Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife
  • Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife
  • Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife

Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife

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by Francine Prose
     
 

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“A definitive, deeply moving inquiry into the life of the young, imperiled artist, and a masterful exegesis of Diary of a Young Girl…Extraordinary testimony to the power of literature and compassion” –Booklist (starred review)

In Anne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife, Francine Prose, author of Reading

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Overview

“A definitive, deeply moving inquiry into the life of the young, imperiled artist, and a masterful exegesis of Diary of a Young Girl…Extraordinary testimony to the power of literature and compassion” –Booklist (starred review)

In Anne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife, Francine Prose, author of Reading Like a Writer, deftly parses the artistry, ambition, and enduring influence of Anne Frank’s beloved classic, The Diary of a Young Girl. Approved by both the Anne Frank House Foundation in Amsterdam and the Anne Frank-Fonds in Basel, run by the Frank family, this work of literary criticism unravels the complex, fascinating story of the diary and effectively makes the case for it being a work of art from a precociously gifted writer.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
"Prose is commanding and illuminating...definitive, deeply moving inquiry into the life of the young, imperiled artist.... Extraordinary testimony to the power of literature and compassion."
Anne Roiphe
“A fascinating book...riveting to read...”
Jerusalem Post
“Talented author Francine Prose approaches Anne Frank with the awe and respect of one writer for another…Prose’s research uncovers what many will be surprised to discover.”
New York Times Book Review
“A deeply felt reappraisal of the work and its global impact.... [Prose] makes a persuasive argument for Anne Frank’s literary genius.”
New York Times
“An impressively far-reaching critical work, an elegant study both edifying and entertaining...full of keen observations and fascinating disputes.”
Miami Herald
“This is an amazing book…thorough, thoughtfully, beautifully written…[It] focuses on Anne Frank as an accomplished writer…I was thrilled to find it.”
Boston Sunday Globe
“Prose is clear-headed, tough, and fair, and her book, though in places immensely sad, is superb. It should be cherished alongside the masterpiece that inspired it.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Prose’s book is a stunning achievement…Now Anne Frank stands before us…a figure who will live not only in history but also in the literature she aspired to create.”
Washington Post
“Illuminating…A compelling story…Francine Prose explains some of the many sides of this remarkable story.”
Booklist (starred review)
“Prose is commanding and illuminating...definitive, deeply moving inquiry into the life of the young, imperiled artist.... Extraordinary testimony to the power of literature and compassion.”
Christian Science Monitor
“Compelling…With compassion and grace, Prose looks at Anne Frank as Anne wished to be seen: above all, as a writer.”
Jewish Book World
“Substantially researched and wide-ranging…This probing and informed book introduces readers to a far more complex and accomplished young woman than the Anne we met in our adolescence.”
Haaretz (Israel)
“Passionate…A sensitive, beautifully written and fascinating account of the myriad aspects of Anne Frank’s life, death and diary”
Los Angeles Times
“Provocative.... A penetrating analysis.”
Chicago Tribune
“Prose admirably recreates the events in the attic over the years—no small feat—[with] all the drama of a classic whodunit…Transcendent criticism…[A] case so brilliantly proven.”
Philadelphia Inquirer
“A valuable resource…useful and well-written and –researched”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Francine Prose...takes Anne’s story and adds to it a new perspective....Prose tells this story with tremendous beauty, pathos and a profound awareness of tragic coincidence.”
San Diego Union-Tribune
“Impassioned…compelling…No one has made the case as convincingly and forcefully as Francine Prose does that Anne Frank aspired to be taken seriously as a writer—and should be.”
Janet Maslin
Ms. Prose uses her formidable powers of discernment to write incisively about many facets of the Anne Frank phenomenon, from the life itself to the various ways in which it has been willfully distorted. And although Ms. Prose jokes she could hear friends opening magazines as she expounded on Anne Frank over the telephone, she turns her thoughts into a lively and illuminating disquisition…This seemingly narrow work is an impressively far-reaching critical work, an elegant study both edifying and entertaining. In a book full of keen observations and fascinating disputes…Ms. Prose looks in all directions to find noteworthy material.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
