This Quiet Dust: And Other Writings

Paperback (1st Vintage international ed)
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Styron is his instinct for tragedy and in his respect for the sheer force of human feeling." — Alfred Kazin

In an age when much American writing is either glacially noncommittal or heremetically personal, William Styron persists in addressing great moral issues with incendiary passion. Seriousness and ardor characterize all the essays in This Quiet Dust, the first book of nonfiction by the Pulitzer Prize — winning author of Lie Down in Darkness and Sophie's Choice.

In this new edition, which has been updated with the inclusion of six previously uncollected essays, Styron covers a wide range of concerns; yet whether he is recounting his search for the historic Nat Turner, peering into the abyss of Auschwitz, navigating the battlefields of Vietnam and Chicago in 1968, or offering fresh assessments of Thomas Wolfe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, James Jones, and Robert Penn Warren, Styron is always a consummate literary stylist, one who is as engaging as he is engaged.

"[Styron is] the most accomplished craftsman, and one of the most penetrating witnesses of our life." — Associated Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679735960
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/1993
  • Series: Vintage International Series
  • Edition description: 1st Vintage international ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 1,495,862
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

William Styron
William Styron
Whether fictionalizing a slave uprising in The Confessions of Nat Turner or breaking the silence on clinical depression, William Styron's work inspired not only accolades but national dialogues.


One of the great writers of the generation succeeding that of Hemingway and Faulkner, William Styron is renowned for the elegance of his prose and his powerful moral engagement. His books include Lie Down in Darkness, The Long March, The Confessions of Nat Turner, Sophie's Choice, This Quiet Dust, and Darkness Visible. He has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the American Book Award, the Howells Medal, and the Edward MacDowell Medal.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      William Clark Styron Jr. (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Roxbury, Connecticut, and Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 11, 1925
    2. Place of Birth:
      Newport News, Virginia
    1. Date of Death:
      November 1, 2006
    2. Place of Death:
      Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Table of Contents

Note to the Reader
South 3
Introduction 3
This Quiet Dust 9
A Southern Conscience 31
Slave and Citizen 35
In the Southern Camp 39
The Oldest America 48
A Voice from the South 52
The Habit 65
Forebears 73
"O Lost!" Etc. 73
An Elegy for F. Scott Fitzgerald 87
A Second Flowering 95
Hell Reconsidered 105
Victims 119
Introduction 119
The Death-in-Life of Benjamin Reid 122
Benjamin Reid: Aftermath 137
Aftermath of "Aftermath" 147
The Joint 153
A Death in Canaan 159
Death Row 165
Why Primo Levi Need Not Have Died 169
Down the Nile 175
Lollipops 193
The Big Love 193
Candy 200
The Service 207
Introduction 207
MacArthur 210
The Red Badge of Literature 221
A Farewell to Arms 226
Calley 236
Arnheiter 244
The Wreckage of an American War 248
Chicago: 1968 255
Portraits and Farewells 267
Robert Penn Warren 267
Peter Matthiessen 271
William Blackburn 275
William Faulkner 279
Philip Rahv 286
James Jones 289
Bennett Cerf 299
Francois Mitterrand 301
Looking Back 309
Christchurch 309
The James 313
Almost a Rhodes Scholar 317
Lie Down in Darkness 323
The Paris Review 329
The Long March 333
Auschwitz 336
The MacDowell Medal 340
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2010

    Refreshing and Smart

    Styron's writing is so captivating, it's all but impossible not to get swept along. His essay's are thought-provoking and definitely worth a read for anyone who appreciates original thought and well-crafted prose.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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