Expelled from Eden: A William T. Vollmann Reader

Overview

William T. Vollmann is one of our greatest living writers. Masterworks such as You Bright and Risen Angels, The Royal Family, and Rising Up and Rising Down-his latest work, a stunning 3,300-page tour-de-force-have launched him into the literary stratosphere. He stands today as one of America's leading contenders for a future Nobel Prize in literature. Here is his long-awaited "best-of" collection, intended both as an introduction for the curious reader, and as a necessary addition to the existing fan's ...
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Overview

William T. Vollmann is one of our greatest living writers. Masterworks such as You Bright and Risen Angels, The Royal Family, and Rising Up and Rising Down-his latest work, a stunning 3,300-page tour-de-force-have launched him into the literary stratosphere. He stands today as one of America's leading contenders for a future Nobel Prize in literature. Here is his long-awaited "best-of" collection, intended both as an introduction for the curious reader, and as a necessary addition to the existing fan's collection. With excerpts from all of Vollmann's novels (including several not yet published), journalistic pieces, essays, correspondence, and poetry, Expelled from Eden creates a unique, kaleidoscopic portrait of one of America's most notorious, protean, devastating, and necessary writers.
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Editorial Reviews

Steven Moore
Vollmann's willingness to go against the preferred social realism of our day, enabled by his publishers' willingness to allow him to unfold his Wagnerian epics at full length, makes him a hero of our time.
— The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560254416
  • Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/21/2004
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 982,777
  • Product dimensions: 1.17 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

William T. Vollmann
William T. Vollmann
Known as a bit of a "dark horse" of contemporary literature, William T. Vollman has garnered acclaim from readers and critics alike for the boldness and raw originality of his works, which often combine fictional and journalistic techniques. "Whether Dostoyevskifying the detective novel or offering boundless books-of-Genesis, Vollmann has had an ability to conjure tomes in a range of genres that is increasingly Faustian," observes The Village Voice.

Biography

Fearless, ambitious, and wildly original, William T. Vollmann has been lionized as one of the most significant and influential voices in contemporary postmodernist literature. His dauntingly voluminous books, a hodgepodge of fiction and journalism, are marked by bold, often beautiful language. They also spring from personal experience: Volmann is famous for total immersion in his subjects. His research has taken him to the ends of the earth – to the North Pole, to war zones around the globe, and (perhaps most famously) to San Francisco's notorious Tenderloin district to gain a better understanding of its notorious denizens..

Vollmann roared onto the literary scene in 1987 with You Bright and Risen Angels, a bold and quirky debut novel that chronicled in allegorical fashion the bitter battle between insects and the inventors of electricity. From that point on, his books became less surreal and more gritty. In 1992, he wrote his first "official" work of nonfiction, An Afghanistan Picture Show , an impressionistic chronicle of his experiences among the Afghan rebels in the early 1980s. Since then, the prolific author has produced an unstoppable juggernaut of prose, most notably installments in his towering fictional sequence Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes and a labyrinthine seven-volume treatise on violence called Rising Up, Rising Down. Published by the iconoclastic publishing house McSweeney's in 2003, this magnum opus was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Nonfiction.

In 1999, The New Yorker named Vollmann one of the 20 best American writers under the age of 40. In 2005, he was awarded the National Book Award for Fiction for Europe Central, a 750-page series of linked stories set in Germany and Russia during World War II. His journalism continues to appear in such magazines as Esquire, Spin, Gear, Outside, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, and The New Yorker. In addition, he has founded the Co-Tangent Press as a vehicle for publishing his own limited edition art books.

Good To Know

Vollmann wrote his first novel, You Bright and Risen Angels, while working as a computer programmer.

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    1. Also Known As:
      m the Blind, Captain Subzero
    2. Hometown:
      Sacramento, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 28, 1959
    2. Place of Birth:
      Santa Monica, California
    1. Education:
      Attended Deep Springs College and Cornell University

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
Biographical statement (c. 1989) 3
From "The land of counterpane" 7
The butterfly boy 11
Hanover, New Hampshire, U.S.A. (1968) 25
Some thoughts on neglected water taps 29
List of "contemporary" books most admired by Vollmann (1990) 35
From "The ghost of magnetism" 39
Preface to Ken Miller's Open all night 55
Ken Miller, selection of photos 59
Honesty 63
Three meditations on death 69
Across the divide 91
Regrets of a schoolteacher 121
Zoya 125
From "The grave of lost stories" 131
Review of Reporting Vietnam 137
Some thoughts on the value of writing during wartime 143
From "Moral calculus" 155
The agony of Parker 161
The shame of it all 167
Nicole 187
Decisions, decisions 193
The hermophrodite 203
List of what porn is (and isn't) 215
Sunflower 219
From "The best way to smoke crack" 225
Prayer against angels 233
Antarctica 237
The conquest of Kianazor 239
The advantages of space (1978) 243
A bizarre proposition (1979) 245
Subzero's debt, 1991 247
The water of life 275
Writing 305
Letter against cuts 311
Whores for Gloria : a note to publishers 317
Crabbed cautions of a bleeding-hearted un-deleter - and potential Nobel Prize winner 319
"My life's work" (2002) 325
American writing today : diagnosis of a disease 329
Afterword to Danilo Kis's A tomb for Boris Davidovich 333
Debts and debtors 343
To the right honourable reader 353
The stench of corpses 367
Melville's magic mountain 371
Steinbeck : most American of us all 379
Postface 383
App A William T. Vollmann chronology 387
App Seven dreams : description of project 447
App CoTangent Press book objects 459
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