Discover a vivid, atmospheric portrait of mid-century Manhattan with this collection of “Talk of the Town” pieces from the pages of The New Yorker. During the 1950s and 1960s, Maeve Brennan contributed numerous vignettes to the New Yorker’s ”Talk of the Town” department, under the pen name “The Long-Winded Lady.” Her unforgettable sketches—prose snapshots of life in small restaurants, cheap hotels, and the crowded streets of Times Square and the Village—together form a timeless, bittersweet tribute to what she called the “most reckless, most ambitious, most confused, most comical, the saddest and coldest, and most human of cities.” “Of all the incomparable stable of journalists who wrote for The New Yorker during its glory days in the Fifties and Sixties . . . the most distinctive was Irish-born Maeve Brennan. Her keen-eyed observation of the minutiae of New York life has been compared to Turgenev, but a closer parallel is Edward Hopper. . . . Anyone familiar with New York will enjoy a transporting jolt of recognition from these pages. Looking back from our own time, when it seems that every column has to be loaded with hectoring opinion and egotistical preening, Brennan’s stylish scrutiny of minor embarrassments and small pleasures is as welcome as a Dry Martini.” —The Independent
The current revival of the work of Maeve Brennan, who died in obscurity in 1993, has won her a reputation as a twentieth-century classic—one of the best Irish writers of stories since Joyce. Now, unexpectedly, Brennan's oeuvre is immeasurably deepened and broadened by a miraculous literary discovery—a short novel written in the mid-1940s, but till now unknown and unpublished. Recently found in a university archive, it is a story of Dublin and of the unkind, ungenerous, emotionally unreachable side of the Irish temper. The Visitor is the haunting tale of Anastasia King, who, at the age of twenty-two, returns to her grandmother's house—the very house where she grew up—after six long years away. She has been in Paris, comforting her disgraced and dying mother, the runaway from a disastrous marriage to Anastasia's late father, the grandmother's only son. "It's a pity she sent for you." the grandmother says, smiling with anger. "And a pity you went after her. It broke your father's heart."Anastasia pays dearly for the choice she made, a choice that now costs her her own strong sense of family and makes her an exile—a visitor—in the place she once called home. Penelope Fitzgerald, writing of Brennan's story "The Springs of Affection," said that it carries an "electric charge of resentment and quiet satisfaction in revenge that chills you right through." The same can be said of the The Visitor, Maeve Brennan's "lost" novel—the early work of an incomparable master.
From the "angry young man" who wrote Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf in 1962, determined to expose the emptiness of American experience to Tiny Alice which reveals his indebtedness to Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco's Theatre of the Absurd, Edward Albee's varied work makes it difficult to label him precisely. Bruce Mann and his contributors approach Albee as an innovator in theatrical form, filling a critical gap in theatrical scholarship.
One of America's premiere playwrights, Edward Albee is also a gifted director. Albee in Performance details Albee's directorial vision and how that vision animates his plays. Having had extraordinary access to Albee as director, Rakesh H. Solomon reveals how Albee has shaped his plays in performance, the attention he pays to each aspect of theater, and how his conception of the key plays he has directed has evolved over a five-decade career. Solomon pays careful attention to the major works from The American Dream and Zoo Story to Albee's best-known work, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, to later plays such as Marriage Play and Three Tall Women. The book also includes interviews with Albee and his collaborators on all aspects of staging, from rehearsal to performance.
To be a staff writer at The New Yorker during its heyday of the 1950s and 1960s was to occupy one of the most coveted--and influential--seats in American culture. Witty, beautiful, and Irish-born Maeve Brennan was lured to such a position in 1948 and proceeded to dazzle everyone who met her, both in person and on the page. From 1954 to 1981 under the pseudonym "The Long-Winded Lady,” Brennan wrote matchless urban sketches of life in Times Square and the Village for the "Talk of the Town” column, and under her own name published fierce, intimate fiction--tales of childhood, marriage, exile, longing, and the unforgiving side of the Irish temper. Yet even with her elegance and brilliance, Brennan’s rise to genius was as extreme as her collapse: at the time of her death in 1993, Maeve Brennan had not published a word since the 1970s and had slowly slipped into madness, ending up homeless on the same streets of Manhattan that had built her career. It is Angela Bourke’s achievement with Maeve Brennan: Homesick at The New Yorker to bring much-deserved attention to Brennan’s complex legacy in all her triumph and tragedy--from Dublin childhood to Manhattan glamour, and from extraordinary literary achievement to tragic destitution. With this definitive biography of this troubled genius, it is clear that Brennan, though always an outsider in her own life and times, is rightfully recognized as one of the best writers to ever grace the pages of The New Yorker.
Edward Albee, perhaps best known for his acclaimed and infamous 1960s drama Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, is one of America's greatest living playwrights. Now in his seventies, he is still writing challenging, award-winning dramas. This collection of essays on Albee, which includes contributions from the leading commentators on Albee's work, brings fresh critical insights to bear by exploring the full scope of the playwright's career, from his 1959 breakthrough with The Zoo Story to his recent Broadway success, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? (2002). The contributors include scholars of both theatre and English literature, and the essays thus consider the plays both as literary texts and as performed drama. The collection considers a number of Albee's lesser-known and neglected works, provides a comprehensive introduction and overview, and includes an exclusive, original interview with Mr Albee, on topics spanning his whole career.
William Shawn once called The Talk of the Town the soul of the magazine. The section began in the first issue, in 1925. But it wasn't until a couple of years later, when E. B. White and James Thurber arrived, that the Talk of the Town story became what it is today: a precise piece of journalism that always gets the story and has a little fun along the way. The Fun of It is the first anthology of Talk pieces that spans the magazine's life. Edited by Lillian Ross, the longtime Talk reporter and New Yorker staff writer, the book brings together pieces by the section's most original writers. Only in a collection of Talk stories will you find E. B. White visiting a potter's field; James Thurber following Gertrude Stein at Brentano's; Geoffrey Hellman with Cole Porter at the Waldorf Towers; A. J. Liebling on a book tour with Albert Camus; Maeve Brennan ventriloquizing the long-winded lady; John Updike navigating the passageways of midtown; Calvin Trillin marching on Washington in 1963; Jacqueline Onassis chatting with Cornell Capa; Ian Frazier at the Monster Truck and Mud Bog Fall Nationals; John McPhee in virgin forest; Mark Singer with sixth-graders adopting Hudson River striped bass; Adam Gopnik in Flatbush visiting the ìgrandest theatre devoted exclusively to the movies; Hendrik Hertzberg pinning down a Sulzberger on how the Times got colorized; George Plimpton on the tennis court with Boris Yeltsin; and Lillian Ross reporting good little stories for more than forty-five years. They and dozens of other Talk contributors provide an entertaining tour of the most famous section of the most famous magazine in the world.