Tim O'Brien (author)
William Timothy "Tim" O'Brien is an American novelist. He is best known for his book The Things They Carried, a collection of linked semi-autobiographical stories inspired by O'Brien's experiences in the Vietnam War. In 2010, the New York Times described O'Brien's book as a Vietnam classic. In addition, he is known for his war novel, Going After Cacciato about wartime Vietnam, novels about postwar lives of veterans. O'Brien has held the endowed chair at the MFA program of Texas State University–San Marcos every other academic year since 2003–2004. O'Brien was born in Minnesota; when he was ten, his family, including a younger sister and brother, moved to Worthington in southern Minnesota. Worthington had his early development as an author; the town is located on Lake Okabena in the western portion of the state and serves as the setting for some of his stories those in the novel The Things They Carried. O'Brien earned his BA in 1968 in Political Science from Macalester College, where he was student body president.
That same year he was drafted into the United States Army and was sent to Vietnam, where he served from 1969 to 1970 in 3rd Platoon, Company A, 5th Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment, part of the 23rd Infantry Division that contained the unit that perpetrated the My Lai Massacre the year before his arrival. O'Brien has said that when his unit got to the area around My Lai, "we all wondered why the place was so hostile. We did not know; the news about that only came out while we were there, we knew."Upon completing his tour of duty, O'Brien went to graduate school at Harvard University. Afterward he received an internship at the Washington Post. In 1973 he published his first book, a memoir, If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home about his war experiences. In this memoir, O'Brien writes: "Can the foot soldier teach anything important about war for having been there? I think not, he can tell war stories." While O'Brien does not consider himself a spokesman about the war, he has commented on it.
Speaking years about his upbringing and the war, O'Brien described his hometown as "a town that congratulates itself, day after day, on its own ignorance of the world: a town that got us into Vietnam. Uh, the people in that town sent me to that war, you know, couldn't spell the word'Hanoi' if you spotted them three vowels."Contrasting the continuing American search for U. S. MIA/POWs in Vietnam with the reality of the high number of Vietnamese war dead, he describes the American perspective as A perverse and outrageous double standard. What if things were reversed? What if the Vietnamese were to ask us, or to require us, to locate and identify each of their own MIAs? Numbers alone make it impossible: 100,000 is a conservative estimate. Maybe double that. Maybe triple. From my own sliver of experience — one year at war, one set of eyes — I can testify to the lasting anonymity of a great many Vietnamese dead. One attribute of O'Brien's work is the blur between reality, his conscious and meta-fictional approach to blurring the distinction between fact and fiction is a unique component of his writing style.
In the story "Good Form" in The Things They Carried, O'Brien discusses the distinction between "story-truth" and "happening-truth", writing that "story-truth is sometimes truer than happening-truth." He suggests. Certain sets of stories in The Things They Carried seem to contradict each other, certain stories are designed to "undo" the suspension of disbelief created in previous stories. For example, "Speaking of Courage" is followed by "Notes", which explains in what ways "Speaking of Courage" is fictional. O'Brien's papers are housed at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. O'Brien lives in central Texas, he teaches full-time every other year at Texas State University -- San Marcos. In alternate years, he teaches several workshops to MFA students in the creative writing program. O'Brien was interviewed for Ken Burns' 2017 documentary series The Vietnam War. If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home was named Outstanding Book of 1973 by the New York Times. O'Brien won the 1979 National Book Award for his novel Going After Cacciato.
