Richard Condon — The Whisper of The Axe– The Manchurian Candidate — Prizzi’s Honor — Videos

Posted on December 29, 2018. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Book, Books, Chinese, College, Communications, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Cult, Culture, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Drug Cartels, Education, Entertainment, Ethic Cleansing, European History, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Fiction, Films, Foreign Policy, Fraud, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, history, Homicide, Language, liberty, Life, Literacy, Mastery, media, Movies, Movies, Narcissism, National Security Agency (NSA), Newspapers, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Political Correctness, Politics, Press, Psychology, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Reviews, Television, Wisdom, Work, World War II, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

 

The Manchurian Candidate – opening scene

The Manchurian Candidate Interviews(1962 film)

The Manchurian Candidate (1962) – Assassination Scene (12/12) | Movieclips

The Remaker: The Manchurian Candidate 1962 vs. 2004

The Manchurian Candidate (1962): Classical Film Review

The Manchurian Candidate – Film, Literature and the New World Order

Anjelica Huston-Prizzi’s Honor-“You wanna do it Charlie” scene

Prizzis Honor 1985

Prizzi’s Honor

Prizzi’s Honor scene.mov

Prizzis Honor 1985

AVE MARIA

Anjelica Huston – Prizzi’s Honor – last scene

About the Archive

This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them.

Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems. Please send reports of such problems to archive_feedback@nytimes.com.

Richard Condon, the fiendishly inventive novelist and political satirist who wrote “The Manchurian Candidate,” “Winter Kills” and “Prizzi’s Honor,” among other books, died yesterday at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. He was 81.

Novelist is too limited a word to encompass the world of Mr. Condon. He was also a visionary, a darkly comic conjurer, a student of American mythology and a master of conspiracy theories, as vividly demonstrated in “The Manchurian Candidate.” That novel, published in 1959, subsequently became a cult film classic, directed by John Frankenheimer. In this spellbinding story, Raymond Shaw, an American prisoner of war (played in the film by Laurence Harvey), is brainwashed and becomes a Communist agent and assassin.

When the 1962 film was re-released in 1988, Janet Maslin wrote in The New York Times that it was “arguably the most chilling piece of cold war paranoia ever committed to film, yet by now it has developed a kind of innocence.”

Mr. Condon was a popular novelist who earned serious critical attention, although he did not always win favorable reviews. His response: “I’m a man of the marketplace as well as an artist.” And he added, “I’m a pawnbroker of myth.” Though others made claims that his novels were prophetic, he admitted only that they were “sometimes about five and a half minutes ahead of their time.”

In “Winter Kills,” a President, evidently modeled on John F. Kennedy, is assassinated in a conspiracy involving the Central Intelligence Agency and the underworld. Obsessed by politics, Mr. Condon once said: “Every book I’ve ever written has been about the abuse of power. I feel very strongly about that. I’d like people to know how deeply their politicians are wronging them.” That abuse could be in contemporary life or as long ago as the 15th century, as in his novel “A Trembling Upon Rome.”

Continue reading the main story

Politicians like Senator Joseph R. McCarthy and President Richard M. Nixon appeared in various guises in his work, Nixon as Walter Slurrie in “Death of a Politician.” Speaking about politics and political thrillers, Mr. Condon once said, “It’s the villains that make good literature, because they’re the only ones in the story who know what they want.”

He did not write his first novel until he was 42, but, once started, he never stopped. The first, “The Oldest Confession” (1958), was filmed as “The Happy Thieves,” starring Rex Harrison and Rita Hayworth. The novel was a success, but the film was a failure, whereas the second, “The Manchurian Candidate,” was popular in both forms. Eventually he wrote 26 novels and two works of nonfiction, “And Then We Moved to Rossenarra,” a memoir of the years he lived in Ireland, and “The Mexican Stove,” a cookbook he wrote with his daughter Wendy Jackson.

When asked how he knew so much about crime families, he said he first learned about the subject as a boy on the streets of Washington Heights. He was born in Manhattan and graduated from De Witt Clinton High School. Because his grades were so poor, he never went to college. He worked as an elevator operator, a hotel clerk and a waiter, then sold an article to Esquire magazine. While working as a copywriter for an advertising agency, he met a model named Evelyn Hunt, whom he married in 1938. Copywriting led him into movie publicity, with his first stop the Disney organization.

For 22 years, he was a movie publicist, working for almost every major Hollywood studio. With characteristic panache, he later described himself as “a drummer boy for the gnomes and elves of the silver screen.” During this period, he saturated himself with movies, watching eight a week. They were, he said, mostly bad films, but they taught him the art of storytelling and the need for the novelist to be entertaining.

In the late 1950’s, he left Hollywood and returned to New York to become a novelist. The idea for “The Oldest Confession” came while he was on location with “The Pride and the Passion” at El Escorial, outside Madrid. Fascinated by Old Master paintings, he wrote his book about art thievery. The consecutive success of “The Oldest Confession” and “The Manchurian Candidate” enabled him to devote himself to fiction.

In 1959, he began a series of migrations, first to Mexico, then to Switzerland, finally to Ireland. His travels added to his backlog of knowledge, but he continued to set most of his novels in the United States. Through the 1960’s and into the 70’s, his books received mixed reviews, with some of the more admiring notices going to “An Infinity of Mirrors” in 1964. “Winter Kills,” in 1974, drew favorable attention, with Christopher Lehmann-Haupt saying in his review in The Times that it was “a grand entertainment” and “the best book Mr. Condon has written since ‘The Manchurian Candidate.’ “

After writing a series of novels in Ireland, Mr. Condon moved back to the United States, settling in Dallas in 1980. In Texas, he had his next comeback, with “Prizzi’s Honor,” about the Prizzi family of mobsters in Brooklyn. John Huston turned the novel into a hit film, starring Jack Nicholson, Kathleen Turner and Anjelica Huston. The screenplay, by Mr. Condon and Janet Roach, was nominated for an Academy Award. Several years later, Mr. Condon completed the fictional cycle with “Prizzi’s Family,” “Prizzi’s Glory” and “Prizzi’s Money,” published in 1994.

Among his other novels are “Some Angry Angel,” “A Talent for Loving,” “Arigato” and “Emperor of America.”

Throughout his life, Mr. Condon displayed a wry, even diabolical streak. He often named his characters after real people. For example, the characters in Raymond Shaw’s infantry squad in “The Manchurian Candidate” were named for people associated with the Phil Silvers television show, “You’ll Never Get Rich.” His longest-running character, Dr. Weiler, was named after A. H. Weiler, a former film critic for The Times. In various Condon novels, Dr. Weiler turns up as an obstetrician, a cardiologist, a psychiatrist and the royal physician.

Mr. Condon is survived by his wife; two daughters, Ms. Jackson, of Dallas, and Deborah Condon, who lives near Salisbury in England, and three grandchildren.

Brainwashed

Where the “Manchurian Candidate” came from.

Most people know John Frankenheimer’s movie “The Manchurian Candidate,” which stars Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, and Angela Lansbury in the story of an American soldier who is captured in Korea and programmed by Chinese Communists to kill on command. And most people probably think of the movie as a classic of Cold War culture, like “On the Beach” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”—a popular work articulating the anxieties of an era. In fact, “The Manchurian Candidate” was a flop. It was released in the fall of 1962, failed to recover its costs, and was pulled from distribution two years later, after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It turned up a few times on television, but it was not shown in a movie theatre again until 1987, which—nearly the end of the Cold War—is the year its popularity dates from. The true artifact of Cold War culture is the novel, by Richard Condon, that the movie was based on.

Condon’s book came out in 1959 and was a best-seller. It was praised in the Times (“a wild, vigorous, curiously readable melange”) and The New Yorker (“a wild and exhilarating satire”); Time named it one of the Ten Best Bad Novels—which, from a publisher’s point of view, is far from the worst thing that might be said about a book. The novel’s success made Condon rich; he spent most of the rest of his life abroad, producing many more works in the genre that Timehad identified, including “Winter Kills,” in 1974, and, in 1982, “Prizzi’s Honor.” His adaptation of that novel for the John Huston movie received an Academy Award nomination in 1986. He died in 1996.

Condon was a cynic of the upbeat type, not unlike Tom Wolfe: his belief that everything is basically shit did not get in the way of his pleasure in making fun of it. He learned that attitude in the finest school for it on earth, Hollywood. Before he was a novelist, Condon was a movie publicist. He began, in 1936, at Walt Disney Productions, where he promoted “Fantasia” and “Dumbo,” among other animated masterpieces, and moved on to a succession of studios, finishing up at United Artists, which he left in 1957. He didn’t know what he wanted to do next; he just wanted out. “The only thing I knew how to do was spell,” he later explained, so he did the logical thing and became a writer. Condon claimed that his work in Hollywood had given him three ulcers. He also claimed that he had seen, during his years there, ten thousand movies, an experience that he believed gave him (his words) “an unconscious grounding in storytelling.”

Frankenheimer called “The Manchurian Candidate” “one of the best books I ever read,” but admirers of Frankenheimer’s movie have not been so gracious. Greil Marcus, in a characteristically overheated appreciation of the movie in the British Film Institute’s Film Classics series, calls the novel a “cheaply paranoid fantasy,” and he goes on, “That the story would lodge in the nation’s psyche and stay there was the work of other hands.” The film historian David Thomson describes it as “a book written so that an idiot could film it.” No doubt Condon wrote “The Manchurian Candidate” with a movie deal in mind. It was his second novel; his first, called “The Oldest Confession,” was also made into a movie—“The Happy Thieves,” starring Rex Harrison (a flop that stayed a flop). But the claim that Condon’s “Manchurian Candidate” is not much more than a draft for the screenplay (which was written by George Axelrod, the author of “The Seven Year Itch”) is peculiar. Michael Crichton writes books that any idiot can film; he practically supplies camera angles. But Condon’s is not an easy book to film, in part because its tone is not readily imitated cinematically, and in part because much of it is, or was in 1962, virtually unfilmable. Strange as the movie is—a thriller teetering on the edge of camp—the book is stranger.

Time, a magazine whose editors, after all, have daily experience with overcooked prose, was not wrong in seeing something splendid in the badness of Condon’s book. “The Manchurian Candidate” may be pulp, but it is very tony pulp. It is a man in a tartan tuxedo, chicken à la king with shaved truffles, a signed LeRoy Neiman. It’s Mickey Spillane with an M.F.A., and a kind of summa of the styles of paperback fiction circa 1959. The writing is sometimes hardboiled:

The slightest touchy thing he said to her could knock the old cat over sideways with an off-key moan. But what could he do? He had elected himself Head Chump when he stepped down from Valhalla and telephoned this sweaty little advantage-taker.

Sometimes it adopts a police-blotter, “degree-zero” mode:

“Thank you, Major. Dismiss,” the general said. Marco left the office at four twenty-one in the afternoon. General Jorgenson shot himself to death at four fifty-five.

Occasionally, and usually in an inconvenient place, it drops a mot recherché:

Raymond’s mother came out of her chair, spitting langrel. [“Langrel”: irregular pieces of iron loaded into shell casings for the purpose of ripping the enemy’s sails in naval battles; obsolete.]

VIDEO FROM THE NEW YORKER

A Hundred Years of American Protest, Then and Now

He clutched the telephone like an osculatorium and did not allow himself to think about what lay beyond that instant. [“Osculatorium”: medieval Latin, for a tablet that is kissed during the Mass. There appears to be no connotation involving clutching.]

It signals feeling by waxing poetic:

Such an instant ago he had paddled their wide canoe across that lake of purple wine toward a pin of light high in the sky which would widen and widen and widen while she slept until it had blanched the blackness.

It signals wisdom by waxing incomprehensible:

There is an immutable phrase at large in the languages of the world that places fabulous ransom on every word in it: The love of a good woman. It means what it says and no matter what the perspective or stains of the person who speaks it, the phrase defies devaluing. The bitter and the kind can chase each other around it, this mulberry bush of truth and consequence, and the kind may convert the bitter and the bitter may emasculate the kind but neither can change its meaning because the love of a good woman does not give way to arbitrage.

And, when appropriate, it salivates:

Her lithe, solid figure seemed even more superb because of her flawless carriage. She wore a Chinese dressing gown of a shade so light that it complemented the contrasting color of her eyes. Her long and extremely beautiful legs were stretched out before her on the chaise longue, and any man but her son or her husband, seeing what she had and yet knowing that this magnificent forty-nine-year-old body was only a wasted uniform covering blunted neural energy, might have wept over such a waste.

Some people like their bananas ripe to the point of blackness. “The Manchurian Candidate” is a very ripe banana, and, for those who have the taste for it, delectable.

The magnificent forty-nine-yearold body in the last passage belongs to the mother of Raymond, the assassin, who in Frankenheimer’s movie is played by Angela Lansbury as a proper and steely middle-aged matron. For Condon, though, Raymond’s mother is no matron. She is a sexually predatory heroin addict who commits double incest. She is the serpent in the suburban garden of Cold War domesticity, and, in imagining her and her history, Condon almost certainly had in the back of his mind the book that, three years earlier, had become the first blockbuster in American publishing, Grace Metalious’s “Peyton Place”—a story that also had to be sanitized for the movies. The plot of “Peyton Place” turns on incest (as, for that matter, does the plot of “Lolita,” a sensation when the American edition came out, in 1958). But the luridness of Condon’s novel did not make it to the screen. There is no equivalent in the movie, for example, of the proto-Pynchonesque sequence in which Raymond’s stepfather, Johnny Iselin, attempts to have sex with an Eskimo. Frankenheimer’s idea of satire was a lot more conventional than Condon’s. He was also a Hollywood filmmaker, of course, and obliged to observe a different decorum.

Counterintuitive as it sounds, the secret to making a successful thriller, as Michael Crichton and Tom Clancy have demonstrated, is to slow down the action occasionally with disquisitions on Stuff It Is Interesting to Know—how airplanes are made, how nuclear submarines work, how to build an atomic bomb. Ideally, this information is also topical, food for the national appetite of the day. In “The Manchurian Candidate,” the topic is brainwashing.

Fear of Communist brainwashing seems an example of Cold War hysteria, but in the nineteen-fifties the fear was not without basis. United Nations ground forces began military action in Korea on July 5, 1950. On July 9th, an American soldier who had been captured just two days earlier delivered a radio speech consisting of North Korean propaganda. Similar broadcasts by captured soldiers continued throughout the war. At the end of the war, the Army estimated that one out of every seven American prisoners of war had collaborated with the enemy. (The final, generally accepted estimate is one out of ten.) Twenty-one Americans refused to return to the United States; forty announced that they had become Communists; and fourteen were court-martialled, and eleven of those were convicted.

The term “brainwashing” was coined by a journalist named Edward Hunter, who had served in the Morale Operations section of the U.S. Office of Strategic Services during the Second World War, which he spent mostly in Asia, and who became an outspoken anti-Communist. Hunter’s book “Brainwashing in Red China: The Calculated Destruction of Men’s Minds” appeared in 1951. In it, he explained that “brainwashing” was his translation of the Chinese term hsi-nao, which means “cleansing of the mind,” and which he said he had heard frequently when speaking with Europeans who had been caught inside China in 1949, the year of Mao’s revolution.

In 1955, two years after the armistice ending the Korean War, the Army issued a huge report on the treatment of American prisoners called “POW: The Fight Continues After the Battle.” The Army had interviewed all surviving prisoners of war on the ships that brought them back across the Pacific—more than four thousand soldiers—and had learned that many of them underwent intensive indoctrination by Chinese Communists. The Chinese had carefully segregated the prisoners they had identified as incorrigibles, sometimes housing them in separate camps, and had subjected the prisoners they judged to be potential converts to five hours of indoctrination a day, in classes that combined propaganda by the instructors with “confessions” by the prisoners. In some cases, physical torture accompanied the indoctrination, but in general the Chinese used the traditional methods of psychological coercion: repetition and humiliation. The Army discovered that a shocking number of prisoners had, to one degree or another, succumbed. Some were persuaded to accuse the United States, in signed statements, of engaging in germ warfare—a charge that was untrue but was widely believed in many countries.

The Army report instigated a popular obsession with brainwashing that lasted well into 1957. Stories about the experiences of American prisoners appeared in The Saturday Evening PostLife, the Times Magazine, and The New Yorker. The term itself became a synonym for any sort of effective persuasion, and writers struggled with the question of whether aspects of contemporary American life, such as advertising and psychiatric therapy, might really be forms of brainwashing. Condon must have read much of this material; he did know Andrew Salter’s “Conditioned Reflex Therapy” (1949), a book he has the Chinese psychiatrist in his novel, Yen Lo, cite in the speech in which he announces his successful brainwashing of the American prisoners. Yen Lo names a number of other studies of hypnosis and conditioning, including “The Seduction of the Innocent,” by Frederic Wertham, an alarmist account of the way comic books corrupt the minds of American youth. (Yen Lo evidently has, in addition to his other exceptional powers, a crystal ball, since “Seduction of the Innocent” was not published until 1954, after the Korean War was over.) These books and articles apparently persuaded Condon that brainwashing, or psychological conditioning using a combination of hypnosis and Pavlovian methods, was a real possibility—as the recent experience of the Korean P.O.W.s had persuaded many other Americans that it was.

Condon’s book played on the fear that brainwashing could be permanent, that minds could be altered forever. By the time Frankenheimer’s movie came out, though, it had become clear that most conditioning is temporary. In 1961, in “Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of ‘Brainwashing’ in China,” the psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, who had conducted some of the shipboard interviews with returning P.O.W.s, concluded that the indoctrination of prisoners was a long-term failure. All of the “converts” eventually returned to the United States, and the former prisoners who had come home praising the good life to be had in North Korea soon reverted to American views.

Still, conditioning is the theme (if “theme” is not too grand a term) of Condon’s novel. Even before Raymond falls into the hands of Yen Lo, he is psychologically conditioned, by his mother’s behavior, to despise everyone. His mother is conditioned, by her early incest, to betray everyone. And the American people are conditioned, by political propaganda, to believe her McCarthy-like husband’s baseless charges about Communists in the government. It is not, in Condon’s vision, the Communist world on one side and the free world on the other. It is just the manipulators and the manipulated, the conditioners and the conditioned, the publicists and the public. In such a world, it’s probably better to be the publicist, if you can deal with the ulcers.

Frank Sinatra, who plays Marco, the only friend Raymond has, is supposed to have asked his friend Jack Kennedy for his approval before Frankenheimer’s movie was released. United Artists was apparently afraid that the assassination scene might give some nut an idea. Kennedy, as it happened, loved the movie; he was, after all, the world’s most famous Ian Fleming fan. He was killed a year after “The Manchurian Candidate” came out. Did Lee Harvey Oswald see it? The problem has been examined in depth by John Loken, in a book called “Oswald’s Trigger Films” (2000). Loken concludes that although the evidence is not definitive, Oswald almost certainly did see it. “The Manchurian Candidate” opened in Dallas in November, 1962, and played there for several months; Oswald, who was living in Dallas at the time, had a habit of going to the movies by himself (he was in a movie theatre when he was arrested on November 22, 1963); and Loken has determined that the bus Oswald probably took to work passed within ten yards of a theatre where the movie was playing. (Loken is much struck by the fact that references to “The Manchurian Candidate” are almost nonexistent in the literature, official and otherwise, on the Kennedy assassination. He concludes, in the spirit of all scholars of that assassination, that “the probable Oswald connection, so utterly obvious if one but thinks about it, has been suppressed for decades by a powerful conglomerate that might aptly be called the ‘media-entertainment complex.’ ”)

Immediately after Kennedy was shot, Condon got a call from a newspaper reporter asking if he felt responsible. Condon couldn’t see the relevance, and he was not being defensive. He had not introduced political assassination to popular American culture. Robert Penn Warren’s “All the King’s Men” was published in 1946 and was made into a movie in 1949; a version for television, directed by Sidney Lumet, was broadcast in 1958. Assassination is the subject of John Huston’s “We Were Strangers” (1949) and Lewis Allen’s “Suddenly” (1954), also starring Frank Sinatra. Oswald might easily have seen those movies as well. More to the point: “The Manchurian Candidate” is the story of a man programmed to kill at the command of other people. What self-respecting assassin would take such a character for his role model? Either Oswald acted according to his own wishes, in which case he wasn’t imitating Condon’s killer, or he really was programmed by the Communists, in which case the question isn’t whether Oswald saw Frankenheimer’s movie but whether his Communist masters did.

United Artists withdrew “The Manchurian Candidate” from theatres in 1964, although the movie could occasionally be seen on television and in art houses. In 1972, Sinatra bought the rights and, in 1975, removed it from circulation entirely. Whether or not he was motivated by guilt over Kennedy’s death is unclear. He did, however, give his daughter Tina permission to produce a remake, and it is being shot, this fall, by Jonathan Demme. (Demme’s previous movie, “The Truth About Charlie,” was also a remake, of Stanley Donen’s “Charade,” of 1963. His method, judging from that effort, is to update the story and then salt it with allusions to the period of the original. “Charade” was filmed in Paris at the time of the French New Wave, and so in Demme’s version there are appearances by Charles Aznavour, Agnès Varda, and the grave of François Truffaut—none of which have anything to do with the story. Demme has reportedly set “The Manchurian Candidate” in the time of the Gulf War; Liev Schreiber plays Raymond, Meryl Streep is his dragon mother, and Marco is played by Denzel Washington. We can be fairly confident that at some point Denzel Washington will be seen listening to a Frank Sinatra song.)

The Kennedy assassination does not fulfill Condon and Frankenheimer’s prophecy. On the contrary, it buries it. If any assassin might plausibly have been a Communist puppet, it was Oswald, a man who had lived in the Soviet Union for three years, who had a Russian wife, and who once handed out leaflets for an outfit called the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. These facts were widely known within hours of Oswald’s arrest, and yet the theory that he was an agent who was directed, wittingly or not, by Communist handlers has never been an important part of the folklore of the Kennedy assassination. Until the late nineteen-seventies, the official line (endorsed, incidentally, by Condon at the time) was that Oswald acted alone. Dissenters from that view have been drawn mainly to theories involving the Mafia and the Central Intelligence Agency, even though hooking Oswald up with those entities requires a far greater imaginative stretch than associating him with the Soviets. Almost no one thinks of Kennedy (except in some convoluted way) as a casualty of the Cold War, and his death does not represent the culmination of the national anxiety about Communist infiltration. It represents the end of that obsession, and of the panic that Condon’s novel and Frankenheimer’s movie both so happily exploit. ♦

  • Louis Menand, a staff writer since 2001, was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2016.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2003/09/15/brainwashed

RICHARD CONDON BOOKS IN ORDER

Publication Order of Prizzi Books

Prizzi’s Honor (1982) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Prizzi’s Family (1986) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Prizzi’s Glory (1988) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Prizzi’s Money (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Oldest Confession (1958) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Manchurian Cadidate (1959) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Some Angry Angel (1960) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Talent for Loving aka The Great Cowboy Race (1961) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
An Infinity of Mirrors (1964) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Any God Will Do (1966) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Ecstasy Business (1967) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Mile High (1969) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Vertical Smile (1971) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Arigato (1972) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Winter Kills (1974) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Star-spangled Crunch (1975) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Money is Love (1975) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Whisper of the Axe (1976) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Abandoned Woman (1977) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Bandicoot (1978) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death of A Politician (1978) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Entwining (1980) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Trembling Upon Rome (1983) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Emperor of America (1990) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Final Addiction (1991) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Venerable Bead (1992) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Shop Related Products
$18.44
 (1)
$18.86$20.95
 (2)
$22.54$22.99
$8.99
 (542)
$27.00$45.00
 (43)

Before he began writing fiction stories, Richard Thomas Condon worked for Walt Disney productions as a press agent in the movie business for 20 years where he spent most of his time in the major studios. Prior his moderate success in Hollywood, Condon also worked in the US Merchant Marine. He actually started writing in 1957 in his forties. He often complained of wasting a lot of time in Hollywood when he was employed as an ad writer by United Artists. His boss, Max Youngstein later fired him after deducting amounts from Condon’s salary without his knowledge. Youngstein also offered him a house overlooking a Mexican ocean and told him to write his book, The Manchurian Candidate (1959) which was his second novel. The book was used to make a movie in 1962, making Richard Condon famous. His other book, Prizzi’s Honor (1982) was also made into a successful movie.

Richard Condon was a thriller and satirical novelist, born and raised in New York City and best known for his conspiratorial books like The Oldest Confession (1958), Some Angry Angel (1960), A Talent of Loving (1961), An Infinity of Mirrors (1964) and many more novels. Condon’s writing was famous for its fascination with trivia, complex plotting, and hatred for those in power. For instance, his most popular novel The Manchurian Candidate was highly criticized because it seemed to disturbingly overshadow the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Furthermore, several books feature a thinly disguised version of Richard Nixon. His characters were driven by family loyalty, and with obsession, usually political and sexual. His plots had elements of a typical tragedy involving protagonists who are led by their pride to places where they destroy what they love. One of his most notable books, Mile High (1969) was best defined as secret history. In the novel, And Then We Moved to Rossenara, Richard Condon gives a humorous autobiography that recounts the various places he has lived in the world and his family’s move to Rossenarra, Ireland in the 1970s.

Apart from writing novels, Richard Condon also wrote some popular book series and bestsellers including; Prizzi’s Honor (1986), Prizzi’s Family (1986), Prizzi’s Glory (1988) and Prizzi’s Money (1994). He died in 1996.

Prizzi’s Honor was Richard Condon’s first book in the Prizzi’s series. This is not an ordinary story of a boy-meets-girl. Prizzis is the most influential Mafia family in New York. Their faithful lieutenant, Charley Partanna has affections for Irene Walker who works as a tax consultant in Los Angeles. She also does freelancing which pays her more. She is also a Mob’s hit woman. She cons the Prizzis an unforgivably huge amount of money. Indeed, this is a very dangerous moonlighting which eventually conflicts Charley’s oldest loyalties with his latest one. This book mixes character and caricature easily, making it one of his best books since The Manchurian Candidate.

The second book in the Prizzi’s series is the Prizzi’s Family. Here, Charley Partanna works for the Prizzi family as a hitman by day and studies for his high school exam by night. When he is not studying, he is juggling two beautiful women, probably more than he can handle. One, Maerose, is the granddaughter of Charley’s boss and is hungry for honor, power and Charley of course. The other, Mardell, is a sensational, one-third fantasy, two-thirds legs. This is a problem to Charley, but hormones seem to keep obstructing him. This book is funny and cheerful, and foams with perversity, obsessional religious mania, rascality, greed and lust, and assault and battery, making it a good read.

The next book in the series is Prizzi’s Glory. In this successful last volume in Prizzi trilogy series, the Prizzi family cleans up the environment, immersing huge benefits. They finally appear as a cruel, vivid and comic portrait of the America’s best-run Mafia institution. For the change, a tired, bored and depressed Charley Fontana weds Maerose, but this does not help because Don Corrado has thought of a bigger change, Prizzi’s respectability. Money flows to the Prizzi’s family through dubious activities like gambling, extortion, prostitution, loan-sharking, and narcotics. Don Corrado uses the money to control a new scam, a national political power which Charley heads. This book offers an accomplished and entertaining satire for a feat of joyful reading.

The last book in the Prizzi’s series is Prizzi’s Money. Richard Condon showcases the Prizzi family’s saga of organized crime. Here, Julia Asbury outwits the Prizzis, walking away with a huge amount of their money (a billion & a quarter) to start a new life. She does this after discovering that the Prizzis and her husband had double-crossed her.

Another noticeable writing style by Richard Condon was the use of real-life names in his books. Condon used names of real people as characters in his writings, but generally minor/peripheral ones. One of the most common names used in all of his novels includes F.M. Heller, Franz Heller, F. Marx Heller, and Frank Heller which are variations of Franklin M. Heller. In real life, Heller was, in fact, a television director based in New York City from the 1950s to 1970s and first lived on Long Island before moving to a house along Rockrimmon Road, Stamford, Connecticut. Starting with Mile High, Rockrimmon House and Rockrimmon Road have been frequently mentioned in the novels. All the fictional Hellers also shared a devotion for needlework and grew a thick-white beard similar to the real-life Heller who made a needlework depiction in Condon’s manor house in Ireland. Condon also had a great actor friend, Allan Melvin, who he wrote a nightclub act. Melvin also played Cpl. Henshaw in The Phil Servers Show which Condon was publicizing. Several Condon books particularly Prizzi’s Honor showcases Melvini as a prominent hit man.

Richard Condon’s legend is not only showcased in his wonderful writings but also some popular films that were adapted from his novels. The films include; The Manchurian Candidate (1962 and 2004), The Talent of Loving (1969), Winter Kills (1979), Prizzi’s Honor (1985), and The Happy Thieves from the novel The Oldest Confession (1962). The Manchurian Candidate is recognized as one of the best films of all time. The book combined several elements including; satire, nefarious conspiracies, black humor, outrage at financial and political corruption in America, as well as breath-taking elements from spy fiction and thrillers, and grotesque and horrific violence.

https://www.bookseriesinorder.com/richard-condon/

Condon, Richard 1915-1996 (Richard Thomas Condon)

Condon, Richard 1915-1996 (Richard Thomas Condon)
PERSONAL:
Born March 18, 1915, in New York, NY; died April 9, 1996, in Dallas, TX; son of Richard Aloysius and Martha Irene Condon; married Evelyn Rose Hunt, January 14, 1938; children: Deborah Weldon, Wendy Jackson. Education: Graduated from high school in New York, NY.

CAREER:
Writer. Publicist in New York, NY, and Hollywood, CA, for Walt Disney Productions, 1936-41, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp., 1941-45, Richard Condon, Inc., 1945-48, and Paramount Pictures Corp., 1948-53, and in Europe and Great Britain for United Artists Corp., 1953-57; novelist. Producer, with Jose Ferrer, of Broadway shows Twentieth Century and Stalag 17, 1951-52.

Wolters Kluwer eStore – Payroll & Treatises Law Books
Premier source for legal products & law books from Wolters Kluwer.
lrus.wolterskluwer.com/store | Sponsored▼
MEMBER:
International Confederation of Book Actors (honorary life president), Dramatists Guild, Authors Guild, Authors League of America.

AWARDS, HONORS:
Writers Guild of America award, Bafta Award from British Academy of Film and Television Sciences, and Academy Award nomination, all 1986 for screen adaptation of Prizzi’s Honor,.

Beginner Guide to Options
Eye-Opening Book Shows How To Safely Make Money In Up and Down Market
TradeWins.com | Sponsored▼
WRITINGS:
And Then We Moved to Rossenarra; or, The Art of Emigrating, Dial (New York, NY), 1973.

(With daughter, Wendy Jackson) The Mexican Stove: What to Put on It and in It, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1973, reprinted, Taylor Publishing, 1988.

NOVELS
The Oldest Confession (Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selection), Appleton-Century-Crofts (New York, NY), 1958.

The Manchurian Candidate, McGraw (New York, NY), 1959, reprinted, Four Walls Eight Windows (New York, NY), 2003.

Some Angry Angel: A Mid-Century Faerie Tale, McGraw (New York, NY), 1960.

A Talent for Loving; or, The Great Cowboy Race, McGraw (New York, NY), 1961.

An Infinity of Mirrors, Random House (New York, NY), 1964.

Any God Will Do, Random House (New York, NY), 1965.

The Ecstasy Business, Dial (New York, NY), 1967.

Mile High (Literary Guild alternate selection), Dial (New York, NY), 1968.

The Vertical Smile (Literary Guild selection), Dial (New York, NY), 1971.

Arigato, Dial (New York, NY), 1972.

Winter Kills, Dial (New York, NY), 1974.

The Star Spangled Crunch, Bantam (New York, NY), 1974.

Money Is Love, Dial (New York, NY), 1975.

The Whisper of the Axe, Dial (New York, NY), 1976.

The Abandoned Woman: A Tragedy of Manners, Dial (New York, NY), 1977.

Bandicoot, Dial (New York, NY), 1978.

Death of a Politician, Richard Marek (New York, NY), 1978.

The Entwining, Richard Marek (New York, NY), 1980.

Prizzi’s Honor (second novel in trilogy; Book-of-the-Month Club joint main selection; also see below), Coward, McCann & Geoghegan (New York, NY), 1982.

A Trembling upon Rome, Putnam (New York, NY), 1983.

Prizzi’s Family (first novel in trilogy; Literary Guild joint main selection), Putnam, 1986.

Prizzi’s Glory (third novel in trilogy), Dutton (New York, NY), 1988.

The Final Addiction, Saint Martin’s Press (New York, NY), 1991.

Prizzi’s Money, Crown Publishing (New York, NY), 1994.

SCREENPLAYS
(With Janet Roach) Prizzi’s Honor (adaptation; see above), Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp., 1985.

Report Advertisement
Also author screenplay for A Talent for Loving, 1969, and The Summer Music; author of the play Men of Distinction, produced on Broadway, 1953. Contributor to periodicals, including Holiday, Nation, Vogue, Harper’s, Gourmet, Esquire, Travel and Leisure, and Sunday Times magazine. Novels have been published in twenty-two languages and in braille.

ADAPTATIONS:
Books have been adapted for film, including The Oldest Confession released as the film The Happy Thieves, 1962; Winter Kill, 1979; and The Manchurian Candidate, 1962, and adapted remake, Paramount Pictures, 2004.

