A compendium of fact and opinion from pre-eminent writers of the 20th century, arranged by subject. Along with materials culled from other sources, it includes highlights from the "Paris Review" interviews. The topics include politics, drink, inspiration, publishers, gossip and sex.
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The first issue of The Paris Review in 1953 included an interview on the craft of writing with E. M. Forster, perhaps the greatest living author of the time. Subsequent issues carried interviews with, among others, François Mauriac, Graham Greene, Irwin Shaw, William Styron, Ralph Ellison, and William Faulkner; in the intervening years, many of the world's most significant writers (Ezra Pound, Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway, John Updike, and John Dos Passos) sat down with The Paris Review. Many of the interviews have been collected in a series of volumes entitled Writers at Work. From these interviews, The Paris Review's editor, George Plimpton, has selected the best and most illuminating insights that the writers have provided and arranged them by subject rather than by author. The book is divided into four parts: "The Writer: A Profile" (including the sections "On Reading," "On Work Habits," On the Audi-
ence," etc.); Part II is "Technical Matters" ("On Style," "On Plot," etc.); Part III is "Different Forms" ("On Biography," "On Journalism"); and Part IV is "The Writer's Life," covering topics like conferences, courses, and teaching, along with a section in which writers provided portraits of other writers.
The Writer's Chapbook is a fund of observations by writers on writing. These range from marvel-
ous one-liners (Eugene O'Neill on critics: "I love every bone in their heads"; T. S. Eliot on editors: "I suppose some editors are failed writers--but so are most writers") to expositions on plot, character, and the technical process of putting pen to paper and doing it for a living. "I don't even have a plot," says Norman Mailer; Paul Bowles describes writing in bed; Toni Morrison talks about inventing characters; and Edward Albee and Tom Wolfe explain where they discovered the titles for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and The Bonfire of the Vanities.
This book is a treasure. But beware: What is true for the Writers at Work series holds for The Writer's Chapbook even more--a reader who picks it up, intending just to dip into it, might not emerge for days.
" LSD? Nothing much happened, but I did get the distinct impression that some birds were trying to communicate with me."
" What makes me feel as though I belong here, out in this world, is not the teacher, not the mother, not the lover but what goes on in my mind when I am writing."
" It was not he [E. M. Forster] who fathered that trite little whimsy about characters getting out of hand; it is as old as the quills, although of course one sym-
pathizes with his people if they try to wriggle out
of that trip to India or wherever he takes them. My characters are galley slaves."
" You know that if I were reincarnated, I'd want to come back as a buzzard. Nothing hates him or envies him or wants him or needs him. He is never bothered or in danger, and he can eat anything."
" I occasionally have an anti-Roth reader in mind. I think, How he is going to hate this! That can be just the encouragement I need."
" I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eighths of it under water for every part that shows."
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Book Description Penguin Books, 1992. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M014009878X
Book Description Penguin Books, 1992. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P11014009878X
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