William Styron: A Life

William Styron: A Life

by James L. W. West III

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A “mesmerizing” biography of the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Sophie’s Choice, The Confessions of Nat Turner, and Darkness Visible (Entertainment Weekly).

William Styron was one of the most highly regarded and controversial authors of his generation. In this illuminating biography, James L. W. West III draws upon letters, papers, and manuscripts as well as interviews with Styron’s friends and family to recount in rich detail the experiences that shaped each of his groundbreaking books. From Styron’s Southern upbringing, which deeply influenced the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Confessions of Nat Turner and National Book Award–winning Sophie’s Choice, to his feud with Norman Mailer and the clinical depression that led to his acclaimed memoir Darkness Visible, West’s remarkable biography provides invaluable insight into the life and works of a giant of American literature.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781453202869
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 08/17/2010
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 506
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

James L. W. West III, a native of Virginia, is Sparks Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University. West is a book historian, scholarly editor, and biographer.  He has written books on F. Scott Fitzgerald and on the history of professional authorship in America and has held fellowships from the J. S. Guggenheim Foundation, the National Humanities Center, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  West has had Fulbright appointments in England (at Cambridge University) and in Belgium (at the Université de Liège). He is the general editor of The Cambridge Edition of the Works of F. Scott Fitzgerald and is at work on a volume of essays.

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William Styron 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
kerns222 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Styron was one of our American writers who matured in WW2. Afterwords he duked it out (verbally) with Mailer and knew Vonnegut, Jones, Cheever, Yates, and some of the others. He did Chicago in 68 pushed for social justice (He wrote Nat and Sophie, after all).Styron seemed the sane non-alcoholic in this group of writers (or maybe James West makes it look that way?); then he goes bonkers too. This bunch sure make writing look hard. Gotta mess with your soul and betrray /reveal everyone you love or just hung out with to write a novel? Seems that way! I just wish that West could write a bit better. Someone once reviewed a piano concert by saying "he hit the right keys." West laid down the facts (But he gets better at making the narrative flow as he proceeds.)The book is worth reading just to understand some of the obsessions of postwar times (along with Bailey's bios of Cheever and Yates--and there is a new Vonnegut bio that I am waiting for.) then be glad those times when Styron lived are over.