Styron, William - Prose & Criticism
The Confessions of Nat Turner
The Confessions of Nat Turner
Paperback      ISBN: 0679736638
The story that inspired the major motion picture The Birth of a Nation (2016)

In the late summer of 1831, in a remote section of southeastern Virginia, there took place the only effective, sustained revolt in the annals of American Negro slavery...

The revolt was led by a remarkable Negro preacher named Nat Turner, an educated slave who felt himself divinely ordained to annihilate all the white people in the region.

The Confessions of Nat Turner is narrated by Nat himself as he lingers in jail through the cold autumnal days before his execution. The compelling story ranges over the whole of Nat's Life, reaching its inevitable and shattering climax that bloody day in August.

The Confessions of Nat Turner is not only a masterpiece of storytelling; is also reveals in unforgettable human terms the agonizing essence of Negro slavery. Through the mind of a slave, Willie Styron has re-created a catastrophic event, and dramatized the intermingled miseries, frustrations--and hopes--which caused this extraordinary black man to rise up out of the early mists of our history and strike down those who held his people in bondage.
Sophie's Choice
Sophie's Choice
Paperback      ISBN: 0679736379

As the fierce lovemaking and fights of Nathan, a paranoiac Jewish intellectual, and Sophie, a Polish-Catholic concentration-camp survivor, intensify, Stingo, a writer who lives below them in a cheap rooming house, becomes more and more involved in their lives

My Generation: Collected Nonfiction
My Generation
Collected Nonfiction
Hardcover      ISBN: 0812997050
A vital, illuminating collection of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner's elegant, passionately engaged nonfiction

My Generation is the definitive gathering of William Styron's nonfiction, exposing the core of this greatly gifted, highly convivial, and profoundly serious artist from his literary emergence in the 1950s to his death in 2006.

Here are fifty years of Styron's essays, memoirs, reviews, op-eds, articles, eulogies, and speeches, reflecting the same brilliant style and informed thinking that he brought to his towering fiction and to a deeply committed public life. Including many newly collected and never-before-published items, this compendium ranges from the original mission statement of The Paris Review, which Styron helped found in 1953, to a 2001 tribute to his friend Philip Roth--creating an essential overview of arts and letters during the post-World War II years.

In these pages, Styron writes vividly of childhood days in Tidewater Virginia spent going to movies, not reading books. ("It does not mean the death of literacy or creativity if one is drenched in popular culture at an early age.") He recalls being among the group of soldiers who would have been sent to invade Japan and were saved by Truman's decision to drop the atomic bomb, which Styron feels was the right choice, "even though its absolute rightness can never be proved." And he writes as few others have about midlife battles with clinical depression, "a pain that is all but indescribable, and therefore to everyone but the sufferer almost meaningless."

Here, too, are Styron's personal encounters with world leaders, fellow authors, and friends, each of whom comes memorably to life. Styron recalls sharing contraband Cuban cigars with JFK ("a naughty memento, a conversation piece with a touch of scandal"), getting lost in the snow with Robert Penn Warren, and party-hopping with the young James Jones (an experience he likens to "keeping company with a Roman emperor"). The beginnings of his masterpieces The Confessions of Nat Turner and Sophie's Choice are chronicled here, along with the controversy that greeted the former upon its 1967 publication. Throughout, Styron celebrates the men and women of his generation, whose lives were forged in the crucible of World War II.

Whether he's recounting a walk with his dog, musing on the Modern Library's list of the hundred best English-language novels of the twentieth century, or contemplating America's fraught racial legacy from his point of view as the grandson of a woman who owned slaves, William Styron writes always in urgent, finely calibrated prose. These fascinating pieces bring readers closer to this great writer and the world he observed, interacted with, and changed.

