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Grace Paley's life stories : a literary biography /
Judith Arcana.
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, c1993.
xvi, 269 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
0252019458 (cloth)
More Details
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, c1993.
0252019458 (cloth)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [243]-255) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 1993-02-01:
Well aware of the dangers involved in relating literature and life and in writing about a living public figure, Arcana presents an interesting portrait of contemporary writer and activist Grace Paley. Arcana does a superb job of interrelating and integrating Paley's life and work, paralleling characters and dialog with life events and ways of thinking. She gives the reader a real sense of Paley's spirit, personality, and development as an individual and as a writer. This work is based on Arcana's conversations with Paley, her friends, and her family, as well as upon knowledge of her writings. Arcana admits that she omitted certain information and insights at the request of various individuals and at her own discretion. Still, this is a well-written, enjoyable interpretive biography. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries.-- Jeris Cassel, Rutgers Univ. Libs., New Brunswick, N.J. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 1993-10:
The life of Grace Goodside Paley (1922- ), a doctor's daughter, and her work (three short story collections, one poetry collection) "resist separation," insists Arcana. Indeed, Paley's frequent protagonist, Faith Darwin Ashbury, is often taken to be Paley herself. Arcana sees Paley's "high level of integration in her life as a writer, teacher [at Sarah Lawrence College], mother [of two with one abortion], activist [many demonstrations and arrests for political activities], wife [two husbands], and friend" as the key to understanding both her comparatively low level of literary output and her life-related themes. Paley insists on the social responsibility of the artist; life comes first, literature second. Arcana also discusses Paley's language, which reflects Russian and Yiddish as well as English along with dialects of the Bronx and lower Manhattan. Paley emerges as a strong mother-figure and activist fiercely committed to every aspect of her life (except, perhaps, her writing), one who believes that "the world still has to be saved--every day." Grace Paley: Illuminating the Dark Lives by Jacqueline Taylor (CH, Feb'91) focuses solely on Paley's writing, particularly its colloquial "oral" language, which defies semantic and narrative conventions. Arcana's chattily written study is warm, appreciative, and wondrously insightful and should lead both new and old readers to Paley's writing. Includes photos and notes. Highly recommended for women's studies and literature collections. General; undergraduate and up. J. Overmyer; Ohio State University
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1993-01-18:
Grace Paley, whose splendidly crafted collections of short stories ( The Little Disturbances of Man ; Enormous Changes at the Last Minute ; and Later the Same Day ) earned her a National Endowment for the Arts Senior Fellowship in 1987, among other prestigious literary awards, has always tapped the rich experiences of her own life as the basis for her fiction. In this engaging study, Arcana ( Every Mother's Daught e rs ) analyzes Paley's work in terms of its autobiographical roots, tracing her evolution from a wife and mother into a writer and social activist who embraced anti-Vietnam war protests, environmental and feminist causes, and eventually gay rights efforts. This scholarly but readable examination of Paley's life and work, for which Arcana enjoyed Paley's cooperation and drew heavily on interviews with the writer's friends, is marred only by Arcana's overly sympathetic attitude toward her subject. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist, January 1993
Publishers Weekly, January 1993
Library Journal, February 1993
Choice, October 1993
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Table of Contents
Note on Abbreviations and Interviews
Introductionp. 1
The Immigrant Storyp. 9
The Story Hearerp. 27
The Expensive Momentp. 46
A Subject of Childhoodp. 65
The Loudest Voicep. 92
Enormous Changesp. 114
An Irrevocable Diameterp. 135
An Interest in Lifep. 155
A Woman, Young and Oldp. 175
Goodbye and Good Luckp. 195
Notesp. 221
Bibliographyp. 243
Indexp. 257
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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