In some instances, these writers moved deliberately from one genre to another, though in others they had no choice.
In some instances, these writers moved deliberately from one genre to another, though in others they had no choice.James, for instance, was literally hounded from the theatre after the failure of his play and wrote movingly in his notebook on Jan. It is now indeed that I may do the work of my life.Descended from prosperity, Melville was compelled by circumstances to exchange the stability of home and family for a life among some of humanity’s most desperate characters: mutineers, deserters, common criminals.Tags: Short Essay On Film IndustryEssay About Racial SegregationAmerican Mythologies Essays On Contemporary LiteratureAnswers To Accounting HomeworkAgritourism Business PlanChristianity In Roman Empire EssayCreative Fiction Writing PromptsEducation Research Paper
Not that I always knew what I was doing, either as a writer or as a student of writing.
I am both a poet and a critic, which means that I only encourage distrust in both camps, with my critic friends wondering why I would wallow in something so messy and subjective as poetry and my poet friends wondering how I could possibly squander the precious time I might use for versifying on the crafting of footnotes.
A career as a writer is highly inadvisable; like actors and musicians, most writers don’t succeed, and the ones who do still have to cope as much with failure as with success—and even success can be problematic, as the headlines tell us.
What I have learned from my four subjects, though, and from Melville most definitively—so definitively that, as I say, I see no need to write another book of this sort—is that successful writers have two traits in common, no matter how different they may be otherwise. The second trait, and it is closely related to the first, is that they adapt.
23, 1895: “I take up my old pen again—the pen of all my old unforgettable efforts and sacred struggles. And I will.” And he did: in less than a decade he published what many consider his three greatest novels, works built largely around scene, dialogue, and other dramatic conventions he mastered during his “failed” foray into the theatre.
(Incidentally, late in life James tried again to write plays, though with little more success than before.) But even more than these other writers, Melville demonstrated throughout his career an aggressive resistance to discouragement; when he found one door closed to him, he looked around until he found another that was open.
They deal with Reconstruction writer Grace King, with novelist Henry James, and with contemporary poet Mark Strand.
Like this book on Melville, each of the others is also the biography of a career.
In many ways, Melville was the archetypal writer: neither the genius nor the mouthpiece that some people think an author is but one who was lucky and unlucky, stable and unstable, blessed and cursed.
Primarily, Melville was eccentric in both the figurative and the literal meanings of that word.