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The Devil and Daniel Webster (Penguin Classics) Paperback – November 1, 1999

4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stephen Vincent Benet (1898-1943), poet, novelist, and short-story writer, was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. His Pulitzer Prize-winning poem John Brown's Body is still considered the quintessential American war poem. He was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1943.

Townsend Ludington is the Boshamer Distinguished Professor of English and American Literature at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is the editor of the Penguin Classics edition of Dos Passos' Three Soldiers.
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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (December 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140437401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140437409
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,188,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joan Campion on July 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
Following Stephen Vincent Benet's untimely death in 1943, his literary reputation plummeted. He, who had been one of America's most admired and popular writers, seemed to vanish from literary memory. Now, though, we have Townsend Ludington's brilliant and insightful anthology of Benet's works, reminding us of the range and power and beauty we have been missing. Benet is indeed a national treasure, and it will be to our shame if we ever let his contributions be lost again. Three or four of his works have entered the public consciousness--unfortunately, to the point at which people tend to think of them as mythic or folkloric, without a known author. Among these is the anthology's title story, "The Devil and Daniel Webster," some excerpts from the distinguished Civil War narrative poem "John Brown's Body," and the story "By The Waters of Babylon," which has been dubbed the original of the post-apocalyptic horror genre of science fiction. All the Benet you are likely to know is in this anthology, plus things you didn't know about before that are likely to delight you. You will meet Benet the yarn-spinner in new guises-- a story like "The Minister's Books" is a chilling read for a Halloween evening, scarier by far than the more famous "The Devil and Daniel Webster," at least to this reviewer's taste. "Jacob and the Indians" is not only a colorful tale based on history, but a lyrical vision of America as Benet saw it--not perfect, but a land with at least the potential to be a Promised Land for everyone. This book shows us Benet the humorist, Benet the lover, Benet the insightful social commentator, Benet the poet of issues both intimate and cosmic.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
A young nation, built on reason and skepticism, America doesn't have a whole lot of myths and legends. With the possible exception of Parson Weem's tales of
young George Washington, the stories of Washington Irving, and a few tall tales like Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, and John Henry, the best might be found in Stephen
Vincent Benet's Faust-influenced but distinctly American short story and screenplay, The Devil and Daniel Webster, which has also been adapted for the stage and
turned into an opera.
Jabez Stone of Cross Corners, New Hampshire is a man of little luck, until, with his wife and children ill and a whitlow on his own thumb, he barks :
I vow it's enough to make a man want to sell his soul to the devill And I would, too, for two cents!
With that, a stranger appears and Jabez makes a deal, signing it in blood, which changes his luck drastically.
Over the next ten years, Stone prospers, becoming wealthy and an important man in politics. But with his mortgage to the stranger coming due, Jabez Stone regrets
the deal he's made and pays a visit to his neighbor, Daniel Webster, of Mansfield, NH--the nation's greatest lawyer and New England's most revered citizen--to see
if Mr. Webster will take him on as a client and see if there's not some way out of the deal. A lesser man might balk at the prospect of such a fight, but Daniel
Webster has a special regard for his constituents and cheerfully assures Jabez that they'll prevail :
For if two New Hampshiremen aren't a match for the devil, we might as well give the country back to the Indians.
Webster's first ploy is to challenge the stranger's right to prey upon Americans :
'Mr.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
The book is the perfect companion for a rainy night. Benet is startling in his lucid and gentle exposure of the myriad of character flaws the has plagued humanity since the beginning. He died during the second world war after dedicating his talents to exposing the true mission of the axis cause. His "Into Egypt" is the perfect vehicle to describe racial intolerance and historical short-sightedness, while the Devil and Daniel Webster sheds humorous light upon a bygone era of american folklore, this book is not to be missed in anyones lifetime. Anyone who has had a bad experience purchasing a product that needs assembly should reference his "Letter to Bloomingdale's:-" for he demonstrates how to get all your points across and still not compromise personal integrity.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent anthology by an American genius (Benet). Shipper was fast and item well packaged. It is heartbreakingly difficult to find works by this most acclaimed Pulitzer prize-winning author today. Why, I wonder? Especially noteworthy in this edition is the short story, "Cue," which is about a runaway slave......fascinating genius in every sentence.
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Format: Paperback
The book is the perfect companion for a rainy night. Benet is startling in his lucid and gentle exposure of the myriad of character flaws the has plagued humanity since the beginning. He died during the second world war after dedicating his talents to exposing the true mission of the axis cause. His "Into Egypt" is the perfect vehicle to describe racial intolerance and historical short-sightedness, while the Devil and Daniel Webster sheds humorous light upon a bygone era of american folklore. This book is not to be missed in anyones lifetime. For those who has had a bad experience purchasing a product that needs assembly, reference his "Letter to Bloomingdale's:-" for he demonstrates how to get all your points across, and your shot in the bull's eye and still not compromise personal integrity.
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