*His novel In the Lake of the Woods won the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best Historical Fiction in 1995. In August 2012, O'Brien received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation's Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award. In June 2013, O'Brien was awarded the $100,000 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award. If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home Northern Lights "Where Have You Gone, Charming Billy?" Going After Cacciato ISBN 9780385283496 The Nuclear Age ISBN 9780394542867 The Things They Carried ISBN 9780618706419 In the Lake of the Woods ISBN 9780140250947 Tomcat in Love July, July A Crisis'In Country': An Ecocritical Approach to Tim O'Brien's Fiction, Rosalind Poppleton, University of Hertfordshire, British Library Website Dedicated to O'Brien's work "Tim O'Brien video interview", on Big Think Online discussion of The Things They Carried, Book Talk Tim O'Brien Papers at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin
The World According to Garp
The World According to Garp is John Irving's fourth novel, about a man, born out of wedlock to a feminist leader, who grows up to be a writer. Published in 1978, the book was a bestseller for several years, it was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction in 1979, its first paperback edition won the Award the following year. A movie adaptation of the novel starring Robin Williams was released in 1982, with a screenplay written by Steve Tesich. BBC Radio 4's Classic Serial broadcast a three-part adaptation of the novel by Linda Marshall Griffiths in January 2014; the production was directed by Nadia Molinari and featured Miranda Richardson as Jenny, Lee Ingleby as Garp, Jonathan Keeble as Roberta and Lyndsey Marshal as Helen. On 3 November 2015, Irving revealed that he'd been approached by HBO and Warner Brothers to reconstruct The World According to Garp as a miniseries, he described the project as being in the early stages. According to the byline of a self-penned, 20 February 2017 essay for The Hollywood Reporter, Irving completed his teleplay for the five-part series based on The World According to Garp.
The story deals with the life of T. S. Garp, his mother, Jenny Fields, is a strong-willed nurse. She encounters a dying ball turret gunner known only as Technical Sergeant Garp, brain damaged in combat. Jenny nurses Garp, observing his infantile state and perpetual autonomic sexual arousal; as a matter of practicality and kindness in making his passing as comfortable as possible and reducing his agitation, she manually gratifies him several times. Unconstrained by convention and driven by practicality and her desire for a child, Jenny rapes TSgt Garp, uses his semen to impregnate herself and names the resulting son "T. S.". Jenny raises young Garp alone. Garp grows up, becoming interested in sex and writing fiction—three topics in which his mother has little interest. After his graduation in 1961, his mother takes him to Vienna. At the same time, his mother begins writing A Sexual Suspect. After Jenny and Garp return to Steering, Garp marries Helen, the wrestling coach's daughter, begins his family—he a struggling writer, she a teacher of English.
The publication of A Sexual Suspect makes his mother famous. She becomes a feminist icon, as feminists view her book as a manifesto of a woman who does not care to bind herself to a man, who chooses to raise a child on her own, she nurtures and supports women traumatized by men, among them the Ellen Jamesians, a group of women named after an eleven-year-old girl whose tongue was cut off by her rapists to silence her. The members of the group cut off their own tongues in solidarity with the girl – the girl herself opposes this tongue cutting. Garp becomes a devoted parent, wrestling with anxiety for the safety of his children and a desire to keep them safe from the dangers of the world, he and his family experience dark and violent events through which the characters change and grow. Garp learns from the women in his life, who are struggling to become more tolerant in the face of intolerance; the story contains a great deal of "lunacy and sorrow." The novel contains several framed narratives: Garp's first piece of fiction, a short story entitled The Pension Grillparzer.
The book contains some motifs that appear in some, but not all, John Irving novels: bears, New England, hotels, wrestling, a person who prefers abstinence over sex. And, like nearly all of Irving's novels, it features a complex Dickensian plot which spans the protagonist's whole life. Adultery plays a large part, culminating in one of the novel's most harrowing and memorable scenes. John Irving's mother, Frances Winslow, had not been married at the time of his conception, Irving never met his biological father; as a child, he was not told anything about his father, he baited his mother that unless she gave him some information about his biological father, in his writing he would invent the father and the circumstances of how she got pregnant. Winslow would reply, "Go ahead, dear."In 1981, Time magazine quoted the novelist's mother as saying, "There are parts of Garp that are too explicit for me." New York Times book review, by Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, April 13, 1978 John Irving discusses The World According to Garp on the BBC World Book Club Photos of the first edition of The World According to Garp
Thomas Williams (writer)
Thomas Williams was an American novelist. He won one U. S. National Book Award for Fiction—The Hair of Harold Roux split the 1975 award with Robert Stone's Dog Soldiers—and his last published novel, Moon Pinnace, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Born in Duluth, Minnesota in 1926, Williams' family moved to New Hampshire when he was a child and he spent most of his life working and writing in that state, although he attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the University of Chicago, studied in Paris. For most of his career he taught at the University of New Hampshire, published eight novels during his lifetime, his students included among them John Irving. Irving wrote an introduction to a posthumous collection of Williams's collected stories, New Hampshire. Williams lived in Durham, NH and died of lung cancer at a hospital in Dover, NH when he was 63. Williams is the father of writer and novelist Ann Joslin Williams, the author of a collection of linked stories called The Woman in the Woods, which won the 2005 Spokane Prize.