SIDELIGHTS:
Novelist Richard Condon began writing at age forty-two following a successful career as a movie publicist. Condon’s reputation as a writer of political thrillers was secured with his first two novels, The Oldest Confession and The Manchurian Candidate. Condon’s body of work included over twenty novels, two nonfiction books, a handful of plays and screenplays, and numerous articles on his twin passions, food and travel. This output netted him an income of about two and a half million dollars.

Condon took full advantage of his freedom as a writer. Although he resided in the United States later in life, for nineteen years Condon and his family lived in countries such as France, Spain, Switzerland, and Ireland. Condon’s focus in his novels, however, usually reflected his concerns about American society, particularly the United States government. Condon’s preoccupation with examining abuses of power made him into a cult figure of sorts to readers who shared his convictions. Condon’s novels are entertaining, despite their underlying seriousness. This assessment is compatible with Condon’s personal goals as a writer, which he discussed in a People magazine interview with Anne Maier. “I have never written for any other reason than to earn a living. This is certainly true of other writers, but some poor souls get mightily confused with art. I am a public entertainer who sees his first duty as the need to entertain himself.”

Report Advertisement
Most of the material for Condon’s blend of reality and bizarre invention came from “the dirty linen closets of politics and money,” according to a New York Review of Books contributor Thomas R. Edwards. “His view—it might be called Condon’s Law—is that when you don’t know the whole truth, the worst you can imagine is bound to be close.” Edwards added: “[He] isn’t an analyst but an exploiter of our need to believe the worst. He does it skillfully, but his books would be less fun than they are if one didn’t suspect that he believes the worst too, that his pictures of a world of fools eternally at the mercy of knaves are also pictures of what, with anger and disgust, he takes to be the case.”

Condon’s second novel, The Manchurian Candidate, was published in 1959 and remains Condon’s most highly acclaimed novel, one that critics frequently cite as a standard of comparison for his later works. The title of the book refers to the main character, Raymond Shaw, a soldier who becomes a prisoner of war in Korea and is unknowingly brainwashed into committing crimes for his former captors after he returns to the United States. Commenting on this novel, reviewers distinguished carefully between Condon’s writing and literature. Most reviewers noted the novel’s many appeals. Michael Rogers, writing a Library Journal review of a 2003 reprint of the novel, commented that “any fan of political thrillers will enjoy this one.”

Condon followed The Manchurian Candidate with several relatively successful novels. Nevertheless, several of Condon’s subsequent novels generally fell out of favor with critics. In 1974, however, his novel Winter Kills was enthusiastically received. Winter Kills closely parallels the lives of members of the Kennedy family. The main character, Nick Thirkield, is the half-brother of John F. Kennedy analogue Tim Kegan, a young, liberal Irish president who is assassinated by a lone maniac. The assassin is caught and charged with the murder, but when Thirkield learns that another man may also have been involved, he has the case reopened.

Report Advertisement
Several reviewers found themselves pleasantly surprised by Winter Kills. New York Times Book Review contributor Leo Braudy, for example, commented that Winter Kills is “a triumph of satire and knowledge, with a delicacy of style and a command of tone that puts Condon once again into the first rank of American novelists.” Braudy explained: “Winter Kills succeeds so brilliantly because the Kennedy assassination furnished Condon with a familiar mythic landscape through which his Gulliver-like hero can wander, simultaneously prey to Lilliputian politics, Brobdingnagian physicality, Laputan science, and Houyhnhnm moralism.” Christopher Lehmann-Haupt expressed a like opinion in the New York Times: “By the time I reached the end of the novel’s incredibly complex plot and had followed Nick Thirkield through the many blind alleys and trapdoors that eventually bring him face to face with the person behind his brother’s assassination, I was a Richard Condon fan once more.”

Extrapolation contributor Joe Sanders observed: “In Condon’s novels, politics determines the shape of society, but politics is not a voluntary, cooperative activity, entered into for some common end; it is a device by which a few clever people manipulate many others to gain their selfish ends.” Lehmann-Haupt expressed disappointment with the ending because he “caught on too early what the ultimate outcome would be,” but he found the novel’s conclusion satisfying. He wrote: “It may not be true that America is run by a small, conspiring oligarchy. It may not be true that things happen in the White House at the whim of movie stars and labor leaders, of courtesans and generals. But the possibilities are no longer inconceivable.”

Winter Kills was made into a critically acclaimed but briefly run film of the same title. Although Condon was not directly involved in the making of Winter Kills, the film’s quality drew his attention and support. After two years of filming for which most of the cast and crew were never paid, Winter Kills opened in New York in 1979 to favorable reviews. The film’s three-week run in showcase theaters was followed by disappearance from theatres, raising Condon’s conspiracy suspicions. Condon’s paranoia was further incited by the murder of one of the producers shortly after the film’s opening; two years later the second producer was sentenced to forty years in prison on a drug charge. The movie was briefly re-released in 1982 and 1983.

Report Advertisement
Condon’s novel Prizzi’s Honor dealt with a similarly sensitive milieu: organized crime. Although this setting has been exploited by several other authors, notably Mario Puzo, reviewers believed that Condon’s novel offered a fresh outlook. Charles Champlin observed in the Los Angeles Times Book Review: “Condon, once again accepting the perceived reality as police leaks, newspaper exposes and Puzo have given it to us—complete with Sicilian litany of consiglieri, caporegimes, sottocapos, soldati, and a godfather with a lethal wheeze and a mind Machiavelli might envy—steps over it to present an outrageous and original love story.” New York Times Book Review contributor Robert Asahina noted: “Richard Condon is not Mario Puzo; suspense, not the family saga, is his forte. And he winds the mainspring of the plot so tight that the surprise ending will knock your reading glasses off. Yet Prizzi’s Honor is also a sendup of the prevailing sentimental picture of the underworld. To Mr. Condon, there is honor among these thieves—but it is precisely in the name of omerta that the fratellanza has been willing to ‘cheat, corrupt, scam, and murder anybody who stands between them and a buck.’”

The novel’s love interest involves Charley Partanna, a gourmet cook, compulsive house cleaner, and hit man for the Prizzi family; and Irene Walker, a tax consultant and freelance killer for hire. “It is something of a challenge to a novelist to create a love interest in a story that pairs two ruthless murderers,” observed Times Literary Supplement contributor Alan Bold. “Irene is presented as a colder fish than Charley—she has risen to the top of her profession on account of her ability to murder without remorse. She is as sound a psychopath as Charley. Condon suggests, however, that such creatures are capable of a great passion and Charley, for one, is sure that his love is the real thing.” New York Times contributor Susan Bolotin likewise commented on the originality of this pairing: “If boy-meets-girl/boy-gets-girl love stories seem poisonously tiresome to you, Richard Condon’s boisterous new novel may prove the perfect antidote. It’s true that Prizzi’s Honor starts off with a familiar melody, … but the book soon turns into a fugue with variations so intricate that the genre may never recover.”

Despite opposition from Charley’s father, Charley and Irene are wed. Condon takes the couple through a convoluted plot that includes “a kidnapping, international financial intrigue, a gangland war, police on the take, the power struggle within the family, contract killings, [and] lots of jolly sex,” wrote Bolotin. According to several reviewers, Condon’s exploration of the seamier side of organized crime is distressing. Best Sellers contributor Tony Bednarczyk wrote: “There is solid storytelling, but the subject raises disturbing questions about morals, and/or the lack thereof. It is a fast-paced, very readable story, but one feels a bit guilty for being interested in what comes next.” While Time critic Michael Demarest also believed that Prizzi’s Honor, “like most of [Condon’s] books, comes sometimes too close to the truth for comfort,” he nevertheless concluded: “Condon’s stylish prose and rich comedic gift once again spice a moral sensibility that has animated sixteen novels since The Manchurian Candidate appeared in 1962. If wit and irony could somehow neutralize villainy, the novelist would make a fine FBI director.” Other reviewers expressed similarly laudatory views. Champlin wrote: “Condon is once again the storytelling satirist with a sharp eye and a high velocity typewriter. Prizzi’s Honor may not be his best work but it ranks well up in the canon.” Concluded Asahina: “Twenty years after The Manchurian Candidate, it’s nice to know that Mr. Condon is still up to his sly tricks. In his case, at least, it’s a pleasure that—as he tells us an old Sicilian proverb has it—‘The less things change, the more they remain the same.’”

Report Advertisement
Prizzi’s Honor was also made into a successful film of the same title, with Jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner playing the roles of Charley Partanna and Irene Walker. The film was nominated for several Academy Awards, and the screenplay, adapted by Condon and coauthor Janet Roach, received awards from the Writers Guild of America and the British Academy of Film and Television Sciences. The project was initiated and eventually directed by John Huston.

Huston and movie critics alike believed that Prizzi’s Honor was faithful to the novel, a feat they attribute to Condon and Roach’s skillfully adapted screenplay. Chi-cago Tribune contributor Gene Siskel described Prizzi’s Honor as “a classic piece of moviemaking,” and Los Angeles Times film critic Sheila Benson noted: “To say the film is the treasure of the year would be to badmouth it in this disastrous season. Prizzi’s Honor would be the vastly original centerpiece of a great year.” Benson also wrote: “In its dangerous mix of love and murder, Huston is traversing terrain that he (and certainly The Manchurian Candidate author Condon) blazed decades ago. This ’80s-version denouement may distress the squeamish, but it’s right in keeping with Prizzi honor.”

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
BOOKS
Bestsellers 90, Issue 3, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1990.

Condon, Richard, Death of a Politician, Richard Marek (New York, NY), 1978.

Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series, Volume I, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1984.

Contemporary Literary Criticism, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume IV, 1975, Volume VI, 1976, Volume VIII, 1978, Volume X, 1979, Volume XLIV, 1987.

Newquist, Roy, Conversations, Volume I, Rand McNally (Chicago, IL), 1967.

PERIODICALS
Best Sellers, June, 1982, Tony Bednarczyk, review of Prizzi’s Honor; December, 1986.

Chicago Tribune, June 14, 1985, Gene Siskel, review of Prizzi’s Honor (film adaptation).

Daily Variety, March 8, 2002, Dana Harris and Sharon Swart, “‘Candidate’ for Redo: Paramount Plans Remake of 1962 Classic,” p. 1.

Extrapolation, summer, 1984, Joe Sanders, article about author.

Library Journal, November 1, 2003, Michael Rogers, review of The Manchurian Candidate, p. 129.

Los Angeles Times, June 14, 1985, Sheila Benson, review of Prizzi’s Honor (film adaptation).

Los Angeles Times Book Review, April 25, 1982, Charles Champlin, review of Prizzi’s Honor.

Modern Language Quarterly, September, 2006, Micahel Szalay, review of The Manchurian Candidate, p. 363.

New Statesman, September 5, 1975, review of Money is Love, p. 285; August 13, 1976, review of The Whisper of the Axe, p. 216.

Newsweek, September 14, 1964, review of Manchurian Candidate; June 9, 1975, review of Money Is Love, p. 81.

New Yorker August 25, 1975, review of Money Is Love, p. 87; December 11, 1978, review of Death of a Politician, p. 206; October 28, 1991, review of The Final Addiction, p. 119.

New York Review of Books, February 8, 1979, Thomas R. Edwards, review of Death of a Politician, p. 35.

New York Times, May 24, 1974, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of Winter Kills; May 21, 1976; April 20, 1982, Susan Bolotin, review of Prizzi’s Honor, p. 25.

New York Times Book Review, May 26, 1974, Leo Braudy, review of Winter Kills; May 25, 1975, review of Money Is Love, p. 12; May 23, 1976, review of The Whisper of the Axe, p. 4; April 18, 1982, Robert Asahina, review of Prizzi’s Honor, p. 12; September 4, 1983, John Jay Osborn, Jr., review of A Trembling upon Rome, p. 4; September 28, 1986, Jimmy Breslin, review of Prizzi’s Family, p. 13; October 9, 1988, Vincent Patrick, review of Prizzi’s Glory, p. 24; February 11, 1990, Roy Blount, Jr., review of Emperor of America, p. 14; November 17, 1991, Bill Kent, review of The Final Addiction, p. 20; December 13, 1992, Donald E. Westlake, review of The Venerable Bead, p. 9; February 6, 1994, Joe Queenan, review of Prizzi’s Money, p. 9.

People, December 8, 1986, Anne Maier, interview with author.

Spectator, September 21, 1974, review of Winter Kills, p. 372.

Texas Monthly, August, 1994, William Cobb, “The Don of Dallas,” interview with author, p. 42.

Time, June 2, 1975, review of Money Is Love, p. 72; May 17, 1982, Michael Demarest, review of Prizzi’s Honor, p. 82; September 22, 1986, John Skow, review of Prizzi’s Family, p. 95; September 19, 1988, review of Prizzi’s Glory, p. 95.

Times Literary Supplement, June 11, 1982, Alan Bold, review of Prizzi’s Honor.

ONLINE
Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (December 4, 2006), information on author’s film work.

OBITUARIES
PERIODICALS
New York Times, April 10, 1996, Mel Gussow.

Time, April 22, 1996, p. 33.

U.S. News & World Report, April 22, 1996, p. 26.

https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/condon-richard-1915-1996-richard-thomas-condon

Books by Richard Condon
  • The Manchurian Candidate

    Richard Condon

    from: $3.79

  • Prizzi’s Honor

    Richard Condon

    from: $3.79

  • Prizzi’s Family

    Richard Condon

    from: $3.79

  • Prizzi’s Glory

    Richard Condon

    from: $3.99

  • Winter Kills

    Richard Condon

    from: $3.79

  • Bandicoot

    Richard Condon

    from: $4.93

  • Emperor of America

    Richard Condon

    from: $3.79

  • The Final Addiction

    Richard Condon

    from: $3.79

  • Prizzi’s Money

    Richard Condon

    from: $3.79

  • The Whisper of the Axe

    Richard Condon

    from: $3.79

https://www.thriftbooks.com/a/richard-condon/233563/?mkwid=s|dc&pcrid=314797449776&pkw=&pmt=b&plc=&pgrid=34947186125&ptaid=dsa-266516562683&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIvdmawZfG3wIV3bXACh0AgQuYEAAYAyAAEgJjh_D_BwE

 

 

Richard Condon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to navigationJump to search

Richard Condon
Born Richard Thomas Condon
March 18, 1915
New York CityNew York, U.S.
Died April 9, 1996 (aged 81)
DallasTexas, U.S.
Occupation Novelist
Genre Fiction

Richard Thomas Condon (March 18, 1915 in New York City – April 9, 1996 in Dallas, Texas) was a prolific and popular American political novelist. Though his works were satire, they were generally transformed into thrillers or semi-thrillers in other mediums, such as cinema. All 26 books were written in distinctive Condon style, which combined fast-pace, outrage, and frequent humor while focusing almost obsessively at monetary greed and political corruption. Condon himself once said: “Every book I’ve ever written has been about abuse of power. I feel very strongly about that. I’d like people to know how deeply their politicians wrong them.”[1] Condon’s books were occasionally bestsellers, and many of his books were made into films; he is primarily remembered for his 1959 The Manchurian Candidate and, many years later, a series of four novels about a family of New York gangsters named Prizzi.

Condon’s writing was known for its complex plotting, fascination with trivia, and loathing for those in power; at least two of his books featured thinly disguised versions of Richard Nixon.[citation needed] His characters tend to be driven by obsession, usually sexual or political, and family loyalty. His plots often have elements of classical tragedy, with protagonists whose pride leads them to destroy what they love. Some of his books, most notably Mile High (1969), are perhaps best described as secret history.[citation needed] And Then We Moved to Rossenarra is a humorous autobiographical recounting of various places in the world where he had lived and his family’s 1970s move to Rossenarra, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland.

Contents

Early life[edit]

Born in New York City, Condon attended DeWitt Clinton High School.[2]

After service in the United States Merchant Marine, Condon achieved moderate success as a Hollywood publicist, ad writer and Hollywood agent. Condon turned to writing in 1957. Employed by United Artists as an ad writer, he complained that he was wasting time in Hollywood and wanted to write a novel. Without Condon’s knowledge, his boss, Max E. Youngstein, deducted money from his salary, then fired him after a year, returning the amount of money he had deducted in the form of a Mexican bank account and the key to a house overlooking the ocean in Mexico. Youngstein told him to write his book.[3] His second novel, The Manchurian Candidate (1959), featured a dedication to Youngstein and was made into a successful film.

Basic theme throughout Condon’s books[edit]

In Mile High, his eighth novel, one primarily about how a single spectacularly ruthless gangster named Eddie West imposes Prohibition upon an unwary populace, Condon sums up the theme of all his books in a single angry cri de coeur:

“Prohibition fused the amateurism and catch-as-catch-can national tendencies of the early days of the republic with a more modern, highly organized lust for violence and the quick buck. It fused the need to massacre twelve hundred thousand American Indians and ten million American buffalo, the lynching bees, the draft riots, bread riots, gold riots and race riots, the constant wars, the largest rats in the biggest slums, boxing and football, the loudest music, the most strident and exploitative press with the entire wonderful promise of tomorrow and tomorrow, always dragging the great nation downward into greater violence and more unnecessary deaths, into newer and more positive celebration of nonlife, all so that the savage, simple-minded people might be educated into greater frenzies of understanding that power and money are the only desirable objects for this life.”[4]

“Manchurian Candidate”[edit]

Although not perhaps actually originated by Condon himself, his use of “the Manchurian Candidate” made that phrase a part of the English language. Frank Rich, for example, in his column in the “Sunday Opinion” of The New York Times of August 17, 2008, writes about Barack Obama with a reference to both a well-known actress and a well-known plot element in the first movie version of Condon’s 1959 book:

“[Obama’s] been done in by that ad with Britney [Spears] and Paris [Hilton] and a new international crisis that allows [John] McCain to again flex his Manchurian Candidate military cred. Let the neocons identify a new battleground for igniting World War III… and McCain gets with the program as if Angela Lansbury has just dealt him the Queen of Hearts“.[5]

“The fiction of information”[edit]

Condon’s works are difficult to categorize precisely: A 1971 Time magazine review declared that, “Condon was never a satirist: he was a riot in a satire factory. He raged at Western civilization and every last one of its works. He decorticated the Third Reich, cheese fanciers, gossip columnists and the Hollywood star system with equal and total frenzy.” [6] The headline of his obituary in The New York Times called him a “political novelist”,[7] but went on to say that, “Novelist is too limited a word to encompass the world of Mr. Condon. He was also a visionary, a darkly comic conjurer, a student of American mythology and a master of conspiracy theories, as vividly demonstrated in ‘The Manchurian Candidate.'”[7] Although his books combined many different elements, including occasional outright fantasy and science fiction, they were, above all, written to entertain the general public. He had, however, a genuine disdain, outrage, and even hatred for many of the mainstream political corruptions that he found so prevalent in American life. In a 1977 quotation, he said that:[8]

“…people are being manipulated, exploited, murdered by their servants, who have convinced these savage, simple-minded populations that they are their masters, and that it hurts the head, if one thinks. People accept servants as masters. My novels are merely entertaining persuasions to get the people to think in other categories.”

With his long lists of absurd trivia and “mania for absolute details”, Condon was, along with Ian Fleming, one of the early exemplars of those called by Pete Hamill in a New York Times review, “the practitioners of what might be called the New Novelism… Condon applies a dense web of facts to fiction…. There might really be two kinds of fiction: the fiction of sensibility and the fiction of information… As a practitioner of the fiction of information, no one else comes close to him.”[9]

Quirks and characteristics[edit]

Condon attacked his targets wholeheartedly but with a uniquely original style and wit that made almost any paragraph from one of his books instantly recognizable. Reviewing one of his works in the International Herald Tribune, playwright George Axelrod (The Seven Year ItchWill Success Spoil Rock Hunter), who had collaborated with Condon on the screenplay for the film adaptation of The Manchurian Candidate, wrote:

“The arrival of a new novel by Richard Condon is like an invitation to a party…. the sheer gusto of the prose, the madness of his similes, the lunacy of his metaphors, his infectious, almost child-like joy in composing complex sentences that go bang at the end in the manner of exploding cigars is both exhilarating and as exhausting as any good party ought to be.”

Metaphors and similes[edit]

From his 1975 novel, Money Is Love, comes a fine example of the “lunacy of his metaphors”: “Mason took in enough cannabis smoke to allow a Lipan Apache manipulating a blanket over it to transmit the complete works of Tennyson.” [10]

The Manchurian Candidate offers:

“The effects of the narcotics, techniques, and suggestions… achieved a result that approximated the impact an entire twenty-five-cent jar of F. W. Woolworth vanishing cream might have on vanishing an aircraft carrier of the Forrestal class when rubbed into the armor plate.”[11]

Lists and trivia[edit]

Condon was also enamored of long lists of detailed trivia that, while at least marginally pertinent to the subject at hand, are almost always an exercise in gleeful exaggeration and joyful spirits. In An Infinity of Mirrors, for instance, those in attendance of the funeral of a famous French actor and notable lover are delineated as:

Seven ballerinas of an amazing spectrum of ages were at graveside. Actresses of films, opera, music halls, the theatre, radio, carnivals, circuses, pantomimes, and lewd exhibitions mourned in the front line. There were also society leaders, lady scientists, women politicians, mannequins, couturières, Salvation Army lassies, all but one of his wives, a lady wrestler, a lady matador, twenty-three lady painters, four lady sculptors, a car-wash attendant, shopgirls, shoplifters, shoppers, and the shopped; a zoo assistant, two choir girls, a Métro attendant from the terminal at the Bois de Vincennes, four beauty-contest winners, a chambermaid; the mothers of children, the mothers of men, the grandmothers of children and the grandmothers of men; and the general less specialized, female public-at-large which had come from eleven European countries, women perhaps whom he had only pinched or kissed absent-mindedly while passing through his busy life. They attended twenty-eight hundred and seventy strong, plus eleven male friends of the deceased.[12]

Writing about The Whisper of the Axe in the daily book review column of Friday, May 21, 1976, in the New York Times, Richard R. Lingeman praised the book in particular and Condon in general for his “extravagance of invention unique with him.” [13]

Not everyone was as exhilarated by Condon’s antics, however. In a long Times Sunday review just two days after Lingeman’s, Roger Sale excoriated Condon as a writer of “how-to books” in general, this book in particular, and Condon’s habit of using lists: “A lot of it is done with numbers arbitrarily chosen to falsely simulate precision.” [14]

Real-life names in his books[edit]

All of Condon’s books have, to an unknown degree, the names of real people in them as characters, generally very minor or peripheral. The most common, which appears in all of his books, is some variation of Franklin M. Heller. Among them are F.M. Heller, Frank Heller, Franz Heller, and F. Marx Heller. The real-life Heller was apparently a television director in New York City in the 1950s, ’60s, and 70s, who initially lived on Long Island and then moved to a house on Rockrimmon Road in Stamford, Connecticut.[15] Beginning with Mile High in 1969, mentions of a Rockrimmon Road or Rockrimmon House also began to appear regularly in the novels. Late in life Heller grew a thick white beard and became a devotee of needlework—both traits that the fictional Hellers shared, sometimes to ludicrous effect, as when a battle-hardened Admiral Heller is depicted issuing orders while absorbed in needlework. The real-life Heller made one needlework depiction of the manor house in Ireland in which Condon was living at the time.

Condon was a great friend of actor Allan Melvin, having written a nightclub act for him. Condon later became a publicist for The Phil Silvers Show (“Sgt. Bilko”), on which Melvin played Cpl. Henshaw. Melvin’s name shows up in several Condon books, most prominently as hitman Al (the Plumber) Melvini in “Prizzi’s Honor” (a play on Melvin’s “Al the Plumber” character in Liquid-Plumr commercials.) In The Manchurian Candidate, with the exception of Marco, Shaw and Mavole, all of Marco’s platoon members are named for the cast/crew of “Bilko”: (Nat) Hiken, (Maurice) Gosfield, (Jimmy) Little, (Phil) Silvers, (Allan) Melvin, (Mickey) Freeman and (Harvey) Lembeck.

Career in films[edit]

For many years a Hollywood publicity man for Walt Disney and other studios, Condon took up writing relatively late in life and his first novel, The Oldest Confession, was not published until he was 43. The demands of his career with United Artists—promoting dreadful movies such as The Pride and the Passion and A King and Four Queens—led to a series of bleeding ulcers and a determination to do something else.

His next book, The Manchurian Candidate, combined all the elements that defined his works for the next 30 years: nefarious conspiracies, satire, black humor, outrage at political and financial corruption in the American scene, breath-taking elements from thrillers and spy fiction, horrific and grotesque violence, and an obsession with the minutiae of food, drink, and fast living. It quickly made him, for a few years at least, the center of a cult devoted to his works. As he rapidly produced more and more books with the same central themes, however, this following fell away and his critical reputation diminished. Still, over the next three decades Condon produced works that returned him to favor, both with the critics and the book-buying public, such as Mile HighWinter Kills, and the first of the Prizzi books, Prizzi’s Honor.

Of his numerous books that were turned into Hollywood movies, The Manchurian Candidate was filmed twice. The first version, in 1962, which starred Frank SinatraLaurence HarveyJanet Leigh, and Angela Lansbury, followed the book with great fidelity, and is now highly regarded as a glimpse into the mindset of its era. Janet Maslin, writing already over two decades ago, said in The New York Times In 1996 that it was “arguably the most chilling piece of cold war paranoia ever committed to film, yet by now it has developed a kind of innocence.”[7]

The Keener’s Manual[edit]

Beginning with his first book, The Oldest Confession, Condon frequently prefaced his novels with excerpts of verse from a so-called Keener’s Manual; these epigraphs foreshadowed the theme of the book or, in several instances, gave the book its title. The Keener’s Manual, however, was a fictional invention by Condon and does not actually exist. A “keen” is a “lamentation for the dead uttered in a loud wailing voice or sometimes in a wordless cry” [16] and a “keener” is a professional mourner, usually a woman in Ireland, who “utters the keen… at a wake or funeral.” [17]

Five of Condon’s first six books derived their titles from the fictional manual, the only exception being his most famous book, The Manchurian Candidate. The epigraph in The Manchurian Candidate, however, “I am you and you are me /and what have we done to each other?” is a recurring theme in earlier Condon’s books: in various forms it also appears as dialog in both The Oldest Confession and Some Angry Angel. Among other epigraphs, the last line of “The riches I bring you /Crowding and shoving, /Are the envy of princes: /A talent for loving.” is the title of Condon’s fourth novel. His fifth and sixth novels, An Infinity of Mirrors and Any God Will Do, also derive their titles from excerpts of the manual.

Plagiarism charge[edit]

In 1998 a California software engineer noticed several paragraphs in The Manchurian Candidate that appeared nearly identical to portions of the celebrated 1934 novel I, Claudius by the English writer Robert Graves. She wrote about the apparent plagiarism on her website but her discovery went unnoticed by most of the world until Adair Lara, a longtime San Francisco Chronicle staff writer, wrote a lengthy article about the accusation in 2003.[18] Reprinting the paragraphs in question, she also solicited the opinion of a British forensic linguist, who concluded that Condon had unquestionably plagiarized at least two paragraphs of Graves’s work. By this time, however, more than seven years had passed since Condon’s death and Lara’s article also failed to generate any literary interest outside the Chronicle.

In Some Angry Angel, the book that followed The Manchurian Candidate, Condon makes a direct reference to Graves. In a long, convoluted passage on page 25 Condon reflects on “mistresses” and their relationship—a peripheral one, to the reader—to Graves’s writings about “Major Male” Deities and “Major Female” Deities. As Angel was published only a year after Candidate, there is no question, therefore, about Condon’s familiarity with the works of Robert Graves.[19]

Condon’s familiarity with Graves is also in evidence on p. 127 of his first novel, The Oldest Confession. One of the characters in the book purchases a copy of Graves’ Antigua, Penny, Puce!

Works[edit]

All novels except as noted:

Films adapted from Condon novels[edit]

Articles[edit]

  • “‘Manchurian Candidate’ in Dallas”. The Nation, December 28, 1963.

References[edit]

This article incorporates material from the Citizendium article “Richard Condon“, which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License but not under the GFDL.

  1. ^ Locus, The Magazine of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Field, from their May, 1996, issue #424, obituary of Condon, exact page unknown
  2. ^ Buckley, Tom. “THE LITERARY CONSPIRACIES OF RICHARD CONDON”The New York Times, September 2, 1979. Accessed September 14, 2009.
  3. ^ Max E. Youngstein – Biography
  4. ^ Mile High, The Dial Press, New York, 1969, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 77-80497, page 156
  5. ^ The New York Times, Sunday, August 17, 2008, Sunday Opinion, “The Candidate We Still Don’t Know” at [1]
  6. ^ Time magazine, “Cheese”, March 4, 1971, at
  7. Jump up to:a b c The New York Times, Wednesday, April 10, 1996, Obituaries, “Richard Condon, Political Novelist, Dies at 81; Wrote ‘Manchurian Candidate’ and ‘Prizzi'” at [2]
  8. ^ Who’s Who in Spy Fiction, Donald McCormick, Sphere Books Ltd., London, 1977, page 64
  9. ^ “For Eddie West, power was all that mattered,” by Pete Hamill, The New York Times, August 31, 1969, at
  10. ^ Time Magazine, “Liederkranz”, a book review by John Skow, June 2, 1975
  11. ^ The Manchurian Candidate, by Richard Condon, paperback edition, Signet, New York, November, 1962, fifth printing, page 261
  12. ^ An Infinity of Mirrors, by Richard Condon, paperback edition, Fawcett Crest, New York, September, 1965, page 36
  13. ^ “A Thriller of the Condon Class”, by Richard R. Lingeman, The New York Times, May 21, 1976, at [3]
  14. ^ Roger Sale, May 23, 1976, in The New York Times, at
  15. ^ Remembrance of Frank Heller,” by Ira Skutch, at
  16. ^ Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, Merriam-Webster, Inc., Springfield, Massachusetts, 2004, ISBN 0-87779-807-9
  17. ^ Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language, Second Edition, Unabridged, G. & C. Merriam Co., Publishers, Springfield, Massachusetts, 1943
  18. ^ “Has a local software engineer unmasked ‘The Manchurian Candidate’? Menlo Park woman says author Richard Condon plagiarized”, by Adair Lara, in the San Francisco Chronicle,October 4, 2003; the entire article can be read at [4]
  19. ^ Some Angry Angel: A Mid-Century Faerie Tale, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1960, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 60-8826, page 25

 

v

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

What DVDs Should I Buy or Binge Watch Both Movies and Television Series — Videos

Posted on October 7, 2017. Filed under: American History, Art, Art, Blogroll, Book, Books, British History, Business, Comedy, Communications, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Essays, European History, Faith, Family, Fiction, Films, Freedom, Friends, Heroes, history, Investments, Middle East, Movies, Music, Non-Fiction, Plays, Strategy, Success, Television, Wealth, Weather, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, World War II, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Image result for list of top 100 television shows or seriesImage result for top ten televisions shows in u.s. of all timeImage result for top ten movies of all timeImage result for top ten movies of all time

Image result for top ten movies of all time

Image result for list of top 100 movies of all time

Image result for list of top 100 movies of all time

Image result for list of top 100 movies

15 Best TV Shows to Binge Watch 2017

9 Shows You Should Binge Watch

TV Shows You Should Binge – Right NOW!

Top 10 TV Shows To Binge Watch With Your BFFs

10 Netflix TV Series That Need Binge Watching

Top 10 Best TV Shows Of All Time

Best Shows to Binge Watch on Netflix Right Now

Another Top 10 TV Shows To Binge Watch

TOP 10 Must See Best TV Shows | Netflix Binge Watch Series 2017 HD

Top 10 Showtime Shows of All Time

Top 10 HBO Shows of All Time

Top 10 BBC Shows

Top 10 British Crime Shows

Top 10 American Crime Shows

Top 20 Movies Every Film Fan Must See – Collider Video

16 Action Films You Need To Watch Before You Die

Top 10 Greatest Teen Movies

Top 10 Movies that Exceeded Expectations

Top 10 Movie Sequels That Were Better Than The Original

MDb’s Top 10 Films of the 1910’s

WatchMojo March Madness: Greatest Movies of All Time Series

Top 10 Movies of the 1920s

Top 10 Movies of the 1930s

Top 10 Movies Of the 1940s

Top 10 Movies of the 1950s

Top 10 Movies of the 1960s

Top 10 Movies of the 1970s

Top 10 Movies of the 1980s

Top 10 Movies of the 1990s

Top 10 Movies Of The 2000s

Top 10 Movies of the 2010s So Far

Top 10 Superhero Movies of ALL TIME

Top 10 Movies of All Time

 

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Yuval Noah Harari — Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow — Videos

Posted on May 31, 2017. Filed under: Art, Blogroll, Books, Communications, Culture, Documentary, Employment, Entertainment, Non-Fiction, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Image result for Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow with Yuval Noah HarariImage result for Yuval Noah harariImage result for Yuval Noah harari

Why humans run the world | Yuval Noah Harari

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow with Yuval Noah Harari

Yuval Noah Harari on the Rise of Homo Deus

Homo Deus A Brief History of Tomorrow Full Audiobook Part

Yuval Noah Harari Gives A Brief History Of Tomorrow

How Alicia Vikander Perfected Her Robot Voice for Ex Machina – Late Night with Seth Meyers

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Ex Machina

Ex Machina

Ex Machina Official Teaser Trailer #1 (2015) – Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson Movie HD

Ex Machina 2015 – full movie

 

Godlike ‘Homo Deus’ Could Replace Humans as Tech Evolves

What happens when the twin worlds of biotechnology and artificial intelligence merge, allowing us to re-design our species to meet our whims and desires?

