By Joe Woodward
From his identify to his university transcript to his literary sort, Nathanael West used to be self-invented. Born Nathan Weinstein, the writer of the classics pass over Lonelyhearts (1933) and The Day of the Locust (1939) was once an uncompromising artist enthusiastic about writing the proper novel. He pursued his ardour from manhattan to California, flirting dangerously with the grim, faux-glamour of Hollywood because the nation suffered in the course of the grim realities of the good melancholy. on the middle of a circle of full of life younger literary writers that incorporated Malcolm Cowley, William Carlos Williams, F. Scott Fitzgerald, S. J. Perelman, and Dashiell Hammett, West rose to turn into the most unique literary skills of the 20th century—an finished but unfortunately underappreciated grasp of the quick lyric novel.
West used to be eventually beginning to take pleasure in monetary balance as a Hollywood screenwriter while he died within the California wilderness. A notoriously undesirable driving force, he was once racing again from a holiday in Mexico together with his younger bride of 8 months whilst he crashed at complete velocity into one other automobile. He was once lifeless on the age of 37.
For this e-book, the 1st biography on West by myself in over forty years, Joe Woodward combed the information on the Huntington Library and the loo Hay Library at Brown collage. At either he had entry to non-public letters, pictures, unpublished manuscripts and corrected typescripts in addition to seldom-heard taped interviews with S. J. Perelman, Dalton Trumbo, Matthew Josephson and others.
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Extra resources for Alive Inside the Wreck: A Biography of Nathaniel West
Here was life, a thousand-fold in every moment, in longing and sorrow, in madness and fear, in loss and gain. Here was a boundless desire, a thirst so great that it dried up all the water in the world down to a single drop. Here there were no denials or lies, and as for the gestures of giving and taking, here they were honest and great. There was vice and depravity, damnation and bliss alike, and one understood suddenly that a world which concealed and covered this, a world which acted as if it were otherwise, could only be poor.
Placing the mask before us, it is as if we were standing on an enormous tower, looking down on an uneven landscape, surveying the winding paths crossed by countless people over the years. Picking it up again, we hold a thing that can only be called beautiful on account of its perfection. But its beauty is not solely a result of the incomparable meticulousness with which it was crafted. qxp 2/25/2011 2:04 PM Page 35 Balzac, Monumental Head, 1897. 2 cm. Musée Rodin, Paris. Balzac’s Dressing Gown, c.
The Man with the Broken Nose was rejected by the Salon in 1864. This is not difficult to imagine, for one can’t help but feel that with this work, entirely whole and sure as it was, Rodin had already reached full maturity. With the forthrightness of a great confession, it violated the precepts of academic beauty that were still predominant at the time. Rodin had given the wild gesture and widemouthed scream to his Goddess of Revolt on the triumphal arch in the Place de l’Etoile in vain; Barye, too, had created his graceful animals in vain; and Carpeaux’s Dance was greeted with scorn, until familiarity eventually made it impossible to see it for what it was.
Alive Inside the Wreck: A Biography of Nathaniel West by Joe Woodward