Praise for My Generation

"William Styron's My Generation: Collected Nonfiction is both unsurpassably charming and unflinchingly honest, whether recounting the fallout from The Confessions of Nat Turner or reminiscing about the slave-owning grandmother who warned him never to forget he was a Southerner."--Vogue

"At its most accomplished, Styron's non-fiction mixes a conscientious, richly traditional prose style with a strong current of fellow feeling, a certain awe at the human condition, which is what gives power to his best fiction. . . . Styron stood tall in his generation, and the best of him will stand up over time."--USA Today

"A must for every Styron fan's library."--BBC
Lie Down in Darkness
Lie Down in Darkness
Paperback      ISBN: 0679735976

William Styron traces the betrayals and infidelities--the heritage of spite and endlessly disappointed love--that afflict the members of a Southern family and that culminate in the suicide of the beautiful Peyton Loftis.

William Styron: A Life
William Styron
A Life
Hardcover      ISBN: 0679410546
The Long March and in the Clap Shack
The Long March and in the Clap Shack
Paperback      ISBN: 0679736751

Two extraordinary works about soldiers in a time of dubious peace by a writer of vast eloquence and moral authority. With stylistic panache and vitriolic wit, William Styron depicts conflicts between men of somewhat more than average intelligence and the military machine. In The Long March, a novella, two Marine reservists fight to retain their dignity while on a grueling exercise staged by a posturing colonel. The uproariously funny play In the Clap Shack charts the terrified passage of a young recruit through the prurient inferno of a Navy hospital VD ward. In both works, Styron wages a gallant defense of the free individual--and serves up a withering indictment of a system that has no room for individuality or freedom.

Set This House on Fire
Set This House on Fire
Paperback      ISBN: 0679736743

The day after Peter Leverett met his old friend Mason Flagg in Italy, Mason was found dead. The hours leading up to his death were a nightmare for Peter--both in their violence and in their maddening unreality. The blaze of events which followed was, Peter soon realized, ignited by a conflict between two men: Mason Flagg himself, and Cass Kinsolving, a tortured, self-destructive painter, a natural enemy and prey to the monstrous evil of Mason Flagg. Three events--murder, rape and suicide--explode in the is relentless and passionate novel, almost overwhelming in its conception of the varieties of good and evil.

"It may be one of the finest novels of our times . . . Styron, besides being a superb craftsman and a skillful, evocative artist, is a master storyteller."--San Francisco Chronicle
A Tidewater Morning: Three Tales from Youth
A Tidewater Morning
Three Tales from Youth
Hardcover      ISBN: 0679427422

Three stories detail a former slave's return to his birthplace, the impact of war on personal relationships, and a mother's death, all viewed through the eyes of a youth in Tidewater Virginia

The Achievement of William Styron
The Achievement of William Styron
Paperback      ISBN: 0820332593

The publication of Sophie's Choice, one of William Styron's greatest literary achievements, generated a new spark in the critical discussion of the author and is the main emphasis of the interview with Styron and one of the additional essays in this revised edition. The interview was conducted by Robert K. Morris; the essay on Sophie's Choice by Richard Pearce. Other essays include Jane Flanders on Styron's southern myth, Philip W. Leon on Styron's narrative technique, and Ardner R. Cheshire, Jr., and Mary S. Strine on The Confessions of Nat Turner.

Originally published in 1975, The Achievement of William Styron was the first collection of critical essays on one of America's most distinguished contemporary fiction writers, and it has become a standard work. Essays from the original edition which are included in this revised edition are those by the editors, and by Louis D. Rubin, Jr., John O. Lyons, Jan B. Gordon, Robert Phillips, and George Core.
The Critical Response to William Styron
The Critical Response to William Styron
Hardcover      ISBN: 0313280002

William Styron has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity with the publication of Darkness Visible (1990), his account of his struggle with near-suicidal depression. His works are known for discussing psychological conflicts within families, religious doubt, existentialism, racial tension, and the role of history in fiction. Often compared with William Faulkner, Styron has emerged as one of the most important figures in contemporary American literature and is best known for his continuation of the Southern gothic tradition.

Through original essays, reprints of previously published criticism, and excerpts from reviews, this volume traces the critical reception of Styron's writings over the last 40 years. All of Styron's novels are covered, but the majority of the selections focus on his three most important works: Lie Down in Darkness, The Confessions of Nat Turner, and Sophie's Choice. The pieces reflect a variety of critical perspectives, and the introduction overviews significant trends and omissions in Styron criticism. A bibliography lists Styron's writings, along with critical studies of his work.