Updated May.31.2017 / 1:44 PM ET

Futuristic Pacific Islander woman watching holograms :: This content is subject to copyright. | This content is subject to copyright.
Evolution is a slow affair, taking some 5 million years to turn a chimpanzee-like creature into us. But what happens when we push down the accelerator and take command of our bodies and brains instead of leaving it to nature? What happens when biotechnology and artificial intelligence merge, allowing us to re-design our species to meet our whims and desires?

Historian Yuval Noah Harari explores these questions in his runaway bestseller, “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow,” a kind of sequel to his 2014 book, “Sapiens.” The title of his new book suggests a startling stage in our evolution: Homo sapiens (“wise man”), far from being the pinnacle of creation, is a temporary creature, one soon to be replaced by Homo deus (“god man”).

Harari makes no pretense of being able to peer into the future — but the advances humans have made suggest where we may be heading. Breakthroughs in biotechnology, including gene-editing methods likeCRISPR, hint at the power we’ll soon have to change our genes, our bodies, and perhaps our brains.

At the same time, advances in artificial intelligence, includingmachine learning, may soon let us build brain-computer interfaces that will blur the line between man and machine. So far, we’ve muddled along as biological creatures, but we may one day become something new — a novel mix of the biological and the technological; of flesh and silicon.

Image::Professor Yuval Noah Harari|||[object Object]
Professor Yuval Noah Harari NurPhoto Via Getty Images / Jonathan Nicholson/NurPhoto

Harari said we’re already moving in that direction: We depend on our smartphones for a staggering number of decisions every day — and that dependence is growing.

“In 2050, it is likely that your smartphone will not be separate from you at all,” Harari said by e-mail from his home in Israel. “It will be embedded in your body via biometric sensors, and it will monitor your heart rate, your blood pressure, and your brain activity 24 hours a day.” Your smartphone will constantly analyze that data, and “will, therefore, know your desires, likes, and dislikes even better than you.” We see versions of this today, with our Amazon accounts, which seem to know our taste in books and music better than we do.

BLURRING THE HUMAN-MACHINE BOUNDARY

Humanity has been through revolutions before, but this one will be different, Harari said. When our ancestors first picked up stone tools to hack away at an animal carcass, some 2 million years ago, it was a game-changer — but it primarily changed our culture, not our bodies. Now we’re entering a new era, in which rather than using tools, the tools might be using us.

“People are delegating more responsibility to AI and they are already merging with their smartphones and their Facebook accounts,” Harari said. “These are no longer dumb tools like a hammer or a knife — they are intelligent entities that constantly study us, adapt to our unique personality, and actively shape our worldview and our innermost desires.”

We will use technology to upgrade ourselves … into something different.

In the future Harari envisions, we’ll gradually merge with machines thanks to biometric sensors and brain-computer interfaces. This may sound like science fiction, but it’s already a reality. At Miguel Nicolelis’s lab at Duke University’s Center for Neuroengineering, patients with spinal cord injuries can use a brain-machine interface to control a motorized “exoskeleton” to regain some sensation and muscle control in damaged limbs.

“Humans will merge with computers and machines to form cyborgs — part-organic, part-bionic life forms,” Harari said. “You could surf the Internet with your mind; you could use bionic arms, legs, and eyes; you will augment your organic immune system with a bionic immune system, and you will delegate more and more decisions to algorithms that know you better than you know yourself.”

At first, you may feel a sentimental attachment to the traditional human form. Looking recognizably like Homo sapiens, we might soon be able to select “designer bodies,” as though shopping from a catalog, Harari speculates.

“However, in the longer term — perhaps in the 22nd century — the human body is likely to lose its relevance and appeal,” he said. As our mastery over materials progresses, we may go “beyond material structures altogether. We might reach a point when minds could surf cyberspace directly, and adopt there any kind of form we fancy, irrespective of the laws of biology or even physics.”

TRANSCENDING SPACE AND TIME

The way we understand space and time may also change, Harari said. “Today we have organic bodies, hence at any one time, we can be only in one place. But a future cyborg may have an organic brain connected via a brain-computer interface to numerous arms, legs, and other tools that could be scattered all over the world. Your brain could be in New York, while your hands will be fighting insurgents in Afghanistan or performing heart surgery in Egypt. So where are you?”

Whether the homo deus species is “human” is a philosophical question, not a scientific one. But Harari believes these changes will come gradually as our relationship with the machines becomes slowly but inexorably more intimate. Our species “is likely to upgrade itself step by step, merging with robots and computers in the process,” he wrote in his latest book, “until our descendants will look back and realise they are no longer the kind of animal that wrote the Bible, built the Great Wall of China, and laughed at Charlie Chaplin’s antics.”

Humankind’s relationship with technology has always been complex. “We’ve always sort of been merged with technology,” said journalist Mark O’Connell, author of the new book “To Be a Machine.” “We’re already cyborgs, in a sense, because we’re in this relationship with technology which is very intimate.” The coming of the smartphone — which many of us put down only when we’re asleep or in the shower — has taken this relationship to the next level. “Your phone is a cyborg technology, in a way. It’s not physically internalized — but the phone is like an extra limb or an extrasensory device.”

Traditionally, technology has been located outside the body, but more and more often it’s inside — where it takes on more personal significance. Think of the difference between eyeglasses, which touch the body, and a pacemaker, which lies next to the heart.

“I feel like there’s a very strong, profound distinction between just using technology and integrating technology” into our bodies, O’Connell said.

MIND 2.0?

When body and machine merge, what happens to the mind? As Harari admitted in “Homo Deus,” the nature of consciousness remains a deep mystery. That’s why, despite AI advancements, our efforts to create a “thinking machine” haven’t lived up to expectations.

“We’ve seen an amazing development in computer intelligence, but exactly zero development in computer consciousness,” Harari said. Part of the problem is that we often confuse intelligence, which he defines as the ability to solve problems, with consciousness — the ability to feel. Yet, he said, we may one day find a way around this divide, eventually reaching a state of “super-intelligence.”

Not surprisingly, the schemes for enhancing human intelligence seem to be coming from Silicon Valley. Bryan Johnson, a tech entrepreneur who made his fortune by selling eBay, now heads a startup called Kernel, which is developing computerized brain implants that can help people with neurological damage caused by strokes or Alzheimer’s disease. With help from neuroscientists, Johnson hopes to go further. He’d like to use the technology to boost memory and even intelligence. As Johnson told the Washington Postlast year: “Whatever endeavor we imagine — flying cars, go to Mars — it all fits downstream from our intelligence. It is the most powerful resource in existence. It is the master tool.”

Image::Bryan Johnson, founder and chief executive officer of Kernel|||[object Object]
Bryan Johnson, founder and chief executive officer of KernelBloomberg Via Getty Images / (C) 2017 Bloomberg Finance LP

HEAVEN CAN WAIT

Harari won’t say whether we will conquer death, but he’s confident we’ll “make a bid” for immortality this century. In fact, our attitude toward death has changed since the Scientific Revolution, he said. Science “has redefined death as a technical problem. A very complicated problem, no doubt, but still only a technical problem.”

And technical problems have technical solutions. “If traditionally death was the specialty of priests and theologians, now the engineers are taking over,” Harari said. That doesn’t mean we’ll be able to pull it off — but he doesn’t dismiss the idea. “My position is that humankind has the potential to overcome old age and death, but it will probably take a few centuries rather than a few decades.”

But if people stop dying, won’t the world get crowded?

“Only the rich will stop dying,” Harari said, “and there aren’t many of them.” This raises a dire vision of the world in which the ultra-wealthy have access to life-extending modifications — perhaps even immortality — while the majority live in a constant state of resentment. If only the rich can be immortal, the poor won’t stand for it, Harari said.

We’re already cyborgs, in a sense, because we’re in this relationship with technology which is very intimate.

“Those unable to afford the new miracle treatments — the vast majority of people — will be beside themselves with rage,” he said. “Throughout history, the poor and oppressed comforted themselves with the thought that at least death is even-handed — that the rich and powerful will also die. The poor will not be comfortable with the thought that they have to die, while the rich will remain young and beautiful forever.”

Even if immortality is never achieved, the unequal availability of life-extending procedures will take a toll on society, Harari said. “We might see the emergence of the most unequal societies that ever existed… economic inequality will be translated into biological inequality.”

People will still have to work for a living, but what sort of work is impossible to predict. “Nobody knows what the job market will look like in 2050, except that it will be completely different from today,” Harari said. Many familiar jobs will have disappeared, and new ones will arise. But the direction we’re moving in suggests that a “post-work world” is on the horizon. “The idea of going to the office to earn a living would sound as strange as the idea of going to the forest to hunt your dinner.”

DIVINE DATA

The office isn’t the only place that may soon be redundant. Churches, Harari suggested, may fade into history along with the very idea of religion. As he points out, the things that God does in Genesis — creating plants, animals, and people — may soon be things that humans can do. We’ll see these new gods every time we look in the mirror. If making things no longer seems miraculous, what would?

As artificial intelligence progresses, and the power of algorithms and data-crunching dominates more aspects of our lives, Harari wonders whether data may come to have divine properties. In the future, “techno-religions” may conquer the world, he said, not by promising salvation in the next world, but by radically changing our lives in this world.

Harari argued that “the most interesting place in the world from a religious perspective is not the Islamic State or the Bible Belt, but Silicon Valley.” The technology gurus “promise all the old prizes — happiness, peace, prosperity, and even eternal life — but here on earth with the help of technology, rather than after death with the help of celestial beings.”

There is much in Harari’s vision to inspire awe; there is also much to fear. But Harari himself seemed more sanguine — though he acknowledged that, as humanity takes on unprecedented new powers, we will also have to embrace equally great responsibility.

We may not be ready. But, Harari added, “that has never stopped us before.”

Dan Falk (@danfalk) is a science journalist based in Toronto. His books include The Science of Shakespeare and In Search of Time.

https://www.nbcnews.com/mach

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

The English book cover of Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
Author Yuval Noah Harari
Original title ההיסטוריה של המחר
Country Israel
Language English
Hebrew (original)
French (September 2017)
Chinese
Subject Civilization
Technology and civilization
Human beings
Publisher Harvill Secker
Publication date
2015
Published in English
8 September 2016
Pages 448
ISBN 978-191-070-187-4

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (Hebrew: ההיסטוריה של המחר) is a book written by Israeli author Yuval Noah Harari, professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The book was first published in Hebrew in 2015 by Dvir publishing; the English-language version was published in September 2016 in the UK and in February 2017 in the US. As with its predecessor, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Harari recounts the course of history while describing events and the individual human experience, along with ethical issues in relation to his historical survey. Homo Deus, as opposed to the previous book, deals more with the abilities acquired by humans (Homo sapiens) throughout its existence, and its evolution as the dominant species in the world; the book attempts to paint an image of the future. Many philosophical issues are discussed, such as the human experience,individualism, human emotion and consciousness. The book describes the current abilities and achievements of mankind.

Central thesis

  • Organisms are algorithms, and as such homo sapiens may not be dominant in a universe where dataism becomes the paradigm.
  • Since the verbal/language revolution some 70,000 years ago, humans live within an “intersubjective reality”, such as countries, borders, religion, and money, all created to enable large-scale, flexible cooperation between different individual human beings.
  • Humankind’s immense ability to give meaning to its actions and thoughts is what has enabled its many achievements.
  • Humanism is a form of religion that worships humankind instead of god. It puts humankind and its desires as a top priority in the world in which humans themselves are framed as the dominant beings. During the 21st century, Harari believes that humanism may push humans to search for immortality, happiness, and power.
  • Technological developments have threatened the continued ability of humans to give meaning to their lives; Harari prophesies the replacement of humankind with a super-man, or “homo deus” (human god) endowed with supernatural abilities such as eternal life.[1]

Reception

After its publication Homo Deus received significant media attention. Articles and reviews about the book were published by The New York Times,[2][3]The Guardian,[4][5]The Economist,[6]The New Yorker,[7]NPR,[8]Financial Times[9] and Times Higher Education.[10]

Translations

Translations have or will become available:

  • English: September 2016.
  • Spanish: October 2016.
  • Portuguese: November 2016.[11]
  • Turkish: December 2016.
  • Chinese: January 2017.
  • German: February 2017.
  • Dutch: February 2017.
  • Italian: May 2017, Bompiani.
  • French: September 2017.

References

  1. Jump up^ Shalev, Amichay (6 May 2015). “”ההיסטוריה של המחר”: להרוג את המוות”.Ynet (in Hebrew). Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  2. Jump up^ Senior, Jennifer (15 February 2017). “Review: ‘Homo Deus’ Foresees a Godlike Future. (Ignore the Techno-Overlords.)”. The New York Times.ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  3. Jump up^ Mukherjee, Siddhartha (13 March 2017). “The Future of Humans? One Forecaster Calls for Obsolescence”. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  4. Jump up^ Adams, Tim (11 September 2016). “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari review – chilling”. The Guardian.ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  5. Jump up^ Runciman, David (24 August 2016). “Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari review – how data will destroy human freedom”. The Guardian.ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  6. Jump up^ “Future shock”. The Economist. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  7. Jump up^ “Are Liberals on the Wrong Side of History?”. The New Yorker. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  8. Jump up^ “Are Cyborgs in Our Future? ‘Homo Deus’ Author Thinks So”. NPR.org. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  9. Jump up^ “Subscribe to read”. http://www.ft.com. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  10. Jump up^ “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, by Yuval Noah Harari”. Times Higher Education (THE). 13 October 2016. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  11. Jump up^ http://www.companhiadasletras.com.br/detalhe.php?codigo=14083

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_Deus:_A_Brief_History_of_Tomorrow

Ex Machina (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ex Machina
Ex-machina-uk-poster.jpg

British theatrical release poster
Directed by Alex Garland
Produced by
Written by Alex Garland
Starring
Music by
Cinematography Rob Hardy
Edited by Mark Day
Production
company
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • 16 December 2014(BFI Southbank)
  • 21 January 2015(United Kingdom)
  • 10 April 2015(United States)
Running time
108 minutes[1]
Country
Language English
Budget $15 million[4]
Box office $36.9 million[5]

Ex Machina (stylized as ex_machina or EX_MACHINA) is a 2015 independent science fiction psychological thriller film written and directed by Alex Garland (in his directorial debut) and stars Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander. The film follows a programmer who is invited by his CEO to administer the Turing test to an intelligent humanoid robot.

Made on a budget of $15 million, the film grossed $36 million worldwide and received critical acclaim. The National Board of Review recognized it as one of the ten best independent films of the year and the 88th Academy Awards honored the film with the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, for artists Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Williams Ardingtonand Sara Bennett. Garland was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, while Vikander’s acclaimed performance earned her BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, Empire Award and Saturn Award nominations, plus several film critic award wins, for Best Supporting Actress. The film was further nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best British Film, and the Hugo Award in the category Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form.

Plot

Programmer Caleb Smith, who works for the dominant search engine company Blue Book, wins an office contest for a one-week visit to the luxurious, isolated home of the CEO, Nathan Bateman. The only other person there is Nathan’s servant Kyoko, who, according to Nathan, does not speak English. Nathan has built a humanoid robot named Ava withartificial intelligence. Ava has already passed a simple Turing test; Nathan wants Caleb to judge whether Ava is genuinely capable of thought and consciousness, and whether he can relate to Ava despite knowing she is artificial.

Ava has a robotic body but a human-looking face, and is confined to her apartment. During their talks, Caleb grows close to her, and she expresses a romantic interest in him and a desire to experience the world outside. She can trigger power outages that temporarily shut down the surveillance system which Nathan uses to monitor their interactions, allowing them to speak privately. The power outages also trigger the building’s security system, locking all the doors. During one outage, Ava tells Caleb that Nathan is a liar who cannot be trusted.

Caleb grows uncomfortable with Nathan’s narcissism, excessive drinking, and crude behaviour towards Kyoko and Ava. He learns that Nathan intends to upgrade Ava, “killing” her current personality in the process. After Nathan drinks until he passes out, Caleb steals his security card to access his room and computer. After he alters some of Nathan’s code, he discovers footage of Nathan interacting with previous android models in disturbing ways, and learns that Kyoko is also an android. Suspicious that he may also be an android, Caleb cuts his arm open to examine his flesh.

At their next meeting, Ava cuts the power. Caleb explains what Nathan is going to do and Ava begs him to help her. They form a plan: Caleb will get Nathan drunk again and reprogram the security system to open the doors in a power failure instead of locking them. When Ava cuts the power, she and Caleb will leave together.

Nathan reveals to Caleb that he has been observing Caleb and Ava’s secret conversations with a battery-powered camera. He says Ava has only pretended to like Caleb so he would help her escape; this, he says, was the real test all along, and by manipulating Caleb so successfully, Ava has demonstrated true intelligence. Ava cuts the power. Caleb reveals that he knew Nathan was watching them, and modified the security system when Nathan was passed out the previous day. After seeing Ava leave her confinement, Nathan knocks Caleb unconscious and rushes to stop her.

With help from Kyoko, Ava kills Nathan, but in the process Nathan destroys Kyoko and damages Ava. Ava repairs herself with parts from earlier androids, using their artificial skin to take on the full appearance of a human woman. She leaves Caleb trapped inside the facility, ignoring his screams, and escapes to the outside world in the helicopter meant to take Caleb home.

Cast

Production

The foundation for Ex Machina was laid when Garland was 11 or 12 years old, after he had done some basic coding and experimentation on a computer his parents had bought him and which he sometimes felt had a mind of its own.[6] His later ideas came from years of discussions he had been having with a friend with an expertise in neuroscience, who claimed machines could never become sentient. Trying to find an answer on his own he started reading books on the topic. During the pre-production of Dredd, while going through a book by Murray Shanahan about consciousness and embodiment, Garland had an “epiphany.” The idea was written down and put aside till later.[7] Shanahan, along with Adam Rutherford, became a consultant for the film, and the ISBN of his book is referred to as an easter egg in the film.[8][9] Other inspirations came from films like Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Altered States, and books written by Ludwig Wittgenstein, Ray Kurzweil and others.[10] Wanting total creative freedom, without having to add conventional action sequences, he made the film on as small a budget as possible.[11]

The film was shot as ordinary live action. During filming, there were no special effects, greenscreen, or tracking markers used. All effects were done in post-production. To create Ava’s robotic features, scenes were filmed both with and without actress Alicia Vikander’s presence, which allowed capturing the background behind her. The parts necessary to keep, especially her hands and face, were then rotoscoped while the rest was digitally painted out, and the background behind her restored. Camera and body tracking systems transferred Vikander’s performance to the CGI robot’s movements. In total, there were about 800 VFX shots, of which 350 or so were “robot” shots.[12][13] Other visual effects included Ava’s clothes when shown through the transparent areas of her body, Nathan’s blood after being stabbed, and the interior of the artificial brains.[14][15][16]

Filming

Principal photography began on 15 July 2013[17] and was shot over four weeks at Pinewood Studios and two weeks at Juvet Landscape Hotel in Valldalen, Norway.[18] It was filmed in digital at 4K resolution.[19] 15,000 mini-tungsten pea bulb lights were installed into the sets to avoid the fluorescent light often used in science fiction films.[20]

The opening office scene is filmed at the Bloomberg Head Office in Finsbury Square, London.

Music

The musical score for Ex Machina was composed by Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow, who previously worked with Garland on Dredd (2012).[21] A soundtrack album was released digitally on 20 January 2015, with an LP andCompact Disc UK release in February 2015 by Invada Records.[22] Additional songs featured in the film include:[23]

The theme song from the film Ghostbusters is listed in the end titles with the credit, “words and music by Ray Erskine Publishing Limited,” although only its refrain is spoken by the character Nathan in conversation.

Release

Universal Pictures released Ex Machina in the United Kingdom on 21 January 2015,[24] following a preview screening at the BFI Southbank on 16 December 2014 as part of the BFI‘s Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder season.[25]

However, Universal and Focus Features refused to release the film in the United States, so A24 jumped on board for the United States release.[26] The film screened on 14 March 2015 at the South by Southwest festival prior to a theatrical release in the United States on 10 April 2015 by A24.[27][28]

Marketing

Using the dating app Tinder, a profile was created for Ava with the image of Alicia Vikander.[29] At the South by Southwest Festival where the film was screened, “Ava” was matched with other Tinder users, wherein a text conversation occurred that led users to the Instagram handle promoting the film. According to Brent Lang, when compared with similar films released in the same year, Ex Machina catered to young audiences.[30]

Critical reception

Ex Machina received critical acclaim for its acting, atmosphere, visual effects, score and Garland’s writing and direction. On website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 93%, based on 227 reviews, with a rating average of 8/10. The site’s critical consensus reads: “Ex Machina leans heavier on ideas than effects, but it’s still a visually polished piece of work—and an uncommonly engaging sci-fi feature.”[31] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 78 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.[32]

The magazine New Scientist in a multi-page review said, “It is a rare thing to see a movie about science that takes no prisoners intellectually … [it] is a stylish, spare and cerebral psycho-techno thriller, which gives a much needed shot in the arm for smart science fiction.”[33] The New York Times critic Manohla Dargis gave the film a ‘Critic’s Pick’, calling it “a smart, sleek movie about men and the machines they make”.[34] Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times recommended the film, stating: “Shrewdly imagined and persuasively made, ‘Ex Machina’ is a spooky piece of speculative fiction that’s completely plausible, capable of both thinking big thoughts and providing pulp thrills.”[35] Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer film critic, gave the film 4 out of 4 stars, writing: “Like stage actors who live and breathe their roles over the course of months, Isaac, Gleeson, and Vikander excel, and cast a spell.”[36]

Matt Zoller Seitz from RogerEbert.com praised the use of ideas, ideals, and exploring society’s male and female roles, through the use of an artificial intelligence. He also stated that the tight scripting and scenes allowed the film to move towards a fully justified and predictable end. He gave a rating of 4 out of 4 stars, stating that this film would be a classic.[37] IGN reviewer Chris Tilly gave the film a 9.0 out of 10 ‘Amazing’ score, saying “Anchored by three dazzling central performances, it’s a stunning directorial debut from Alex Garland that’s essential viewing for anyone with even a passing interest in where technology is taking us.”[38]

Mike Scott, writing for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, said, “It’s a theme Mary Shelley brought us in Frankenstein, which was first published in 1818. That was almost 200 years ago. And while Ex Machina replaces the stitches and neck bolts with gears and fiber-optics, it all feels an awful lot like the same story.”[39] Jaime Perales Contreras, writing for Letras Libres, compared Ex Machina as a gothic experience similar to a modern version ofFrankenstein, saying “both the novel Frankenstein and the movie Ex Machina share the history of a fallible god in a continuous battle against his creation.”[40] Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of The A.V. Club criticized the way the sci-fi, near the end, veered off course from being a “film of ideas” by “taking an arbitrary left turn into the territory of corny slasher thrillers”: “While Ex Machina’s ending isn’t unmotivated […], it does fracture much of what’s special about the movie. Up until the final scenes, Garland creates and sustains a credible atmosphere of unease and scientific speculation, defined by color-coded production design […] and a tiny, capable cast.”[41] Steve Dalton fromThe Hollywood Reporter stated, “The story ends in a muddled rush, leaving many unanswered questions. Like a newly launched high-end smartphone, Ex Machina looks cool and sleek, but ultimately proves flimsy and underpowered. Still, for dystopian future-shock fans who can look beyond its basic design flaws, Garland’s feature debut functions just fine as superior pulp sci-fi.”[42]

Accolades

Awards
Award Category Recipients and nominees Result
Academy Awards[43]
Best Original Screenplay Alex Garland Nominated
Best Visual Effects Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Williams Ardington and Sara Bennett Won
ADG Excellence in Production Design Award Excellence in Production Design for a Contemporary Film Mark Digby Nominated
Austin Film Critics Association Best Original Screenplay Alex Garland Nominated
Best First Film Won
Best Supporting Actor Oscar Isaac Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Alicia Vikander Won
Breakthrough Artist Nominated
Boston Society of Film Critics Best New Filmmaker Alex Garland Won
Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie Won
Best Visual Effects Nominated
British Academy Film Awards Best Actress in a Supporting Role Alicia Vikander Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Alex Garland Nominated
Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer Nominated
Outstanding British Film Alex Garland, Andrew Macdonald and Allon Reich Nominated
Best Special Visual Effects Mark Ardington, Sara Bennett, Paul Norris and Andrew Whitehurst Nominated
British Independent Film Awards Best British Independent Film Won
Best Director of a British Independent Film Alex Garland Won
Best Screenplay Won
Outstanding Achievement in Craft Mark Digby – Production Design Nominated
Andrew Whitehurst – Visual Effects Won
British Society of Cinematographers Best Cinematography in a Feature Film Rob Hardy Nominated
Central Ohio Film Critics Association Best Picture Nominated
Actor of the Year Domhnall Gleeson Runner-up
Alicia Vikander Won
Breakthrough Film Artist Won
Best Supporting Actress Won
Best Supporting Actor Oscar Isaac Runner-up
Best Original Screenplay Alex Garland Nominated
Best Ensemble Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac and Sonoya Mizuno Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Best Original Screenplay Alex Garland Nominated
Most Promising Filmmaker Won
Best Supporting Actress Alicia Vikander Won
Costume Designers Guild Awards Excellence in Fantasy Film Sammy Sheldon Differ Nominated
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Alicia Vikander Runner-up
Directors Guild of America Award Outstanding Directing – First-Time Feature Film Alex Garland Won
Empire Awards Best Actress Alicia Vikander Nominated
Golden Globe Award Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Nominated
Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form Alex Garland Nominated
Irish Film and Television Awards Best Actor in a Lead Role – Film Domhnall Gleeson Nominated
Best International Film Nominated
London Film Critics’ Circle Supporting Actor of the Year Oscar Isaac Nominated
Supporting Actress of the Year Alicia Vikander Nominated
Breakthrough British/Irish Filmmaker Alex Garland Nominated
Technical Achievement Award Andrew Whitehurst Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Female Performance Alicia Vikander Nominated
National Board of Review Top 10 Independent Films Won
Online Film Critics Society Best Supporting Actor Oscar Isaac Won
Producers Guild of America Award Best Theatrical Motion Picture Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Best Film Runner-up
Best Actress Alicia Vikander Nominated
Breakthrough Artist Runner-up
Body of Work (including other features) Won
Best Supporting Actor Oscar Isaac Runner-up
Best Original Screenplay Alex Garland Nominated
Best Production Design Mark Digby Nominated
Best Sound Design Nominated
Best Visual Effects Nominated
Saturn Award[44][45] Best Science Fiction Film Nominated
Best Director Alex Garland Nominated
Best Writing Nominated
Best Actor Domhnall Gleeson Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Alicia Vikander Nominated
Best Special Effects Mark Williams Ardington, Sara Bennett, Paul Norris, and Andrew Whitehurst Nominated
Toronto Film Critics Association Best First Feature Alex Garland Won
Best Supporting Actress Alicia Vikander Won

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_Machina_(film)

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Tom Wolfe — The Right Stuff — Videos

Posted on December 10, 2016. Filed under: American History, Art, Articles, Blogroll, Book, Books, College, Comedy, Communications, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Fiction, Heroes, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Money, Movies, Movies, Music, People, Philosophy, Photos, Press, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Video, War, Wisdom, World War II, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Image result for tom wolf the right stuff

Image result for tom wolf the right stuff

Image result for tom wolf the right stuff

Image result for tom wolf the right stuff

Image result for tom wolf the right stuff

Image result for tom wolf the right stuff

The Right Stuff – The Bell X-1 (with Levon Helm as CPT Jack Ridley)

The Right Stuff (Part 2)

The Right Stuff (Part 3)

The Right Stuff (Part 4)

The Right Stuff (Part 5)

The Right Stuff (Part 6)

The Right Stuff (Part 7)

The Right Stuff (book)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Right Stuff
The Right Stuff (book).jpg

First edition
Author Tom Wolfe
Country United States
Language English
Genre New Journalism
Non-fiction
Publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date
1979
Media type Print (hardcover & paperback)
Pages 436 pages
ISBN 0-374-25032-4
OCLC 5007334
629.4/0973 19
LC Class TL789.8.U5 W64 1979

The Right Stuff is a 1979 book by Tom Wolfe about the pilots engaged in U.S. postwar research with experimental rocket-powered, high-speed aircraft as well as documenting the stories of the first Project Mercury astronauts selected for the NASA space program. The Right Stuff is based on extensive research by Wolfe, who interviewed test pilots, the astronauts and their wives, among others. The story contrasts the “Mercury Seven[1] and their families with test pilots such as Chuck Yeager, who was considered by many contemporaries as the best of them all, but who was never selected as an astronaut.

Wolfe wrote that the book was inspired by the desire to find out why the astronauts accepted the danger of space flight. He recounts the enormous risks that test pilots were already taking, and the mental and physical characteristics—the titular “right stuff”—required for and reinforced by their jobs. Wolfe likens the astronauts to “single combat warriors” from an earlier era who received the honor and adoration of their people before going forth to fight on their behalf.

The 1983 film The Right Stuff is adapted from the book.

Writing and publication

First-state dust jacket, showing initial design never released in a public edition[2]

In 1972 Jann Wenner, the editor of Rolling Stone assigned Wolfe to cover the launch of NASA’s last moon mission, Apollo 17. Wolfe became fascinated with the astronauts, and his competitive spirit compelled him to try to outdo Norman Mailer‘s nonfiction book about the first moon mission, Of a Fire on the Moon. He published a four-part series for Rolling Stone in 1973 titled “Post-Orbital Remorse”, about the depression that some astronauts experienced after having been in space. After the series, Wolfe began researching the whole of the space program, in what became a seven-year project from which he took time to write The Painted Word, a book on art, and to complete Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine, a collection of shorter pieces.[3]

In 1977 he returned to his astronaut book full-time. Wolfe originally planned to write a complete history of the space program, though after writing through the Mercury program, he felt that his work was complete and that it captured the astronauts’ ethos — the “right stuff” that astronauts and test pilots of the 1940s and 1950s shared — the unspoken code of bravery and machismo that compelled these men to ride on top of dangerous rockets. While conducting research, he consulted with General Chuck Yeager and, after receiving a comprehensive review of his manuscript, was convinced that test pilots like Yeager should form the backdrop of the period. In the end, Yeager becomes a personification of the many postwar test pilots and their “right stuff.”[4] The phrase itself may have originated in the Joseph Conrad story “Youth”, where it was used.

The Right Stuff was published in 1979 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and became Wolfe’s best selling book yet.[citation needed] It was praised by most critics, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and won the National Book Award for Nonfiction.[5][6]

In the foreword to a new edition, published in 1983 when the film adaptation was released, Wolfe wrote that his “book grew out of some ordinary curiosity” about what “makes a man willing to sit up on top of an enormous Roman candle… and wait for someone to light the fuse.”[7]

Book

The story is more about the space race than space exploration in general. The Soviet Union‘s early space efforts are mentioned only as background, focusing entirely on an early portion of the U.S. space program. Only Project Mercury, the first operational manned space-flight program, is covered. The Mercury Seven were Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, and Deke Slayton. Emphasis is given to the personal stories of the astronauts and their wives rather than the technical aspects of space travel and the flights themselves.

The storyline also involves the political reasons for putting people into space, asserting that the Mercury astronauts were actually a burden to the program and were only sent up for promotional reasons. Reasons for including living beings in spacecraft are barely touched upon, but the first option considered was to use a chimpanzee (and, indeed, chimpanzees were sent up first).

Another option considered were athletes already accustomed to physical stress, such as circus trapeze artists. Wolfe states that President Dwight D. Eisenhower, however, insisted on pilots, even though the first crew members would not actually fly the spacecraft. When Gus Grissom lands at sea and exits his space capsule, saving the capsule seems more important to the recovery team than saving the pilot because of the value of the data.

Wolfe contrasts the Seven with the Edwards AFB test pilots, among whom was Chuck Yeager, who was shut out of the astronaut program after NASA officials decided to use college-degreed pilots, not ones who gained their commissions as enlisted men, such as participants in the USAAF Flying Sergeants Program in World War II. Chuck Yeager spent time with Tom Wolfe explaining accident reports “that Wolfe kept getting all wrong.” Publishing insiders say these sessions between Wolfe and Yeager led Wolfe to highlight Yeager’s character, presence, thoughts, and anecdotes throughout the book. As an example, Yeager prides his speech to the Society of Test Pilots that the first rider in the Mercury development program would be a monkey, not a real test pilot, and Wolfe plays this drama out on the angst felt by the Mercury Astronauts over those remarks. Yeager himself downplayed the theory of “the right stuff,” attributing his survival of potential catastrophes to simply knowing his airplane thoroughly, along with some good luck.

Another test pilot highlighted in the book is Scott Crossfield. Crossfield and Yeager were fierce but friendly rivals for speed and altitude records.