Joslin Williams' first novel Down From Cascom Mountain, was published in 2011. Like her father, she attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is a Professor at the University of New Hampshire; because he'd received one of the major US book awards in 1975 and because he was admired as a university writing instructor, Thomas Williams was a figure of some regard during the 1970s and 1980s when it seems his reputation had reached its peak. Today, Williams continues to be remembered and admired among many writers and student of the craft, but into the 21st century he remains all but unknown to the general reading public. All of his books were out of print until 2011, when The Hair of Harold Roux was reissued, sparking a renewed interest in his work. Stephen King, who had earlier dedicated his 1993 story collection Nightmares & Dreamscapes to Williams, said in a 2011 interview that The Hair of Harold Roux has remained, over the years, one of his favorite books, one he returns to "again and again." FictionCeremony of Love.
Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Town Burning. New York: Macmillan. Anchor Books, 1988. ISBN 978-0-385-24250-9 The Night of Trees. New York: Macmillan. Ampersand Press & Small Press Distribution. Introduction by John Irving. ISBN 978-0-935331-09-7 A High New House. New York: Dial Press – Williams received the "Dial Press Fellowship Award for Fiction" for this collection of short stories Whipple's Castle: An American Novel. New York: Random House. Anchor Books, 1988. ISBN 978-0-385-24249-3 The Hair of Harold Roux. New York: Random House Tsuga's Children. New York: Random House ISBN 0-394-49731-7 The Followed Man. New York, NY: Richard Marek ISBN 978-0-399-90025-9 Moon Pinnace. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company. Anchor Books, 1988. ISBN 978-0-385-24247-9Posthumous publicationsLeah, New Hampshire: The Collected Stories of Thomas Williams. New York: William Morrow and Company. Graywolf Press, 1993. Introduction by John Irving; the Hair of Harold Roux. Bloomsbury USA with an Introduction by Andre Dubus III, Afterword by Ann Joslin Williams.
ISBN 978-1-60819-583-1 Gun People – includes a profile of Williams where he discusses his interest in hunting and its relevance to his writings. "National Book Awards Acceptance Speech". Nationalbook.org. Retrieved 2012-01-14. – – – text of Williams' acceptance speech after receiving the 1975 National Book Award for The Hair of Harold Roux "1975 National Book Awards Fiction Winners - Author's Site". Www.nbafictionblog.org. 2009-08-04. Retrieved 2012-01-14
Robert Stone (novelist)
Robert Stone was an American novelist. He was once for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Stone was five times a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction, which he did receive in 1975 for his novel Dog Soldiers. Time magazine included this novel in its list TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005. Dog Soldiers was adapted into the film Who'll Stop the Rain starring Nick Nolte, from a script that Stone co-wrote. During his lifetime Stone received material support and recognition including Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, the five-year Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Award, the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature, the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award. Stone offered his own support and recognition of writers during his lifetime, serving as Chairman of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation Board of Directors for over thirty years. Stone's best known work is characterized by action-tinged adventures, political concerns and dark humor. Many of his novels are set in unusual, exotic landscapes of raging social turbulence, such as the Vietnam War.
