A World Elsewhere: The Place of Style in American Literature

Overview


Richard Poirier’s A World Elsewhere, originally published in 1966 by the Oxford University Press, is a signal book in American literature and literary history. Widely acclaimed upon publication, it has since taken its place among a handful of books considered mandatory reading for all students and scholars in the field. Poirier’s classic work, hailed both for its original thesis and for its stylistic elegance and clarity, is once again made available in this new Wisconsin ...
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Overview


Richard Poirier’s A World Elsewhere, originally published in 1966 by the Oxford University Press, is a signal book in American literature and literary history. Widely acclaimed upon publication, it has since taken its place among a handful of books considered mandatory reading for all students and scholars in the field. Poirier’s classic work, hailed both for its original thesis and for its stylistic elegance and clarity, is once again made available in this new Wisconsin paperback edition.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Mr. Poirier has written a brilliant book. . . . It is continuously exciting, filled with . . . imaginative analyses of the stylistic problems faced by the seminal American writers . . . [and] acute analyses of the incessant war between the artist and American society.”—American Quarterly

“Poirier makes a radical distinction between ‘works that create through language an essentially imaginative environment for the hero and works that mirror an environment already accredited by history and society.’ Although he discusses works of the latter kind for sake of contrast . . . his book principally studies authors who attempt the former. These authors seek to build ‘a world elsewhere.’ They try ‘temporarily to free the here . . . from systems,’ to create for him ‘an environment of freedom,’ the freedom being ‘that reality which the consciousness creates for itself,’ which the author creates ‘throught style.’ [Poirier’s book] is rich in penetrating analyses and illuminating insights.”—Southwest Review

“. . . Richard Poirier brings to this study of exemplary American novelists some finely-honed equipment for textual analysis. . . . For him, ‘the most interesting American books are an image of the creation of American itself, of the effort, in the words of Emerson’s Orphic poet, to “Build therefore your own world”.’ To the metaphor of building Poirier adds that of an expansion of consciousness, the creation of a visionary world unfettered by environment, by the ‘real’ demands of economics, society, history or biology.”—The New Republic

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299099343
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1985
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 257
  • Product dimensions: 5.42 (w) x 8.62 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author


Richard Poirier (1925–2009) was an American literary critic. He co-founded the Library of America, and served as chairman of its board. He was the Marius Bewley Professor of American and English Literature at Rutgers University and the editor of Raritan, a literary quarterly, and of Partisan Review.
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