Film adaptation

A 3-hour, 13-minute film stars Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid, Fred Ward, Barbara Hershey, Kim Stanley, Levon Helm, Veronica Cartwright, Pamela Reed, Lance Henriksen, and the real Chuck Yeager in a cameo appearance. NFL Hall of Famer Anthony Muñoz also has a small role, playing “Gonzalez”. It features a score by composer Bill Conti.

The screenplay was adapted by Philip Kaufman from the book, with some contributions from screenwriter William Goldman (Goldman dissociated himself with the film after quarrelling with Kaufman about the story). The film was also directed by Kaufman.

While the movie took liberties with certain historical facts as part of “dramatic license”, criticism focused on one: the portrayal of Gus Grissom panicking when his Liberty Bell 7 spacecraft sank following splashdown. Most historians, as well as engineers working for or with NASA and many of the related contractor agencies within the aerospace industry, are now convinced that the premature detonation of the spacecraft hatch’s explosive bolts was caused by failure not associated with direct human error or deliberate detonation at the hands of Grissom.[citation needed]

This determination had, in fact, been made long before the movie was filmed, and even Tom Wolfe‘s book only states that this possibility was considered, not that it was actually judged as being the cause of the accident. In fact, Grissom was assigned to command the first flights of both Gemini and Apollo. Ironically, Grissom died in the Apollo 1 fire because there was no quick-opening hatch on the Block 1 Apollo Command Module – a design choice made because NASA had determined that the explosion in the hatch on Grissom’s Liberty Bell 7 had been most likely self-initiated.[citation needed]

Another fact that had been altered in the film was the statement by Trudy Cooper, who commented that she “wondered how they would’ve felt if every time their husband went in to make a deal, there was a one-in-four chance he wouldn’t come out of that meeting.” According to the book, this actually reflected the 23% chance of dying during a 20-year career as a normal pilot. For a test pilot, these odds were higher, at 53%, but were still considerably less than the movie implied. In addition, the movie merely used the fictional Mrs. Cooper as a vehicle for the statement; the real Mrs. Cooper is not known to have said this.[8]

Wolfe made no secret that he disliked the film, especially because of changes from his original book. William Goldman, involved in early drafts of the script, also disliked the choices made by Kaufman, saying in his book Adventures in the Screen Trade that “Phil [Kaufman]’s heart was with Yeager. And not only that, he felt the astronauts, rather than being heroic, were really minor leaguers, mechanical men of no particular quality, not great pilots at all, simply the product of hype.”[9] Critics, however, generally were favorable toward the film.

References

Citations

  1. Jump up^ Wolfe 2001, p. 143. Note: Wolfe uses this term exactly once.
  2. Jump up^ The Right Stuff.” ABE books. Retrieved: 3 November 2009.
  3. Jump up^ Ragen 2001, pp. 22–26.
  4. Jump up^ Wolfe 1979, p. 368.
  5. Jump up^ Ragen 2001, p. 26–28.
  6. Jump up^ “National Book Awards – 1980”. National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
    This was the award for General Nonfiction (hardcover) during a period in National Book Awards history when there were many nonfiction subcategories.
  7. Jump up^ Wolfe 2001, Foreword.
  8. Jump up^ Wolfe 1979, p. 22.
  9. Jump up^ Goldman 1983

Bibliography

  • Bryan, C.D.B. “The Right Stuff (review).” New York Times, 23 September 1979.
  • Charity, Tom. The Right Stuff (BFI Modern Classics). London: British Film Institute, 1991. ISBN 0-85170-624-X.
  • Goldman, William (1989). Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting (reissue ed.). Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-39117-4.
  • Ragen, Brian Abel, ed. Tom Wolfe: A Critical Companion. West Port, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2001. ISBN 0-313-31383-0.
  • Wolfe, Tom. The Right Stuff. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1979, ISBN 0-374-25032-4.
  • Wolfe, Tom. The Right Stuff. New York: Bantam, 1979, ISBN 0-553-24063-3.
  • Wolfe, Tom. The Right Stuff. New York: Bantam, 2001, 1979, ISBN 0-553-38135-0.

External links

Tom Wolfe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with Thomas Wolfe or Tom Wolf (politician).
Tom Wolfe
Wolfe at White House.jpg

Wolfe at the White House on March 22, 2004
Born Thomas Kennerly Wolfe, Jr.
March 2, 1931 (age 85)
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Occupation Journalist, author
Language English
Nationality American
Period 1959–present
Literary movement New Journalism
Notable works The Painted Word, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, A Man in Full, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, The Bonfire of the Vanities, I Am Charlotte Simmons, Back to Blood
Spouse Sheila Wolfe
Children 2

Thomas KennerlyTomWolfe, Jr. (born March 2, 1931)[1] is an American author and journalist, best known for his association with and influence over the New Journalism literary movement, in which literary techniques are used extensively and traditional values of journalistic objectivity and evenhandedness are rejected. He began his career as a regional newspaper reporter in the 1950s, but achieved national prominence in the 1960s following the publication of such best-selling books as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (a highly experimental account of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters), and two collections of articles and essays, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers and The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. His first novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, published in 1987, was met with critical acclaim, became a commercial success, and was adapted as a major motion picture (directed by Brian De Palma).

Early life and education

Wolfe was born in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Louise (née Agnew), a landscape designer, and Thomas Kennerly Wolfe, Sr., an agronomist.[2][3]

Wolfe grew up on Gloucester Road in the historic Richmond North Side neighborhood of Sherwood Park. He recounts some of his childhood memories of growing up there in a foreword to a book about the nearby historic Ginter Park neighborhood.

Wolfe was student council president, editor of the school newspaper and a star baseball player at St. Christopher’s School, an Episcopalian all-boys school in Richmond, Virginia.

Upon graduation in 1947, he turned down admission to Princeton University to attend Washington and Lee University, both all-male schools at the time; at Washington and Lee, Wolfe was a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity. Wolfe majored in English and practiced his writing outside the classroom as well. He was the sports editor of the college newspaper and helped found a literary magazine, Shenandoah. Of particular influence was his professor Marshall Fishwick, a teacher of American studies educated at Yale. More in the tradition of anthropology than literary scholarship, Fishwick taught his classes to look at the whole of a culture, including those elements considered profane. The very title of Wolfe’s undergraduate thesis, “A Zoo Full of Zebras: Anti-Intellectualism in America,” evinced his fondness for words and aspirations toward cultural criticism. Wolfe graduated cum laude in 1951.

Wolfe had continued playing baseball as a pitcher and had begun to play semi-professionally while still in college. In 1952 he earned a tryout with the New York Giants but was cut after three days, which Wolfe blamed on his inability to throw good fastballs. Wolfe abandoned baseball and instead followed his professor Fishwick’s example, enrolling in Yale University‘s American studies doctoral program. His PhD thesis was titled The League of American Writers: Communist Organizational Activity Among American Writers, 1929–1942.[4] In the course of his research, Wolfe interviewed many writers, including Malcolm Cowley, Archibald MacLeish, and James T. Farrell.[5] A biographer remarked on the thesis: “Reading it, one sees what has been the most baleful influence of graduate education on many who have suffered through it: it deadens all sense of style.”[6] His thesis was originally rejected but he finally passed by rewriting it being objective instead of subjective. Upon leaving Yale he wrote a friend explaining through expletives his personal opinions about his thesis.

Journalism and New Journalism

Though Wolfe was offered teaching jobs in academia, he opted to work as a reporter. In 1956, while still preparing his thesis, Wolfe became a reporter for the Springfield Union in Springfield, Massachusetts. Wolfe finished his thesis in 1957 and in 1959 was hired by The Washington Post. Wolfe has said that part of the reason he was hired by the Post was his lack of interest in politics. The Post’s city editor was “amazed that Wolfe preferred cityside to Capitol Hill, the beat every reporter wanted.” He won an award from The Newspaper Guild for foreign reporting in Cuba in 1961 and also won the Guild’s award for humor. While there, he experimented with fiction-writing techniques in feature stories.[7]

In 1962, Wolfe left Washington for New York City, taking a position with the New York Herald Tribune as a general assignment reporter and feature writer. The editors of the Herald Tribune, including Clay Felker of the Sunday section supplement New York magazine, encouraged their writers to break the conventions of newspaper writing.[8] During the 1962 New York City newspaper strike, Wolfe approached Esquire magazine about an article on the hot rod and custom car culture of Southern California. He struggled with the article until finally a desperate editor, Byron Dobell, suggested that Wolfe send him his notes so they could piece the story together.

Wolfe procrastinated until, on the evening before the article was due, he typed a letter to Dobell explaining what he wanted to say on the subject, ignoring all journalistic conventions. Dobell’s response was to remove the salutation “Dear Byron” from the top of the letter and publish it intact as reportage. The result, published in 1963, was “There Goes (Varoom! Varoom!) That Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby.” The article was widely discussed—loved by some, hated by others—and helped Wolfe publish his first book, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, a collection of his writings in the Herald-Tribune, Esquire, and other publications.[9]

This was what Wolfe called New Journalism, in which some journalists and essayists experimented with a variety of literary techniques, mixing them with the traditional ideal of dispassionate, even-handed reporting. More specifically, Wolfe experimented with four literary devices not normally associated with feature writing—scene-by-scene construction, extensive dialogue, multiple points of view, and detailed description of one’s status-life symbols (the materialistic choices one makes)—to produce this stylized form of journalism, which would later be commonly referred to as literary journalism.[10] Of status symbols, Wolfe has said, “I think every living moment of a human being’s life, unless the person is starving or in immediate danger of death in some other way, is controlled by a concern for status.”[11]

Wolfe also championed what he called “saturation reporting,” a reportorial approach where the journalist “shadows” and observes the subject over an extended period of time. “To pull it off,” says Wolfe, “you casually have to stay with the people you are writing about for long stretches . . . long enough so that you are actually there when revealing scenes take place in their lives.”[12] Saturation reporting differs from “in-depth” and “investigative” reporting, which involve the direct interviewing of numerous sources and/or the extensive analyzing of external documents relating to the story. Saturation reporting, according to communication professor Richard Kallan, “entails a more complex set of relationships wherein the journalist becomes an involved, more fully reactive witness, no longer distanced and detached from the people and events reported.”[13]

One of the most striking examples of New Journalism is Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. The book, an account of the adventures of the Merry Pranksters, a famous sixties counter-culture group, was highly experimental in its use of onomatopoeia, free association, and eccentric punctuation—such as multiple exclamation marks and italics—to convey the manic ideas and personalities of Ken Kesey and his followers.

In addition to his own forays into this new style of journalism, Wolfe edited a collection of New Journalism with E.W. Johnson, published in 1973 and titled The New Journalism. This book brought together pieces from Truman Capote, Hunter S. Thompson, Norman Mailer, Gay Talese, Joan Didion, and several other well-known writers with the common theme of journalism that incorporated literary techniques and that could be considered literature.[14]

Non-fiction books

In 1965, a collection of his articles in this style was published under the title The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, and Wolfe’s fame grew. A second volume of articles, The Pump House Gang, followed in 1968. Wolfe wrote on popular culture, architecture, politics, and other topics that underscored, among other things, how American life in the 1960s had been transformed by post-WWII economic prosperity. His defining work from this era is The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (published the same day as The Pump House Gang in 1968), which for many epitomized the 1960s. Although a conservative in many ways and certainly not a hippie (in 2008, he claimed never to have used LSD and to have tried marijuana only once[15]) Wolfe became one of the notable figures of the decade.

In 1970, he published two essays in book form as Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers: “Radical Chic,” a biting account of a party given by Leonard Bernstein to raise money for the Black Panther Party, and “Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers,” about the practice of using racial intimidation (“mau-mauing”) to extract funds from government welfare bureaucrats (“flak catchers”). The phrase “radical chic” soon became a popular derogatory term for upper-class leftism. Published in 1977, Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine included one of Wolfe’s more famous essays, “The Me Decade and the Third Great Awakening.”

Back row – Shepard, Grissom, Cooper; Front row – Schirra, Slayton, Glenn, Carpenter.
The astronauts of the Mercury Seven were the subject of The Right Stuff.

In 1979, Wolfe published The Right Stuff, an account of the pilots who became America’s first astronauts. Famously following their training and unofficial, even foolhardy, exploits, he likened these heroes to “single combat champions” of a bygone era, going forth to battle in the space race on behalf of their country. In 1983, the book was adapted as a successful feature film.

In 2016 Wolfe published The Kingdom of Speech, which is a controversial[16] critique of Charles Darwin and Noam Chomsky.[17]

Art critiques

Wolfe also wrote two highly skeptical social histories of modern art and modern architecture, The Painted Word and From Bauhaus to Our House, in 1975 and 1981, respectively. The Painted Word mocked the excessive insularity of the art world and its dependence on what he saw as faddish critical theory, while From Bauhaus to Our House explored the negative effects of the Bauhaus style on the evolution of modern architecture.[18]

Made for TV movie

A fictional television movie appeared on PBS in 1977, “Tom Wolfe’s Los Angeles”, a suitably satirical story set in Los Angeles. Wolfe appears in the movie himself.[19][20]

Novels

Throughout his early career, Wolfe had planned to write a novel that would capture the wide spectrum of American society. Among his models was William Makepeace Thackeray‘s Vanity Fair, which described the society of 19th century England. Wolfe remained occupied writing nonfiction books and contributing to Harper’s until 1981, when he ceased his other work to concentrate on the novel.

Wolfe began researching the novel by observing cases at the Manhattan Criminal Court and shadowing members of the Bronx homicide squad. While the research came easily, the writing did not immediately follow. To overcome his writer’s block, Wolfe wrote to Jann Wenner, editor of Rolling Stone, to propose an idea drawn from Charles Dickens and Thackeray. The Victorian novelists that Wolfe viewed as his models had often written their novels in serial installments. Wenner offered Wolfe around $200,000 to serialize his work.[21] The deadline pressure gave him the motivation he had hoped for, and from July 1984 to August 1985 each biweekly issue of Rolling Stone contained a new installment. Wolfe was later not happy with his “very public first draft”[22] and thoroughly revised his work. Even Sherman McCoy, the novel’s central character, changed: originally a writer, the book version cast McCoy as a bond salesman. Wolfe researched and revised for two years, and his The Bonfire of the Vanities was published in 1987. The book was a commercial and critical success, spending weeks on bestseller lists and earning praise from much of the literary establishment on which Wolfe had long heaped scorn.[23]

Because of the success of Wolfe’s first novel, there was widespread interest in his second. This novel took him more than 11 years to complete; A Man in Full was published in 1998. The book’s reception was not universally favorable, though it received glowing reviews in Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere. An enormous initial printing of 1.2 million copies was announced and the book stayed at number one on the New York Times bestseller list for ten weeks. John Updike wrote a critical review for The New Yorker complaining that the novel “amounts to entertainment, not literature, even literature in a modest aspirant form.” This touched off an intense war of words in the print and broadcast media between Wolfe and Updike, John Irving, and Norman Mailer. In 2001, Wolfe published an essay referring to these three authors as “My Three Stooges.”

After publishing Hooking Up (a collection of short pieces, including the 1997 novella Ambush at Fort Bragg) in 2001, he followed up with his third novel, I Am Charlotte Simmons (2004), which chronicles the decline of a poor, bright scholarship student from Alleghany County, North Carolina, in the context of snobbery, materialism, institutionalised anti-intellectualism and sexual promiscuity she finds at a prestigious contemporary American university. The novel met with a mostly tepid response by critics but won praise from many social conservatives, who saw the book’s account of college sexuality as revealing of a disturbing moral decline. The novel won a Bad Sex in Fiction Award from the London-based Literary Review, a prize established “to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel”. Wolfe later explained that such sexual references were deliberately clinical.

Wolfe has written that his goal in writing fiction is to document contemporary society in the tradition of John Steinbeck, Charles Dickens, and Émile Zola.

In early 2008, it was announced that Wolfe was leaving his longtime publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. His fourth novel, Back to Blood, was published in October 2012 by Little, Brown. According to The New York Times, Wolfe was paid close to US$7 million for the book.[24] According to the publisher, Back to Blood is about “class, family, wealth, race, crime, sex, corruption and ambition in Miami, the city where America’s future has arrived first.”[25]

Recurring themes

Several themes are present in much of Wolfe’s writing, including his novels. One such theme is male power-jockeying, which is a major part of The Bonfire of the Vanities, A Man in Full, and I Am Charlotte Simmons as well as several of his journalistic pieces. Male characters in his fiction often suffer from feelings of extreme inadequacy or hugely inflated egos, sometimes alternating between both. He satirizes racial politics, most commonly between whites and blacks; he also highlights class divisions between characters. Men’s fashions often play a large part in his stories, being used to indicate economic status. Much of his recent work also addresses neuroscience, a subject which he admitted a fascination with in “Sorry, Your Soul Just Died,” one of the essays in Hooking Up, and which played a large role in I Am Charlotte Simmons—the title character being a student of neuroscience, and characters’ thought processes, such as fear, humiliation and lust, frequently being described in the terminology of brain chemistry. Wolfe also frequently gives detailed descriptions of various aspects of his characters’ anatomies.[26]

Two of his novels (A Man in Full and I Am Charlotte Simmons) feature major characters (Conrad Hensley and Jojo Johanssen, respectively) who are set on paths to self-discovery by reading classical Roman and Greek philosophy.

Law and banking firms in Wolfe’s writing often have satirical names formed by the surnames of the partners. “Dunning, Sponget and Leach” and “Curry, Goad and Pesterall” appear in The Bonfire of the Vanities, and “Wringer, Fleasom and Tick” in A Man in Full. Ambush at Fort Bragg contains a law firm called “Crotalus, Adder, Cobran and Krate” (all names or homophones of venomous snakes).

Some characters appear in multiple novels, creating a sense of a “universe” that is continuous throughout Wolfe’s fiction. The character of Freddy Button, a lawyer from Bonfire of the Vanities, is mentioned briefly in I Am Charlotte Simmons. A character named Ronald Vine, an interior decorator who is mentioned in The Bonfire of the Vanities, reappears in A Man in Full as the designer of Charlie Croker’s home.

A fictional sexual practice called “that thing with the cup” appears in several of his writings, including The Bonfire of the Vanities, A Man in Full and a (non-fiction) essay in Hooking Up.

The surname “Bolka” appears in three Wolfe novels—as the name of a rendering plant in A Man in Full, as a partner in an accounting firm in Bonfire of the Vanities, and as a college lacrosse player from the Balkans in I Am Charlotte Simmons.

The white suit

Wolfe adopted the white suit as a trademark in 1962. He bought his first white suit planning to wear it in the summer in the style of Southern gentlemen. However, he found that the suit he purchased was too heavy for summer use, so he wore it in winter, which created a sensation.[27] Wolfe has maintained this uniform ever since, sometimes worn with a matching white tie, white homburg hat, and two-tone shoes. Wolfe has said that the outfit disarms the people he observes, making him, in their eyes, “a man from Mars, the man who didn’t know anything and was eager to know.”[28]

Views

In 1989, Wolfe wrote an essay for Harper’s Magazine titled “Stalking the Billion-Footed Beast“, which criticized modern American novelists for failing to engage fully with their subjects, and suggested that modern literature could be saved by a greater reliance on journalistic technique. This attack on the mainstream literary establishment was interpreted as a boast that Wolfe’s work was superior to more highly regarded authors.[29]

Wolfe was a supporter of George W. Bush and said he voted for him for president in 2004 because of what he called Bush’s “great decisiveness and willingness to fight.” (Bush apparently reciprocates the admiration, having read all of Wolfe’s books, according to friends in 2005.[30]) After this fact emerged in a New York Times interview, Wolfe said that the reaction in the literary world was as if he had said, “I forgot to tell you—I’m a child molester.” Because of this incident, he sometimes wears an American flag pin on his suit, which he compared to “holding up a cross to werewolves.”[31]

Wolfe’s views and choice of subject material, such as mocking left-wing intellectuals in Radical Chic and glorifying astronauts in The Right Stuff, have sometimes led to his being labeled conservative,[32] and his depiction of the Black Panther Party in Radical Chic led to a member of the party calling him a racist.[33] Wolfe rejects such labels; in a 2004 interview, he said that his “idol” in writing about society and culture is Émile Zola, who, in Wolfe’s words, was “a man of the left” but “went out, and found a lot of ambitious, drunk, slothful and mean people out there. Zola simply could not—and was not interested in—telling a lie.”[32]

Asked to comment by the Wall Street Journal on blogs in 2007 to mark the tenth anniversary of their advent, Wolfe wrote that “the universe of blogs is a universe of rumors” and that “blogs are an advance guard to the rear.” He also took the opportunity to criticize Wikipedia, saying that “only a primitive would believe a word of” it. He noted a story about him in his Wikipedia entry at the time, which he said had never happened.[34]

Personal life

Wolfe lives in New York City with his wife Sheila, who designs covers for Harper’s magazine. They have two children, a daughter, Alexandra, and a son, Tommy.[35]

A writer for Examiner Magazine who interviewed Wolfe in 1998 said, “He has no computer and does not surf, or even know how to use, the Internet”, adding, however, that Wolfe’s novel A Man in Full does have a subplot involving “a muckraking cyber-gossip site, à la the Drudge Report or Salon.”[35]

Influence

Wolfe is credited with introducing the terms “statusphere,” “the right stuff,” “radical chic,” “the Me Decade,” “social x-ray,” and “pushing the envelope” into the English lexicon.[36][dubious ] He is sometimes credited with inventing the term “trophy wife” as well, but this is incorrect: he described emaciated wives as “X-rays” in his novel The Bonfire of the Vanities but did not use the term “trophy wife”.[37] According to journalism professor Ben Yagoda, Wolfe is also responsible for the use of the present tense in magazine profile pieces; before he began doing so in the early 1960s, profile articles had always been written in the past tense.[38]

Terms coined by Wolfe

List of awards and nominations

Television appearances

  • Wolfe was featured as an interview subject in the 1987 PBS documentary series Space Flight.
  • In July 1975 Wolfe was interviewed on Firing Line by William F. Buckley, Jr., discussing “The Painted Word”.[44]
  • Wolfe was featured on the February 2006 episode “The White Stuff” of Speed Channel‘s Unique Whips, where his Cadillac‘s interior was customized to match his trademark white suit.[45]
  • Wolfe guest-starred alongside Jonathan Franzen, Gore Vidal and Michael Chabon in The Simpsons episode “Moe’N’a Lisa“, which aired November 19, 2006. He was originally slated to be killed by a giant boulder, but that ending was edited out.[46] Wolfe was also used as a sight gag on The Simpsons episode “Insane Clown Poppy“, which aired on November 12, 2000. Homer spills chocolate on Wolfe’s trademark white suit, and Wolfe rips it off in one swift motion, revealing an identical suit underneath.

Bibliograph

Non-fiction

Novels

Featured in

Notable articles

  • “The Last American Hero Is Junior Johnson. Yes!” Esquire, March 1965.
  • “Tiny Mummies! The True Story of the Ruler of 43rd Street’s Land of the Walking Dead!” New York Herald-Tribune supplement (April 11, 1965).
  • “Lost in the Whichy Thicket,” New York Herald-Tribune supplement (April 18, 1965).
  • “The Birth of the New Journalism: Eyewitness Report by Tom Wolfe.” New York, February 14, 1972.
  • “The New Journalism: A la Recherche des Whichy Thickets.” New York Magazine, February 21, 1972.
  • “Why They Aren’t Writing the Great American Novel Anymore.” Esquire, December 1972.
  • “The Me Decade and the Third Great Awakening” New York, August 23, 1976.
  • Stalking the Billion-Footed Beast“, Harper’s. November 1989.
  • “Sorry, but Your Soul Just Died.” Forbes 1996.
  • “Pell Mell.” The Atlantic Monthly (November 2007).
  • “The Rich Have Feelings, Too.” Vanity Fair (September 2009).

See also

Notes

  1. Jump up^ This was the award for hardcover “General Nonfiction”. From 1980 to 1983 in National Book Award history there were dual awards for hardcover and paperback books in many categories, including several nonfiction subcategories. Most of the paperback award-winners were reprints, including the 1980 General Nonfiction.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Wolfe

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Ken Kasey — One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest — Individualism vs. Collectivism — Hillary Clinton is Nurse Ratched — The Big Nurse — Medication Time — Medication Time — I don’t trust you. –Videos

Posted on October 23, 2016. Filed under: Blogroll, Book, Books, Communications, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Culture, Documentary, Economics, Employment, Entertainment, Faith, Family, Fiction, Fraud, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Love, media, Money, Movies, People, Philosophy, Photos, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Video, Welfare, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Image result for ken kasey

Image result for ken kesey quotesImage result for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’S Nest Novel

Image result for ken kesey quotesImage result for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’S Nest Novel
Image result for ken kaseyImage result for ken kaseyImage result for ken kaseyImage result for ken kaseyImage result for ken kaseyImage result for ken kaseyImage result for ken kaseyImage result for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’S Nest Novel

Image result for ken kesey quotes

Image result for ken kesey quotes

Image result for ken kesey quotes

 Hillary Clinton Is Nurse Ratched! — Videos

Image result for cartoon hillary clinton nurse ratchedImage result for cartoon hillary clinton is nurse ratchedImage result for cartoon hillary clinton nurse ratchedImage result for cartoon hillary clinton nurse ratchedImage result for cartoon hillary clinton nurse ratchedImage result for cartoon hillary clinton nurse ratchedImage result for cartoon hillary clinton nurse ratchedImage result for nurse ratched and victims jack nicholsonImage result for nurse ratched and victims jack nicholsonImage result for one flew over the cuckoo's nestImage result for nurse ratched and victims jack nicholsonImage result for nurse ratched and victims jack nicholsonImage result for cartoon hillary clinton nurse ratched

Image result for nurse ratched and victimsImage result for nurse ratched and victims jack nicholsonImage result for nurse ratched and victimsImage result for nurse ratched and victims jack nicholsonImage result for nurse ratched and victims jack nicholsonImage result for nurse ratched and victims jack nicholsonImage result for nurse ratched and victims jack nicholsonImage result for nurse ratched and victims jack nicholsonImage result for nurse ratched and victims jack nicholsonImage result for nurse ratched and victims jack nicholsonImage result for nurse ratched and victims jack nicholson

A Look Inside: One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest

One flew over the cuckoo’s nest – Trailer – HQ

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Opening Scene – Full HD

One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest – Randle McMurphy’s Arrival – 1080p Full HD

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – The First Confrontation

One flew over the cuckoos nest – ball game.mov

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest 1975 Best scene

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – I bet a dime

May I have my Cigarettes please, Nurse Ratched ?

One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest – After Party Full Scene – 1080p Full HD

Billy Bibbit Scene

One Flew Over the Cookoo’s Nest – Basketball Game

‘Strangle Scene’.. ‘Nurse Ratched’ gets what she had ‘coming’ to her.. lol 😉

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – Randal back in action scene

One Floor Over the Cuckoo’s Nest –Juicy Fruit Scene–

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ending Scene – Full HD

Ken Kesey interview (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”) on Charlie Rose (1992)

Jack Nicholson Wins Best Actor: 1976 Oscars

Jack Nicholson on ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST

SISKEL & EBERT MOVIE REVIEW — “ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST” (1975)

Spoiler Alert

Hidden Meaning in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Earthling Cinema

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey [BOOK REVIEW]

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Literary Analysis

Hillary Clinton is Evil! (REMIX)

Hillary Clinton / Nurse Ratched ???

Hillary Clinton is Nurse Ratched

10/05 Hillary Clinton – Nurse for a Day

Social Aspects of Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Cultural Dimension: me or we

Classical Liberalism: The Decline and Triumph of Classical Liberalism (Pt. 1) – Learn Liberty

Classical Liberalism: The Decline and Triumph of Classical Liberalism (Pt. 2) – Learn Liberty

Libertarianism Explained: Individualism vs. Collectivism – Learn Liberty

The Fountainhead – Howard Roark speech

G. Edward Griffin: The Collectivist Conspiracy (Full Length)

Ayn Rand on Collectivism

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Miloš Forman
Produced by Saul Zaentz
Michael Douglas
Screenplay by Lawrence Hauben
Bo Goldman
Based on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
by Ken Kesey
Starring Jack Nicholson
Louise Fletcher
William Redfield
Music by Jack Nitzsche
Cinematography Haskell Wexler
Bill Butler[1]
Edited by Richard Chew[2]
Sheldon Kahn
Lynzee Klingman
Production
company
Fantasy Films
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • November 19, 1975
Running time
133 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3 million[3]
Box office $109 million[3]

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a 1975 American comedy-drama film directed by Miloš Forman, based on the 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. The film stars Jack Nicholson and features a supporting cast of Louise Fletcher, William Redfield, Will Sampson, and Brad Dourif.

Considered to be one of the greatest films ever made, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is No. 33 on the American Film Institute‘s 100 Years… 100 Movies list. The film was the second to win all five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Actor in Lead Role, Actress in Lead Role, Director, and Screenplay) following It Happened One Nightin 1934, an accomplishment not repeated until 1991 by The Silence of the Lambs. It also won numerous Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards.

In 1993, the film was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Plot

In 1963, Oregon, recidivist criminal Randle McMurphy is moved to a mental institution after serving a short sentence on a prison farm after raping a teenager. Though not actually mentally ill, McMurphy hopes to avoid hard labour and serve the rest of his sentence in a relaxed environment. Upon arriving at the hospital, he finds the ward run by the steely, strict Nurse Ratched, who subtly suppresses the actions of her patients through a passive-aggressive routine, intimidating the patients.

The other patients include anxious, stuttering Billy Bibbit; Charlie Cheswick, who is prone to childish tantrums; delusional Martini; the well-educated, paranoid Dale Harding; belligerent Max Taber; epileptic Jim Sefelt; and “Chief” Bromden, a tall Native American believed to be deaf and mute. Ratched soon sees McMurphy’s lively, rebellious presence to be a threat to her authority, confiscating the patients’ cigarettes and rationing them. During his time in the ward, McMurphy gets into a battle of wits with Ratched. He steals a hospital bus, escaping with several patients to go on a fishing trip, encouraging his friends to become more self-confident.

McMurphy learns his sentence may become indefinite, and he makes plans to escape, exhorting Chief to throw a hydrotherapy cart through a window. He, Chief, and Cheswick get into a fight with the orderlies after the latter becomes agitated over his stolen cigarettes. Ratched sends them to the “shock shop”, and McMurphy discovers Chief can actually speak, feigning illness to avoid engaging with anyone. After being subjected to electroconvulsive therapy, McMurphy returns to the ward pretending to have brain damage, but reveals the treatment has charged him up even more. McMurphy and Chief make plans to escape, but decide to throw a secret Christmas party for their friends after Ratched leaves for the night.

McMurphy sneaks two women, Candy and Rose, into the ward and bribes the night guard. After a night of partying, McMurphy and Chief prepare to escape, inviting Billy to come with them. He refuses, not ready to leave the hospital. McMurphy instead convinces him to have sex with Candy. Ratched arrives in the morning to find the ward in disarray and most of the patients unconscious. She discovers Billy and Candy together, the former now free of his stutter, until Ratched threatens to inform his mother about his escapade. Billy is overwhelmed with fear and locks himself in the doctor’s office and commits suicide. The enraged McMurphy strangles Ratched, before being knocked out by an orderly.

Ratched comes back with a neck brace and a scratchy voice. Rumours spread that McMurphy escaped rather than be taken “upstairs”. Later that night, Chief sees McMurphy being returned to his bed. He discovers McMurphy has lobotomy scars on his forehead, and smothers his friend with a pillow. Chief finally throws the hydrotherapy cart through the window and escapes into the night, cheered on by the men.

Cast

Production

Filming began in January 1975 and concluded approximately three months later,[4] and was shot on location in Salem, Oregon and the surrounding area, as well as on the Oregon coast.[5][6] It was also shot at Oregon State Hospital in Salem, Oregon, which was also the setting of the novel.[7]

Haskell Wexler was fired as cinematographer and replaced by Bill Butler. Wexler believed his dismissal was due to his concurrent work on the documentary Underground, in which the radical terrorist group The Weather Underground were being interviewed while hiding from the law. However, Miloš Forman said he had terminated Wexler over mere artistic differences. Both Wexler and Butler received Academy Awardnominations for Best Cinematography for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, though Wexler said there was “only about a minute or two minutes in that film I didn’t shoot.”[8]

According to Butler, Jack Nicholson refused to speak to Forman: “…[Jack] never talked to Milos at all, he only talked to me.”[1]

Reception

The film was met with overwhelming critical acclaim; Roger Ebert said “Miloš Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a film so good in so many of its parts that there’s a temptation to forgive it when it goes wrong. But it does go wrong, insisting on making larger points than its story really should carry, so that at the end, the human qualities of the characters get lost in the significance of it all. And yet there are those moments of brilliance.”[9] Ebert would later put the film on his “Great Movies” list.[10] A.D. Murphy of Variety wrote a mixed review as well,[11] as did Vincent Canby: writing in The New York Times, Canby called the film “a comedy that can’t quite support its tragic conclusion, which is too schematic to be honestly moving, but it is acted with such a sense of life that one responds to its demonstration of humanity if not to its programmed metaphors.”[12]

The film opens with original music by composer Jack Nitzsche, featuring an eerie bowed saw (performed by Robert Armstrong) and wine glasses. Commenting on the score, reviewer Steven McDonald has said, “The edgy nature of the film extends into the score, giving it a profoundly disturbing feel at times — even when it appears to be relatively normal. The music has a tendency to always be a little off-kilter, and from time to time it tilts completely over into a strange little world of its own …”[13]

The film went on to win the “Big Five” Academy Awards at the 48th Oscar ceremony. These include the Best Actor for Jack Nicholson, Best Actress for Louise Fletcher, Best Direction for Forman, Best Picture, andBest Adapted Screenplay for Laurence Hauben and Bo Goldman. The film currently has a 95% “Certified Fresh” rating at Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 8.9/10.[14] Its consensus states “The onscreen battle between Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher serves as a personal microcosm of the culture wars of the 1970s — and testament to the director’s vision that the film retains its power more than three decades later.”