Robert Stone was born in Brooklyn, New York to a "family of Scottish Presbyterians and Irish Catholics who made their living as tugboat workers in New York harbor". Until the age of six he was raised by his mother. In his short story "Absence of Mercy", which he has called autobiographical, the protagonist Mackay is placed at age five in an orphanage described as having had "the social dynamic of a coral reef"; the battered protagonists and "harrowing creations" in Stone's fiction transmit a "mix of gloom and bleak irony" that would seem to come from Stone's personal experience: he had a difficult upbringing and Stone had his share of struggles with alcohol and drugs. He was expelled from a Marist high school during his senior year for "drinking too much beer and being'militantly atheistic'". Soon afterwards, Stone joined the Navy for four years. At sea he traveled including Antarctica and Egypt, but according to Stone, it was his first shore leave in a pre-Fidel Castro era Havana, Cuba that left a mark on him in terms of its lasting impact on Stone's future writing: "Havana was my first liberty port, my first foreign city.
It was 1955 and I was 17, a radio operator with an amphibious assault force in the U. S. Navy... At the time, I was struck less by the frivolity of Havana than by its unashamed seriousness... All this Spanish tragedy, leavened with Creole sensuality, made Havana irresistible. Whether or not I got it right, I have used the film of its memory since in turning real cities into imaginary ones." Stone had many nautical experiences that would shape his creative imagination, some of these described in his memoir Prime Green, published in 2007. These first-hand experiences would at times turn violent: Stone witnessed the French Army bombing Port Said. In the early 1960s, he attended New York University. Although he associated with the influential post-Beat Generation writer Ken Kesey and other Merry Pranksters, he was not a passenger on the famous 1964 bus trip to New York, contrary to some media reports. Living in New York at the time, he met the bus on its arrival and accompanied Kesey to an "after-bus party" whose attendees included a dyspeptic Jack Kerouac.
Although he never completed an academic degree, Stone taught in the creative writing programs at various university programs around the United States. He held a lectureship at the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars during the 1993–1994 academic year before moving to Yale University. For the 2010–2011 academic year, Stone held an endowed chair in the English department at Texas State University, he was active in many of the writing seminars in and around Key West, Florida where he resided during the winter months. Stone was appointed an honorary director of the Key West Literary Seminar serving in that capacity during the final decade of his life. At age 72, just after the publication of his second short-story collection Fun With Problems, Stone admitted that he suffered from severe emphysema: "It's my punishment for chain-smoking," he says, but with a wry laugh, he recalls his reaction to being told of the harm smoking could cause him in old age: "I'm not going to know I'm alive!". According to his literary agent, Stone died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on January 10, 2015 in Key West, where he and his wife had spent their winters for more than twenty years.
At the time of his death, Stone was survived by his wife Janice and their two children daughter Deirdre and son Ian. Stone's first novel, A Hall of Mirrors, appeared in 1967, it won both a Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship, a William Faulkner Foundation Award for best first novel. Set in New Orleans in 1962 and based on actual events, the novel depicted a political scene dominated by right-wing racism, but its style was more reminiscent of Beat writers than of earlier social realists: alternating between naturalism and stream of consciousness, it was adapted as WUSA based on Stone's screenplay of his own novel. The novel's success led to a Guggenheim Fellowship and began Stone's career
The Hair of Harold Roux
The Hair of Harold Roux was a 1974 novel by Thomas Williams. The novel, shared the National Book Award for Fiction with Robert Stone's Dog Soldiers. "The Hair of Harold Roux" explores the craft of storytelling and its intersections—and at times collisions—with everyday life and mortality. The narrative spine of the novel bridges a long weekend in the life of Aaron Benham, a clinically depressed literature professor at a New Hampshire college who has taken a leave of absence to write a novel called "The Hair of Harold Roux." Williams punctuates the primary plot with frequent flashbacks, a long fairy tale that Aaron had told his children over several nights before bedtime, the text of the novel within the novel, based on Aaron's own experiences in college following World War II. As the main story opens, Aaron is alone in his home office in the spring of 1970, struggling to push aside the mental distractions of his life to work on his novel. Aaron is interrupted by a succession of phone calls—first, from the mother of one of his students, who seems to have vanished.
