Rediscoveries II, ed. David Madden and Peggy Back. (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1988.)

Book reviews by Rob Couteau






Published in:
The Bloomsbury Review,
May / June 1990 (CO: Denver)

The precarious life of books is the theme of this collection of forty-nine essays on works of “neglected fiction,” which are celebrated by writers who continue to be pleasantly haunted by their memory. Some call attention to books that remain almost completely unknown. Others proclaim minor works by authors better remembered for other efforts, such as Ann Petry’s essay on Roy DeCarava and Langston Hughes’s The Sweet Flypaper of Life. Still others examine historically notable writing that has slipped into obscurity, such as Arno Karlen’s essay on Prosper Mérimée’s Carmen, the novella of 1846 on which the world’s most popular opera is based. Karlen offers a fascinating look at the difference between the intentions of the original work and how it was drastically altered in its final adaptation.

This is the second volume (the first Rediscoveries was published in 1971) of what one would hope to be a continuing contribution to the preservation (or resurrection) of our literary history. In the spunky words of the editors: “One of our purposes in this book is to pay critical attention to excellent writers whose names are not James, Faulkner, Joyce, but Garrett, Bolton, Baker, Powell, Thurman, Williams (both), Cassill, whose large body of work … suffers neglect by scholars.” Contributors to this volume include Vance Bourjaily, Rosellen Brown, Maxime Kumin, Thomas McGuane, Clarence Major, Ishmael Reed, Lynne Sharon Schwartz, and Gore Vidal.


 fine art

Updated: 19 July 2011 | All text Copyright © 2011 | Rob Couteau | key words: Rediscoveries II edited David Madden and Peggy Back book review