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A Long the Riverrun: Selected Essays Paperback – March 17, 1990


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"In these 20 enjoyable lectures, articles, prefaces and reviews covering a span of 30 years, a great American literary biographer writes with insight, wisdom, humor and charm about the subjects of his major works (Wilde, Yeats and Joyce) as well as about Washington Irving, George Eliot, Henry James, Ezra Pound, and others," lauded PW.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Ellmann planned this selection of his literary and biographical essays before his death in May 1987. The modern literary gang's all here: Henry James, Wilde, Yeats, Joyce, Pound, Eliot, Stevens, Lawrence, Hemingway, and Beckett. Though many of the essays have appeared in earlier books--including Eminent Domain and Golden Codgers-- they all profit from the company they keep in this new assemblage. Ellmann's wide range, erudition, insightfulness, and stylistic grace are all on display. The book's title, taken from Finnegan's Wake, points to the valedictory nature of the book and reminds us how much Ellmann will be missed.
- Keith Cushman, Univ. of North Carolina, Greensboro
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 277 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (March 17, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679728287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679728283
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,235,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By cvairag VINE VOICE on March 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"The claim of being reasonable and honest did not impress him, for Yeats felt that 'poets were good liars who never forgot that the Muses were women who liked the embrace of gay warty lads'." (93)
"Yeats astonishes us by the bluntness with which he makes clear the defects of our world. But having made clear its limitations, he suddenly enters upon its defense. It has pain, it has struggle, it has tragedy, elements denied to the daimons. Seen from their point of view life always fails. Yet it does not fail utterly, for man can imagine their state even if he cannot participate in it. And the capacity to imagine is redemptive; man, in a frenzy at being limited, overthrows much of that limitation. He defiantly adsserts his imaged self against futility, and to imagine heroism is to become a hero." (27)
"[Beckett] saw besmirchment as the human condition. What right had he to exempt himself from it? Might not his claim to privacy be the last rag of egotism?" (231)
"By making his book the matrix for the ontogeny of the soul, Joyce achieved a unity as perfect as any of the Edwardians could achieve, and justified literally his description of the artist as like a mother brooding over her creation until it assumes independent life. The aspiration towards unity in the novel seems related to the search for unity elsewhere, in psychology for example, where the major effort is to bring the day-world and the night-world together. Edwardian writers who commented on history demonstrated the same desire to see human life in a synthesis. In 1900, Joyce announced in his paper on 'Drama and Life' that 'human society is the embodiment of changeless laws', laws which he would picture in operation in Finnegans Wake.
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