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is considered to be one of the greatest American films. Ken Kesey participated in the early stages of script development, but withdrew after creative differences with the producers over casting and narrative point of view; ultimately he filed suit against the production and won a settlement.[15] Kesey himself claimed never to have seen the movie, but said he disliked what he knew of it,[16] a fact confirmed by Chuck Palahniuk who wrote, “The first time I heard this story, it was through the movie starring Jack Nicholson. A movie that Kesey once told me he disliked.”[17]

In 1993, this film was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry.[18]

Awards and honors

Award Category Nominee Result
Academy Award Academy Award for Best Picture Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz Won
Academy Award for Best Director Miloš Forman Won
Academy Award for Best Actor Jack Nicholson Won
Academy Award for Best Actress Louise Fletcher Won
Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay Laurence Hauben and Bo Goldman Won
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor Brad Dourif Nominated
Academy Award for Best Cinematography Haskell Wexler and Bill Butler Nominated
Academy Award for Film Editing Richard Chew, Lyzee Klingman and Sheldon Kahn Nominated
Academy Award for Original Music Score Jack Nitzsche Nominated
Golden Globe Award Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz Won
Golden Globe Award for Best Director – Motion Picture Miloš Forman Won
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Jack Nicholson Won
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Louise Fletcher Won
Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay Laurence Hauben and Bo Goldman Won
Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor Brad Dourif Won
BAFTA Award BAFTA Award for Best Film Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz Won
BAFTA Award for Best Direction Miloš Forman Won
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role Jack Nicholson Won
BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role Louise Fletcher Won
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role Brad Dourif Won
BAFTA Award for Best Editing Richard Chew, Lynzee Klingman and Sheldon Kahn Won
BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography Haskell Wexler and Bill Butler Nominated
BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay Laurence Hauben and Bo Goldman Nominated

Others

American Film Institute

See also

References

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b Townsend, Sylvia (19 December 2014). “Haskell Wexler and the Making of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest'”. Retrieved 13 April2015.
  2. Jump up^ Chew was listed as “supervising editor” in the film’s credits, but was included in the nomination for an editing Academy Award.
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Box Office Information”.Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  4. Jump up^ One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at the American Film Institute
  5. Jump up^ Story Notes for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  6. Jump up^ “Hollywood’s Love Affair with Oregon Coast Continues”. Retrieved15 June 2015.
  7. Jump up^ Oregon State Hospital – A documentary film (Mental Health Association of Portland)
  8. Jump up^ Anderson, John. “Haskell Wexler, Oscar-Winning Cinematographer, Dies at 93.” The New York Times, December 27, 2015.
  9. Jump up^ Suntimes.com – Roger Ebert review, Chicago Sun-Times, January 1, 1975
  10. Jump up^ Suntimes.com – Roger Ebert review, Chicago Sun-Times, February 2, 2003.
  11. Jump up^ Variety.com – A.D. Murphy, Variety, November 7, 1975
  12. Jump up^ Canby, Vincent (November 28, 1975). “Critic’s Pick: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. The New York Times.
  13. Jump up^ AllMusic: Review by Steven McDonald
  14. Jump up^ “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest Movie Reviews, Pictures – Rotten Tomatoes”. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
  15. Jump up^ Carnes, Mark Christopher, Paul R. Betz, et al. (1999). American National Biography, Volume 26. New York: Oxford University Press USA. ISBN 0-19-522202-4. p. 312,
  16. Jump up^ Carnes, p. 312
  17. Jump up^ Foreword of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Copyright 2007 by Chuck Palahniuk. Available in the 2007 Edition published by Penguin Books
  18. Jump up^ “U.S. National Film Registry — Titles”. Retrieved September 2,2016.
  19. Jump up^ AFI’s 100 Years…100 Heroes and Villains Nominees

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Flew_Over_the_Cuckoo%27s_Nest_(film)

Could Hillary’s smile cost her the election? Twitter mocks Clinton’s ‘creepy grandma’ grin as she smirks her way through presidential debate

With her opponent dogged by accusations of sexual assault, Hillary Clinton had strong odds as she entered the third presidential debate on Wednesday.

Only one thing seemed to threaten her chances of victory: her smile.

The Democratic candidate faced a flood of insults as she took to the stage at the University of Las Vegas, with many viewers confessing they were ‘creeped out’ by her stubborn grin.

Hundreds took to Twitter to describe her smile as ‘scary’ and ‘creepy’.

Hillary Clinton's unrelenting smile at Wednesday's presidential debate made for uncomfortable viewing for some voters 

Hillary Clinton’s unrelenting smile at Wednesday’s presidential debate made for uncomfortable viewing for some voters

Social media mocks Hillary Clinton’s ‘creepy grandma’ grin

Others questioned why, when being slammed with insults from her opponent, her expression did not drop.

‘Hillary Clinton’s smile is the scariest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,’ said one observer.

‘When Hillary smiles she looks like an evil snake,’ another commented.

‘What to do when you don’t have a response? Smile like a chipmunk,’ remarked another.

‘Whoever told Hillary Clinton to smile less since the first debate gave great advice,’ mused a different viewer.

Others, ever-so-slightly more charmed by her cheerful demeanor, likened her to a happy grandmother.

The Democratic candidate beamed as she listened to Donald Trump slam her political record and campaign policies 

Her glee remained written all over her face as Trump continued to slate her, much to viewers' confusion 

Her glee remained written all over her face as Trump continued to slate her, much to viewers’ confusion

Twitter users were quick to mock her expression as they watched the debate on Wednesday 

Twitter users were quick to mock her expression as they watched the debate on Wednesday

Clinton's happy expression became a talking point at earlier debates. It continued to peak viewers' interests at her final showdown with Trump on Wednesday (above) e

Clinton’s happy expression became a talking point at earlier debates. It continued to peak viewers’ interests at her final showdown with Trump on Wednesday (above)

‘Hillary Clinton is so cute it’s something about her I just want her to tuck me in and give me a kiss with her coffee breath,’ one commented.

It was not the first time her facial expression sparked interest among voters.

After the first presidential debate on September 26, political commentators shared some free advice with the candidate online.

‘Who told Hillary Clinton to keep smiling like she’s at her granddaughter’s birthday party?’ said David Frum, senior editor of The Atlantic, at the time.

The discussion had the same hallmarks of bizarre criticisms made earlier this month about Donald Trump’s incessant sniffing.

Viewers were distracted throughout the second presidential debate by the Republican candidate’s runny nose, complaining in their droves about it online. 
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3854016/Could-Hillary-s-smile-cost-election-Twitter-mocks-Clinton-s-creepy-grandma-grin-smirks-way-presidential-debate.html#ixzz4Nf3WfCyu

Ken Kesey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with Kenny Casey (disambiguation).
Ken Kesey
Born Kenneth Elton Kesey
September 17, 1935
La Junta, Colorado, U.S.
Died November 10, 2001 (aged 66)
Eugene, Oregon, U.S.[1][2]
Occupation Novelist, short story writer, essayist, poet
Nationality American
Genre Beat, postmodernism
Literary movement Merry Pranksters
Notable works One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962)
Sometimes a Great Notion(1964)

Kenneth Elton “Ken” Kesey (/ˈkz/; September 17, 1935 – November 10, 2001) was an American novelist, essayist, and countercultural figure. He considered himself a link between the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the hippies of the 1960s.

Kesey was born in La Junta, Colorado and grew up in Springfield, Oregon, graduating from the University of Oregon in 1957. He began writing One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1960 following the completion of a graduate fellowship in creative writing at Stanford University; the novel was an immediate commercial and critical success when published two years later. Subsequently, he moved to nearby La Honda, California and began hosting happenings with former colleagues from Stanford, miscellaneous bohemian & literary figures (most notably Neal Cassady), and other friends under the imprimateur of the Merry Pranksters; these parties, known as Acid Tests, integrated the consumption of LSD with multimedia performances. He mentored the Grateful Dead (the de facto “house band” of the Acid Tests) throughout their incipience and continued to exert a profound influence upon the group throughout their long career. Sometimes a Great Notion—an epic account of the vicissitudes of an Oregon logging family that aspired to the modernist grandeur of William Faulkner‘s Yoknapatawpha saga—was a commercial success that polarized critics and readers upon its release in 1964, although Kesey regarded the novel as his magnum opus.[3]

In 1965, following an arrest for marijuana possession and subsequent faked suicide, Kesey was imprisoned for five months. Shortly thereafter, he returned home to the Willamette Valley and settled in Pleasant Hill, Oregon, where he maintained a secluded, family-oriented lifestyle for the rest of his life. In addition to teaching at the University of Oregon—culminating in Caverns (1989), a collaborative novel written by Kesey and his graduate workshop students under the pseudonym of “O.U. Levon”—he continued to regularly contribute fiction and reportage to such publications as Esquire, Rolling Stone, Oui, Running, and The Whole Earth Catalog; various iterations of these pieces were collected in Kesey’s Garage Sale (1973) and Demon Box (1986).

Between 1974 and 1980, Kesey published six issues of Spit in the Ocean, a little magazine that featured excerpts from an unfinished novel (Seven Prayers by Grandma Whittier, an account of Kesey’s grandmother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease) and contributions from such luminaries as Margo St. James, Kate Millett, Stewart Brand, Saul-Paul Sirag, Jack Sarfatti, Paul Krassner, and William S. Burroughs.[4][5] After a third novel (Sailor Song) was released to lukewarm reviews in 1992, he reunited with the Merry Pranksters and began publishing works on the Internet until ill health (including a stroke) curtailed his activities.

Biography

Early life

Ken Kesey was born in La Junta, Colorado, to dairy farmers Geneva (née Smith) and Frederick A. Kesey.[1] In 1946, the family moved to Springfield, Oregon.[2] Kesey was a champion wrestler in both high school and college in the 174-pound weight division, and he almost qualified to be on the Olympic team until a serious shoulder injury stopped his wrestling career. He graduated from Springfield High School in 1953.[2] An avid reader and filmgoer, the young Kesey took John Wayne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Zane Grey as his role models (later naming a son Zane) and toyed with magic, ventriloquism, and hypnotism.[6]

In 1956, while attending college at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication in neighboring Eugene, Oregon, Kesey eloped with his high-school sweetheart, Norma “Faye” Haxby, whom he had met in seventh grade.[2] According to Kesey, “Without Faye, I would have been swept overboard by notoriety and weird, dope-fueled ideas and flower-child girls with beamy eyes and bulbous breasts.”[7] Married until his death at the age of 66, they had three children: Jed, Zane, and Shannon.[8] Additionally, Kesey fathered a daughter with fellow Merry Prankster Carolyn “Mountain Girl” Adams and the approval of Faye Kesey; born in 1966, Sunshine Kesey was raised by Adams and Jerry Garcia.[9]

Kesey had a football scholarship for his freshman year, but switched to University of Oregon wrestling team as a better fit to his build. After posting a .885 winning percentage in the 1956–57 season, he received the Fred Low Scholarship for outstanding Northwest wrestler. In 1957, Kesey was second in his weight class at the Pacific Coast intercollegiate competition.[1][10][11] He remains “ranked in the top 10 of Oregon Wrestling’s all time winning percentage.”[12][13]

A member of Beta Theta Pi throughout his studies, Kesey graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech and communication in 1957. Increasingly disengaged by the playwriting and screenwriting courses that comprised much of his major, he began to take literature classes in the second half of his collegiate career with James B. Hall, a cosmopolitan alumnus of the University of Iowa‘s renowned writing program who had previously taught at Cornell University and later served as provost of the University of California, Santa Cruz.[14] Hall took on Kesey as his protege and cultivated his interest in literary fiction, introducing Kesey (whose interests were hitherto confined to Ray Bradbury‘s science fiction) to the works of Ernest Hemingway and other paragons of modernist fiction.[15] After the last of several brief summer sojourns as a struggling actor in Los Angeles, he published his first short story (“First Sunday of September”) in the Northwest Review and successfully applied to the highly selective Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship for the 1958–59 academic year.

Unbeknownst to Kesey, who applied at Hall’s request, the maverick literary critic Leslie Fiedler successfully importuned the regional fellowship committee to select the “rough-hewn” Kesey alongside more traditional fellows from Reed College and other elite institutions.[16] Because he lacked the prerequisites to work toward a traditional master’s degree in English as a communications major, Kesey elected to enroll in the non-degree program at Stanford University‘s Creative Writing Center that fall; while studying and working in the Stanford milieu over the next five years, most of them spent as a resident of Perry Lane (a historically bohemian enclave adjacent to the university golf course), he developed intimate lifelong friendships with fellow writers Ken Babbs, Larry McMurtry, Wendell Berry, Ed McClanahan, Gurney Norman, and Robert Stone.[2]

During his initial fellowship year, Kesey frequently clashed with Center director Wallace Stegner, who regarded the young writer as “a sort of highly talented illiterate”; Stegner’s deputy Richard Scowcroft later recalled that “neither Wally nor I thought he had a particularly important talent.”[17] Stegner rejected Kesey’s application for a departmental Stegner Fellowship before finally permitting his attendance as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow; according to Stone, Stegner “saw Kesey… as a threat to civilization and intellectualism and sobriety” and continued to reject Kesey’s Stegner Fellowship applications for the 1959–60 and 1960–61 terms.[18]

Nevertheless, Kesey received the prestigious $2,000 Harper-Saxton Prize for his first novel in progress (the oft-rejected Zoo) and audited the graduate writing seminar—a courtesy nominally accorded to former Stegner Fellows, although Kesey only secured his place by falsely claiming to Scowcroft that his colleague (on sabbatical through 1960) “had said that he could attend classes for free”—through the 1960-61 term.[17]The course was initially taught that year by Viking Press editorial consultant and Lost Generation eminence grise Malcolm Cowley, who was “always glad to see” Kesey and fellow auditor Tillie Olsen. Cowley was succeeded the following quarter by the Irish short story specialist Frank O’Connor; frequent spats between O’Connor and Kesey ultimately precipitated his departure from the class.[19] While under the tutelage of Cowley, he began to draft and workshop the manuscript that would evolve into One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Reflecting upon this period in a 1999 interview with Robert K. Elder, Kesey recalled, “I was too young to be a beatnik, and too old to be a hippie.”[20]

Experimentation with psychoactive drugs

At the instigation of Perry Lane neighbor and Stanford psychology graduate student Vik Lovell, an acquaintance of Richard Alpert and Allen Ginsberg, Kesey volunteered to take part in what turned out to be a CIA-financed study under the aegis of Project MKULTRA, a highly secret military program, at the Menlo Park Veterans’ Hospital[21] where he worked as a night aide.[22] The project studied the effects of psychoactive drugs, particularly LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, cocaine, aMT, and DMT on people.[2] Kesey wrote many detailed accounts of his experiences with these drugs, both during the study and in the years of private experimentation that followed.

Kesey’s role as a medical guinea pig, as well as his stint working at the Veterans’ Administration hospital, inspired him to write One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The success of this book, as well as the demolition of the Perry Lane cabins in August 1963, allowed him to move to a log house at 7940 La Honda Road in La Honda, California, a rustic hamlet in the Santa Cruz Mountains fifteen miles to the west of the Stanford University campus.[23] He frequently entertained friends and many others with parties he called “Acid Tests,” involving music (including the Stanford-educated Anonymous Artists of America and Kesey’s favorite band, the Grateful Dead), black lights, fluorescent paint, strobe lights, LSD, and other psychedelic effects. These parties were described in some of Ginsberg’s poems and served as the basis for Tom Wolfe‘s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, an early exemplar of the nonfiction novel. Other firsthand accounts of the Acid Tests appear in Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs by Hunter S. Thompson and the 1967 Hell’s Angels memoir Freewheelin Frank, Secretary of the Hell’s Angels (Frank Reynolds; ghostwritten by Michael McClure).

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

While still enrolled at the University of Oregon in 1957, Kesey wrote End of Autumn; according to Rick Dogson, the novel “focused on the exploitation of college athletes by telling the tale of a football lineman who was having second thoughts about the game.”[24] Although Kesey came to regard the unpublished work as juvenilia, an excerpt served as his Stanford Creative Writing Center application sample.[24]

During his Woodrow Wilson Fellowship year, Kesey wrote Zoo, a novel about the beatniks living in the North Beach community of San Francisco, but it was never published.

The inspiration for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest came while working on the night shift with Gordon Lish at the Menlo Park Veterans’ Hospital. There, Kesey often spent time talking to the patients, sometimes under the influence of the hallucinogenic drugs with which he had volunteered to experiment. Kesey did not believe that these patients were insane, but rather that society had pushed them out because they did not fit the conventional ideas of how people were supposed to act and behave. Published under the guidance of Cowley in 1962, the novel was an immediate success; in 1963, it was adapted into a successful stage play by Dale Wasserman, and in 1975, Miloš Forman directed a screen adaptation, which won the “Big Five” Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actor (Jack Nicholson), Best Actress (Louise Fletcher), Best Director (Forman) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Lawrence Hauben, Bo Goldman).

Kesey originally was involved in creating the film, but left two weeks into production. He claimed never to have seen the movie because of a dispute over the $20,000 he was initially paid for the film rights. Kesey loathed the fact that, unlike the book, the film was not narrated by the Chief Bromden character, and he disagreed with Jack Nicholson’s being cast as Randle McMurphy (he wanted Gene Hackman). Despite this, Faye Kesey has stated that her husband was generally supportive of the film and pleased that it was made.[25]

Merry Pranksters

When the publication of his second novel, Sometimes a Great Notion in 1964, required his presence in New York, Kesey, Neal Cassady, and others in a group of friends they called the Merry Pranksters took a cross-country trip in a school bus nicknamed Further.[26] This trip, described in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (and later in Kesey’s unproduced screenplay, The Further Inquiry) was the group’s attempt to create art out of everyday life, and to experience roadway America while high on LSD. In an interview after arriving in New York, Kesey is quoted as saying, “The sense of communication in this country has damn near atrophied. But we found as we went along it got easier to make contact with people. If people could just understand it is possible to be different without being a threat.”[1] A huge amount of footage was filmed on 16mm cameras during the trip which remained largely unseen until the release of Alex Gibney‘s Magic Trip in 2011.

After the bus trip, the Pranksters threw parties they called Acid Tests around the San Francisco Bay Area from 1965 to 1966. Many of the Pranksters lived at Kesey’s residence in La Honda. In New York, Cassady introduced Kesey to Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, who then turned them on to Timothy Leary. Sometimes a Great Notion inspired a 1970 film starring and directed by Paul Newman; it was nominated for two Academy Awards, and in 1972 was the first film shown by the new television network HBO, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Kesey was arrested for possession of marijuana in 1965. In an attempt to mislead police, he faked suicide by having friends leave his truck on a cliffside road near Eureka, along with an elaborate suicide note, written by the Pranksters. Kesey fled to Mexico in the back of a friend’s car. When he returned to the United States eight months later, Kesey was arrested and sent to the San Mateo County jail in Redwood City, California, for five months where he was introduced to a highly recommended San Francisco lawyer, Richard Potack, who specialized in marijuana cultivation. On his release, he moved back to the family farm in Pleasant Hill, Oregon, in the Willamette Valley, where he spent the rest of his life.[27] He wrote many articles, books (mostly collections of his articles), and short stories during that time.

Death of son

In 1984, Kesey’s 20-year-old son Jed, a wrestler for the University of Oregon, suffered severe head injuries in a vehicle accident on the way to a tournament;[11] after he was declared brain-dead two days later his parents gave permission for his organs to be donated.[28]

Jed’s death deeply affected Kesey, who later called Jed a victim of policies that had starved the team of funding. He wrote to Mark Hatfield, “And I began to get mad, Senator. I had finally found where the blame must be laid: that the money we are spending for national defense is not defending us from the villains real and near, the awful villains of ignorance, and cancer, and heart disease and highway death. How many school buses could be outfitted with seatbelts with the money spent for one of those 16-inch shells?” [29]

At a Grateful Dead concert soon after the death of promoter Bill Graham, Kesey delivered a eulogy, mentioning that Graham had donated $1,000 toward a memorial to Jed atop Mount Pisgah, near the Kesey home in Pleasant Hill.[30] Ken Kesey donated $33,395 towards the purchase of a proper bus for the school’s wrestling team to replace the chicken van that fell off a cliff.[31]

Final years

Kesey was diagnosed with diabetes in 1992. In 1994, he toured with members of the Merry Pranksters performing a musical play he wrote about the millennium called Twister: A Ritual Reality. Many old and new friends and family showed up to support the Pranksters on this tour that took them from Seattle’s Bumbershoot, all along the West Coast including a sold out two-night run at The Fillmore in San Francisco to Boulder, Colorado, where they coaxed (or pranked) the Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsberg into performing with them.[citation needed]

Kesey mainly kept to his home life in Pleasant Hill, preferring to make artistic contributions on the Internet or holding ritualistic revivals in the spirit of the Acid Test. In the official Grateful Dead DVD release The Closing of Winterland (2003) documenting the monumental New Year’s 1978/1979 concert at the Winterland Arena in San Francisco, Kesey is featured in a between-set interview.[citation needed]

On August 14, 1997, Kesey and his Pranksters attended a Phish concert in Darien Lake, New York. Kesey and the Pranksters appeared onstage with the band and performed a dance-trance-jam session involving several characters from The Wizard of Oz and Frankenstein.[citation needed]

In June 2001, Kesey was invited and accepted as the keynote speaker at the annual commencement of The Evergreen State College.[citation needed] His last major work was an essay for Rolling Stone magazine calling for peace in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.[citation needed]

Death

In 1998, health problems began to weaken him, starting with a stroke that year.[2] On October 25, 2001 Kesey had surgery on his liver to remove a tumor.[2] He did not recover from that operation and died of complications on November 10, 2001, age 66.[2]

Legacy

The film Gerry (2002) is dedicated to the memory of Ken Kesey.[32]

Works

Some of Kesey’s better-known works include:[33]

Footnotes

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher. “Ken Kesey, Author of ‘Cuckoo’s Nest,’ Who Defined the Psychedelic Era, Dies at 66“, The New York Times (November 11, 2001). Retrieved February 21, 2008.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i Baker, Jeff (November 11, 2001). “All times a great artist, Ken Kesey is dead at age 66”. The Oregonian. pp. A1.
  3. Jump up^ https://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=38411
  4. Jump up^ http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/1830/the-art-of-fiction-no-136-ken-kesey
  5. Jump up^ http://www.deaddisc.com/GDFD_Spit.htm
  6. Jump up^ Macdonald, Gina, and Andrew Macdonald. “Ken Kesey.” Magill’s Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition (2007): Literary Reference Center. EBSCO.
  7. Jump up^ “Ken Kesey Kisses No Ass”. Esquire Magazine (September 1992).
  8. Jump up^ “Ken Kesey, Author of ‘Cuckoo’s Nest,’ Who Defined the Psychedelic Era, Dies at 66”, The New York Times (November 11, 2001).
  9. Jump up^ Robins, Cynthia (2001-12-07). “Kesey’s friends gather in tribute”.
  10. Jump up^ Christensen, Mark (2010). Acid Christ : Ken Kesey, LSD, and the politics of ecstasy. Tucson, AZ: Schaffner Press. p. 40. ISBN 9781936182107. OCLC 701720769. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  11. ^ Jump up to:a b “Crash takes second life”. The Spokesman-Review. 101st Year (251). Spokane, WA: Cowles Publishing Company. 1984-01-29. p. A6. Retrieved 2014-12-14. Writer’s son, Oregon wrestler Jed Kesey, dies of injuries
  12. Jump up^ “Top Wrestlers”. Eugene, OR: Save Oregon Wrestling Foundation. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  13. Jump up^ “2006–07 Stats, History, Opponent Info – University of Oregon Wrestling” (PDF). University of Oregon Athletic Department. 2007-12-03. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  14. Jump up^ “Hall, James B(yron)”, International Who’s Who in Poetry, 2004, p. 138.
  15. Jump up^ Jeff Baker, “James B. Hall: Writer, teacher”, The Oregonian/OregonLive, May 14, 2008.
  16. Jump up^ Too Good to Be True. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  17. ^ Jump up to:a b Philip L. Fradkin, Wallace Stegner and the American West
  18. Jump up^ Wallace Stegner. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  19. Jump up^ Cowley, M. (1976). “Ken Kesey at Stanford”, Northwest Review, 16(1), 1.
  20. Jump up^ “Down on the peacock farm”. Salon Magazine. 2001. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  21. Jump up^ VA Palo Alto Health Care System. “Menlo Park Division – VA Palo Alto Health Care System”. va.gov. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  22. Jump up^ Reilly, Edward C. “Ken Kesey.” Critical Survey of Long Fiction, Second Revised Edition (2000): EBSCO. Web. Nov 10. 2010.
  23. Jump up^ “Perry Ave, West Menlo Park, CA 94025 to 7940 La Honda Rd, La Honda, CA 94020 – Google Maps”. google.com. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  24. ^ Jump up to:a b https://books.google.com/books?id=kaQVAQAAQBAJ&pg=PA66&dq=end+of+autumn+kesey&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CDoQ6AEwBmoVChMI-bOJ37iWyAIVjKKACh1Y_grf#v=onepage&q=end%20of%20autumn%20kesey&f=false
  25. Jump up^ “11 Authors Who Hated the Movie Versions of Their Books”. Mental Floss. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  26. Jump up^ “National Museum of American History Collections: Signboard, Pass the Acid Test”. americanhistory.si.edu. Retrieved 2015-04-08.
  27. Jump up^ Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher (November 11, 2001). “Ken Kesey, Author of ‘Cuckoo’s Nest,’ Who Defined the Psychedelic Era, Dies at 66”. The New York Times.
  28. Jump up^ “Letters of Note: What a world”. lettersofnote.com. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  29. Jump up^ Kesey, Jed (1984). “Remembering Jed Kesey”. Whole Earth Catalogue. Co-Evolutionary Quarterly. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
  30. Jump up^ https://archive.org/details/gd91-10-31.sbd.gardner.2897.sbeok.shnf“. Track 13, starting at about :35.
  31. Jump up^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1356&dat=19880225&id=D7hPAAAAIBAJ&sjid=CQcEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2381,6211590&hl=en. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  32. Jump up^ Adams, Sam (September 19–25, 2002). “Try to Remember”. Philadelphia City Paper. Retrieved August 5,2015.
  33. Jump up^ Martin, Blank (2010-01-19). “Selected Bibliography for Ken Kesey”. Literary Kicks. Retrieved 2014-12-14.

Further reading

  • Ronald Gregg Billingsley, The Artistry of Ken Kesey. PhD dissertation. Eugene, OR: University of Oregon, 1971.
  • Dedria Bryfonski, Mental illness in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010.
  • Rick Dodgson, It’s All Kind of Magic: The Young Ken Kesey. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013.
  • Robert Faggen, “Ken Kesey, The Art of Fiction No. 136,” The Paris Review, Spring 1994.
  • Barry H. Leeds, Ken Kesey. New York: F. Ungar Publishing Co., 1981.
  • Dennis McNally, A Long Strange Trip: the Inside History of the Grateful Dead. Broadway Books, 2002.
  • Tim Owen, “Remembering Ken Kesey,” Cosmik Debris Magazine, November 10, 2001.
  • M. Gilbert Porter, The Art of Grit: Ken Kesey’s Fiction. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1982.
  • Elaine B Safer, The contemporary American Comic Epic: The Novels of Barth, Pynchon, Gaddis, and Kesey. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1988.
  • Peter Swirski, “You’re Not in Canada until You Can Hear the Loons Crying; or, Voting, People’s Power and Ken Kesey’s One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” in Swirski, American Utopia and Social Engineering in Literature, Social Thought, and Political History. New York: Routledge, 2011.
  • Stephen L. Tanner, Ken Kesey. Boston, MA: Twayne, 1983.

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Kesey

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Ray Bradbury — Fahrenheit 451 — Videos

Posted on September 20, 2015. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Book, Books, Communications, Constitution, Corruption, Culture, Documentary, Economics, Education, Entertainment, Faith, Family, Fiction, Films, Friends, Heroes, history, Law, liberty, Life, media, Money, Movies, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Political Correctness, Politics, Press, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Strategy, Talk Radio, Television, Video, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

young ray bradburyray-bradbury

fahrenheit451 fahrenheit-451hardcover_book_411 Farenheit451  ray-bradbury-fahrenheit-451ray-bradbury_1

Ray Bradbury – Story of a Writer

A 25-minute documentary from 1963 about Ray Bradbury – by David L. Wolper

Day at Night: Ray Bradbury

A Conversation with Ray Bradbury

A short film for the National Endowment for the arts feature Ray Bradbury as he discusses his life, literary loves and Fahrenheit 451.

A Conversation with Ray Bradbury by Lawrence Bridges

Fahrenheit 451 – Trailer

Fahrenheit 451 (1966) Full Movie | Julie Christie Full Movies Online

Top 10 Notes: Fahrenheit 451

Feeling More Alive: Fahrenheit 451’s The Hearth and the Salamander

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (Full audiobook)

Ray Bradbury on Writing Persistently

A Conversation with Ray Bradbury

Author Ray Bradbury joins Dean Nelson of Point Loma Nazarene University for a talk about his craft as part of Point Loma Nazarene University’s Writer’s Symposium by the Sea. Series: “Writer’s Symposium By The Sea” [4/2001] [Public Affairs] [Humanities] [Show ID: 5534]

An Evening with Ray Bradbury 2001

Science fiction author Ray Bradbury regales his audience with stories about his life and love of writing in “Telling the Truth,” the keynote address of The Sixth Annual Writer’s Symposium by the Sea, sponsored by Point Loma Nazarene University. Series: Writer’s Symposium By The Sea [4/2001] [Public Affairs] [Humanities] [Show ID: 5533]

Ray Bradbury

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the author’s 1975 story collection, see Ray Bradbury (collection).
Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury in 1975

Bradbury in 1975
Born Raymond Douglas Bradbury
August 22, 1920
Waukegan, Illinois, U.S.
Died June 5, 2012 (aged 91)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting place Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles
Occupation Writer
Nationality American
Period 1938–2012[1]
Genre Fantasy, social commentary,science fiction, horror fiction,mystery fiction
Notable works
Notable awards American Academy of Arts and Letters (1954); Daytime Emmy Award (1994); National Medal of Arts (2004); Pulitzer Prize(2007)
Spouse Marguerite McClure
(m. 1947–2003; her death)
Children 4 daughters

Signature
Website
www.raybradbury.com

Raymond Douglas “Ray” Bradbury[2] (August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012) was an Americanfantasy, science fiction, horror and mystery fiction author. Best known for hisdystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and for the science fiction and horror stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles (1950) and The Illustrated Man (1951), Bradbury was one of the most celebrated 20th- and 21st-century American genre writers. He wrote and consulted on many screenplays and television scripts, includingMoby Dick[3] and It Came from Outer Space. Many of his works have been adapted into comic books, television shows, and films.

Early life

Bradbury as a senior in high school, 1938

Bradbury was born on August 22, 1920[4][5] in Waukegan, Illinois,[6] to Esther (née Moberg) Bradbury, a Swedish immigrant, and Leonard Spaulding Bradbury,[7] a power and telephone lineman of English descent.[8] He was given the middle name “Douglas,” after the actor Douglas Fairbanks. Bradbury was related to the American Shakespeare scholar Douglas Spaulding[9] and was descended from Mary Bradbury, who was tried at one of the Salem witch trials in 1692.[10]

Bradbury was surrounded by an extended family during his early childhood and formative years in Waukegan, Illinois. An aunt read him short stories when he was a child.[11] This period provided foundations for both the author and his stories. In Bradbury’s works of fiction, 1920s Waukegan becomes “Green Town,” Illinois.

The Bradbury family lived in Tucson, Arizona, in 1926–27 and 1932–33 as the father pursued employment, each time returning to Waukegan, but eventually settled in Los Angeles in 1934, when Bradbury was 14. The family arrived with only 40 dollars, which paid for rent and food until his father finally found a job making wire at a cable company for $14 a week. This meant that they could stay, however, and Bradbury—who was in love with Hollywood—was ecstatic.

Bradbury attended Los Angeles High School and was active in the drama club. He often roller-skated through Hollywood in hopes of meeting celebrities. Among the creative and talented people Bradbury met this way were special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen and radio star George Burns. (Bradbury’s first pay as a writer was at the age of fourteen, when Burns hired him to write for the Burns and Allen show.[12][13])

Influences

Literature

Bradbury was a reader and writer throughout his youth.[14] He knew as a young boy that he was “going into one of the arts.” In 1931, at the age of eleven, the young Bradbury began writing his own stories. The country was going through the Great Depression, and sometimes Bradbury wrote on butcher paper.

