The first critical study of William Styron since his death in 2006, Rereading William Styron offers an eloquent reflection on the writer’s works, world, and character. Bringing an innovative approach to literary criticism, Gavin Cologne-Brookes combines personal anecdote, scholarly research, travel writing, and primary material to provide fresh perspectives on Styron’s achievements.
For Cologne-Brookes, rereading unfolds in two ways: through close analysis of texts, and through remembrance. He begins with reminiscences about the man behind the books and then, giving due consideration to Styron’s stories, incidental writings, and posthumous publications, interprets anew all his significant work—from the nonfiction, including his acclaimed memoir of depression, Darkness Visible, to the novels Lie Down in Darkness, Set This House on Fire, The Confessions of Nat Turner, and Sophie’s Choice. Defining the relevance of Styron’s writing in terms of everyday life, Cologne-Brookes explores the intricate relationships between an author, his work, and his readership, and between history and fiction, and writing and place. The book’s emphasis on subjectivity and dynamic interaction make it unique in Styron criticism and a striking intervention in the debate about what it means to study literature.
Gavin Cologne-Brookes, author of The Novels of William Styron: From Harmony to History and Dark Eyes on America: The Novels of Joyce Carol Oates, is a professor of American literature and director of the Contemporary Writing Research Centre at Bath Spa University. He lives with his wife and daughters in Wiltshire, England.
Praise for Rereading William Styron
“A fascinating exploration of the bond between the writer and the critic, and of the difficulties and delights of getting ‘caught up in the tangle of reality and fiction.’”--Times Literary Supplement
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