A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates by Blake Bailey

By Blake Bailey

The first biography of acclaimed American novelist and tale author Richard Yates

Celebrated in his best, forgotten in his ultimate years, in simple terms to be championed anew via our best modern authors, Richard Yates has regularly uncovered readers to the unsettling hypocrisies of our sleek age. vintage novels such as progressive Road and The Easter Parade are incomparable chronicles of the quiet and not-so-quiet desperation of the yankee middle-class. Lonely housewives, addled businessmen, determined career-girls and apprehensive boys and infantrymen, Yates's the USA was once a landscape of excessive dwelling, self-doubt and self-deception. And within the culture of different nice life like writers of his time (Fitzgerald and Hemingway, Cheever and Updike), Yates's fictional global reflected his personal. A manic-depressive alcoholic and unapologetic gentleman, his existence was once a hornets' nest of early life ghosts, the horrors of battle, cash woes, and ebullient cocktailed evenings in ny, Hollywood, and the Riviera.

A Tragic Honesty is a masterful evocation of a guy who in lots of methods embodied the struggles of the nice American author within the latter half the 20th century. reputation and present by means of heartbreak and obscurity, Richard Yates the following stands for what the author needs to sacrifice for his craft, the devil's cut price of artistry for happiness, compliment for sanity.

Awards
National e-book Critics Circle Award Nominee for Biography (2003)

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Extra resources for A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates

Sample text

She preferred to see herself as an inventor or, most of all, a genius. Her experience of ‘automatic writing’ primarily instilled in her the new and radical perspective of seeing writing as an artefact, a product rather than a process, and gave her an idea of the words on the page as objects in themselves which need not necessarily be related to one another, a Saussurean realization of the randomness of the linguistic sign (although, of course, independently arrived at), a slippage of meaning in words as signifiers which could bring them into new relations with one another.

By autumn she was back in Baltimore. Leo stayed on in Florence, where he planned to live. Gertrude, his little sister, had been his avid companion through childhood, adolescence and adulthood. He had once led Gertrude to Harvard; he would now lead her, through various stops and starts before a permanent rooting took place, to Europe and to their mutual discovery of modern art. When one of her professors offered her the chance of a retake, this is how she claimed to have snubbed it: You have no idea how grateful I am to you.

In 1902, at the tail end of Gertrude’s ill-fated romance, the Steins were once more in Europe, moving from Italy to England, and getting further depressed by the weather and the ‘drunken women and children’ in London. A highlight of their six-month stay in Bloomsbury was a meeting with Israel Zangwill. 61 She spent most of her time at the library of the British Museum, reading copiously. 62 As she did 48 so she copied down the names of these books, and her favourite passages, into notebooks kept over the next few years; hundreds of titles appear in them, including diaries, biographies and autobiographies.

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