by Charles Reznikoff
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A major work by an essential American poet, published in full for the first time. Available again for the first time since 1978—and complete in one volume for the first time ever—Charles Reznikoff's Testimony is a lost masterpiece, a legendary book that stands alongside Louis Zukofsky's "A" and William Carlos Williams's Paterson as a milestone of modern American poetry. Taking as its raw material the voices of witnesses, victims, and perpetrators discovered by the author in criminal court transcripts, Reznikoff's book sets forth a stark panorama of late-19th and early 20th-century America—the underside of the Gilded Age, beset by racism and casual violence, poverty and disease—in a radically stripped-down language of almost unbearable intensity. This edition also includes Reznikoff 's prose studies for the poem, unavailable to readers since the 1930s, and a new introduction by essayist Eliot Weinberger.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781567925319
Publisher: Godine, David R. Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 02/03/2015
Series: Black Sparrow
Pages: 608
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

Charles Reznikoff was born in Brooklyn in 1894. He graduated from law school and was admitted to the bar, but never practiced, instead pursuing his writing. Between 1918 and 1961 he published twenty-three books of poetry and prose, gaining a wider readership in 1962, when New Directions published By the Waters of Manhattan: Selected Verse; a second selection, By the Well of Living and Seeing, was published by Black Sparrow in 1974, followed by the Complete Poems and Holocaust. Reznikoff died in 1975, at the age of eighty-one. Eliot Weinberger is an acclaimed essayist, translator, and editor. His essays are collected in Karmic Traces, An Elemental Thing, Oranges & Peanuts for Sale, Outside Stories, Works On Paper, and What Happened Here: Bush Chronicles (all available from New Directions). His writing appears frequently in The New York Review of Books and The London Review of Books.

Table of Contents

Introduction Eliot Weinberger ix

1 Testimony: The United States (1885-1890), Recitative 1

The South 5

Social Life 6

Domestic Scenes 14

Boys and Girls 18

Machine Age 21

Property 24

Negroes 31

The North 34

Social Life 36

Domestic Scenes 42

Boys and Girls 48

Property 55

Negroes 67

Persons and Places 69

Railroads 75

Machine Age 79

The West 82

Stagecoaches 82

Town and Country 84

Social Life 89

Domestic Scenes 90

Chinese 96

2 Testimony: The United States (1891-1900), Recitative 103

The South 105

Social Life 105

Domestic Scenes 110

Children 119

Negroes 126

Property 147

Railroads 151

Death of a Salesman 154

The Burial 156

Sounds and Smells 158

The North 161

Social Life 163

Domestic scenes 175

A Divorce 181

Children 198

Negroes 204

Property 211

Machine Age 230

Railroads 240

Shipping 242

Mining 246

The Good Neighbor 249

The Patriot 251

Note on the Texts of Parts One and Two 257

3 Testimony: The United States (1891-1900), Recitative 259

The West 261

Social Life 261

Domestic Scenes 263

Children 273

Property 276

Railroads 293

Mining 300

Labor Troubles 302

Mexicans 306

Indians 308

4 Testimony: The United States (1901-1910), Recitative 311

The South 313

Social Life 313

Neighbors 317

Domestic Difficulties 324

Machine Age 337

Streetcars and Railroads 340

Shipping 344

Whites and Blacks 345

Thefts?and Thieves 361

Episode in the Life of a Laundress 368

Episode in the Life of a Schoolteacher 370

Episodes at a Trial 370

The North 372

Machine Age 372

Children at Work 376

Streetcars and Railroads 384

Shipping 389

Domestic Difficulties 390

Neighbors 422

Property 425

Thefts?and Thieves 430

Labor Troubles 436

Whites and Blacks 430

Persons and Places 443

The West 455

Social Life 455

Domestic Difficulties 457

Property 460

Thefts?and Thieves 462

Business Troubles 470

Persons and Places 473

5 Testimony: The United States (1911-1915), Recitative 479

The North 481

The Woodpecker's Revenge 481

Social Life 485

Family Difficulties 487

Machine Age 495

The South 499

Family Difficulties 499

Railroads 501

Nightmar 502

Social Life: A Merry Christmas 503

The West 506

The Goldhunters 506

Machine Age 511

Note on the Texts of Parts Three, Four, and Five 515

Appendix: Testimony (1934) 517

Editor's Foreword Justin Parks 519

Contents 531

Introduction By Kenneth Burke 533

Testimony 537

Index 583

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