The Third Kind of Knowledge: Memoirs and Selected Writings of Robert Fitzgerald

Overview

The memoirs and essays collected in The Third Kind of Knowledge encompass the many lives of a remarkable man. Poet, translator, critic, journalist, memoirist, scholar - the late Robert Fitzgerald (1910-1985) had an unusual range of gifts and lived a strikingly varied life in the literary and academic world. While growing up, his scholarly promise earned the attention of his mentor in classical studies, Dudley Fitts, and his poetic gifts the admiration first of Vachel Lindsay and later of T. S. Eliot (who took ...
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Overview

The memoirs and essays collected in The Third Kind of Knowledge encompass the many lives of a remarkable man. Poet, translator, critic, journalist, memoirist, scholar - the late Robert Fitzgerald (1910-1985) had an unusual range of gifts and lived a strikingly varied life in the literary and academic world. While growing up, his scholarly promise earned the attention of his mentor in classical studies, Dudley Fitts, and his poetic gifts the admiration first of Vachel Lindsay and later of T. S. Eliot (who took some of his college poems for publication in the Criterion). A reporter for the New York Herald Tribune in the thirties, Fitzgerald also spent time before and after the Second World War as a part of Henry Luce's literary stable at Time, where he forged his close friendship with James Agee and edited the Books Department for the magazine. His friendship with Agee, and also with Flannery O'Connor (whose literary executor he became) as well as with other literary figures such as John Berryman, Allen Tate, and Caroline Gordon flourished during this period. In the early fifties he moved with his family to Italy, where he worked for six years on his celebrated translation of the Odyssey. His other classical translations - the Iliad, the Aeneid, and his translations of Euripides and Sophocles, several done in collaboration with Dudley Fitts - have become the signal translations of our time. A renowned teacher as well as poet and scholar, Fitzgerald taught, over the years, at such institutions as Sarah Lawrence, Princeton, The New School, Mount Holyoke, and The University of Washington. His career culminated at Harvard where, in 1965, he was named Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory. For fifteen years his course in Versification influenced a generation of young poets, and his seminar in "Homer, Virgil, and Dante" a generation of young scholars. The Third Kind of Knowledge displays the unusual breadth of Fitzgerald's achievement and includes personal memoirs
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Translator, poet and essayist Fitzgerald (1910-1985) is known chiefly for his excellent translations of Homer's Odyssey (1961) and Iliad (1974) and Virgil's Aeneid (1984). In this collection, edited with an introduction by his widow, Fitzgerald communicates the high degree of intellect, intuition and respect a gifted writer and translator brings to his work. The eclectic collection includes literary essays and an interview on the art of translating and writing poetry, as well as Fitzgerald's recollections of his childhood and his early career as a reporter. His reminiscences of fellow writers, such as James Agee, Flannery O'Connor and Vachel Lindsay, are perceptive and touching. Of interest to devotees and scholars. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.)
Library Journal
A poet, journalist, critic, and Harvard professor, Fitzgerald is best known for his translation of Homer's Odyssey (1961). The present volume contains several autobiographical pieces; memoirs of James Agee, Flannery O'Connor, Vachel Lindsay, Randall Jarrell, and Ezra Pound; and seven essays on classical poetry. An interview with Fitzgerald entitled ``The Art of Translation'' rounds out the volume. Although all the essays have been published previously, the collection nevertheless remains useful. The autobiographical essays particularly gain power when read together. A fitting tribute to a dedicated teacher and scholar, this book is recommended for academic and research collections.-- William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
Ray Olson
Billed as the first collection of prose works by one of the century's most eminent translators of classical poetry, whose "Odyssey" is arguably the best in English, this volume consists about equally of memoirs and essays on the three cornerstones of Western literature that he translated (Virgil's "Aeneid" as well as Homer's epics) and a fourth, Dante's "Commedia", that he did not. The memoirs in turn divide about equally into personal recollections of a tragedy-bedeviled youth (mother, brother, and father were all dead by the time Fitzgerald was 17) that was nonetheless happy and appreciative reminiscences of some of his literary friends and acquaintances--contemporaries James Agee, Flannery O'Connor, and Randall Jarrell, elders Vachel Lindsay and Ezra Pound. So whether one prefers the classics or the American moderns, these pages afford the pleasure of a warm intellect and an engaging, lucid style concentrating upon some of the writings and writers most worthy of any reader's attention, while the autobiographical pieces before them are so full of the color and mystery of youth recalled they leave one wishing Fitzgerald, who died at 75 in 1985, had left more.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811210560
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 2/28/1993
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.23 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
Prologue: Gifts from We Know Not Where
That Starry Country
Notes on a Distant Prospect 3
Light from the Bay Windows 11
No Castles, No Cathedrals 18
The Third Kind of Knowledge 29
When the Cockroach Stood by the Mickle Wood 40
Of Time and the Great Dead
James Agee: A Memoir 61
Flannery O'Connor: A Memoir 105
Vachel Lindsay: A Springfield Memoir 125
Randall Jarrell: A Memoir 131
Gold and Gloom in Ezra Pound 135
The Style That Does Honor: The Poet in the Classical Tradition
Generations of Leaves: Studies in Homer, Virgil, and Dante 149
Postscript to a Translation of the Odyssey 165
An Introduction to Dryden's Aeneid 202
Postscript to a Translation of the Aeneid 218
The Style That Does Honor: In Tribute to Dante 234
Mirroring the Commedia: An Appreciation of Laurence Binyon's Version 241
Appendix: The Art of Translation: An Interview with Robert Fitzgerald 263
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