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Ardent Spirits: Leaving Home, Coming Back

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  90 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
In his third volume of memoir, Reynolds Price explores six crucial years of his life -- his departure from home in 1955 to spend three years as a student at Oxford University; then his return to North Carolina to begin his long career as a university teacher.

He gives often moving, and frequently comic, portraits of his great teachers in England -- such men as Lord David
ebook, 416 pages
Published May 12th 2009 by Scribner (first published 2009)
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Feb 02, 2011 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was prompted to remember and revisit the work of Reynolds Price because he died a couple of weeks ago. I feel chagrined when that happens, experiencing some regret that I failed to pay attention when the author was alive.

But my connections with this author have been a little different. I have mixed reactions to his fiction, to say the least. His prose often feels mannered, but then there are flashes of recognition, and I keep going. Several years ago I read his memoir “A Whole New Life,” and I
Carl Rollyson
Jul 25, 2012 Carl Rollyson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This third volume of Reynolds Price's memoirs is a graceful and elegiac view of his life in the 1950's as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and his return to his native South to teach writing and literature at Duke University. The precocious Price embarks on his first major journey, concerned about leaving his mother and younger brother but also driven to make his mark by ambitiously attempting to write both short fiction and a major study of Milton's poetry. Price portrays himself as an ear ...more
Mar 27, 2010 Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've loved Reynolds Price's writing and have read his other two memoirs. Although I think there's a lot of "name-dropping" in this (and it does get annoying at times), the writing is simply beautiful. If you like Price's novels (two favorites of mine are Roxanna Slade and Tongues of Angels), you'll want to read the now three memoirs. This book gives a bird's eye view of life at Oxford Univ. in England in the '50s. I loved the descriptions of students, their what we'd call dormitories, the profes ...more
May 26, 2012 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Reynolds Price's inimitable, companionable but learned voice, and this was a pleasure to read just for that. His time at Oxford is an interesting picture of the place and how Americans were viewed there in the late 1950's, and the sense of his discovery of his vocation--writing--and his work--teaching--lend a quiet excitement to the book. He met and befriended some famous people, like W.H. Auden, and treats them fairly. One of his very first students at Duke was Anne Tyler and he was thri ...more
Nov 19, 2010 Philip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This memoir by Reynolds Price got off to a very slow start, but finally became more engrossing by the time I got about a hundred pages in.

11/25/10: It remained engrossing until the end of Part One on page 297, which conclude his narrative about his experiences in Britain and on the Continent during his three years at Oxford. Travelling around during the 'vacs' Price met with almost unfailing kindness from people in post-WWII England, Italy, and the Netherlands - residents of cities, towns and vi
Jul 08, 2009 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before picking up this book I had never heard of Mr. Price, or his writings. It was recommended to me by a friend who, knowing I attending Oxbridge myself, thought I would enjoy hearing the author's view on life in the UK.

And I did. It is funny, although he attended Oxbridge nearly 50 years before I did, not all that much has changed. In speaking of the afternoons spent in a pub, or out in the countryside, I felt that in his friendships he described I could see my own connections. And while not
Jun 19, 2009 Josie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gay
A lot to like--queer North Carolinian in Oxford in the mid-'50s. Mostly about figuring out about work and career, also a little about figuring out about sexuality. I liked reading about his friendships and inner life, and I suppose I haven't read much memoir or maybe any because it was interesting to learn that a factual book in which nothing happens is different from a fictional book in which nothing happens. But nice in its own way.
Sep 28, 2009 Peg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of southern literature
Reynolds Price is a local, teaching writing at Duke for 50 years. I've had the chance to hear him speak at local events. This is his third volume of memoirs, focusing on a period of six years - including three years at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Fascinating to realize that some of his works I've enjoyed were created while he was a student in this challenging program. "A Long and Happy Life," a novel; and one of my favorite short stories "The Warrior Princess Ozimba."
Sep 12, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mfa
Reynolds Price was born and raised in North Carolina. "Ardent Spirits" is about the 3 years he spent in England during the 1950s as a student scholar. It is a thorough read--be willing to experience England through the eyes of Reynolds Price.
Dec 15, 2009 Joyce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished, memoir
Wow, to be a Rhodes scholar in the early 60s and meet all the people he did must have been pretty heady. Not a bad book, but I don't know Reynolds Price's work so it's kind of lacking in context for me.
Vicki Powers
Nov 03, 2012 Vicki Powers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my all time favorite authors and fellow North Carolinian, Reynolds Price had a unique voice and will be missed. I am so pleased he shared his experiences with us in such an honest and elegant way. Brilliant writer.
Nov 08, 2012 Marsmannix rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Reynolds Price love of life and language fill every page of AS. It made me yearn for a time and place when such scholarship was the norm and indeed expected. A loving tribute to a time and place vanished and irreplaceable.
Reynolds' picture on the cover....what a gorgeous young man.
May 25, 2010 Kathryn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I tried, I really tried... but this book didn't engage me, despite his beautiful writing. I quit after about 50 pages.
Aug 18, 2009 Elisabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You should definitely read this book if you have ever had the desire to haul off to Europe for a few years in your twenties before returning to Sweet Carolina :)
Becky Safarik
I got about 100 pages in and never became engaged with his life; it was not interesting nor did he give me anything to care about.
Kyle Haney
Kyle Haney rated it liked it
Jan 17, 2010
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May 18, 2015
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Apr 04, 2010
Susie rated it it was ok
Mar 11, 2014
Dale rated it liked it
Aug 02, 2010
Tuck rated it it was amazing
Jan 16, 2016
Rena Mayberry
Just beginning it. Reynolds Price is my all time favorite author. This is memoir.
Donna rated it really liked it
Jan 26, 2011
Drew rated it it was amazing
May 07, 2013
Steve rated it really liked it
May 06, 2011
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Aug 15, 2011
Raymond rated it really liked it
Oct 19, 2011
Mills Reads
Mills Reads rated it really liked it
Apr 15, 2013
Frances rated it it was amazing
Jul 12, 2009
Timothy Fox
Timothy Fox rated it it was amazing
Sep 18, 2012
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Reynolds Price was born in Macon, North Carolina in 1933. Educated at Duke University and, as a Rhodes Scholar, at Merton College, Oxford University. He taught at Duke since 1958 and was James B. Duke Professor of English.

His first short stories, and many later ones, are published in his Collected Stories. A Long and Happy Life was published in 1962 and won the William Faulkner Award for a best fi
More about Reynolds Price...

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