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Farther and Wilder: The Lost Weekends and Literary Dreams of Charles Jackson

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  42 ratings  ·  12 reviews
From the prizewinning biographer of Richard Yates and John Cheever, here is the fascinating biography of Charles Jackson, the author of The Lost Weekend—a writer whose life and work encapsulated what it meant to be an addict and a closeted gay man in mid-century America, and what one had to do with the other.

Charles Jackson’s novel The Lost Weekend—the story of five disas
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published March 19th 2013 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2013)
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Carl Rollyson
Mention “The Lost Weekend” (1945) to a Hollywood-classic-film buff, and you may be treated to a recap of that memorable scene in which the alcoholic writer Don Birnam (played by Ray Milland), after struggling for years to write his masterpiece, has sunk so low that we see him trudging through the streets of Manhattan, typewriter in hand, looking for a pawnshop. His monumental literary ambitions dissolve as he searches for the cash that will buy him another drink.

Who reads Charles Jackson’s novel
Mary Ann
When I saw the title of this book, I was intrigued; when I saw the cover, I knew I had to read it. A 400+ page book on the life of a writer with one still-known book seems like an unlikely choice to read, but when that book is "The Lost Weekend," a work that gave us not only a famous, Oscar-winning movie, but a new awareness of alcoholism--and a new slang phrase--that's a different matter.

Charles Jackson emerges as one of the tragic figures he was always struggling to set down on paper: a narcis
A risky choice for Bailey for his third (I think) literary biography. He makes this forgotten man stand out in all his very human addictions, quest for fame, contradictions and deceptions. It's an important book because it reveals that there's always more to the official story... sometimes a lot more. Once again we see writing and the need to write through Bailey's eyes as a lifelong exercise in masochism. Bound up as it is with money and the desire for fame, the literary career is bound to end ...more
Paul Blocklyn
I came to Blake Bailey's "Farther and Wilder" by way of rereading "The Lost Weekend" after a 40-year hiatus. I was surprised at how contemporary the book seemed, and I realized that I knew next to nothing about its nearly forgotten author. This exhaustive, detailed-oriented, highly readable biography fills that void with a vengeance. We learn that Charles Jackson wrote five books in addition to his classic study of alcoholism, and that he spent most of his life planning a huge, unpublished Prous ...more
This is a very thorough, meticulously researched literary biography which is also wonderfully written, not a given with such books these days. Jackson's self-destructive tendencies could make him a nightmare to live with, but he was also a devoted family man and dedicated to his craft. After finishing this book I'm very much looking forward to reading the collection of Jackson's stories that has just been reissued. I wish Jackson had managed to get beyond the many years of seconal and booze-dama ...more
Michael Ritchie
Interesting and well-written biography of the forgotten gay author Charles Jackson who shot to fame after writing The Lost Weekend, but was not able to sustain a lengthy career, even though he did publish a handful of books and even hit the best-seller lists one more time. A sad story of ambition stymied by repressed sexuality, alcoholism and drug addiction.
The Advocate
"This almost obsessively detailed biography is based upon more than 20 boxes of Jackson’s correspondence and other papers housed in the Dartmouth library, interviews with Jackson’s daughters, a niece and a grandnephew, and visits to Jackson’s childhood home of Newark in upstate New York."
Read more here.
Jim Jones
Good bio of a man who wanted to be a world-class writer but never quite made it. A cautionary tale of early success (He wrote the huge best-seller, "The Lost Weekend") and addiction. Jackson never conquered his addictions and tortured personal life and ended up leaving us only one very good novel and some choice short stories.
An exhaustive work -- full of detail. A fun read for me as I grew up with Kate and Sarah in Orford. They all suffered.
Interesting subject for a biography. So far, I'm liking the author's writing style- one that makes the story flow well.
I love Blake Bailey's style of literary biography, but I wasn't as interested in Jackson as I was in Yates and Cheever.
Mills College Library
Biog J125b 2013
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Blake Bailey is the author of biographies of John Cheever, Richard Yates, and Charles Jackson, and he is at work on the authorized biography of Philip Roth. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award and the Francis Parkman Prize; and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. H ...more
More about Blake Bailey...
The Splendid Things We Planned: A Family Portrait Cheever A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates Cheever: A Life, Part 1 Zapatista

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“Fitzgerald's work was almost entirely out of print when 'The Lost Weekend' was published in 1944—even 'Gatsby' seemed well on its way to being forgotten—and Jackson had meant to be 'deliberately prophetic' in calling attention to a writer he considered the foremost chronicler of 'the temper and spirit of the time.' More than twenty years later he finally received credit, in writing, for having played a key role in the so-called Fitzgerald Revival.” 1 likes
The Lost Weekend was the only book, out of five books, that I wrote sober, without stimulus or sedative.” 1 likes
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