- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
A Chance Meeting is a creative social history, comprising three dozen fascinating, interrelated essays chronicling the friendships, animosities, jealousies, and mutual encouragement that influenced the lives of a colorful spectrum of deeply talented American writers, photographers, and painters.
Traveling in time from the Civil War to the civil rights movement, Cohen retraces the important relationships formed by those who would influence our artistic landscape. From Henry James to Mark Twain and from Alfred Steiglitz to Richard Avedon and beyond, Cohen captures unique moments in the interaction of writers and artists with their peers. Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes meet during the heady days of the burgeoning Harlem Renaissance. Charlie Chaplin, beloved Little Tramp of the silent film era, exhibits an entirely different persona in the presence of W.E.B. Du Bois and Hart Crane. Sarah Orne Jewett offers advice to a young Willa Cather: "[Y]ou must write to the human heart, the great consciousness that all humanity goes to make up. Otherwise what might be strength in a writer is only crudeness, and what might be insightful is only observation…."
Cohen's essays speak both to what has changed in modern American society and, strangely, to what has not. To read them is to see the evolution of a country, and a unique mapping of the American cultural landscape. (Summer 2004 Selection)