Essays

COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO LITE

COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO LITE

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From Plato to Freud to ecocriticism, the book illustrates dozens of stimulating-and sometimes notoriously complex-perspectives for approaching literature and film. The book offers authoritative, clear, and easy-to-follow explanations of theories that range from established classics to the controversies of current theory. Each chapter offers a conversational, step-by-step explanation of a single theory, critic, or issue, accompanied by concrete examples for applying the concepts and engaging suggestions for related literary readings.

Following a section on the foundations of literary theory, the book is organized thematically, with an eye to the best way to develop a real, working understanding of the various theories. Cross-references are particularly important, since it's through the interaction of examples that readers most effectively advance from basic topics and arguments to some of the more specialized and complicated issues.

Each chapter is designed to tell a complete story, yet also to reach out to other chapters for development and debate. Literary theorists are hardly unified in their views, and this book reflects the various traditions, agreements, influences, and squabbles that are a part of the field.

Special features include hundreds of references to and quotations from novels, stories, plays, poems, movies, and other media. Online resources could also include video and music clips, as well as high-quality examples of visual art mentioned in the book. The book also includes periodic running references to selected key titles (such as Frankenstein) in order to illustrate the effect of different theories on a single work.

DAYBOOK: THE JOURNAL OF AN ART

Daybook: The Journal of an Artist

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A classic work for artists of all kinds, about reconciling the call of creative work with the demands of daily life, now with a new introduction by Audrey Niffenegger.

Renowned American artist Anne Truitt kept this illuminating and inspiring journal over a period of seven years, determined to come to terms with the forces that shaped her art and life. Her range of sensitivity--moral, intellectual, sensual, emotional, and spiritual-- is remarkably broad. She recalls her childhood on the eastern shore of Maryland, her career change from psychology to art, and her path to a sculptural practice that would "set color free in three dimensions." She reflects on the generous advice of other artists, watches her own daughters' journey into motherhood, meditates on criticism and solitude, and struggles to find the way to express her vision. Resonant and true, encouraging and revelatory, Anne Truitt guides herself--and her readers--through a life in which domestic activities and the needs of children and friends are constantly juxtaposed against the world of color and abstract geometry to which she is drawn in her art.

Beautifully written and a rare window on the workings of a creative mind, Daybook showcases an extraordinary artist whose insights generously and succinctly illuminate the artistic process.

DEAD MAN WALKING: THE EYEWITNE

DEAD MAN WALKING: THE EYEWITNE

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When Chava Colon from the Prison Coalition asks me one January day in 1982 to become a pen pal to a death-row inmate, I say, Sure. The invitation seems to fit with my work in St. Thomas, a New Orleans housing project of poor black residents. Not death row exactly, but close. Thus begins Sister Helen Prejean's story of her encounter with the death penalty in America. When she first writes to Patrick Sonnier, the condemned killer of two teenagers, this unassuming Roman Catholic nun from a middle class Louisiana family is wholly unprepared for what will follow. As she grows to know Sonnier, she sees the terrified human being beneath the surface of the repentant killer and becomes increasingly disturbed not only by the inhumane conditions of his confinement but also by the terrible anguish he suffers during the long countdown toward execution. She also sees the moral struggles of the public officials - the governor, the head of the Department of Corrections, wardens, guards - who have to carry out killings that the law demands but that they do not personally believe in. And she comes to know the dismaying truth about the death penalty's disproportionate cost in money and resources, and how fragile and sometimes chaotic the justice system can be. Her experience soon leads her to ask: How can society benefit from replicating the violence it condemns? In formulating her answer, however, Helen Prejean also confronts the counterbalancing factors. Chief among them is the devastating rage and grief of the victims' families, whom she comes to know and befriend and whose need for retribution she understands. Prejean's indictment of capital punishment sensitively navigates the complex personal,ethical, and legal issues involved, balancing compassion for both the criminals and the people whose lives they destroy. By turns reflective and deeply personal, spiritual and candidly human, this engrossing and deeply moving meditation on one of the most painfully controversial issue
WALDEN AND OTHER WRITINGS

WALDEN AND OTHER WRITINGS

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With their call for "simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!", for self-honesty, and for harmony with nature, the writings of Henry David Thoreau are perhaps the most influential philosophical works in all American literature.

The selections in this volume represent Thoreau at his best. Included in their entirety are Walden, his indisputable masterpiece, and his two great arguments for nonconformity, Civil Disobedience and Life Without Principle. A lifetime of brilliant observation of nature--and of himself--is recorded in selections from A Week On The Concord And Merrimack Rivers, Cape Cod, The Maine Woods and The Journal.