William Styron, A Life
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William Styron, A Life

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  42 ratings  ·  4 reviews
Revealing the facts behind Styron's strong friendships with James Baldwin, Willie Morris, Art Buchwald, Philip Roth, Fred Exley, Peter Matthiessen, and many others, his feud with Norman Mailer which lasted almost three decades, and his dramatic and searing bouts with clinical depression, this authorized--but uncensored--biography offers a compelling profile of one of the m...more
Hardcover, 506 pages
Published March 10th 1998 by Random House Publishing Group (first published 1998)
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John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces won the Pulitzer Prize in 1981, but Toole never even knew it had been published. His work was rejected, stored in a box, and discovered by his mother only after he had forgone his passion and his life. Cory MacLauchlin revisits this tragedy with honor and aplomb.
I've read three Styron novels this year, and find the man himself quite interesting (I actually wrote to him in the mid-90s, and was allowed to send him some books to be signed). While rummaging around in some boxes of books I came upon this biography, which I'd quite forgotten I had - it came out in 1998 and is fresh, unread hardcover copy - I have NO idea where, when or how I obtained it!

3/04: Covers Styron's life and writing up to 1998, as well as friendships with James Jones, James Baldwin,...more
The author did great research, and obviously had access to Bill Styron who was still living at the time the book was written. What I appreciated most about this book was the descriptions of how Styron made the complicated decisions about what voice would be his in his novels, and how to tell the story. Styron typically worked 4-8 years on each novel, quite carefully crafting the story before he would put pen to paper.
Karen Lausa
Can't put this down. I think of William Styron as one of our finest American writers; to mine the depths of his becoming the great novelist he is considered today, is to learn of his struggles in his youth, the influence of living abroad in the 1950's, and the amazing world of publishing decades before it's current demise. James West is a fine writer, and the biography is engaging and brilliantly researched.
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James L. W. West III, a native of Virginia, is Sparks Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University. West is a book historian, scholarly editor, and biographer. He has written books on F. Scott Fitzgerald and on the history of professional authorship in America and has held fellowships from the J. S. Guggenheim Foundation, the National Humanities Center, and the National Endowment for the...more
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