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- DescriptionWhat Is What Was , Richard Stern's fifth orderly miscellany , is the first to meaningfully combine his fiction and n-fiction. Stories, such as the already well-kwn My Ex, the Moral Philosopher , appear among portraits (of the sort Hugh Kenner praise as almost the invention of a new genre ): Auden, Pound, Ellison, Terkel, W.C. Fields, Bertrand Russell, Walter Benjamin (in both essay and story), Jung and Freud, Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger. In the book's seven sections are analyses of the Wimbledon tennis tournament as an Anglification machine, of Silicon Valley at its shaky peak, of James and Dante as travel writers, a Lucretian look at today's cosmology, American fiction in detail and depth, a thought experiment for Clarence Thomas, a salvation scheme for Ross Perot, a semi-confession of the writer. The book contains but isn't philosophy, criticism, opinion, reportage or autobiography (although the author says it is as much of this as he plans to write). There is a recurrent theme, the ways in which actuality is made and remade in description, argument and narration, fictional and nfictional, but above all, What Is What Was is a provocative entertainment by a writer who, as Philip Roth once said, kws as much as anyone writing American prose about family mischief, intellectual shenanigans, love blunders - and about writing American prose .
- Author BiographyRichard Stern is the Helen A. Regenstein Emeritus Professor of English and of the Humanities at the University of Chicago and the author of nineteen works of fiction and nonfiction. His novels include A Father's Words and Golk, both published by the University of Chicago Press, and, most recently, Pacific Tremors.
- Author(s)Richard Stern
- PublisherThe University of Chicago Press
- Date of Publication09/09/2002
- Place of PublicationChicago, IL
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintUniversity of Chicago Press
- Content Noteblack & white illustrations
- Weight392 g
- Width115 mm
- Height213 mm
- Spine21 mm
- Edition Statement2nd
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