The Pritchett Century: A Selection of the Best by V. S. Pritchett (Modern Library Paperbacks)

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9780375752179: The Pritchett Century: A Selection of the Best by V. S. Pritchett (Modern Library Paperbacks)

"If, as they say, I am a Man of Letters, I come, like my fellows, at the tail-end of a long and once esteemed tradition in English and American writing. We have no captive audience. We do not teach. We write to be readable and to engage the interest of what Virginia Woolf called 'the common reader.'"

In a life that spanned almost the entire course of the twentieth century—he was born in 1900 and died in 1997—Sir Victor Pritchett mastered nearly every form of literature: the novel, short fiction, travel writing, biography, criticism, and memoir. Now, Sir Victor's son Oliver has selected representative samples to illustrate the tremendous scope of his father's brilliance. Included in this volume are sections of Pritchett's memoirs, A Cab at the Door and Midnight Oil; his reflections on turning eighty; and an account of a visit to the Appalachians written in 1925. There are also portraits of Dublin, New York, the Amazon, and Spain; selections from the novels Dead Man Leading and Mr. Beluncle; thirteen complete short stories; excerpts from biographies of Turgenev and Chekhov; and critical pieces on Twain, Scott, Dickens, Eliot, Henry James, Tolstoy, Saul Bellow, Salman Rushdie, and others.

"Pritchett has lived as a man of letters must, by his pen, and he has done it with a freshness of interest and an infectious curiosity that have never waned," observed novelist Margaret Drabble. Taken together with Oliver Pritchett's appreciation of his father, and John Bayley's "In Memoriam," The Pritchett Century stands as the most comprehensive collection of Sir Victor's work available in one volume.

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Review:

Sir Victor Pritchett disproved almost every cliché of literary life. After making a striking debut as a journalist and fiction writer during the 1920s, he not only failed to burn out in a fashionably bohemian style but got a second wind that carried him clear through the 1990s. In an age of specialization, he left his mark on a half-dozen genres--the novel, short fiction, memoir, casual essay, travel writing, and criticism. Throughout a career of such jaw-dropping duration, he resisted literary fads like the plagues that they are. Finally, he had that rarest of authorial virtues--common sense--which enlivens almost every word of The Pritchett Century. No doubt Pritchett fans will argue over what their hero did best. But his short stories, which leaven a near-Chekhovian delicacy with the driest of British wit, equal anything written in our age. And his criticism is as entertaining as it is accurate, particularly when he wrote about books he loved. (Here's Pritchett on Huckleberry Finn, for example, mixing his panegyric with a soupçon of poison: "Huck is a only a crude boy, but luckily he was drawn by a man whose own mind was arrested, with disastrous results in his other books, at the schoolboy stage; here it is perfect.") In any case, The Pritchett Century contains ample helpings of every genre, which adds up to an amazingly distinguished--let's say Victorious--anthology.

From the Back Cover:


"A rich, comfortably large anthology of work by one of the most versatile and consistently satisfying writers
of the century." --The New York Times Book Review
"This volume is a delight." --Publishers Weekly
"Spark[s] with energy." --Times Literary Supplement

In a life that spanned almost the entire course of the twentieth century (he was born in 1900 and died in 1997), Sir Victor Pritchett mastered nearly every form of literature--Newsweek said he was "one of the last true men of letters." Sir Victor's son Oliver has made selections from each of his father's disciplines to illustrate the tremendous scope of his brilliance. Included in this volume are sections of Pritchett's memoirs, A Cab at the Door and Midnight Oil; his reflections on turning eighty; and an account of a visit to the Appalachians written in 1925. There are also portraits of Dublin, New York, the Amazon, and Spain; selections from the novels Dead Man Leading and Mr. Beluncle; thirteen complete short stories; excerpts from biographies of Turgenev and Chekhov; and critical pieces on Twain, Scott, Dickens, Eliot, Henry James, Tolstoy, Saul Bellow, and Salman Rushdie.
With Oliver Pritchett's appreciation of his father and John Bayley's "In Memoriam," The Pritchett Century stands as the most comprehensive collection of Sir Victor's work available in one volume.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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