In Partial Disgrace

In Partial Disgrace

by Charles Newman
     
 
The long-awaited final work and magnum opus of one of the United States's greatest authors, critics, and tastemakers, In Partial Disgrace is a sprawling self-contained trilogy chronicling the troubled history of a small Central European nation bearing certain similarities to Hungary—and whose rise and fall might be said to parallel the strange contortions taken

Overview

The long-awaited final work and magnum opus of one of the United States's greatest authors, critics, and tastemakers, In Partial Disgrace is a sprawling self-contained trilogy chronicling the troubled history of a small Central European nation bearing certain similarities to Hungary—and whose rise and fall might be said to parallel the strange contortions taken by Western political and literary thought over the course of the twentieth century. More than twenty years in the making, and containing a cast of characters, breadth of insight, and degree of stylistic legerdemain to rival such staggering achievements as William H. Gass's The Tunnel, Carlos Fuentes's Terra Nostra, Robert Coover's The Public Burning, or Péter Nádas's Parallel Lives, In Partial Disgrace may be the last great work to issue from the generation that changed American letters in the '60s and '70s.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Acclaimed critic and novelist Newman (White Jazz) offers a weighty historical satire in this posthumous work set in the fabled kingdom of Cannonia. The narrative splits between two protagonists and time periods: Iulus Psalmanazar details pre-WWII Cannonia—which is modeled on Hungary—and an American soldier, Rufus, explores the conquered nation near war's end. The son of an aristocratic dog breeder and goddess mother—who claims descent from indigenous Cannonians, the Astingi—Iulus tells of former days at his majestic home of Semper Vero. Newman's prose is as limpid and meandering as his Mze river, "the spinal fluid of Cannonia," which informs all life and invokes a sort of magic for the boy. The beauty and specificity of Newman's prose, and the book's conceit that Rufus is presenting Iulus's papers, often excuses the "old-fashioned idiom" of Iulus's first person narrative, though at times the novel feels static. The narrative thrust arises from the contrast between extremes: the rich and cultured world of pre-war Cannonia on one side—filled with Astingi magic, prize winning dogs, gourmet meals, music, literature, and many a "conversazione galante,"—and the nation's impoverished post-war landscape on the other, threatened as it is by American power. Newman's wide-ranging, ambitious work effortlessly blends fact with fantasy. (Mar.)
Time Magazine
“"Newman’s sentences are almost too elegant . . . His satire, however, is subtle and precise."”
Life
““Taxes the vocabulary of praise.””
Time
““Newman’s sentences are almost too elegant . . . His satire, however, is subtle and precise.””
Joyce Carol Oates
““The kind of delicately brutal work we might have wished Catch-22 to actually have been.””

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781564788160
Publisher:
Dalkey Archive Press
Publication date:
03/05/2013
Series:
American Literature (Dalkey Archive) Series
Pages:
337
Sales rank:
1,145,598
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

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What People are saying about this

Joyce Carol Oates
The kind of delicately brutal work we might have wished Catch-22 to actually have been.”

Meet the Author

Charles Newman (1938-2006) was born in St. Louis and grew up in the Chicago area. In 1964 he became editor of "TriQuarterly", which he nurtured into a journal with an international reputation. Newman's own novels have been compared to the work of both Thomas Pynchon and J. D. Salinger, and his two works of nonfiction are both classics of the form. Newman was a Professor at Washington University in St. Louis from 1985 until his death.

Ben Ryder Howe has written for "The New Yorker", "The Atlantic Monthly", and "Outside", and his work has been selected for "Best American Travel Writing". He is a former senior editor of "The Paris Review". He, his wife, and their two children live on Staten Island. He is the author of "My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store."

Joshua Cohen is a faculty member at Apple University, and has taught at MIT (1977-2006) and Stanford (2006-2014). He is the author, co-author, or editor of more than 25 books. His most recent books are Philosophy, Politics, Democracy (2009); The Arc of the Moral Universe (2011); and Rousseau: A Free Community of Equals (2012). Since 1991, Cohen has been editor of Boston Review.

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