Aaron returns from addressing the latter crisis to discover that he has forgotten his in-laws' wedding anniversary and that his wife and two children have left for the celebration without him. Stewing in his remorse, Aaron recalls an incident involving his missing student, Mark Rasmussen, who had persuaded him to work for a day on a fishing excursion boat as a way to experience life outside academia. On the boat, Aaron is enraged when the drunken guests begin to snag flying gulls with baited fish hooks. Aaron is distracted again by a call from colleague George, who persuades him to come to dinner and do a reading for his senior seminar students. Before leaving, Aaron calls his in-laws to apologize for missing their anniversary but declines to speak to his wife; the story that Aaron reads to the students is narrated by a present-day Allard Benson, who like Aaron is a college professor in New Hampshire. It details his loathing of the people around him, including students, a local handyman, a conspiracy-obsessed factory worker, all of whom are plagued by paranoia in varying degrees.
After the reading, Aaron learns from several of the students that their missing classmate, Mark, is in the grip of serious drug addiction and delusion. Aaron spends the night at George's home, struggling with an intense sexual longing for George's wife, Helga; the novel within the novel centers on Allard Benson, an Army veteran turned college student, his friend Harold Roux, a failed seminarian and deputy infantry chaplain who has gone prematurely bald and adopted an unfortunate toupée. Allard and Harold discuss literature and other matters with Mary, Harold's romantic obsession, to whom Allard is attracted. Harold shares with Allard portions of his own novel, titled "Glitter and Gold". Allard and Harold do battle with one Boom Maloumian, an obese Armenian student who terrorizes their dormitory and regales them with vulgar tales of military life. During one drunken afternoon, some of his dorm mates fantasize about forcibly removing the toupée from Harold’s head; as Allard promises to wed Mary, he carries on an intense and contentious sexual affair with Mary's college roommate, Naomi.
A visit to meet Mary's devoutly Catholic father, coupled with trip to Sunday mass, leaves Allard conflicted over his sexual longing for a woman whose religious faith he finds ludicrous and destructive. After repeated attempts at seduction, Allard forces himself upon Mary, an act that constitutes spiritual as well as physical rape. Both Aaron Benham and his fictional counterpart share a love for their motorcycle, both are obsessed with riding fast, to "the edge of danger." Aaron crashes his bike on a remote gravel road and his wounds are dressed by Therese, a hairdresser to whom Aaron has long felt an attraction. Still in pain, Aaron manages to attend a hastily called meeting of senior department faculty at which George's failure to complete his dissertation is to be addressed. Aaron has the opportunity to mount a vocal defense of his friend but instead idly daydreams about committing suicide by jumping out the window. After touring Harold's miniature town, Allard selects it as the site of a year-end party for some of his fellow students.
While skinny dipping in Lilliputown's large pond, Allard again forces himself sexually on, this time, Naomi, in full view of Mary. Harold's knowledge of Allard's actions—and his eventual realization that Mary and Allard have had sex—sends him into a rage. In the ensuing fistfight, Allard accidentally pulls off Harold's hairpiece, a moment of unthinkable humiliation at the hands of a man Harold had considered his friend; the party descends into total chaos when Boom Maloumian and angry that he had not been invited, arrives with several belligerent fraternity brothers and a prostitute. The scene ends in violence, sexual assault, a spectacular train wreck, the departure of Harold forever and without his novel manuscript or his hairpiece. Mary resolves not to return to the school in the fall, Naomi says that, if pregnant by Allard
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is a publisher of textbooks, instructional technology materials, reference works, fiction and non-fiction for both young readers and adults. The company is based in Boston's Financial District; the company was known as Houghton Mifflin Company but changed its name following the 2007 acquisition of Harcourt Publishing. Prior to March 2010, it was a subsidiary of Education Media and Publishing Group Limited, an Irish-owned holding company registered in the Cayman Islands and known as Riverdeep. In 1832, William Ticknor and John Allen purchased a bookselling business in Boston and began to involve themselves in publishing. James Thomas Fields joined as a partner in 1843 and with Tickner gathered an impressive list of writers, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau; the duo formed a close relationship with Riverside Press, a Boston printing company owned by Henry Oscar Houghton. Houghton founded his own publishing company with partner Melancthon Hurd in 1864, with George Mifflin joining the partnership in 1872.
