Overview

Cabot Wright Begins, first published in 1964, may be one of the most neglected masterpieces in post–World War II American literature.

Cabot Wright is a handsome, Yale-educated stockbroker and scion of a good family. He also happens to be the convicted rapist of nearly three hundred women. Bernie Gladhart is a naive used-car salesman from Chicago, who—spurred on by his ambitious wife—decides to travel to Brooklyn and write the Great American Novel about the recently paroled Cabot Wright. As Bernie tries to track ...
See more details below
Cabot Wright Begins

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99
BN.com price
(Save 26%)$14.95 List Price

Overview

Cabot Wright Begins, first published in 1964, may be one of the most neglected masterpieces in post–World War II American literature.

Cabot Wright is a handsome, Yale-educated stockbroker and scion of a good family. He also happens to be the convicted rapist of nearly three hundred women. Bernie Gladhart is a naive used-car salesman from Chicago, who—spurred on by his ambitious wife—decides to travel to Brooklyn and write the Great American Novel about the recently paroled Cabot Wright. As Bernie tries to track down Wright in Brooklyn, he encounters a series of bizarre and Dickensian characters and sets in motion an extraordinary chain of events. In this merciless and outrageous satire of American culture, cult writer James Purdy is unsparing and prophetic in his portrayal of television, publishing, Wall Street, race, urban poverty, sex, and the false values of American culture in a work compared to Candide by Susan Sontag. Considered too scabrous for the stifling culture mores of the early 1960s, Purdy's comic fiction evokes "an American psychic landscape of deluded innocence, sexual obsession, violence and isolation" (New York Times).
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Even in 1964, when this novel was first published, it would have been an uphill slog to plausibly characterize a serial rapist as a philanthropist, and the angle of ascent has only increased in the ensuing decades. Cabot Wright works on Wall Street after graduating from college, but his main activity is rape—“he was no respecter of age, raping girls, young ladies, middle-aged matrons, and even elderly women.” But Wright is no violent psychopath; he uses “some form of hypnotism” on his prey, raping “easily and well.” If that description isn’t offensive enough, having women eagerly anticipating his attentions rather than fearing them will be more than most readers will tolerate, even if offered with tongue-in-cheek awareness. Wright’s predations are recounted via an awkward framing device—a sad-sack car salesman, Bernie Gladhart, is egged on by his wife to travel to Brooklyn to interview Wright for a novel based on his life. Pretentious prose (“Loneliness feels so good after the mythic contact with the social”) doesn’t enhance this unsuccessful satire. (July)
New York Times Book Review - Susan Sontag
“It might be loosely described as a bravura work of satire—a satire on pornographic fantasy, a satire on New York literary life, a satire on affluent eccentric mid-century America. Except that satire is perhaps too narrow a term to convey the kind of comedy that Purdy writes…Rather [it is] the vehicle for a universal comic vision.”
Paul Bowles
“James Purdy has succeeded better than anyone else around at the moment in re-creating the U.S.A. and presenting it simultaneously as his own invention and as a faithful reflection of reality—not an easy feat. Cabot Wright Begins is a delight all the way through.”
Susan Sontag - New York Times Book Review
“It might be loosely described as a bravura work of satire—a satire on pornographic fantasy, a satire on New York literary life, a satire on affluent eccentric mid-century America. Except that satire is perhaps too narrow a term to convey the kind of comedy that Purdy writes…Rather [it is] the vehicle for a universal comic vision.”
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871406972
  • Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 7/15/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • File size: 358 KB

Meet the Author

James Purdy, born in 1914, is undergoing a major literary renaissance. The author of Malcolm and now The Complete Short Stories of James Purdy, he lived in New York until his death in 2009.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)