In his youth, he spent much time in the Carnegie library in Waukegan, reading such authors as H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Edgar Allan Poe. At age twelve, Bradbury began writing traditional horror stories and said he tried to imitate Poe until he was about eighteen. In addition to comics, he loved Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan of the Apes,[15] especially Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars series. The Warlord of Marsimpressed him so much that at the age of twelve he wrote his own sequel.[16] The young Bradbury was also a cartoonist and loved to illustrate. He wrote about Tarzan and drew his own Sunday panels. He listened to the radio show Chandu the Magician, and when the show went off the air every night he would sit and write the entire script from memory.

In Beverly Hills, he often visited the science fiction writer Bob Olsen for mentorship as well as friendship while Bradbury was a teenager. They shared ideas and would keep in contact. In 1936, at a secondhand bookstore in Hollywood, Bradbury discovered a handbill promoting meetings of the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society.[17] Thrilled to find there were others with his interests, at the age of sixteen Bradbury joined a weekly Thursday-night conclave.[18]

When he was seventeen, Bradbury read stories published in Astounding Science Fiction, and said he read everything by Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, and the early writings of Theodore Sturgeon and A. E. van Vogt, but cited H. G. Wells and Jules Verne as his big science fiction influences. Bradbury identified with Verne, saying, “He believes the human being is in a strange situation in a very strange world, and he believes that we can triumph by behaving morally.” [19] Bradbury admitted that he stopped reading genre books in his twenties and embraced a broad field of literature that included Alexander Pope and poet John Donne.[20] Bradbury had just graduated from high school when he met Robert Heinlein, then 31 years old. Bradbury recalled, “He was well known, and he wrote humanistic science fiction, which influenced me to dare to be human instead of mechanical.”[20]

Hollywood

The family lived about four blocks from the Uptown Theater on Western Avenue in Los Angeles, the flagship theater for MGM and Fox. There, Bradbury learned how to sneak in and watched previews almost every week. He roller-skated there as well as all over town, as he put it “hell-bent on getting autographs from glamorous stars. It was glorious.” Among stars the young Bradbury was thrilled to encounter were Norma Shearer, Laurel and Hardy, and Ronald Colman. Sometimes he would spend all day in front of Paramount Pictures or Columbia Pictures and then skate to the Brown Derby to watch the stars who came and went for meals. He recounted seeing Cary Grant, Marlene Dietrich and Mae West, who he would learn made a regular appearance every Friday night, bodyguard in tow.[20]

Bradbury relates the following meeting with Sergei Bondarchuk, director of Soviet epic film series War and Peace, at a Hollywood award ceremony in Bondarchuk’s honor:

They formed a long queue and as Bondarchuk was walking along it he recognized several people: “Oh Mr. Ford, I like your film.” He recognized the director, Greta Garbo, and someone else. I was standing at the very end of the queue and silently watched this. Bondarchuk shouted to me; “Ray Bradbury, is that you?” He rushed up to me, embraced me, dragged me inside, grabbed a bottle ofStolichnaya, sat down at his table where his closest friends were sitting. All the famous Hollywood directors in the queue were bewildered. They stared at me and asked each other “who is this Bradbury?” And, swearing, they left, leaving me alone with Bondarchuk…[21]

Career

Bradbury’s “Undersea Guardians” was the cover story for the December 1944 issue of Amazing Stories

Bradbury’s first published story was “Hollerbochen’s Dilemma”, which appeared in the January 1938 number of Forrest J. Ackerman’s fanzineImagination!.[1] In July 1939, Ackerman gave nineteen-year-old Bradbury the money to head to New York for the First World Science Fiction Convention in New York City, and funded Bradbury’s fanzine, titled Futuria Fantasia.[22] Bradbury wrote most of its four issues, each limited to under 100 copies.[citation needed]Between 1940 and 1947, he was a contributor to Rob Wagner‘s film magazine, Script.[23]

Bradbury was free to start a career in writing when, owing to his bad eyesight, he was rejected admission into the military during World War II. Having been inspired by science fiction heroes like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, Bradbury began to publish science fiction stories in fanzines in 1938.[24] Bradbury was invited by Forrest J. Ackerman[citation needed] to attend the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society, which at the time met at Clifton’s Cafeteria in downtown Los Angeles. This was where he met the writers Robert A. Heinlein, Emil Petaja, Fredric Brown, Henry Kuttner, Leigh Brackett, and Jack Williamson.[citation needed]

In 1939, Bradbury joined Laraine Day‘s Wilshire Players Guild where for two years he wrote and acted in several plays. They were, as Bradbury later described, “so incredibly bad” that he gave up playwriting for two decades.[25] Bradbury’s first paid piece, “Pendulum,” written with Henry Hasse, was published in the pulp magazineSuper Science Stories in November 1941, for which he earned $15.[26]

Bradbury sold his first story, “The Lake”, for $13.75 at the age of twenty-two.[20] He became a full-time writer by the end of 1942. His first collection of short stories, Dark Carnival, was published in 1947 by Arkham House, a small press in Sauk City, Wisconsin, owned by writer August Derleth. Reviewing Dark Carnival for the New York Herald Tribune, Will Cuppy proclaimed Bradbury “suitable for general consumption” and predicted that he would become a writer of the caliber of British fantasy author John Collier.[27]

After a rejection notice from the pulp Weird Tales, Bradbury submitted “Homecoming” to Mademoiselle which was spotted by a young editorial assistant named Truman Capote. Capote picked the Bradbury manuscript from a slush pile, which led to its publication. Homecoming won a place in The O. Henry Prize Stories of 1947.[28]

It was in UCLA‘s Powell Library, in a study room with typewriters for rent, that Bradbury wrote his classic story of a book-burning future, The Fireman, which was about 25,000 words long. It was later published at about 50,000 words under the name Fahrenheit 451, for a total cost of $9.80, due to the library’s typewriter-rental fees of ten cents per half-hour.[29]

A chance encounter in a Los Angeles bookstore with the British expatriate writer Christopher Isherwood gave Bradbury the opportunity to put The Martian Chronicles into the hands of a respected critic. Isherwood’s glowing review[30] followed.

Writing

Bradbury attributed to two incidents his lifelong habit of writing every day. The first of these, occurring when he was three years old, was his mother’s taking him to see Lon Chaney‘s performance in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.[31] The second incident occurred in 1932, when a carnival entertainer, one Mr. Electrico, touched the young man on the nose with an electrified sword, made his hair stand on end, and shouted, “Live forever!”[32] Bradbury remarked, “I felt that something strange and wonderful had happened to me because of my encounter with Mr. Electrico…[he] gave me a future…I began to write, full-time. I have written every single day of my life since that day 69 years ago.”[32] It was at that age that Bradbury first started to do magic, which was his first great love. If he had not discovered writing, he would have become a magician.[33]

Bradbury claimed a wide variety of influences, and described discussions he might have with his favorite poets and writers Robert Frost, William Shakespeare, John Steinbeck, Aldous Huxley, and Thomas Wolfe. From Steinbeck, he said he learned “how to write objectively and yet insert all of the insights without too much extra comment.” He studied Eudora Welty for her “remarkable ability to give you atmosphere, character, and motion in a single line.” Bradbury’s favorite writers growing up included Katherine Anne Porter, who wrote about the American South, Edith Wharton, and Jessamyn West.[34]

Bradbury was once described as a “Midwestsurrealist” and is often labeled a science fiction writer, which he described as “the art of the possible.” Bradbury resisted that categorization, however:

First of all, I don’t write science fiction. I’ve only done one science fiction book and that’s Fahrenheit 451, based on reality. It was named so to represent the temperature at which paper ignites. Science fiction is a depiction of the real. Fantasy is a depiction of the unreal. So Martian Chronicles is not science fiction, it’s fantasy. It couldn’t happen, you see? That’s the reason it’s going to be around a long time – because it’s a Greek myth, and myths have staying power.[35]

Bradbury recounted when he came into his own as a writer, the afternoon he wrote a short story about his first encounter with death. When he was a boy, he met a young girl at the beach and she went out into the water and never came back. Years later, as he wrote about it, tears flowed from him. He recognized he had taken the leap from emulating the many writers he admired to connecting with his voice as a writer.[36][37]

When later asked about the lyrical power of his prose, Bradbury replied, “From reading so much poetry every day of my life. My favorite writers have been those who’ve said things well.” He is quoted, “If you’re reluctant to weep, you won’t live a full and complete life.”[38]

In high school, Bradbury was active in both the Poetry Club and the Drama club, continuing plans to become an actor but becoming serious about his writing as his high school years progressed. Bradbury graduated from Los Angeles High School, where he took poetry classes with Snow Longley Housh, and short story writing courses taught by Jeannet Johnson.[39] The teachers recognized his talent and furthered his interest in writing,[40] but he did not attend college. Instead, he sold newspapers at the corner of South Norton Avenue and Olympic Boulevard. In regard to his education, Bradbury said:

Libraries raised me. I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.[41][42]

He told The Paris Review, “You can’t learn to write in college. It’s a very bad place for writers because the teachers always think they know more than you do – and they don’t.”[43]

“Green Town”

A reinvention of Waukegan, Green Town is a symbol of safety and home, which is often juxtaposed as a contrasting backdrop to tales of fantasy or menace. It serves as the setting of his semi-autobiographical classics Dandelion Wine, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Farewell Summer as well as in many of his short stories. In Green Town, Bradbury’s favorite uncle sprouts wings, traveling carnivals conceal supernatural powers, and his grandparents provide room and board to Charles Dickens.[44] Perhaps the most definitive usage of the pseudonym for his hometown, in Summer Morning, Summer Night, a collection of short stories and vignettes exclusively about Green Town, Bradbury returns to the signature locale as a look back at the rapidly disappearing small-town world of the American heartland, which was the foundation of his roots.[45]

Cultural contributions

Bradbury wrote many short essays on the arts and culture, attracting the attention of critics in this field, but he used his fiction to explore and criticize his culture and society. Bradbury observed, for example, thatFahrenheit 451 touches on the alienation of people by media:

In writing the short novel Fahrenheit 451 I thought I was describing a world that might evolve in four or five decades. But only a few weeks ago, in Beverly Hills one night, a husband and wife passed me, walking their dog. I stood staring after them, absolutely stunned. The woman held in one hand a small cigarette-package-sized radio, its antenna quivering. From this sprang tiny copper wires which ended in a dainty cone plugged into her right ear. There she was, oblivious to man and dog, listening to far winds and whispers and soap opera cries, sleep walking, helped up and down curbs by a husband who might just as well not have been there. This was not fiction.[46]

In a 1982 essay he wrote, “People ask me to predict the Future, when all I want to do is prevent it.” This intent had been expressed earlier by other authors,[47] who sometimes attributed it to him.

Bradbury hosted The Ray Bradbury Theater which was based on his short stories. Bradbury was a consultant for the American Pavilion at the 1964 New York World’s Fair[48] and the original exhibit housed in Epcot‘sSpaceship Earth geosphere at Walt Disney World.[49][50][51] In the 1980s, Bradbury concentrated on detective fiction.[52]

Bradbury was a strong supporter of public library systems, and helped to raise money to prevent the closure of several in California due to budgetary cuts. He iterated from his past that “libraries raised me”, and shunned colleges and universities, comparing his own lack of funds during the Depression with poor contemporary students.[53] His opinion varied on modern technology. In 1985 Bradbury wrote, “I see nothing but good coming from computers. When they first appeared on the scene, people were saying, ‘Oh my God, I’m so afraid.’ I hate people like that – I call them the neo-Luddites“, and “In a sense [computers] are simply books. Books are all over the place, and computers will be too”.[54] He resisted the conversion of his work into e-books, stating in 2010 “We have too many cellphones. We’ve got too many internets. We have got to get rid of those machines. We have too many machines now”.[55] When the publishing rights for Fahrenheit 451 came up for renewal in December 2011, Bradbury permitted its publication in electronic form provided that the publisher, Simon & Schuster, allowed the e-book to be digitally downloaded by any library patron. The title remains the only book in the Simon & Schuster catalog where this is possible.[56]

Several comic book writers have adapted Bradbury’s stories. Particularly noted among these were EC Comics‘ line of horror and science-fiction comics. Initially, the writers plagiarized his stories, but a diplomatic letter from Bradbury about it led to the company paying him and negotiating properly licensed adaptations of his work. The comics featuring Bradbury’s stories included Tales from the Crypt, Weird Science, Weird Fantasy, Crime Suspenstories, Haunt of Fear and others.

Bradbury remained an enthusiastic playwright all his life, leaving a rich theatrical legacy as well as literary. Bradbury headed the Pandemonium Theatre Company in Los Angeles for many years and had a five-year relationship with the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena.[57]

Bradbury is featured prominently in two documentaries related to his classic 1950s-’60s era: Jason V Brock‘s Charles Beaumont: The Life of Twilight Zone’s Magic Man,[58] which details his troubles with Rod Serling, and his friendships with writers Charles Beaumont, George Clayton Johnson, and most especially his dear friend William F. Nolan, as well as Brock’s The AckerMonster Chronicles!, which delves into the life of former Bradbury agent, close friend, mega-fan, and Famous Monsters of Filmland editor Forrest J Ackerman.

On May 24, 1956, Bradbury appeared on the popular quiz show, You Bet Your Life hosted by Groucho Marx (Season 6 Episode 35).[59]

Personal life

Bradbury in December 2009.

Bradbury was married to Marguerite McClure (January 16, 1922 – November 24, 2003) from 1947 until her death; they had four daughters:[60] Susan, Ramona, Bettina and Alexandra.[61] Though he lived in Los Angeles, Bradbury never obtained a driver’s license but relied on public transportation or his bicycle.[62] He lived at home until he was twenty-seven and married. His wife of fifty-six years, Maggie, as she was affectionately called, was the only woman Bradbury ever dated.[20]

Bradbury was a close friend of Charles Addams, and Addams illustrated the first of Bradbury’s stories about the Elliotts, a family that would resemble Addams’ own Addams Familyplaced in rural Illinois. Bradbury’s first story about them was “Homecoming,” published in the 1946 Halloween issue of Mademoiselle, with Addams illustrations. He and Addams planned a larger collaborative work that would tell the family’s complete history, but it never materialized, and according to a 2001 interview, they went their separate ways.[63] In October 2001, Bradbury published all the Family stories he had written in one book with a connecting narrative, From the Dust Returned, featuring a wraparound Addams cover of the original “Homecoming” illustration.[64]

Another close friend was animator Ray Harryhausen, who was best man at Bradbury’s wedding.[65] During a BAFTA 2010 awards tribute in honor of Ray Harryhausen‘s 90th birthday, Bradbury spoke of his first meeting Harryhausen at Forrest J Ackerman‘s house when they were both 18 years old. Their shared love for science fiction, King Kong, and the King Vidor-directed film The Fountainhead, written by Ayn Rand, was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. These early influences inspired the pair to believe in themselves and affirm their career choices. After their first meeting, they kept in touch at least once a month, in a friendship that spanned over 70 years.[66]

Late in life, Bradbury retained his dedication and passion despite what he described as the “devastation of illnesses and deaths of many good friends.” Among the losses that deeply grieved Bradbury was the death of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, who was an intimate friend for many years. They remained close friends for nearly three decades after Roddenberry asked him to write for Star Trek, which Bradbury never did, objecting that he “never had the ability to adapt other people’s ideas into any sensible form.”[20]

Bradbury suffered a stroke in 1999[67] that left him partially dependent on a wheelchair for mobility.[68] Despite this he continued to write, and had even written an essay for The New Yorker, about his inspiration for writing, published only a week prior to his death.[69] Bradbury made regular appearances at science fiction conventions until 2009, when he retired from the circuit.

Ray Bradbury’s headstone in May 2012 prior to his death

Bradbury chose a burial place at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, with a headstone that reads “Author of Fahrenheit 451”.[70][71][72] On February 6, 2015, the New York Times reported that the house that Bradbury lived and wrote in for fifty years of his life, at 10265 Cheviot Drive in Los Angeles, CA, had been demolished.[73]

Death

Bradbury died in Los Angeles, California, on June 5, 2012, at the age of 91, after a lengthy illness.[74] Bradbury’s personal library was willed to the Waukegan Public Library, where he had many of his formative reading experiences.[75]

The New York Times‍ ’​ obituary stated that Bradbury was “the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream.”[76] The Los Angeles Times credited Bradbury with the ability “to write lyrically and evocatively of lands an imagination away, worlds he anchored in the here and now with a sense of visual clarity and small-town familiarity”.[77] Bradbury’s grandson, Danny Karapetian, stated that Bradbury’s works had “influenced so many artists, writers, teachers, scientists, and it’s always really touching and comforting to hear their stories”.[61]The Washington Post hallmarked several modern day technologies that Bradbury had envisioned much earlier in his writing, such as the idea of banking ATMs and earbuds and Bluetooth headsets from Fahrenheit 451, and the concepts of artificial intelligence within I Sing the Body Electric.[78]

On June 6, 2012, in an official public statement from the White House Press Office, President Barack Obama said:

For many Americans, the news of Ray Bradbury’s death immediately brought to mind images from his work, imprinted in our minds, often from a young age. His gift for storytelling reshaped our culture and expanded our world. But Ray also understood that our imaginations could be used as a tool for better understanding, a vehicle for change, and an expression of our most cherished values. There is no doubt that Ray will continue to inspire many more generations with his writing, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.[79]

Several celebrity fans of Bradbury paid tribute to the author by stating the influence of his works on their own careers and creations.[80][81] Filmmaker Steven Spielberg stated that Bradbury was “[his] muse for the better part of [his] sci-fi career…. On the world of science fiction and fantasy and imagination he is immortal”.[82] Writer Neil Gaiman felt that “the landscape of the world we live in would have been diminished if we had not had him in our world”.[81] Author Stephen King released a statement on his website saying, “Ray Bradbury wrote three great novels and three hundred great stories. One of the latter was called ‘A Sound of Thunder.’ The sound I hear today is the thunder of a giant’s footsteps fading away. But the novels and stories remain, in all their resonance and strange beauty.”[83] Bradbury’s influence well exceeded the field of literature. Progressive house music producer and performer, Joel Thomas Zimmerman, who is most commonly known by his stage name Deadmau5, composed a song named after one of Bradbury’s short stories “The Veldt” which was originally published in the Saturday Evening Post.[84] The EP of “The Veldt” was released days after Bradbury’s death and is dedicated to the memory of the author.[85]

Bibliography

Bradbury is credited with writing 27 novels and over 600 short stories.[77] More than eight million copies of his works, published in over 36 languages, have been sold around the world.[76]

First novel

In 1949, Bradbury and his wife were expecting their first child. He took a Greyhound bus to New York and checked into a room at the YMCA for fifty cents a night. He took his short stories to a dozen publishers and no one wanted them. Just before getting ready to go home, Bradbury had dinner with an editor at Doubleday. When Bradbury recounted that everyone wanted a novel and he didn’t have one, the editor, coincidentally named Walter Bradbury, asked if the short stories might be tied together into a book length collection. The title was the editor’s idea; he suggested, “You could call it “The Martian Chronicles.” Bradbury liked the idea and recalled making notes in 1944 to do a book set on Mars. That evening, he stayed up all night at the YMCA and typed out an outline. He took it to the Doubleday editor the next morning, who read it and wrote Bradbury a check for seven hundred and fifty dollars. When Bradbury returned to Los Angeles, he connected all the short stories and that became The Martian Chronicles.[34]

Intended first novel

What was later issued as a collection of stories and vignettes, Summer Morning, Summer Night, started out to be Bradbury’s first true novel. The core of the work was Bradbury’s witnessing of the American small-town and life in the American heartland.

In the winter of 1955–56, after a consultation with his Doubleday editor, Bradbury deferred publication of a novel based on Green Town, the pseudonym for his hometown. Instead, he extracted seventeen stories and, with three other Green Town tales, bridged them into his 1957 book Dandelion Wine. Later, in 2006, Bradbury published the original novel remaining after the extraction, and retitled it Farewell Summer. These two titles show what stories and episodes Bradbury decided to retain as he created the two books out of one.

The most significant of the remaining unpublished stories, scenes, and fragments were published under the originally intended name for the novel, Summer Morning, Summer Night, in 2007.[86]

Adaptations to other media

Bradbury in 1959, when some of his short stories were adapted for television shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents

From 1951 to 1954, 27 of Bradbury’s stories were adapted by Al Feldstein for EC Comics, and 16 of these were collected in the paperbacks, The Autumn People (1965) andTomorrow Midnight (1966), both published by Ballantine Books with cover illustrations by Frank Frazetta.

Also in the early 1950s, adaptations of Bradbury’s stories were televised in several anthology shows, including Tales of Tomorrow, Lights Out, Out There, Suspense, CBS Television Workshop, Jane Wyman’s Fireside Theatre, Star Tonight, Windows and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. “The Merry-Go-Round,” a half-hour film adaptation of Bradbury’s “The Black Ferris,” praised by Variety, was shown on Starlight Summer Theater in 1954 and NBC’s Sneak Preview in 1956. During that same period, several stories were adapted for radio drama, notably on the science fiction anthologies Dimension X and its successor X Minus One.

Scene from The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, based on Bradbury’s The Fog Horn.

Producer William Alland first brought Bradbury to movie theaters in 1953 with It Came from Outer Space, a Harry Essex screenplay developed from Bradbury’s screen treatment “Atomic Monster”. Three weeks later came the release of Eugène Lourié’s The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), which featured one scene based on Bradbury’s “The Fog Horn“, about a sea monster mistaking the sound of a fog horn for the mating cry of a female. Bradbury’s close friend Ray Harryhausen produced the stop-motion animation of the creature. Bradbury would later return the favor by writing a short story, “Tyrannosaurus Rex”, about a stop-motion animator who strongly resembled Harryhausen. Over the next 50 years, more than 35 features, shorts, and TV movies were based on Bradbury’s stories or screenplays.

Bradbury was hired in 1953 by director John Huston to work on the screenplay for his film version of Melville‘s Moby Dick (1956), which stars Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab, Richard Basehart as Ishmael, and Orson Welles as Father Mapple. A significant result of the film was Bradbury’s book Green Shadows, White Whale, a semi-fictionalized account of the making of the film, including Bradbury’s dealings with Huston and his time in Ireland, where exterior scenes that were set in New Bedford, Massachusetts, were filmed.

Bradbury’s short story I Sing the Body Electric (from the book of the same name) was adapted for the 100th episode of The Twilight Zone. The episode was first aired on May 18, 1962.

In 1965, three of Bradbury’s stories were adapted for the stage. These included “The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit”, “The Day It Rained Forever” and “Device Out Of Time”. The latter was adapted from his 1957 novel Dandelion Wine. The plays debuted at the Coronet Theater in Hollywood and featured Booth Coleman, Joby Baker, Fredric Villani, Arnold Lessing, Eddie Sallia, Keith Taylor, Richard Bull, Gene Otis Shane, Henry T. Delgado, F. Murray Abraham, Anne Loos and Len Lesser. The director was Charles Rome Smith and the production company was Pandemonium Productions.

Oskar Werner and Julie Christie starred in Fahrenheit 451 (1966), an adaptation of Bradbury’s novel directed by François Truffaut.

In 1966, Bradbury helped Lynn Garrison create AVIAN, a specialist aviation magazine. For the first issue Bradbury wrote a poem – Planes that land on grass.

In 1969, The Illustrated Man was brought to the big screen, starring Rod Steiger, Claire Bloom and Robert Drivas. Containing the prologue and three short stories from the book, the film received mediocre reviews. The same year, Bradbury approached composer Jerry Goldsmith, who had worked with Bradbury in dramatic radio of the 1950s and later scored the film version of The Illustrated Man, to compose a cantataChristus Apollo based on Bradbury’s text.[87] The work premiered in late 1969, with the California Chamber Symphony performing with narrator Charlton Heston at UCLA.

File:Ray Bradbury at Caltech 12 November 1971.ogv

Ray Bradbury takes part in a symposium at Caltech with Arthur C. Clarke, journalist Walter Sullivan, and scientists Carl Sagan and Bruce Murray. In this excerpt, Bradbury reads his poem ‘If Only We Had Taller Been’ (poem begins at 2:20, full text[88]). Video released by NASA in honor of the naming of Bradbury Landing in 2012.[89]

In 1972 The Screaming Woman was adapted as an ABC Movie-of-the-Week starring Olivia de Havilland.

The Martian Chronicles became a three-part TV miniseries starring Rock Hudson which was first broadcast by NBC in 1980. Bradbury found the miniseries “just boring”.[90]

The 1982 television movie, The Electric Grandmother, was based on Bradbury’s short story “I Sing the Body Electric.”

The 1983 horror film Something Wicked This Way Comes, starring Jason Robards and Jonathan Pryce, is based on the Bradbury novel of the same name.

In 1984, Michael McDonough of Brigham Young University produced “Bradbury 13,” a series of 13 audio adaptations of famous stories from Bradbury, in conjunction with National Public Radio. The full-cast dramatizations featured adaptations of “The Ravine,” “Night Call, Collect,” “The Veldt“, “There Was an Old Woman,” “Kaleidoscope,” “Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed“, “The Screaming Woman,” “A Sound of Thunder,” “The Man,” “The Wind,” “The Fox and the Forest,” “Here There Be Tygers” and “The Happiness Machine”. Voiceover actor Paul Frees provided narration, while Bradbury himself was responsible for the opening voiceover; Greg Hansen and Roger Hoffman scored the episodes. The series won a Peabody Award as well as two Gold Cindy awards and was released on CD on May 1, 2010. The series began airing on BBC Radio 4 Extra on June 12, 2011.

From 1985 to 1992 Bradbury hosted a syndicated anthology television series, The Ray Bradbury Theater, for which he adapted 65 of his stories. Each episode would begin with a shot of Bradbury in his office, gazing over mementoes of his life, which he states (in narrative) are used to spark ideas for stories. During the first two seasons, Bradbury also provided additional voiceover narration specific to the featured story and appeared on screen.

Deeply respected in the USSR, Bradbury’s fictions has been adapted into five episodes of the Soviet science fiction TV series This Fantastic World which adapted the stories I Sing The Body Electric, Fahrenheit 451, A Piece of Wood, To the Chicago Abyss, and Forever and the Earth.[91] In 1984 a cartoon adaptation of There Will Come Soft Rains («Будет ласковый дождь») came out byUzbek director Nazim Tyuhladziev.[92] He made a film adaptation of The Veldt (“Вельд”) in 1987.[93] In 1989 came out a cartoon adaptation of Here There Be Tygers («Здесь могут водиться тигры») by director Vladimir Samsonov.[94]

Bradbury wrote and narrated the 1993 animated television version of The Halloween Tree, based on his 1972 novel.

The 1998 film The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, released by Touchstone Pictures, was written by Bradbury. It was based on his story “The Magic White Suit” originally published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1957. The story had also previously been adapted as a play, a musical, and a 1958 television version.

In 2002, Bradbury’s own Pandemonium Theatre Company production of Fahrenheit 451 at Burbank’s Falcon Theatre combined live acting with projected digital animation by the Pixel Pups. In 1984, Telarium released a game for Commodore 64 based on Fahrenheit 451.[95] Bradbury and director Charles Rome Smith co-founded Pandemonium in 1964, staging the New York production of The World of Ray Bradbury(1964), adaptations of “The Pedestrian“, “The Veldt”, and “To the Chicago Abyss.”

In 2005, the film A Sound of Thunder was released, loosely based upon the short story of the same name. The film The Butterfly Effect revolves around the same theory as A Sound of Thunder and contains many references to its inspiration. Short film adaptations of A Piece of Wood and The Small Assassin were released in 2005 and 2007 respectively.

In 2005, it was reported that Bradbury was upset with filmmaker Michael Moore for using the title Fahrenheit 9/11, which is an allusion to Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, for his documentary about the George W. Bush administration. Bradbury expressed displeasure with Moore’s use of the title but stated that his resentment was not politically motivated, even though Bradbury was conservative-leaning politically.[96] Bradbury asserted that he did not want any of the money made by the movie, nor did he believe that he deserved it. He pressured Moore to change the name, but to no avail. Moore called Bradbury two weeks before the film’s release to apologize, saying that the film’s marketing had been set in motion a long time ago and it was too late to change the title.[97]

In 2008, the film Ray Bradbury’s Chrysalis was produced by Roger Lay Jr. for Urban Archipelago Films, based upon the short story of the same name. The film won the best feature award at the International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival in Phoenix. The film has international distribution by Arsenal Pictures and domestic distribution by Lightning Entertainment.

In 2010, The Martian Chronicles was adapted for radio by Colonial Radio Theatre on the Air.

In 2012, EDM artist deadmau5, along with guest vocalist Chris James, crafted a song called “The Veldt” inspired by Bradbury’s short story of the same title. The lyrics featured various references to the short story.

Bradbury’s works and approach to writing are documented in Terry Sanders‘ film Ray Bradbury: Story of a Writer (1963).

Bradbury’s poem “Groon” was voiced as a tribute in 2012.[98]

Awards and honors

Bradbury receiving the National Medal of Arts in 2004 with PresidentGeorge W. Bush and his wife Laura Bush.

The Ray Bradbury Award for excellency in screenwriting was occasionally presented by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America – presented to six people on four occasions from 1992 to 2009.[99] Beginning 2010, the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation is presented annually according to Nebula Awards rules and procedures, although it is not a Nebula Award.[100] The revamped Bradbury Award replaced the Nebula Award for Best Script.

Documentaries

Bradbury appeared in the documentary The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal (1985) (Produced and directed by Arnold Leibovit).

Citations
  • Anderson, James Arthur (2013). The Illustrated Ray Bradbury. Wildside Press. ISBN 978-1-4794-0007-2.
  • Albright, Donn (1990). Bradbury Bits & Pieces: The Ray Bradbury Bibliography, 1974–88. Starmont House. ISBN 1-55742-151-X.
  • Eller, Jonathan R.; Touponce, William F. (2004). Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction. Kent State University Press. ISBN 0-87338-779-1.
  • Eller, Jonathan R. (2011). Becoming Ray Bradbury. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-03629-8.
  • Nolan, William F. (1975). The Ray Bradbury Companion: A Life and Career History, Photolog, and Comprehensive Checklist of Writings. Gale Research. ISBN 0-8103-0930-0.
  • Paradowski, Robert J.; Rhynes, Martha E. (2001). Ray Bradbury. Salem Press.
  • Reid, Robin Anne (2000). Ray Bradbury: A Critical Companion. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-30901-9.
  • Tuck, Donald H. (1974). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Chicago: Advent. pp. 61–63. ISBN 0-911682-20-1.
  • Weist, Jerry (2002). Bradbury, an Illustrated Life: A Journey to Far Metaphor. William Morrow and Company. ISBN 0-06-001182-3.
  • Weller, Sam (2005). The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-054581-X.

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the novel. For other uses, see Fahrenheit 451 (disambiguation).
Fahrenheit 451
Cover shows a drawing of a man, who appears to be made of newspaper and is engulfed in flames, standing on top of some books. His right arm is down and holding what appears to be a paper fireman's hat while his left arm is wiping sweat from the brow of his bowed head. Beside the title and author's name in large text, there is a small caption in the upper left-hand corner that reads, "Wonderful stories by the author of The Golden Apples of the Sun".

First edition cover
Author Ray Bradbury
Illustrator Joseph Mugnaini[1]
Country United States
Language English
Genre Dystopian novel[2]
Published 1953 (Ballantine Books)
Pages 159
ISBN ISBN 978-0-7432-4722-1 (current cover edition)
OCLC 53101079
813.54 22
LC Class PS3503.R167 F3 2003

Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury published in 1953. It is regarded as one of his best works.[3] The novel presents a future American society where books are outlawed and “firemen” burn any that are found.[4] The title refers to the temperature that Bradbury asserted to be the autoignition point of paper[5][6] (In reality, scientists place the autoignition point of paper anywhere from high 440 degrees Fahrenheit to some 30 degrees hotter, depending on the study and type of paper).[7]

The novel has been the subject of interpretations primarily focusing on the historical role of book burning in suppressing dissenting ideas. In a 1956 radio interview,[8]Bradbury stated that he wrote Fahrenheit 451 because of his concerns at the time (during the McCarthy era) about the threat of book burning in the United States. In later years, he stated his motivation for writing the book in more general terms.

The novel has won multiple awards. In 1954, it won the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature and the Commonwealth Club of California Gold Medal.[9][10][11] It has since won the Prometheus “Hall of Fame” Award in 1984[12] and a 1954 “Retro” Hugo Award, one of only four Best Novel Retro Hugos ever given, in 2004.[13] Bradbury was honored with a Spoken Word Grammy nomination for his 1976 audiobook version.[14]

The novel has been adapted several times. François Truffaut wrote and directed a film adaptation of the novel in 1966, and a BBC Radio dramatization was produced in 1982. Bradbury published a stage play version in 1979[15] and helped develop a 1984 interactive fiction computer game titled Fahrenheit 451. A companion piece titled A Pleasure To Burn, consisting of a selection of Bradbury’s short stories, was released in 2010, less than two years before the author’s death.

Plot summary

Fahrenheit 451 is set in an unspecified city (likely in the American Mid-West) at some unspecified time in the future[notes 1] after the year 1960.[notes 2][16][17]

The novel is divided into three parts: “The Hearth and the Salamander”, “The Sieve and the Sand”, and “Burning Bright”.