In 1878, Ticknor and Fields, now under the leadership of James R. Osgood, found itself in financial difficulties and merged its operations with Hurd and Houghton; the new partnership, named Houghton and Company, held the rights to the literary works of both publishers. When Osgood left the firm two years the business reemerged as Houghton and Company. Despite a lucrative partnership with Lawson Valentine, Houghton and Company still had debt it had inherited from Ticknor and Fields, so it decided to add partners. In 1884 James D. Hurd, the son of Melancthon Hurd, became a partner. In 1888, three others became partners as well: James Murray Kay, Thurlow Weed Barnes, Henry Oscar Houghton Jr. Shortly thereafter, the company established an Educational Department, from 1891 to 1908 sales of educational materials increased by 500 percent; the firm incorporated in 1908. Soon after 1916, Houghton Mifflin became involved in publishing standardized tests and testing materials, working with such test developers as E. F. Lindquist.
By 1921, the company was the fourth-largest educational publisher in the United States. In 1961, Houghton Mifflin famously passed on Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, giving it up to Alfred A. Knopf who published it in 1962, it is considered by many to be the bible of French cooking. Houghton Mifflin's strategic error was depicted in the 2009 film Julia. In 1967, Houghton Mifflin became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock symbol HTN. In 1979, Houghton Mifflin acquired the children's division of Seabury Press. Under president Nader F. Darehshori Houghton Mifflin acquired McDougal Littell in 1994 for $138 million, an educational publisher of secondary school materials, the following year acquired D. C. Heath and Company, a publisher of supplemental educational resources. In 1996, the company created their Great Source Education Group to combine the supplemental material product lines of their School Division and these two companies. In 1998, HMH announced a sub-brand called LOGAL Software, to release a new line of interactive science software called Science Gateways, to support the United States curriculum.
As of 2017, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is offering the "Logal Science" brand as a licensing opportunity on its website. In 2017, it was announced that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt would be getting involved in TV production with a planned 2019 Netflix series that will revive the Carmen Sandiego franchise. Mergers and acquisitions activities have had major effects on this company. In 2001, Houghton Mifflin was acquired by French media giant Vivendi Universal for $2.2 billion including assumed debt. In 2002, facing mounting financial and legal pressures, Vivendi sold Houghton to private equity investors Thomas H. Lee Partners, Bain Capital, Blackstone Group for $1.66 billion, including assumed debt. On December 22, 2006, it was announced that Riverdeep PLC had completed its acquisition of Houghton Mifflin; the new joint enterprise would be called the Houghton Mifflin Riverdeep Group. Riverdeep paid $1.75 billion in cash and assumed $1.61 billion in debt from the private investment firms Thomas H. Lee Partners, Bain Capital and Blackstone Group.
Tony Lucki, a former non-executive director of Riverdeep, remained in his position as the company's chief executive officer until April 2009. Houghton Mifflin sold its professional testing unit, Promissor, to Pearson plc in 2006; the company combined its remaining assessment products within Riverside Publishing, including San Francisco-based Edusoft. On July 16, 2007, Houghton Mifflin Riverdeep announced that it signed a definitive agreement to acquire the Harcourt Education, Harcourt Trade and Greenwood-Heinemann divisions of Reed Elsevier for $4 billion; the expanded company would become Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. McDougal Littell was merged with Harcourt's Rinehart & Winston to form Holt McDougal. On December 3, 2007, Cengage Learning announced that it had agreed to acquire the assets of the Houghton Mifflin College Division for $750 million, pending regulatory approval. On November 25, 2008, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced a temporary freeze on acquisition of new trade division titles in response to the economic crisis of 2008.
The publisher of the trade division resigned in protest. Many observers familiar with the publishing industry saw the move as a devastating blunder. Harcourt Religion was sold to Our Sunday Visitor in 2009. On July 27, 2009, the Irish