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Sam Shepard: A Life

Sam Shepard: A Life

by John J. Winters


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"John Winters offers a master class in literary sleuthing, untangling the many lives and unearthing the origin story of America’s foremost Renaissance man of letters." —Kelly Horan, coauthor of Devotion and Defiance

The first comprehensive biography of Sam Shepard in 30 years draws on newly available letters and journals, as well as dozens of interviews—now with a new epilogue, added by the author after Shepard’s untimely death in July of 2017

With more than fifty-five plays to his credit—including the 1979 Pulitzer Prize–winning Buried Child, an Oscar nod for his portrayal of Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff, and an onscreen persona that’s been aptly summed up as “Gary Cooper in denim”—Sam Shepard’s impact on American theater and film ranks with the greatest playwrights and actors of the past half-century.

Sam Shepard: A Life gets to the heart of Sam Shepard, presenting a compelling and comprehensive account of his life and work.

In a new epilogue, added by the author after Shepard’s untimely death in July of 2017, John J. Winters offers a glimpse into the enigmatic author’s last days, when very few knew he was suffering from ALS.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781619029736
Publisher: Catapult
Publication date: 03/20/2018
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 774,969
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.28(d)

About the Author

JOHN J. WINTERS is a veteran journalist, critic, and academic who has made Sam Shepard the focus of his scholarship. In addition to working for The Boston Globe and countless newspapers, Winters has placed work in Playboy, Salon, the Providence Journal, Art New England, The Providence Phoenix, Runner's World, and Rhode Island Monthly. He is a regular contributor of reviews and commentary to Boston’s National Public Radio affiliate, WBUR.

Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Discovery 3

Beginnings 8

The Dark Muse/Father 14

The Rock/Mother 23

Go West 27

On the Road 42

Arriving 54

Genesis 68

"Generally Acknowledged Genius" 78

Musical Interlude 94

New Territory 99

Early Film Work (1968-1970) 109

Dazed and Confused (1968 and 1969) 118

New Directions 125

Patti 132

Mad Dogs, Splits, and More (1971 continued) 139

Gurdjieff 146

London 153

Mill Valley Days 171

Dylan 179

Heavenward (1976) 191

Family Matters 200

You Can't Go Home Again 215

True Brothers 224

"Stuff" 240

Jessica: The Beginning 244

Fools for Love 253

"Paris" 260

"Between Two Deaths" 267

Between Two Families 277

"Dancing Around the Grave?" 288

"Action!" 293

War Story 299

Take Two 306

Losing Game 312

At Last, Paradise 318

"Blue" Days 327

"Late" Show 333

"Hell" 337

A Late Trilogy 347

Break 351

Stumbling 360

The Road Ahead 364

Epilogue 369

Acknowledgments 375

Endnotes 379

Index 425

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