“The Hearth and the Salamander”

Guy Montag is a “fireman” hired to burn the possessions of those who read outlawed books. One fall night while returning from work, he meets his new neighbor: a teenage girl named Clarisse McClellan, whose free-thinking ideals and liberating spirit cause him to question his life and his own perceived happiness. Montag returns home to find that his wife Mildred has overdosed on sleeping pills, and calls for medical attention. Mildred survives with no memory of what happened. Over the next days, Clarisse faithfully meets Montag as he walks home. She tells him about how her interests have made her an outcast at school. Montag looks forward to these meetings, and just as he begins to expect them, Clarisse goes absent. He senses something is wrong.[18]

In the following days, while at work with the other firemen ransacking the book-filled house of an old woman before the inevitable burning, Montag steals a book before any of his coworkers notice. The woman refuses to leave her house and her books, choosing instead to light a match and burn herself alive. Montag returns home jarred by the woman’s suicide. While getting ready for bed, he hides the stolen book under his pillow. Still shaken by the night’s events, he attempts to make conversation with Mildred, conversation that only causes him to realize how little he knows her and how little they have in common. Montag asks his wife if she has seen Clarisse recently. Mildred mutters that she believes Clarisse died after getting struck by a speeding car and that her family has moved away. Dismayed by her failure to mention this, Montag uneasily tries to fall asleep. Outside he suspects the presence of “The Hound”, an eight-legged[19] robotic dog-like creature that resides in the firehouse and aids the firemen.

Montag awakens ill the next morning and stays home from work. He relates the story of the burned woman to an apathetic Mildred and mentions perhaps quitting his work. The possibility of becoming destitute over the loss of income provokes a strong reaction from her and she explains that the woman herself is to blame because she had books.

Captain Beatty, Montag’s fire chief, personally visits Montag to see how he is doing. Sensing Montag’s concerns, Beatty recounts how books lost their value and where the firemen fit in: Over the course of several decades, people embraced new media, sports, and a quickening pace of life. Books were ruthlessly abridged or degraded to accommodate a short attention span while minority groups protested over the controversial, outdated content perceived to be found in books. The government took advantage of this and the firemen were soon hired to burn books in the name of public happiness. Beatty adds casually that all firemen eventually steal a book out of curiosity; if the book is burned within 24 hours, the fireman and his family will not get in trouble.

After Beatty has left, Montag reveals to Mildred that over the last year he has accumulated a stash of books that he has kept hidden in their air-conditioning duct. In a panic, Mildred grabs a book and rushes to throw it in their kitchen incinerator; Montag subdues her and tells her that the two of them are going to read the books to see if they have value. If they do not, he promises the books will be burned and all will return to normal.

“The Sieve and the Sand”

While Montag and Mildred are perusing the stolen books, a sniffing occurs at their front door. Montag recognizes it as The Hound while Mildred passes it off as a random dog. They resume their discussion once the sound ceases. Montag laments Mildred’s suicide attempt, the woman who burned herself, and the constant din of bombers flying over their house taking part in a looming war neither he, nor anybody else, knows much about. He states that maybe the books of the past have messages that can save society from its own destruction. The conversation is interrupted by a call from Mildred’s friend Ann Bowles, and they set up a date to watch the “parlor walls” (large televisions lining the walls of her living room) that night at Mildred’s house.

Montag meanwhile concedes that they will need help to understand the books. Montag remembers an old man named Faber he once met in a park a year ago, an English professor before books were banned. He telephones Faber with questions about books and Faber soon hangs up on him. Undeterred, Montag makes a subway trip to Faber’s home along with a rare copy of the Bible, the book he stole at the woman’s house. Montag forces the scared and reluctant Faber into helping him by methodically ripping pages from the Bible. Faber concedes and gives Montag a homemade ear-piece communicator so he can offer constant guidance.

After Montag returns home, Mildred’s friends, Mrs. Bowles and Clara Phelps, arrive to watch the parlor walls. Not interested in the insipid entertainment they are watching, Montag turns off the walls and tries to engage the women in meaningful conversation, only to find them indifferent to all but the most trivial aspects of the upcoming war, friend’s deaths, their families, and politics. Montag leaves momentarily and returns with a book of poetry. This confuses the women and alarms Faber who is listening remotely. He proceeds to recite the poem Dover Beach, causing Mrs. Phelps to cry. At the behest of Faber in the ear-piece, Montag burns the book. Mildred’s friends leave in disgust while Mildred locks herself in the bathroom and takes more sleeping pills.

In the aftermath of the parlor party, Montag hides his books in his backyard before returning to the firehouse late at night with just the stolen Bible. He finds Beatty playing cards with the other firemen. Montag hands him the book, which is unceremoniously tossed into the trash. Beatty tells Montag that he had a dream in which they fought endlessly by quoting books to each other. In describing the dream Beatty reveals that, despite his disillusionment, he was once an enthusiastic reader. A fire alarm sounds and Beatty picks up the address from the dispatcher system. They drive in the firetruck recklessly to the destination. Montag is stunned when the truck arrives at his house.

“Burning Bright”

Beatty orders Montag to destroy his own house, telling him that his wife and her friends were the ones who reported him. Montag tries to talk to Mildred as she quickly leaves the house. Mildred ignores him, gets inside a taxi, and vanishes down the street. Montag obeys the chief, destroying the home piece by piece with a flamethrower. As soon as he has incinerated the house, Beatty discovers Montag’s ear-piece and plans to hunt down Faber. Montag threatens Beatty with the flamethrower and (after Beatty taunts him) burns his boss alive, and knocks his coworkers unconscious. As Montag escapes the scene, the firehouse’s mechanical dog attacks him, managing to inject his leg with a tranquilizer. He destroys it with the flamethrower and limps away.

Montag runs through the city streets towards Faber’s house. Faber urges him to make his way to the countryside and contact the exiled book-lovers who live there. He mentions he will be leaving on an early bus heading to St. Louis and that he and Montag can rendezvous there later. On Faber’s television, they watch news reports of another mechanical hound being released, with news helicopters following it to create a public spectacle. Montag leaves Faber’s house. After an extended manhunt, he escapes by wading into a river and floating downstream.

Montag leaves the river in the countryside, where he meets the exiled drifters, led by a man named Granger. They have each memorized books for an upcoming time when society is ready to rediscover them. While learning the philosophy of the exiles, Montag and the group watch helplessly as bombers fly overhead and attack the city with nuclear weapons, completely annihilating it. While Faber would have left on the early bus, Mildred along with everyone else in the city was surely killed. Montag and the group are injured and dirtied, but manage to survive the shock wave.

In the morning after, Granger teaches Montag and the others about the legendary phoenix and its endless cycle of long life, death in flames, and rebirth. He adds that the phoenix must have some relation to mankind, which constantly repeats its mistakes. Granger emphasizes that man has something the phoenix does not: mankind can remember the mistakes it made from before it destroyed itself, and try to not make them again. Granger then muses that a large factory of mirrors should be built, so that mankind can take a long look at itself. When the meal is over, the band goes back toward the city, to help rebuild society.

Characters

  • Guy Montag is the protagonist and fireman who presents the dystopia through the eyes of a worker loyal to it, a man in conflict about it, and one resolved to be free of it. Through most of the book, Montag lacks knowledge and believes what he hears.
  • Clarisse McClellan walks with Montag on his trips home and is one month short of being a 17-year-old girl.[notes 3][20] She is an unusual sort of person in the bookless, hedonistic society: outgoing, naturally cheerful, unorthodox, and intuitive. She is unpopular among peers and disliked by teachers for asking “why” instead of “how” and focusing on nature rather than on technology. A few days after their first meeting, she disappears without any explanation; Mildred tells Montag (and Captain Beatty confirms) that Clarisse was hit by a speeding car and that her family left following her death. In the afterword of a later edition, Bradbury notes that the film adaptation changed the ending so that Clarisse (who, in the film, is now a 20-year-old school teacher who was fired for being unorthodox) was living with the exiles. Bradbury, far from being displeased by this, was so happy with the new ending that he wrote it into his later stage edition.
  • Mildred “Millie” Montag is Guy Montag’s wife. She is addicted to sleeping pills, absorbed in the shallow dramas played on her “parlor walls” (flat-panel televisions), and indifferent to the oppressive society around her. She is described in the book as “thin as a praying mantis from dieting, and her flesh like white bacon.” Despite her husband’s attempts to break her from the spell society has on her, Mildred continues to be shallow and indifferent. After Montag scares her friends away by reading Dover Beach and unable to live with someone who has been hoarding books, Mildred betrays Montag by reporting him to the firemen and abandoning him.
  • Captain Beatty is Montag’s boss. Once an avid reader, he has come to hate books due to their unpleasant content and contradicting facts and opinions. In a scene written years later by Bradbury for theFahrenheit 451 play, Beatty invites Montag to his house where he shows him walls of books left to molder on their shelves.
  • Stoneman and Black are Montag’s coworkers at the firehouse. They do not have a large impact on the story and function to show the reader the contrast between the firemen who obediently do as they’re told and someone like Montag, who formerly took pride in his job—subsequently realizing how damaging it is to society.
  • Faber is a former English professor. He has spent years regretting that he did not defend books when he saw the moves to ban them. Montag turns to him for guidance, remembering him from a chance meeting in a park some time earlier. Faber at first refuses to help Montag, and later realizes that he is only trying to learn about books, not destroy them. Bradbury notes in his afterword that Faber is part of the name of a German manufacturer of pencils, Faber-Castell.
  • Mrs. Ann Bowles and Mrs. Clara Phelps are Mildred’s friends and representative of the anti-intellectual, hedonistic society presented in the novel. During a social visit to Montag’s house, they brag about ignoring the bad things in their lives and have a cavalier attitude towards the upcoming war, their husbands, their children, and politics. Mrs. Phelps has a husband named Pete who was called in to fight in the upcoming war (and believes that he’ll be back in a week because of how quick the war will be) and thinks having children serves no purpose other than to ruin lives. Mrs. Bowles is a thrice married, single mother. Her first husband divorced her, her second died in a jet accident, and her third committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. She has two children who do not like or even respect her due to her permissive, often negligent and abusive parenting: Mrs. Bowles brags that her kids beat her up and she’s glad that she can hit back. When Montag reads Dover Beach to them, Mrs. Phelps starts crying over how hollow her life is while Mrs. Bowles chastises Montag for reading “silly awful hurting words”.
  • Granger is the leader of a group of wandering intellectual exiles who memorize books in order to preserve their contents.

Historical context

Bradbury’s lifelong passion with books began at an early age. As a frequent visitor to his local libraries in the 1920s and 1930s, he recalls being disappointed because they did not stock popular science fiction novels, like those of H. G. Wells, because, at the time, they were not deemed literary enough. Between this and learning about the destruction of the Library of Alexandria,[21] a great impression was made on the young man about the vulnerability of books to censure and destruction. Later as a teenager, Bradbury was horrified by the Nazi book burnings[22] and later Joseph Stalin‘s campaign of political repression, the “Great Purge“, in which writers and poets, among many others, were arrested and often executed.[23]

After the 1945 conclusion of World War II shortly after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the United States focused its concern on the Soviet atomic bomb project and the expansion of communism. The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC)—formed in 1938 to investigate American citizens and organizations suspected of having communist ties—held hearings in 1947 to investigate alleged communist influence in Hollywood movie-making. These hearings resulted in the blacklisting of the so-called “Hollywood Ten“,[24] a group of influential screenwriters and directors. This governmental interference in the affairs of artists and creative types greatly angered Bradbury.[25] Bitter and concerned about the workings of his government, a late 1949 nighttime encounter with an overzealous police officer would inspire Bradbury to write “The Pedestrian“, a short story which would go on to become “The Fireman” and then Fahrenheit 451. The rise of Senator Joseph McCarthy‘s hearings hostile to accused communists starting in 1950, would only deepen Bradbury’s contempt over government overreach.[26][27]

The same year HUAC began investigating Hollywood is often considered the beginning of the Cold War, as in March 1947, the Truman Doctrine was announced. By about 1950, the Cold War was in full swing and the American public’s fear of atomic warfare and communist influence was at a feverish level. The stage was set for Bradbury to write the dramatic nuclear holocaust ending of Fahrenheit 451, exemplifying the type of scenario feared by many Americans of the time.[28]

Bradbury’s early life witnessed the Golden Age of Radio while the transition to the Golden Age of Television began right around the time he started to work on the stories that would eventually lead to Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury saw these forms of media as a threat to the reading of books, indeed as a threat to society, as he believed they could act as a distraction from important affairs. This contempt for mass media and technology would express itself through Mildred and her friends and is an important theme in the book.[29]

Writing and development

Fahrenheit 451 developed out of a series of ideas Bradbury had visited in previously written stories. For many years, he tended to single out “The Pedestrian” in interviews and lectures as sort of a proto-Fahrenheit 451. In the Preface of his 2006 anthology Match to Flame: The Fictional Paths to Fahrenheit 451 he states that this is an oversimplification.[30] The full genealogy of Fahrenheit 451 given in Match to Flame is involved. The following covers the most salient aspects.[citation needed]

Between 1947 and 1948,[31] Bradbury wrote the short story “Bright Phoenix” (not published until the May 1963 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction[32][33]) about a librarian who confronts a book-burning “Chief Censor” named Jonathan Barnes. Barnes is a clear foreshadow of the ominous Captain Beatty of Fahrenheit 451.[citation needed]

In late 1949,[34] Bradbury was stopped and questioned by a police officer while walking late one night.[35][36] When asked “What are you doing?”, Bradbury wisecracked, “Putting one foot in front of another.”[35][36]This incident inspired Bradbury to write the 1951 short story “The Pedestrian”.[notes 4][35][36] In “The Pedestrian”, Leonard Mead is harassed and detained by the city’s remotely operated police cruiser (there’s only one) for taking nighttime walks, something that has become extremely rare in this future-based setting: everybody else stays inside and watches television (“viewing screens”). Alone and without an alibi, Mead is taken to the “Psychiatric Center for Research on Regressive Tendencies” for his peculiar habit. Fahrenheit 451 would later echo this theme of an authoritarian society distracted by broadcast media.[citation needed]

Bradbury expanded the book-burning premise of “Bright Phoenix”[37] and the totalitarian future of “The Pedestrian”[38] into “The Fireman”, a novella published in the February 1951 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction.[39][40] “The Fireman” was written in the basement of UCLA‘s Powell Library on a typewriter that he rented for a fee of ten cents per half hour.[41] The first draft was 25,000 words long and was completed in nine days.[42]

Urged by a publisher at Ballantine Books to double the length of his story to make a novel, Bradbury returned to the same typing room and expanded his work into Fahrenheit 451, taking just nine days.[41] The completed book was published by Ballantine in 1953.[43]

Supplementary material

Bradbury has supplemented the novel with various front and back matter, including a 1979 coda,[44] a 1982 afterword,[45] a 1993 foreword, and several introductions. In these he provides some commentary on the themes of the novel,[44] thoughts on the movie adaptation, and numerous personal anecdotes related to the writing and development.[citation needed]

Publication history

The first U.S. printing was a paperback version from October 1953 by The Ballantine Publishing Group. Shortly after the paperback, a hardback version was released that included a special edition of 200 signed and numbered copies bound in asbestos.[46][47][48] These were technically collections because the novel was published with two short stories: “The Playground” and “And the Rock Cried Out”, which have been absent in later printings.[1][49] A few months later, the novel was serialized in the March, April, and May 1954 issues of nascent Playboy magazine.[9][50]

Expurgation

Starting in January 1967, Fahrenheit 451 was subject to expurgation by its publisher, Ballantine Books with the release of the “Bal-Hi Edition” aimed at high school students.[51][52] Among the changes made by the publisher were the censorship of the words “hell”, “damn”, and “abortion”; the modification of seventy-five passages; and the changing of two episodes.[52][53] In the one case, a drunk man became a “sick man” while cleaning fluff out of a human navel became “cleaning ears” in the other.[52][54] For a while both the censored and uncensored versions were available concurrently but by 1973 Ballantine was publishing only the censored version.[54][55] This continued until 1979 when it came to Bradbury’s attention:[54][55]

In 1979, one of Bradbury’s friends showed him an expurgated copy. Bradbury demanded that Ballantine Books withdraw that version and replace it with the original, and in 1980 the original version once again became available. In this reinstated work, in the Author’s Afterword, Bradbury relates to the reader that it is not uncommon for a publisher to expurgate an author’s work, but he asserts that he himself will not tolerate the practice of manuscript “mutilation”.

The “Bal-Hi” editions are now referred to by the publisher as the “Revised Bal-Hi” editions.[56]

Non-print publications

An audiobook version read by Bradbury himself was released in 1976 and received a Spoken Word Grammy nomination.[14] Another audiobook was released in 2005 narrated by Christopher Hurt.[57] The e-bookversion was released in December 2011.[58][59]

Reception

In 1954, Galaxy Science Fiction reviewer Groff Conklin placed the novel “among the great works of the imagination written in English in the last decade or more.”[60] The Chicago Sunday Tribunes August Derlethdescribed the book as “a savage and shockingly savage prophetic view of one possible future way of life,” calling it “compelling” and praising Bradbury for his “brilliant imagination”.[61] Over half a century later, Sam Weller wrote, “upon its publication, Fahrenheit 451 was hailed as a visionary work of social commentary.”[62] Today, Fahrenheit 451 is still viewed as an important cautionary tale against conformity and book burning.[63]

When the book was first published there were those who did not find merit in the tale. Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas were less enthusiastic, faulting the book for being “simply padded, occasionally with startlingly ingenious gimmickry, … often with coruscating cascades of verbal brilliance [but] too often merely with words.”[64] Reviewing the book for Astounding Science Fiction, P. Schuyler Miller characterized the title piece as “one of Bradbury’s bitter, almost hysterical diatribes,” and praised its “emotional drive and compelling, nagging detail.”[65] Similarly, The New York Times was unimpressed with the novel and further accused Bradbury of developing a “virulent hatred for many aspects of present-day culture, namely, such monstrosities as radio, TV, most movies, amateur and professional sports, automobiles, and other similar aberrations which he feels debase the bright simplicity of the thinking man’s existence.”[66]

Censorship/banning incidents

In the years since its publication, Fahrenheit 451 has occasionally been banned, censored, or redacted in some schools by parents and teaching staff either unaware of or indifferent to the inherent irony of such censorship. The following are some notable incidents:

  • In 1987, Fahrenheit 451 was given “third tier” status by the Bay County School Board in Panama City, Florida, under then-superintendent Leonard Hall’s new three-tier classification system.[67] Third tier was meant for books to be removed from the classroom for “a lot of vulgarity”.[67] After a resident class-action lawsuit, a media stir, and student protests, the school board abandoned their tier-based censorship system and approved all the currently used books.[67]
  • In 1992, Venado Middle School in Irvine, California gave copies of Fahrenheit 451 to students with all “obscene” words blacked out.[68] Parents contacted the local media and succeeded in reinstalling the uncensored copies.[68]
  • In 2006, parents of a tenth grade high school student in Montgomery County, Texas, demanded the book be banned from their daughter’s English class reading list.[69] Their daughter was assigned the book during Banned Books Week, but stopped reading several pages in due to the offensive language and description of the burning of the Bible.[69] In addition, her parents protested the violence, portrayal of Christians, and depictions of firemen in the novel.[69]

Themes

Discussions about Fahrenheit 451 often center on its story foremost as a warning against state-based censorship. Indeed, when Bradbury wrote the novel during the McCarthy era, he was concerned about censorship in the United States. During a radio interview in 1956,[70][71] Bradbury said:

I wrote this book at a time when I was worried about the way things were going in this country four years ago. Too many people were afraid of their shadows; there was a threat of book burning. Many of the books were being taken off the shelves at that time. And of course, things have changed a lot in four years. Things are going back in a very healthy direction. But at the time I wanted to do some sort of story where I could comment on what would happen to a country if we let ourselves go too far in this direction, where then all thinking stops, and the dragon swallows his tail, and we sort of vanish into a limbo and we destroy ourselves by this sort of action.

As time went by, Bradbury tended to dismiss censorship as a chief motivating factor for writing the story. Instead he usually claimed that the real messages of Fahrenheit 451 were about the dangers of an illiterate society infatuated with mass media and the threat of minority and special interest groups to books. In the late 1950s, Bradbury recounted:

In writing the short novel Fahrenheit 451, I thought I was describing a world that might evolve in four or five decades. But only a few weeks ago, in Beverly Hills one night, a husband and wife passed me, walking their dog. I stood staring after them, absolutely stunned. The woman held in one hand a small cigarette-package-sized radio, its antenna quivering. From this sprang tiny copper wires which ended in a dainty cone plugged into her right ear. There she was, oblivious to man and dog, listening to far winds and whispers and soap-opera cries, sleep-walking, helped up and down curbs by a husband who might just as well not have been there. This was not fiction.[72]

This story echoes Mildred’s “Seashell ear-thimbles” (i.e., a brand of in-ear headphones) that act as an emotional barrier between her and Montag. In a 2007 interview, Bradbury maintained that people misinterpret his book and that Fahrenheit 451 is really a statement on how mass media like television marginalizes the reading of literature.[73] Regarding minorities, he wrote in his 1979 Coda:

There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist/Unitarian, Irish/Italian/Octogenarian/Zen Buddhist, Zionist/Seventh-day Adventist, Women’s Lib/Republican, Mattachine/Four Square Gospel feels it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse. […] Fire-Captain Beatty, in my novel Fahrenheit 451, described how the books were burned first by minorities, each ripping a page or a paragraph from this book, then that, until the day came when the books were empty and the minds shut and the libraries closed forever. […] Only six weeks ago, I discovered that, over the years, some cubby-hole editors at Ballantine Books, fearful of contaminating the young, had, bit by bit, censored some seventy-five separate sections from the novel. Students, reading the novel, which, after all, deals with censorship and book-burning in the future, wrote to tell me of this exquisite irony. Judy-Lynn del Rey, one of the new Ballantine editors, is having the entire book reset and republished this summer with all the damns and hells back in place.[74]

Book-burning censorship, Bradbury would argue, was a side-effect of the these two primary factors; this is consistent with Captain Beatty’s speech to Montag about the history of the firemen. According to Bradbury, it is the people, not the state, who are the culprit in Fahrenheit 451.[73] Nevertheless, the role on censorship, state-based or otherwise, is still perhaps the most frequent theme explored in the work.[75][better source needed]

A variety of other themes in the novel besides censorship have been suggested. Two major themes are resistance to conformity and control of individuals via technology and mass media. Bradbury explores how the government is able to use mass media to influence society and suppress individualism through book burning. The characters Beatty and Faber point out the American population is to blame. Due to their constant desire for a simplistic, positive image, books must be suppressed. Beatty blames the minority groups, who would take offense to published works that displayed them in an unfavorable light. Faber went further to state that the American population simply stopped reading on their own. He notes that the book burnings themselves became a form of entertainment to the general public.[76]

Predictions for the future

Bradbury described himself as “a preventor of futures, not a predictor of them.”[77] He did not believe that book burning was an inevitable part of our future; he wanted to warn against its development.[77] In a later interview, when asked if he believes that teaching Fahrenheit 451 in schools will prevent his totalitarian[2] vision of the future, Bradbury replied in the negative. Rather, he states that education must be at the kindergarten and first-grade level. If students are unable to read then, they will be unable to read Fahrenheit 451.[78]

In terms of technology, Sam Weller notes that Bradbury “predicted everything from flat-panel televisions to iPod earbuds and twenty-four-hour banking machines.”[79]

Adaptations

Playhouse 90 broadcast “A Sound of Different Drummers” on CBS in 1957, written by Robert Alan Aurthur. The play combined plot ideas from Fahrenheit 451 and Nineteen Eighty-Four. Bradbury sued and eventually won on appeal.[80][81]

A film adaptation written and directed by François Truffaut and starring Oskar Werner and Julie Christie was released in 1966.[82][83]

BBC Radio produced a one-off dramatization of the novel in 1982[84] starring Michael Pennington.[85] It was broadcast again on February 12, 2012, and April 7 and 8, 2013, on BBC Radio 4 Extra.[86]

In 1984, the novel was adapted into a computer text adventure game of the same name by the software company Trillium.[87]

In 2006, the Drama Desk Award winning Godlight Theatre Company produced and performed the New York City premiere of Ray Bradbury‘s Fahrenheit 451 at 59E59 Theaters.[88] After the completion of the New York run, the production then transferred to the Edinburgh Festival where it was a 2006 Edinburgh Festival Pick of the Fringe.[89]

The Off-Broadway theatre The American Place Theatre presented a one man show adaptation of Fahrenheit 451 as a part of their 2008–2009 Literature to Life season.[90]

In June 2009, a graphic novel edition of the book was published. Entitled Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation,[91] the paperback graphic adaptation was illustrated by Tim Hamilton.[92][93] The introduction in the novel is written by Bradbury.[citation needed]

Fahrenheit 451 inspired the Birmingham Repertory Theatre production Time Has Fallen Asleep in the Afternoon Sunshine, which was performed at the Birmingham Central Library in April 2012.[94]

Notes

  1. Jump up^ During Captain Beatty’s recounting of the history of the firemen to Montag, he says, “Out of the nursery into the college and back to the nursery; there’s your intellectual pattern for the past five centuries or more.” The text is ambiguous regarding which century he is claiming began this pattern. One interpretation is that he means the 20th century, which would place the novel in at least the 24th century. “The Fireman” novella, which was expanded to become Fahrenheit 451, is set in October 2052.
  2. Jump up^ In early editions of the book, Montag says, “We’ve started and won two atomic wars since 1960” in the first pages of The Sieve and the Sand. This sets a lower bound on the time setting. In later decades, some editions have changed this year to 1990 or 2022.
  3. Jump up^ Clarisse tells Montag she is “seventeen and crazy”, later admitting that she will actually be seventeen “next month”.
  4. Jump up^ “The Pedestrian” would go on to be published in The Reporter magazine on August 7, 1951, that is, after the publication in February 1951 of its inspired work “The Fireman”.

See also

Further reading

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit_451

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

A Summer Story (1988) — Videos

Posted on July 29, 2015. Filed under: Babies, Blogroll, Books, College, Communications, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Fiction, Freedom, Friends, Love, media, Movies, Music, Vacations, Video, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , |

A Summer Story (1988) full movie

A Summer Story

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A Summer Story
Directed by Piers Haggard
Produced by Danton Rissner
Written by John Galsworthy
Penelope Mortimer
Starring James Wilby
Imogen Stubbs
Susannah York
Kenneth Colley
Music by Georges Delerue
Cinematography Kenneth MacMillan
Edited by Ralph Sheldon
Release dates
  • 11 August 1988(New York City New York)
Running time
95 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

A Summer Story is a British drama film released in 1988. Directed by Piers Haggard, with a script written by Penelope Mortimer, it stars James Wilby, Imogen Stubbs, and Susannah York.[1] In 1902, a young gentleman visiting a rural area has an intense love affair with a village girl. Twenty years later, he is passing that way again. The film is based on the John Galsworthy story The Apple Tree.

Plot

In the summer of 1902 Frank Ashton, an educated young man from London, is on a walking holiday in Devon with a friend. When he falls and twists his ankle, Ashton is helped at a nearby farmhouse and stays there for a few days to recover, while his friend goes on. Ashton quickly falls for the village girl who looks after him, Megan David, and she falls in love with him, to the great distress of her cousin Joe Narracombe, who wants her for himself. Ashton and Megan spend a night together, and after that he takes the train to a seaside town to cash a cheque at a bank, promising to return the next morning and take Megan away with him and marry her.

On arrival in the town, Ashton finds a branch of his bank, but it will not cash his cheque, insisting on first contacting his branch in London. While he is delayed, Ashton meets an old school friend, staying at a local hotel with his three sisters, of whom the oldest is Stella Halliday. Thanks to the bank’s delays, he misses the train he needed to catch to make his rendezvous with Megan. During the day that follows, he spends more time with his friend and his sisters, and while Stella flirts with him he begins to have second thoughts about marrying Megan.

Megan then travels to the seaside town looking for Ashton, carrying her luggage for running away. He sees her on the beach and follows her into the town, but when she turns and catches a glimpse of him, he hides.

Twenty years later, Ashton is married to Stella and they are motoring through Devon. They have no children. Ashton visits the farm where he seduced Megan and is recognized. He learns that Megan was heart-broken about losing him and also that she died soon after giving birth to a son, who she named “Francis”, or Frank. He is taken to see Megan’s grave, which is at the spot where he had arranged to meet her. She had asked to be buried there, to wait for his return. In motoring away with Stella, Ashton passes his son, young Frank, who gives him a friendly wave.

Cast

  • Camilla Power – Sabina Halliday
  • Juliette Fleming – Freda Halliday
  • Sukie Smith – Betsy
  • John Savident – Bank Clerk
  • Rachel Joyce – Post Office Girl
  • Patrick Morris – Pierrot 1
  • Paul Allain – Pierrot 2
  • Christopher Majeika – Pierrot 3
  • James Wilson – Pierrot 4

References

  1. Jump up^ A Summer Story at bfi.org.uk

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Summer_Story

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

The Whistle Blower (1986) — Video

Posted on July 29, 2015. Filed under: Blogroll, British History, Communications, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Entertainment, Foreign Policy, Freedom, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Movies, Philosophy, Politics, Rants, Raves, Strategy, Video, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , |

The Whistle Blower (1986) Michael Caine Full Movie

The Whistle Blower

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the 1986 film. For the 2010 film, see The Whistleblower.
The Whistle Blower
The Whistle Blower.jpg
Directed by Simon Langton
Produced by Geoffrey Reeve
Written by John Hale (book)
Julian Bond
Starring
Release dates
December 1986 (UK)
10 July 1987 (USA)
Running time
100 minutes
Country UK
Language English
Box office $1,500,000[1]

The Whistle Blower is a 1986 British spy thriller film, starring Michael Caine, based on the novel of the same name by John Hale. It was directed by Simon Langton, the son of actor David Langton, who co-stars in the film.

Plot

Frank Jones (Caine) is a retired British naval officer and Korean War veteran, who is now a businessman. His bright but naive and idealistic son, Robert (Nigel Havers), works as a linguist at GCHQ, the top secret British intelligence listening station, using his love of Russian to listen to various pieces of communication on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

The film opens on Remembrance Day in Whitehall, as the war veterans line up to walk past the Cenotaph, then moves back to a conversation between Frank and his son at Robert’s flat some months earlier, where Robert tells Frank that strange things are happening at GCHQ, and he’s planning on leaving and marrying an older woman called Cynthia (Felicity Dean) with whom he’s fallen in love.

Robert says a Soviet mole was found, and that security is all over the place encouraging people to rat on each other. The higher ups seem convinced that if they don’t do something, their American friends in the CIA will stop working with them. Frank isn’t thrilled over the marriage plans, and he tells his son before he leaves that it’s unlikely anything off key can be happening in the agency. It’s obvious that Frank loves his son deeply and wants him to be happy, whatever he may choose for himself.

The scene cuts to a room in British Intelligence, where operatives including Bruce (Gordon Jackson) are listening to a tape recording of the conversation between Frank and his son.

A few days later, police tell Frank that Robert has died in a fall in an apparent suicide, and a verdict of accidental death is recorded. However, in the midst of his grief, Frank is puzzled by the circumstances of his son’s death and decides to use his old skills to conduct his own investigation. He approaches his friend Charles Greig (Barry Foster), who had joined MI6 after his service in the navy. Greig agrees to make discreet enquiries on his part.

Returning to Robert’s flat, Frank is confronted by radical socialist journalist Bill Pickett (Kenneth Colley), who had arranged to meet Robert to discuss the problems at British Intelligence, but Frank rejects his investigative approaches. Frank is also told that he is in the running for a large government contract for his firm, with an implicit undertone that he not make waves about his son’s death.

The rest of the film digs into an examination of the British establishment which is disturbing and ugly, and make Frank question his view of the country he loves. There are strong echoes of the Anthony Blunt case and the Cambridge spies. Frank, discreetly pursued by British Intelligence, finds men who easily consider others expendable if their ideas of class and privilege are endangered.

Pickett is also killed in mysterious circumstances in a traffic accident, having found out the name of the man who Robert wished him to meet before meeting Frank. Frank is then approached by Robert’s best friend and fellow British intelligence linguist Allen Goodburn (Andrew Hawkins) at Robert’s funeral. Frank learns from Goodburn that it was his good friend Grieg who had approached him as to Robert’s feelings for the service. Frank gets Grieg drunk and gets him to confess that he was at Robert’s flat the night Robert died. Greig admits he was there as the service had something on him, but that his job was only to leave the door open and let “others” heavy-hand Robert, not kill him. he also reveals the name of the mole as Sir Adrian Chapple (John Gielgud).

Leaving Grieg in his drunken stupor, Frank is picked up by British Intelligence and driven to a country house, where he is confronted by Secretary to the Cabinet (David Langton) and Lord (James Fox). They explain to him that his son was out of control, and was killed as part of a plan to mislead the Americans to the extent of the depth of Russian intelligence’s operatives inside British operations, in the hope that they could continue to gain intelligence from the CIA. They have presently left the higher Russian operative in place, until they can assess the extent of the damage caused. They advise Frank that should he go public with any of this information, he and/or Robert’s girlfriend Cynthia and her daughter will be killed or at least restrained.

