Moby-Dick and Herman Melville: Pierre, Israel Potter, The Piazza Tales, The Confidence Man, Uncollected Prose, and Billy Budd complete this edition of Melville's prose.

  • Praised by poets and critics ranging from A. E. Housman and Thomas Hardy to Edmund Wilson, Edna St. Vincent Millay's bold, exquisite poems take their place among the enduring verse of the twentieth century. Claiming a lyric tradition stretching back to Sappho and Catullus and making it very much her own, Millay won over her contemporaries--and readers ever since--with her passion, erotic candor, formal elegance, and often mischievous wit. J. D. McClatchy's introduction and selections offer new and surprising insights into Millay's achievement. Included are her most beloved and justly admired poems, such as the wry bohemian anthem "Recuerdo" and the sonnet sequence Fatal Interview, the poetic record of a love affair that is presented in its entirety. McClatchy has also chosen works that extend our sense of Millay's range: translations, her play Aria da Capo, and excerpts from her libretto The King's Henchman. "I have for the most part been guided by my taste for Millay at her tautest and truest," writes McClatchy. "There are precise and resonant images everywhere."

  • Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) is recognized today as a great theologian and philosopher. The historian Perry Miller has called him "one of America's five or six major artists," a writer possessed of "an intelligence which, as much as Emerson's, Melville's, or Mark Twain's, is both an index of American society and a comment upon it." But in his own day Edwards was best known as a leader of what is now known as the Great Awakening: a series of small-town revivals that mushroomed into a movement credited with giving birth to American evangelicalism and laying the groundwork for the American Revolution. In authoritative texts drawn from first editions and manuscript sources, this volume brings together all of Edwards's essential writings from and about the revivals, including the famous sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" and his vivid Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God in the Conversion of Many Hundreds of Souls, the work that first publicized the awakenings. Characterized by precise logic and powerful imagery, his writing continues to inspire students and spiritual seekers alike.

  • At the height of the Jazz Age, Ring Lardner was America's most beloved humorist, equally admired by a popular audience and by literary friends like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Edmund Wilson. A sports writer who became a sensation with his comic baseball bestseller, You Know Me Al, Lardner had a rare gift for inspired nonsense and an ear attuned to the rhythms and hilarious oddities of American speech. He was also a sharp and dispassionate observer of the American scene. His best stories--among them such masterpieces as "Haircut," "The Golden Honeymoon," "A Caddy's Diary," and "The Love Nest"--cast a devastating eye on the hypocrisies, prejudices, and petty scheming of everyday life. In this Library of America edition, editor Ian Frazier surveys the whole sweep of Lardner's talents, offering contemporary readers his finest stories, the full texts of You Know Me Al, The Big Town, and the long out-of-print The Real Dope, and a generous sampling of his humor pieces, sports reporting, song lyrics, and surrealist playlets.

  • In this Library of America volume, the best-selling novelist Peter Straub brings together the very best of H. P. Lovecraft's fiction in a treasury guaranteed to bring fright and delight both to longtime fans and to readers new to his work. Early stories such as "The Outsider," "The Music of Erich Zann," "Herbert West–Reanimator," and "The Lurking Fear" demonstrate Lovecraft's uncanny ability to blur the distinction between reality and nightmare, sanity and madness, the human and non-human. "The Horror at Red Hook" and "He" reveal the fascination and revulsion Lovecraft felt for New York City; "Pickman's Model" uncovers the frightening secret behind an artist's work; "The Rats in the Walls" is a terrifying descent into atavistic horror; and "The Colour Out of Space" explores the eerie impact of a meteorite on a remote Massachusetts valley. In such later works as "The Call of Cthulhu," "The Whisperer in Darkness," "At the Mountains of Madness," "The Shadow Over Innsmouth," and "The Shadow Out of Time," Lovecraft developed his own nightmarish mythology in which encounters with ancient, pitiless extraterrestrial intelligences wreak havoc on hapless humans who only gradually begin to glimpse "terrifying vistas of reality, and our frightful position therein." Moving from old New England towns haunted by occult pasts to Antarctic wastes that disclose appalling secrets, Lovecraft's tales continue to exert a dread fascination.

  • Walter Wellesley Red Smith was the most widely read sportswriter of the last century and the first to win the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. From the 1940s to the 1980s, his nationally syndicated columns for the New York Herald Tribune and later for The New York Times traversed the world of sports with literary panache and wry humor. Ive always had the notion, Smith once said, that people go to spectator sports to have fun and then they grab the paper to read about it and have fun again. Now, writer and editor (and inventor of Rotisserie League Baseball) Daniel Okrent presents the best of Smiths inimitable columns--miniature masterpieces that remain the gold standard in sportswriting.
    Here are Smiths indelible profiles of sports luminaries, which show his gift for distilling a careers essence in a single column. Unforgettable accounts of historic occasions--Bobby Thompsons Shot Heard Round the World, Don Larsens perfect game in the 1956 World Series, the first Ali-Frazier fight--are joined by more offbeat stories that display Smiths unmistakable wit, intelligence, and breadth of feeling. Here, too, are more personal glimpses into Smiths life and work, revealed in stories about his lifelong passion for fishing and in My Press-Box Memoirs, a 1975 reminiscence for Esquire collected here for the first time.
    A Special Publication of The Library of America.

  • In celebration of the centenary of May Swensons birth, The Library of America presents a one-volume edition of all of the poems that Swenson published in her lifetime--from her first collection Another Animal (1954) to the innovative shaped poems of Iconographs (1970) to her final work In Other Words (1987)--as well as a selection of previously uncollected work. The collection reveals the sweeping compass of Swensons curiosity: nature poems display her keen observation of wildlife; exuberant and erotic love poems celebrate beauty and passion; place poems record her travels to the American Southwest, France, and Italy and her residence in New York City and Sea Cliff, Long Island; verse analyses investigate baseball, wave motion, the DNA molecule, bronco busting, James Bond movies, and the first walk on the moon. Swenson was an inveterate reviser: poems in earlier volumes were frequently reworked for inclusion in later volumes, such as To Mix with Time (1963) and New and Selected Things Taking Place (1978). While preserving the order of publication, this volume presents the authors final or definitive version. Substantive textual variants and title changes are detailed in the notes to the volume.

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