Conversations with Shelby Foote

Overview

Shelby Foote once said that he did not know of anything he had learned about the writing of novels that couldn't also be applied to the writing of history. In his development, the merging of these special talents has made Foote almost unique in the history of American literature, for few other great modern authors have proved to be master storytellers in both fiction and historical narrative.

In Conversations with Shelby Foote, this novelist-historian expresses penetrating and ...

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Overview

Shelby Foote once said that he did not know of anything he had learned about the writing of novels that couldn't also be applied to the writing of history. In his development, the merging of these special talents has made Foote almost unique in the history of American literature, for few other great modern authors have proved to be master storytellers in both fiction and historical narrative.

In Conversations with Shelby Foote, this novelist-historian expresses penetrating and often humorous remarks about major modern writers as well as about the classical writers of fiction, plays, poetry, and historical narrative. In one interview Foote explains how Homer's Iliad and Proust's Remembrance of Things Past were his chief models for writing his history of the Civil War.

Foote recounts also what it was like to grow up in a small Mississippi town in the first half of the twentieth century and tells how his observations of African Americans and whites of all classes influenced his fiction and history writing.

These eighteen interviews spanning thirty-seven years not only detail Shelby Foote's exploration of southern history, race relations, and the role of literature in the formation and preservation of a culture but also reveal his evolution into a great narrative artist.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Insights into Foote's writing through interviews done between 1950 and 1987 (most of which have appeared previously, though in widely scattered publications). Contains much comment on Faulkner. Cloth edition (not seen) $27.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780878053865
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
  • Publication date: 3/1/1989
  • Series: Literary Conversations Series
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 499,265
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Shelby Foote:I think plotting is more important in history than in fiction. I don't think there's much truth in a book of twenty essays about the Civil War, one chapter dealing with slavery, one dealing with military things, usually called, "The Armies Meet,", and that sort of foolishness. The whole thing ought to tell a glowing story or it won't be true.
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Table of Contents

Introduction vii
Chronology xv
Shelby Foote, Greenville Author, Says Writing Is His Hardest Job 3
Talk with Shelby Foote 5
Shelby Foote Hopes to Put Flesh and Blood of Memphis on Paper 8
Foote-Note on Faulkner 12
Writer's Home Has Windows on Past, Present 15
Writer Critical of 'Tokenism' in South 18
It's Worth a Grown Man's Time: An Interview with Shelby Foote 21
Talking with Shelby Foote 56
Interview with Shelby Foote 77
Shelby Foote's Love Affair with Civil War Began in '54 103
WKNO Presents a Conversation with Shelby Foote 112
Appomattox for Shelby Foote 131
Interview with Shelby Foote 137
Shelby Foote 151
A Colloquium with Shelby Foote 196
An Interview with Shelby Foote 218
Shelby Foote 230
Seeking the Truth in Narrative: An Interview with Shelby Foote 241
Index 270
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