In considering the iconic diary of Anne Frank, prolific novelist and critic Prose (Reading Like a Writer), praises the young writer's fresh narrative voice, characterizations, sense of pacing and ear for dialogue. Prose calls her a literary genius whose diary was a “consciously crafted work of literature” rather than the “spontaneous outpourings of a teenager,” and offers evidence that Frank scrupulously revised her work shortly before her arrest and intended to publish it after the war. Fans of literary gossip will savor how writer Meyer Levin, a close friend of Anne's father, Otto Frank, famously gave the Diary a front-page rave in the New York Times and later sued Otto when his script for a play based on it was rejected. Some may conclude that Prose contributes to a queasy-making idolization and commodification of Anne Frank, and that she lets Otto Frank off the hook too easily for minimizing the Jewish essence of the Holocaust, yet the author lucidly collates material from a wide range of sources, and her work would be valuable as a teaching guide for middle school, high school and college students. (Oct.)
Library Journal
If she had survived, Anne Frank would have turned 80 this year. Prose (Goldengrove) analyzes her diary in an innovative way, underscoring Frank's writing genius. In viewing the diary from a more literary perspective, Prose examines Frank's life, her original and revised writings, the annex where she hid, Holocaust deniers, and the challenges of teaching the diary. Her discussions of the play and film adapted from the diary are particularly enlightening; these dramatic versions veered fundamentally from the diary, rendering Frank a silly, love-struck teenager rather than the pensive adolescent one discovers in the diary. Prose touches on many subjects, e.g., how Frank's plight has been "universalized" and "Americanized," taking away from the message she tried to convey in her writings. Despite these issues, Prose recognizes that Frank's story can still make an impact and continues to resonate 64 years after her horrific death. VERDICT This riveting book is highly recommended for all readers interested in the enduring legacy of Anne Frank and for literature scholars. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/09.]—Erica Swenson Danowitz, Delaware Cty. Community Coll., Media, PA
Kirkus Reviews
An articulate statement of the enduring power of Anne Frank's original work joined with a brief biography, an analysis of the 1955 play and 1959 film based on the diary, some attacks on Holocaust deniers and a few thoughts on approaches to teaching the work. Prose (Goldengrove, 2008, etc.) first read The Diary of a Young Girl (1952) when she was a child, and later saw the original production of the play on Broadway. Recently she reread Diary and was even more impressed with its young author's accomplishment. She believes that Frank was an artist, her diary-more accurately a memoir, the author asserts-a work of art. Prose takes us through the text, pointing out its literary merits, generally in convincing fashion, though she is sometimes so insistent and earnest an advocate that she sacrifices just a bit of credibility. The author reviews the history of the Frank family, emphasizing how Anne began as a child diarist and later, in hiding, grew into a more mature, reflective writer, revising and refining with an eye toward postwar publication. Prose properly credits the 1989 Critical Edition of the diary, the volume that first presented Frank's versions of the diary in parallel columns-as well as the overwhelming scientific evidence of the diary's authenticity. The author wrestles with Frank's reputation today, at first uncomfortable with her becoming a symbol of naive hopefulness, then forgiving of anything that draws readers to the book. Prose rehearses the internecine, nasty struggle to bring Diary to the stage, and chronicles Meyer Levin's descent into near madness as he sought, unsuccessfully, to be the diary's playwright. The author attacks both the stage and screen versions for theirportrayals of Frank, at times, as a dimwit. She also has little good to say about the actresses who portrayed Frank. Prose also blasts the infrahuman Holocaust deniers and ends with some fairly perfunctory, even ordinary thoughts about teaching the book. A graceful tribute and a touching act of gratitude.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061430800
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/05/2010
Series:
P. S. Series
Pages:
322
Sales rank:
714,029
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile:
1360L (what's this?)

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Anne Roiphe
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