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Item Title:

The Lost Suitcase: Reflections on the Literary Life


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Item Condition: New
Current Time:25 Jul 17 15:54:30
Time & Date displayed is forUnited States - EDT
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Price : £15.60 ($20.23)

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Item Specifics - Books ISBN : 0231115431
Author :
15.60 2641769 Title: The Lost Suitcase: Reflections on the Literary Life Recommended Retail Price : 14.50 Our Price : 7.46 You Save : 7.04 (49% discount) ISBN : 0231115431 Author : Nicholas Delbanco Publisher : Col
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Title: The Lost Suitcase: Reflections on the Literary Life

ISBN : 0231115431
Author : Nicholas Delbanco
Publisher : Columbia University Press
Media : Paperback
SKU MIX6-U6-109B-MOV6-0926


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Amazon.com&newline;&newline;Nicholas Delbanco is the best kind of teacher you can find. He educates, he elucidates without ever saying he is doing so. His readers will learn more about the writing life and the creative process in this book than from any instruction manual, and they will do that without ever feeling they are being taught. The centerpiece of this captivating collection is a novella--&doublequote;The Lost Suitcase&doublequote;--that finds its roots in an episode from the life of Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway's wife travels by train from Paris to Switzerland to see him, bringing along a suitcase filled with his manuscripts; the suitcase is stolen. Period. From there, Delbanco allows his novelist's mind to wander and wonder. How was their relationship at the time? What was their reunion like? Was the suitcase really stolen? Was Hemingway's wife happy to come see him? Delbanco's novella creates and recreates the scenario. Delbanco explores his theme as Bach would a melody, looking at it forward and backward, inside and out, turning it around in his fingers to make sure no angle goes unexamined. His theme and variations are a stunning illustration of the creative process at work.&newline;&newline;Elsewhere in this book, Delbanco works from another tidbit of literary history, a comment the Duke of Gloucester made to Edward Gibbon in 1781. &doublequote;Another damned, thick, square book!&doublequote; Gloucester said to Gibbon. &doublequote;Always scribble, scribble, scribble! Eh, Mr. Gibbon?&doublequote; From this comes a tantalizing riff on why we write, who reads, how writers are viewed by society, and the nature of a writer's legacy. (About the legacy, he notes, even Gibbon, the author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, &doublequote;is largely now remembered as the butt of another man's joke.&doublequote;)&newline;&newline;Throughout these essays, which also touch on travel, teaching, parenting daughters, and the changed role of writers in society, Delbanco returns again and again to the relationship between fiction and biography and how the two forms draw so differently from the same source. While &doublequote;fiction is a web of lies that attempts to entangle a truth,&doublequote; he says, &doublequote;autobiography may well be the reverse: data tricked out and rearranged to invent a fictive self.&doublequote; And while a biographer must piece together the context in which a snippet of life occurs, &doublequote;the very sort of information a biographer requires,&doublequote; says Delbanco, &doublequote;may at a given moment come to impede the novelist.&doublequote; Finally, though, whether one is writing fact or fiction, one can't proceed unless the imagination is engaged. And &doublequote;it is seldom possible to gauge beforehand what will prove a fruitful topic or which anecdote will fire the imagination,&doublequote; muses Delbanco. &doublequote;Some matters move us, some do not. The writer gleans wind-scraps; he listens whenever he can.&doublequote; --Jane Steinberg&newline;--This text refers to the &newline;&newline;Hardcover&newline;edition. &newline;&newline;From Publishers Weekly&newline;&newline;Nonfiction musings cluster around an experiment in fiction in this genre-defying collection by writer (Old Scores, etc.) and University of Michigan professor Delbanco. Moderately engaging, if plagued by a whiff of the daily diary, the volume offers numerous aper?us about the life of letters. &doublequote;These are the stories that never quite attain fictive fruition, the speeches that don't reach the podium or print..., the fine phrases and false starts and tangents and scenes from the cutting-room floor,&doublequote; Delbanco writes, describing a notebook he keeps (one senses that he refers inadvertently to the collection itself). Though the writer gracefully expands upon the subjects of his reflections--literary mentors, university life, the passage of time, the form of the novel, fatherhood--and amuses with wordplay, the essayistic diary is a form toward which readers are infinitely more indulgent when the writings are discovered posthumously and the burden of intent and self-satisfaction is lifted. Inverted syntax (&doublequote;So now that I am older than was Yeats himself when he prayed for his girl&doublequote;) and antiquated diction (his childhood home was &doublequote;hard by&doublequote; Hampstead Heath) heighten the book's mustiness. The most ambitious element in the collection, the one that gives it its

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