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James Purdy: Selected Plays Paperback – June 16, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1566637985 ISBN-10: 1566637988 Edition: First Edition (US) First Printing

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ivan R. Dee; First Edition (US) First Printing edition (June 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566637988
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566637985
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,949,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

James Purdy's plays have much of the exciting existentiality that infuses his novels and seem content to take drama to interesting places it does not always want to go. (Edward Albee)

James Purdy is an authentic American genius. (Gore Vidal)

James Purdy's Selected Plays will break your damaged little heart. (John Waters)

Purdy is a writer of the highest rank in originality, insight, and power. (Dorothy Parker)

One of the greatest writers produced in America during the past hundred years. (Dame Edith Sitwell)

These four darkly shimmering plays are a very welcome addition to Purdy's shelf of novels and stories, and once more reveal him to be a pure, unique, and unforgettable voice in the literature of our time. (Bradford Morrow)

Review

"James Purdy is an authentic American genius."

James Purdy is an authentic American genius.

"James Purdy's Selected Plays will break your damaged little heart."

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gideon on August 16, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ohio-born author James Purdy died on March 13th 2009, leaving behind a legacy comprising numerous works. Among them are sixteen novels, seven books of stories and plays and five books of poetry.

Discovered in the 50s by DAME EDITH SITWELL (nemo propheta in patria), praised in his lifetime by DOROTHY PARKER, GORE VIDAL and PAUL BOWLES, Mr Purdy lived a maverick life that swiftly earned him cult status and the reputation of a literary outlaw. Never one to kowtow to the powers that be, he often described his work as "an underground river, flowing often undetected through the American landscape".

It is high time that more people found out about this river. If you need a reason to do it, you only have to read one book by Purdy and then compare it to the canon of THE GREAT AMERICAN WRITERS: you will discover that some of them are a little too tame and ordinary for comfort. A little too corny, even.

This beautiful volume by Chicago publisher IVAN R. DEE goes in the right direction, as far as reappraisal is concerned. It is the first time that these plays have resurfaced in a new edition in the United States. Written between 1989 and 2001, they are a perfect starting point for any newcomer to Purdy's work, as well as an utter delight to the aficionado. In the - alas - too brief preface by editor JOHN UECKER we learn that James Purdy - who is chiefly considered a novelist - started his adventure in literature as a playwright, a role he would return to on and off throughout his career, once even after being BEGGED to write drama by none other than TENNESSEE WILLIAMS. So this book collects no secondary work, but an essential part of our Ohio Bard's oeuvre.

These four plays should be more precisely described as TRAGEDIES.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ian F. Mcgrady on July 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
Although I am baised, as I am mentioned inside the cover as having assisted in the preparation of the manuscript, I'm still not immune to the effect of breathing an air other than the room I sit in while reading James' work. It really does take me into the distilled settings of the world he was given singular access to, and we can be grateful he witnessed and recorded the conversations of its denizens for our pleasure. It was the sacrifice of his life to record these plays and other works. They stand as a unique voice in the pantheon of American writers in general, and as a renegade among playwrights overly obsessed with writing plays. Throughout all of James' work, it seems he just writes about people and what they do because of who and where they are. Is he a playwright? Is he a novelist? Is there a novelist who writes plays with an identical etherial quality in both media? Is there a playwright who can write a novel that will suck the wind right out of your lungs and replace it with halcyon, place your feet on a world with a gravity different than your own? These questions can be left for people interested in parsing the world. James was the creator of a universe, each book and play and person guided by Jamesian principles of life unfolding of our own, but not as our own.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
JAMES PURDY WAS AN ORIGINAL. HE WAS UNIQUE, WRITING STRANGE, OFTEN UNPOPULAR WORKS APPRECIATED BY AN UNDERGROUND BASE OF ADMIRERS.
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James Purdy: Selected Plays
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