In great authors, Weinstein finds greater help in understanding the transitions from childhood to adulthood and from maturity to old age than in any psychologist. In Dickens’ Pip, for instance, readers experience the cost of striving—half-blinded by wild ambition—toward an ill-conceived manhood, and in Brontë’s Catherine and Heathcliff, we contemplate the long-lasting harm inflicted by misdirected youthful passion. On the other hand, in James’ aging Marcher, readers witness the tragic effect of a terribly distorted belief about one’s fate. Above all, in Sophocles’ Oedipus, Weinstein discerns the archetypal representation of the human traumas inherent in the Sphinx’s life-stage riddle. As readers will quickly realize, Weinstein focuses on literary figures ensnared in maddening ambiguities, omitting from his study luminous figures such as Shakespeare’s Prince Hal and Prospero, who triumph over transitional hardship. Still, life changes so often come freighted with perplexity that readers will find much to praise in sobering reflections that free literature from the lethal grip of academic theorizing by connecting it again with real life. --Bryce Christensen
Advance praise for Morning, Noon, and Night
"This is a valuable contribution to the permanent discourse on what literature is for, and what writers are doing (consciously or not) when they achieve it. Arnold Weinstein is the acute and passionate reader every serious writer aspires to deserve."
“A profound and beautiful book.”—Oliver Sacks
“[A] beautifully, tenderly conceived work . . . With marvelous clarity gained from four decades of teaching, Weinstein addresses the trajectory of growing up to growing old. . . . Throughout this astute, elegant text, Weinstein reminds us why we read (“Art makes life visible”) and why these stories are still especially relevant. . . . Chapters treating the theme of love as a ‘basic motor force’ prove particularly incandescent, and with certain texts in particular . . . the author attains a pitch of passionate rhapsody. From familiar works to those not so well-known, Weinstein expertly extracts their timeless lessons.”—Kirkus Reviews
“If at some level novels are ‘instructions for living,’ no one does a better job of revealing and clarifying those instructions than Arnold Weinstein. I have delighted in and learned so much from his previous books and his memorable lectures, but Morning, Noon, and Night
tops them all—an exploration of what it is to have time go by, to have power start to slip from our hands, and how, if we are lucky, we discover early that only love endures.”—Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone
“Here in Arnold Weinstein’s Morning, Noon, and Night
is the wisdom of the world’s great literature, offered to us by a teacher and writer whose own wisdom—in his choice of subject matter and through his insights regarding the words, thoughts, worries, feelings, and hopes of his fellow human beings—becomes a wonderfully knowing guide. This book reveals much about ourselves, as we share in the moral, psychological, and spiritual journey taken by the novelists, playwrights, poets, and essayists presented so tellingly and vividly in its pages, which will become for many readers a valuable and lasting companion.”—Robert Coles, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Handing One Another Along
"If Morning, Noon, and Night
were just a record of a lifetime of inspired reading, it would be an astonishing achievement; few people have read as widely or as sensitively as Arnold Weinstein. But this luminescent book is much more than that. Weinstein, a justly-beloved teacher, has reminded us not just why we love literature, but why it matters. This is a book, not just about other books, but about life. It's a marvelous, inspiriting read."
--Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director of the Public Theater