The film returns to the present, and the Remembrance Day parade. Frank confronts Chapple at his home in Whitehall, and gets him to confess to being a spy for Russia. Frank orders him to sign a full confession, which he does, but as Frank reads it, Chapple produces a gun and demands its return. Frank grabs the gun, which goes off and kills Chapple — leaving his signed confession to act as a suicide note and put Frank in the clear. He returns to the Remembrance Day parade.

The closing credits roll to an ambulance attending the death of Chapple, as Frank walks past the Cenotaph up Whitehall.

Production

The film was largely shot on location in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire; home of GCHQ, which forms the premise of the film. Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham Crematorium and The Promenade feature in the film[2]

Response

Though it was given a limited release, the film opened to positive reviews. It has an approval rating of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Cast

References

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

The Secret Agent — Videos

Posted on July 28, 2015. Filed under: Blogroll, Bomb, Book, Books, British History, Communications, Congress, Constitution, Culture, Entertainment, Faith, Family, Fiction, Friends, government spending, history, Literature, Movies, Terrorism, Video, War, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , |

The Secret Agent (David Suchet, Patrick Malahide, Peter Capaldi, 1992)

The Secret Agent

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Secret Agent (disambiguation).
The Secret Agent
SecretAgent.jpg

First US edition cover
Author Joseph Conrad
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Spy fiction
Publisher Methuen & Co
Publication date
September 1907
Media type Print (hardcover)
Pages 442

The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale is a novel by Joseph Conrad, published in 1907.[1] The story is set in London in 1886 and deals with Mr. Verloc and his work as a spy for an unnamed country (presumably Russia).The Secret Agent is notable for being one of Conrad’s later political novels. In these later novels, Conrad has moved away from his former tales of seafaring.

The novel deals broadly with anarchism, espionage, and terrorism.[2] It also deals with exploitation of the vulnerable, particularly in Verloc’s relationship with his brother-in-law Stevie, who has an intellectual disability.

The Secret Agent was ranked the 46th best novel of the 20th century by Modern Library.[3]

Because of its terrorism theme, it was noted as “one of the three works of literature most cited in the American media” two weeks after the September 11 attacks.[4]

Plot summary

The novel is set in London in 1886 and follows the life of Mr. Verloc, a secret agent. Verloc is also a businessman who owns a shop which sells pornographic material, contraceptives, and bric-a-brac. He lives with his wife Winnie, his mother-in-law, and his brother-in-law, Stevie. Stevie has a mental disability, possibly autism,[5] which causes him to be very excitable; his sister, Verloc’s wife, attends to him, treating him more as a son than as a brother. Verloc’s friends are a group of anarchists of which Comrade Ossipon, Michaelis, and “The Professor” are the most prominent. Although largely ineffectual as terrorists, their actions are known to the police. The group produce anarchist literature in the form of pamphlets entitled F.P., an acronym for The Future of the Proletariat.

The novel begins in Verloc’s home, as he and his wife discuss the trivialities of everyday life, which introduces the reader to Verloc’s family. Soon after, Verloc leaves to meet Mr. Vladimir, the new First Secretary in the embassy of a foreign country. Although a member of an anarchist cell, Verloc is also secretly employed by the Embassy as an agent provocateur. Vladimir informs Verloc that from reviewing his service history he is far from an exemplary model of a secret agent and, to redeem himself, must carry out an operation – the destruction of Greenwich Observatory by a bomb explosion. Vladimir explains that Britain’s lax attitude to anarchism endangers his own country, and he reasons that an attack on ‘science’, which he claims is the current vogue amongst the public, will provide the necessary outrage for suppression. Verloc later meets with his friends, who discuss politics and law, and the notion of a communist revolution. Unbeknownst to the group, Stevie, Verloc’s brother-in-law, overhears the conversation, which greatly disturbs him.

The novel flashes forward to after the bombing has taken place. Comrade Ossipon meets The Professor, who discusses having given explosives to Verloc. The Professor then describes the nature of the bomb which he carries in his coat at all times: it allows him to press a button which will blow him up in twenty seconds, and those nearest to him. After The Professor leaves the meeting, he stumbles into Chief Inspector Heat. Heat is a policeman who is working on the case regarding a recent explosion at Greenwich, where one man was killed. Heat informs The Professor that he is not a suspect in the case, but that he is being monitored due to his terrorist inclinations and anarchist background. Knowing that Michaelis has recently moved to the countryside to write a book, the Chief Inspector informs the Assistant Commissioner that he has a contact, Verloc, who may be able to assist in the case. The Assistant Commissioner shares some of the same high society acquaintances with Michaelis and is chiefly motivated by finding the extent of Michaelis’s involvement in order to assess any possible embarrassment to his connections. He later speaks to his superior, Sir Ethelred, about his intentions to solve the case alone, rather than rely on the effort of Chief Inspector Heat.

The novel then flashes back to before the explosion, taking the perspective of Winnie Verloc and her mother. At home, Mrs. Verloc’s mother informs the family that she wishes to move out of the house. Mrs. Verloc’s mother and Stevie use a hansom which is driven by a man with a hook in the place of his hand. The journey greatly upsets Stevie, as the driver’s tales of hardship coupled with his menacing hook scare him to the point where Mrs. Verloc must calm him down. On Verloc’s return from a business trip to the continent, his wife tells him of the high regard that Stevie has for him and she implores her husband to spend more time with Stevie. Verloc eventually agrees to go for a walk with Stevie. After this walk, Mrs. Verloc notes that her husband’s relationship with her brother has improved. Verloc then tells his wife that he has taken Stevie to go and visit Michaelis, and that Stevie would stay with him in the countryside for a few days.

As Verloc is talking to his wife about the possibility of emigrating to the continent, he is paid a visit by the Assistant Commissioner. Shortly thereafter, Chief Inspector Heat arrives to speak with Verloc, without knowing that the Assistant Commissioner had left with Verloc earlier that evening. The Chief Inspector tells Mrs. Verloc that he had recovered an overcoat at the scene of the bombing which had the shop’s address written on a label. Mrs. Verloc confirms that it was Stevie’s overcoat, and that she had written the address. On Verloc’s return, he realises that his wife knows her brother has been killed by Verloc’s bomb, and confesses what truly happened. A stunned Mrs. Verloc, in her anguish, then fatally stabs her husband.

After the murder, Mrs. Verloc flees her home, where she chances upon Comrade Ossipon, and begs him to help her. Ossipon assists her while confessing romantic feelings but secretly with a view to possess Mr Verloc’s bank account savings. They plan to run away and he aids her in taking a boat to the continent. However, her instability and the revelation of Mr. Verloc’s murder increasingly worry him, and he abandons her, taking Mr Verloc’s savings with him. He later discovers in a newspaper that a woman had disappeared, leaving behind her a wedding ring, before drowning herself in the English Channel.

Characters]

  • Mr. Adolf Verloc: a secret agent who owns a shop in the Soho region of London. His primary characteristic, as described by Conrad, is indolence. He has been employed by an unnamed embassy to spy on revolutionary groups, which then orders him to instigate a terrorist act against the Greenwich Observatory. Their belief is that the resulting public outrage will force the English government to act more forcibly against emigre socialist and anarchist activists. He is part of an anarchist organisation that creates pamphlets under the heading The Future of the Proletariat. He is married to Winnie, and lives with his wife, his mother-in-law, and his brother-in-law, Stevie.
  • Mrs. Winnie Verloc: Verloc’s wife. She cares deeply for her brother Stevie, who has the mental age of a young child. Of working class origins, her father was the owner of a pub. She is younger than her husband and married him not for love but to provide a home for her mother and brother. A loyal wife, she is deeply disturbed upon learning of the death of her brother due to her husband’s plotting, and kills him with a knife in the heart. She dies, presumably by drowning herself to avoid the gallows.
  • Stevie: Winnie’s brother has the mental age of a young child and is very sensitive and is disturbed by notions of violence or hardship. His sister cares for him, and Stevie passes most of his time drawing numerous circles on pieces of paper. Verloc, exploiting both Stevie’s childlike simplicity and outrage at suffering, employs him to carry out the terrorist attack on the Greenwich Observatory. However, Stevie stumbles and the bomb explodes prematurely.
  • Mrs. Verloc’s mother: Old and infirm, Mrs Verloc’s mother leaves the household to live in an almshouse, believing that two disabled people (herself and Stevie) are too much for Mr Verloc’s generosity. The widow of a publican, she spent most of her life working hard in her husband’s pub and believed Mr Verloc to be a gentleman because she thought he resembled patrons of business houses (pubs with higher prices, consequently frequented by higher classes).
  • Chief Inspector Heat: a policeman who is dealing with the explosion at Greenwich. An astute and practical man who uses a clue found at the scene of the crime to trace events back to Verloc’s home. Although he informs his superior what he is planning to do with regards to the case, he is initially not aware that the Assistant Commissioner is acting without his knowledge. Heat knew Verloc before the bombing as Verloc had supplied information to Heat through the Embassy. Heat has contempt for anarchists who he regards as amateurs, as opposed to burglars who he regards as professionals.
  • The Assistant Commissioner: of a higher rank than the Chief Inspector, he uses the knowledge gained from Heat to pursue matters personally, for reasons of his own. The Assistant Commissioner is married to a lady with influential connections. He informs his superior, Sir Ethelred, of his intentions, and tracks down Verloc before Heat can.
  • Sir Ethelred: the Secretary of State (Home Secretary) to whom the Assistant Commissioner reports. At the time of the bombing he is busy trying to pass a bill regarding the nationalisation of fisheries through the House of Commons against great opposition. He is briefed by the Assistant Commissioner throughout the novel who he often admonishes to not go into detail.
  • Mr. Vladimir: the First Secretary of an embassy of an unnamed country. Though his name might suggest that this is the Russian embassy, the name of the previous first secretary, Baron Stott-Wartenheim, is Germanic, as is that of Privy Councillor Wurmt, another official of this embassy. There is also the suggestion that Vladimir is not from Europe but Central Asia.[6] Vladimir thinks that the English police are far too soft on émigré socialist and anarchists, which are a real problem in his home country. He orders Verloc to instigate a terrorist act, hoping that the resulting public outrage will force the English government to adopt repressive measures.
  • Michaelis: a member of Verloc’s group, and another anarchist. The most philosophical member of the group, his theories resemble those of Peter Kropotkin while some of his other attributes resemble Mikhail Bakunin.
  • Comrade Alexander Ossipon: an ex-medical student, anarchist and member of Verloc’s group. He survives on the savings of various women he seduces, mostly working class. He is influenced by the theories on degeneracy of Cesare Lombroso. After Mr Verloc’s murder he initially helps, but afterwards abandons Winnie leaving her penniless on a train. He is later disturbed when he reads of her suicide and wonders if he will be able to seduce a woman again.
  • Karl Yundt: a member of Verloc’s group, commonly referred to as an “old terrorist”.
  • The Professor: another anarchist, who specialises in explosives. The Professor carries a flask of explosives in his coat that can be detonated within twenty seconds of him squeezing an india rubber ball in his pocket. The police know this and keep their distance. The most nihilistic member of the anarchists, the Professor feels oppressed and disgusted by the rest of humanity and has particular contempt for the weak. He dreams of a world where the weak are freely exterminated so that the strong can thrive. He supplies to Mr Verloc the bomb that kills Stevie.

Background: Greenwich Bombing of 1894

Royal Observatory, Greenwich c. 1902 as depicted on a postcard

Conrad’s character, Stevie, is based on the French anarchist, Martial Bourdin, who died gruesomely in Greenwich Park when the explosives he carried prematurely detonated.[7] Bourdin’s motives remain a mystery as does his intended target, which may have been the Greenwich Observatory.[8] In the 1920 Author’s Note to the novel, Conrad recalls a discussion with Ford Madox Ford about the bombing:[9]

[…] we recalled the already old story of the attempt to blow up the Greenwich Observatory; a blood-stained inanity of so fatuous a kind that it was impossible to fathom its origin by any reasonable or even unreasonable process of thought. For perverse unreason has its own logical processes. But that outrage could not be laid hold of mentally in any sort of way, so that one remained faced by the fact of a man blown to bits for nothing even most remotely resembling an idea, anarchistic or other. As to the outer wall of the Observatory it did not show as much as the faintest crack. I pointed all this out to my friend who remained silent for a while and then remarked in his characteristically casual and omniscient manner: “Oh, that fellow was half an idiot. His sister committed suicide afterwards.” These were absolutely the only words that passed between us […].[10]

Major themes

Terrorism and anarchism

Terrorism and anarchism are intrinsic aspects of the novel, and are central to the plot. Verloc is employed by an agency which requires him to orchestrate terrorist activities, and several of the characters deal with terrorism in some way: Verloc’s friends are all interested in an anarchistic political revolution, and the police are investigating anarchist motives behind the bombing of Greenwich.

The novel was written at a time when terrorist activity was increasing. There had been numerous dynamite attacks in both Europe and the US, as well as several assassinations of heads of state.[11] Conrad also drew upon two persons specifically: Mikhail Bakuninand Prince Peter Kropotkin. Conrad used these two men in his “portrayal of the novel’s anarchists”.[12] However, according to Conrad’s Author’s Note, only one character was a true anarchist: Winnie Verloc. In The Secret Agent, she is “the only character who performs a serious act of violence against another”,[13] despite the F.P.’s intentions of radical change, and The Professor’s inclination to keep a bomb on his person.

Critics have analysed the role of terrorism in the novel. Patrick Reilly calls the novel “a terrorist text as well as a text about terrorism”[14] due to Conrad’s manipulation of chronology to allow the reader to comprehend the outcome of the bombing before the characters, thereby corrupting the traditional conception of time. The morality which is implicit in these acts of terrorism has also been explored: is Verloc evil because his negligence leads to the death of his brother-in-law? Although Winnie evidently thinks so, the issue is not clear, as Verloc attempted to carry out the act with no fatalities, and as simply as possible to retain his job, and care for his family.[15]

Politics

The role of politics is paramount in the novel, as the main character, Verloc, works for a quasi-political organisation. The role of politics is seen in several places in the novel: in the revolutionary ideas of the F.P.; in the characters’ personal beliefs; and in Verloc’s own private life. Conrad’s depiction of anarchism has an “enduring political relevance”, although the focus is now largely concerned with the terrorist aspects that this entails.[16] The discussions of the F.P. are expositions on the role of anarchism and its relation to contemporary life. The threat of these thoughts is evident, as Chief Inspector Heat knows F.P. members because of their anarchist views. Moreover, Michaelis’ actions are monitored by the police to such an extent that he must notify the police station that he is moving to the country.

The plot to destroy Greenwich is in itself anarchistic. Vladimir asserts that the bombing “must be purely destructive” and that the anarchists who will be implicated as the architects of the explosion “should make it clear that [they] are perfectly determined to make a clean sweep of the whole social creation.”[17] However, the political form of anarchism is ultimately controlled in the novel: the only supposed politically motivated act is orchestrated by a secret government agency.

Some critics, such as Fredrick R. Karl,[18] think that the main political phenomenon in this novel is the modern age, as symbolised by the teeming, pullulating foggy streets of London (most notably in the cab ride taken by Winnie and Stevie Verloc). This modern age distorts everything, including politics (Verloc is motivated by the need to keep his remunerative position, the Professor to some extent by pride), the family (symbolised by the Verloc household, in which all roles are distorted, with the husband being like a father to the wife, who is like a mother to her brother), even the human body (Michaelis and Verloc are hugely obese, while the Professor and Yundt are preternaturally thin). This extended metaphor, using London as a center of darkness much like Kurtz’s headquarters in Heart of Darkness,[19] presents “a dark vision of moral and spiritual inertia” and a condemnation of those who, like Mrs Verloc, think it a mistake to think too deeply.[20]

Literary significance and reception

Initially, the novel fared poorly in both the United Kingdom and the United States, selling only 3,076 copies between 1907 and 1914. The book fared slightly better in Britain, yet no more than 6,500 copies were pressed before 1914. Although sales increased after 1914, the novel never sold more than “modestly” throughout Conrad’s lifetime. The novel was released to favourable reviews, with most agreeing with the view of The Times Literary Supplement, that the novel “increase[d] Mr. Conrad’s reputation, already of the highest.”[21] However, there were detractors, who largely disagreed with the novel’s “unpleasant characters and subject”. Country Life magazine called the story “indecent”, whilst also criticising Conrad’s “often dense and elliptical style”.[21]

In modern times, The Secret Agent is considered to be one of Conrad’s finest novels. The Independent calls it “[o]ne of Conrad’s great city novels”[22] whilst The New York Times insists that it is “the most brilliant novelistic study of terrorism”.[23] It is considered to be a “prescient” view of the 20th century, foretelling the rise of terrorism, anarchism, and the augmentation of secret societies, such as MI5. The novel is on reading lists for both secondary school pupils and university undergraduates.[24][25][26]

Influence on Ted Kaczynski

The Secret Agent is said to have influenced the Unabomber—Theodore Kaczynski. Kaczynski was a great fan of the novel and as an adolescent kept a copy at his bedside.[27] He identified strongly with the character of “the Professor” and advised his family to readThe Secret Agent to understand the character with whom he felt such an affinity. David Foster, the literary attributionist who assisted the FBI, said that Kaczynski “seem[ed] to have felt that his family could not understand him without reading Conrad.”[28]

Kaczynski’s idolisation of the character was due to the traits that they shared: disaffection, hostility toward the world, and being an aspiring anarchist.[29] However, it did not stop at mere idolisation. Kaczynski used “The Professor” as a source of inspiration, and “fabricated sixteen exploding packages that detonated in various locations”.[30] After his capture, Kaczynski revealed to FBI agents that he had read the novel a dozen times, and had sometimes used “Conrad” as an alias.[31] It was discovered that Kaczynski had used various formulations of Conrad’s name – Conrad, Konrad, and Korzeniowski, Conrad’s original surname – to sign himself into several hotels in Sacramento. As in his youth, Kaczynski retained a copy of The Secret Agent, and kept it with him whilst living as a recluse in a hut in Montana.[11]

Adaptations

See also

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Secret_Agent

Joseph Conrad

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Joseph Conrad (disambiguation).
Joseph Conrad
Joseph Conrad.PNG

1904
Born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski
3 December 1857
Terekhove near Berdychiv, Kiev Governorate, Russian Empire
Died 3 August 1924 (aged 66)
Bishopsbourne, England
Resting place Canterbury Cemetery,Canterbury
Occupation Novelist, short-story writer
Language English
Nationality Polish
Citizenship British
Period 1895–1923: Modernism
Genre Fiction
Notable works The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’(1897)
Heart of Darkness (1899)
Lord Jim (1900)
Typhoon (1902)
Nostromo (1904)
The Secret Agent (1907)
Under Western Eyes (1911)
Spouse Jessie George
Children Borys, John

Signature

Joseph Conrad (born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski; 3 December 1857 – 3 August 1924) is regarded as one of the greatest novelists in English.[1] He was granted British nationality in 1886, but always considered himself a Pole.[2][note 1] Though he did not speak English fluently until he was in his twenties (and always with a marked accent), he was a master prose stylist who brought a distinctly non-English sensibility into English literature.[note 2][3] He wrote stories and novels, many with a nautical setting, that depict trials of the human spirit.

Joseph Conrad is considered an early modernist, though his works still contain elements of nineteenth-century realism.[4] His narrative style and anti-heroic characters[5] have influenced many authors, including T.S. Eliot,William Faulkner,[6] Graham Greene,[6] and more recently Salman Rushdie.[note 3] Many films have been adapted from, or inspired by, Conrad’s works.

Writing in the heyday of the British Empire, Conrad drew on his Polish heritage and on his experiences in the French and British merchant navies to create short stories and novels that reflect aspects of a European-dominated world, while profoundly exploring human psychology. Appreciated early on by literary critics, his fiction and nonfiction have since been seen as almost prophetic, in the light of subsequent national and international disasters of the 20th and 21st centuries.[7]

Contents

 

Life

Early years

Conrad’s writer father, Apollo Korzeniowski

Nowy Świat 47, Warsaw, where three-year-old Conrad lived with his parents in 1861. In front: a “Chopin’s Warsaw” bench.

Joseph Conrad was born on 3 December 1857 in Berdychiv, in a part of Ukraine that had belonged to the Kingdom of Poland before 1793 and was at the time of his birth under Russianrule.[8] He was the only child of Apollo Korzeniowski and his wife Ewa Bobrowska. The father was a writer, translator, political activist, and would-be revolutionary. Conrad was christenedJózef Teodor Konrad after his maternal grandfather Józef, his paternal grandfather Teodor, and the heroes (both named “Konrad”) of two poems by Adam Mickiewicz, Dziady andKonrad Wallenrod. He was subsequently known to his family as “Konrad”, rather than “Józef”.

Though the vast majority of the surrounding area’s inhabitants were Ukrainians, and the great majority of Berdychiv’s residents were Jewish, almost all the countryside was owned by the Polish szlachta (nobility), to which Conrad’s family belonged as bearers of the Nałęcz coat-of-arms.[9] Polish literature, particularly patriotic literature, was held in high esteem by the area’s Polish population.[10]:1

The Korzeniowski family played a significant role in Polish attempts to regain independence. Conrad’s paternal grandfather served under Prince Józef Poniatowski during Napoleon’s Russian campaign and formed his own cavalry squadron during the November 1830 Uprising.[11] Conrad’s fiercely patriotic father belonged to the “Red” political faction, whose goal was to re-establish the pre-partition boundaries of Poland, but which also advocated land reform and the abolition of serfdom. Conrad’s subsequent refusal to follow in Apollo’s footsteps, and his choice of exile over resistance, were a source of lifelong guilt for Conrad.[12][note 4]

Because of the father’s attempts at farming and his political activism, the family moved repeatedly. In May 1861 they moved to Warsaw, where Apollo joined the resistance against the Russian Empire. This led to his imprisonment in Pavilion X (Ten) of the Warsaw Citadel.[note 5] Conrad would write: “[I]n the courtyard of this Citadel – characteristically for our nation – my childhood memories begin.”[2]:17–19 On 9 May 1862 Apollo and his family were exiled to Vologda, 500 kilometres (310 mi) north of Moscow and known for its bad climate.[2]:19–20 In January 1863 Apollo’s sentence was commuted, and the family was sent to Chernihiv in northeast Ukraine, where conditions were much better. However, on 18 April 1865 Ewa died of tuberculosis.[2]:19–25

Apollo did his best to home-school Conrad. The boy’s early reading introduced him to the two elements that later dominated his life: in Victor Hugo‘s Toilers of the Sea he encountered the sphere of activity to which he would devote his youth; Shakespeare brought him into the orbit of English literature. Most of all, though, he read Polish Romantic poetry. Half a century later he explained that “The Polishness in my works comes fromMickiewicz and Słowacki. My father read [Mickiewicz’s] Pan Tadeusz aloud to me and made me read it aloud…. I used to prefer [Mickiewicz’s] Konrad Wallenrod [and] Grażyna. Later I preferred Słowacki. You know why Słowacki?… [He is the soul of all Poland]”.[2]:27

In December 1867, Apollo took his son to the Austrian-held part of Poland, which for two years had been enjoying considerable internal freedom and a degree of self-government. After sojourns in Lwów and several smaller localities, on 20 February 1869 they moved to Kraków (till 1596 the capital of Poland), likewise in Austrian Poland. A few months later, on 23 May 1869, Apollo Korzeniowski died, leaving Conrad orphaned at the age of eleven.[2]:31–34 Like Conrad’s mother, Apollo had been gravely ill with tuberculosis.

Tadeusz Bobrowski, Conrad’s uncle and mentor, to whom Conrad owed so much

The young Conrad was placed in the care of Ewa’s brother, Tadeusz Bobrowski. Conrad’s poor health and his unsatisfactory schoolwork caused his uncle constant problems and no end of financial outlays. Conrad was not a good student; despite tutoring, he excelled only in geography.[2]:43 Since the boy’s illness was clearly of nervous origin, the physicians supposed that fresh air and physical work would harden him; his uncle hoped that well-defined duties and the rigors of work would teach him discipline. Since he showed little inclination to study, it was essential that he learn a trade; his uncle saw him as a sailor-cum-businessman who would combine maritime skills with commercial activities.[2]:44–46 In fact, in the autumn of 1871, thirteen-year-old Conrad announced his intention to become a sailor. He later recalled that as a child he had read (apparently in French translation) Leopold McClintock‘s book about his 1857–59 expeditions in the Fox, in search of Sir John Franklin‘s lost ships Erebus and Terror.[note 6] He also recalled having read books by the American James Fenimore Cooper and the English Captain Frederick Marryat.[2]:41–42 A playmate of his adolescence recalled that Conrad spun fantastic yarns, always set at sea, presented so realistically that listeners thought the action was happening before their eyes.

In August 1873 Bobrowski sent fifteen-year-old Conrad to Lwów to a cousin who ran a small boarding house for boys orphaned by the 1863 Uprising; group conversation there was in French. The owner’s daughter recalled:

He stayed with us ten months… Intellectually he was extremely advanced but [he] disliked school routine, which he found tiring and dull; he used to say… he… planned to become a great writer…. He disliked all restrictions. At home, at school, or in the living room he would sprawl unceremoniously. He… suffer[ed] from severe headaches and nervous attacks…[2]:43–44

Conrad had been at the establishment for just over a year when in September 1874, for uncertain reasons, his uncle removed him from school in Lwów and took him back to Kraków.

On 13 October 1874 Bobrowski sent the sixteen-year-old to Marseilles, France, for a planned career at sea.[2]:44–46 Though Conrad had not completed secondary school, his accomplishments included fluency in French (with a correct accent), some knowledge of Latin, German and Greek, probably a good knowledge of history, some geography, and probably already an interest in physics. He was well read, particularly in Polish Romantic literature. He belonged to only the second generation in his family that had had to earn a living outside the family estates: he was a member of the second generation of the intelligentsia, a social class that was starting to play an important role in Central and Eastern Europe.[2]:46–47 He had absorbed enough of the history, culture and literature of his native land to be able eventually to develop a distinctive world view and make unique contributions to the literature of his adoptive Britain.[10]:1–5 It was tensions that originated in his childhood in Poland and grew in his adulthood abroad that would give rise to Conrad’s greatest literary achievements.[10]:246–47 Najder, himself an emigrant from Poland, observes:

Living away from one’s natural environment – family, friends, social group, language – even if it results from a conscious decision, usually gives rise to… internal tensions, because it tends to make people less sure of themselves, more vulnerable, less certain of their… position and… value… The Polish szlachta and… intelligentsia were social strata in which reputation… was felt… very important… for a feeling of self-worth. Men strove… to find confirmation of their… self-regard… in the eyes of others… Such a psychological heritage forms both a spur to ambition and a source of constant stress, especially if [one has been inculcated with] the idea of [one]’s public duty…[2]:47

Citizenship

Conrad was a Russian subject, having been born in the Russian part of what had once been the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. In December 1867, with the Russian government’s permission, his father Apollo had taken him to the Austrian part of the former Commonwealth, which enjoyed considerable internal freedom and a degree of self-government. After the father’s death, Conrad’s uncle Bobrowski had attempted to secure Austrian citizenship for him – to no avail, probably because Conrad had not received permission from Russian authorities to remain abroad permanently and had not been released from being a Russian subject. Conrad could not return to Ukraine, in the Russian Empire – he would have been liable to many years’ military service and, as the son of political exiles, to harassment.[2]:41

In a letter of 9 August 1877, Conrad’s uncle Bobrowski broached two important subjects:[note 7] the desirability of Conrad’s naturalisation abroad (tantamount to release from being a Russian subject) and Conrad’s plans to join the British merchant marine. “[D]o you speak English?… I never wished you to become naturalized in France, mainly because of the compulsory military service… I thought, however, of your getting naturalized in Switzerland…” In his next letter, Bobrowski supported Conrad’s idea of seeking citizenship of the United States or of “one of the more important Southern Republics”.[2]:57–58

Eventually Conrad would make his home in England. On 2 July 1886 he applied for British nationality, which was granted on 19 August 1886. Yet, in spite of having become a subject of Queen Victoria, Conrad had not ceased to be a subject of Tsar Alexander III. To achieve the latter, he had to make many visits to the Russian Embassy in London and politely reiterate his request. He would later recall the Embassy’s home at Belgrave Square in his novel The Secret Agent.[2]:112 Finally, on 2 April 1889, the Russian Ministry of Home Affairs released “the son of a Polish man of letters, captain of the British merchant marine” from the status of Russian subject.[2]:132

Merchant marine

In 1874 Conrad left Poland to start a merchant-marine career. After nearly four years in France and on French ships, he joined the British merchant marine and for the next fifteen years served under the Red Ensign. He worked on a variety of ships as crew member (steward, apprentice, able-bodied seaman) and then as third, second and first mate, until eventually achieving captain’s rank. Of his 19-year merchant-marine career, only about half was spent actually at sea.

Most of Conrad’s stories and novels, and many of their characters, were drawn from his seafaring career and persons whom he had met or heard about. For his fictional characters he often borrowed the authentic names of actual persons. The historic trader William Charles Olmeijer, whom Conrad encountered on four short visits to Berau in Borneo, appears as “Almayer” (possibly a simple misspelling) in Conrad’s first novel, Almayer’s Folly. Other authentic names include those of Captain McWhirr (in Typhoon), Captain Beard and Mr. Mahon (Youth), Captain Lingard (Almayer’s Folly and elsewhere), and Captain Ellis (The Shadow Line). Conrad also preserves, in The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’, the authentic name of the Narcissus, a ship in which he sailed in 1884.

Conrad’s three-year appointment with a Belgian trading company included service as captain of a steamer on the Congo River, an episode that would inspire his novella, Heart of Darkness.

John Galsworthy, whom Conrad met on the Torrens

During a brief call in India in 1885–86, 28-year-old Conrad sent five letters to Joseph Spiridion,[note 8] a Pole eight years his senior whom he had befriended at Cardiff in June 1885 just before sailing for Singapore in the clipper ship Tilkhurst. These letters are Conrad’s first preserved texts in English. His English is generally correct but stiff to the point of artificiality; many fragments suggest that his thoughts ran along the lines of Polish syntax andphraseology. More importantly, the letters show a marked change in views from those implied in his earlier correspondence of 1881–83. He had departed from “hope for the future” and from the conceit of “sailing [ever] toward Poland”, and from his Panslavic ideas. He was left with a painful sense of the hopelessness of the Polish question and an acceptance of England as a possible refuge. While he often adjusted his statements to accord to some extent with the views of his addressees, the theme of hopelessness concerning the prospects for Polish independence often occurs authentically in his correspondence and works before 1914.[2]:104–5

When Conrad left London on 25 October 1892 aboard the clipper ship Torrens, one of the passengers was William Henry Jacques, a consumptive Cambridge graduate who died less than a year later (19 September 1893) and was, according to Conrad’s A Personal Record, the first reader of the still-unfinished manuscript of his Almayer’s Folly. Jacques encouraged Conrad to continue writing the novel.[2]:181

Conrad completed his last long-distance voyage as a seaman on 26 July 1893 when the Torrens docked at London and “J. Conrad Korzemowin” (per the certificate of discharge) debarked. When the Torrens had left Adelaide on 13 March 1893, the passengers had included two young Englishmen returning from Australia and New Zealand: 25-year-old lawyer and future novelist John Galsworthy; and Edward Lancelot Sanderson, who was going to help his father run a boys’ preparatory school at Elstree. They were probably the first Englishmen and non-sailors with whom Conrad struck up a friendship; he would remain in touch with both. The protagonist of one of Galsworthy’s first literary attempts, “The Doldrums” (1895–96), the first mate Armand, is obviously modeled on Conrad. At Cape Town, where the Torrens remained from 17 to 19 May, Galsworthy left the ship to look at the local mines. Sanderson continued his voyage and seems to have been the first to develop closer ties with Conrad.[2]:182–3

Writer

In 1894, aged 36, Conrad reluctantly gave up the sea, partly because of poor health, partly due to unavailability of ships, and partly because he had become so fascinated with writing that he had decided on a literary career. His first novel, Almayer’s Folly, set on the east coast of Borneo, was published in 1895. Its appearance marked his first use of the pen name “Joseph Conrad”; “Konrad” was, of course, the third of his Polish given names, but his use of it – in the anglicised version, “Conrad” – may also have been an homage to the Polish Romantic poet Adam Mickiewicz‘s patriotic narrative poem, Konrad Wallenrod.[13]

Edward Garnett, a young publisher’s reader and literary critic who would play one of the chief supporting roles in Conrad’s literary career, had – like Unwin’s first reader of Almayer’s Folly, Wilfrid Hugh Chesson – been impressed by the manuscript, but Garnett had been “uncertain whether the English was good enough for publication.” Garnett had shown the novel to his wife, Constance Garnett, later a well-known translator of Russian literature. She had thought Conrad’s foreignness a positive merit.[2]:197

While Conrad had only limited personal acquaintance with the peoples of Maritime Southeast Asia, the region looms large in his early work. According to Najder, Conrad, the exile and wanderer, was aware of a difficulty that he confessed more than once: the lack of a common cultural background with his Anglophone readers meant he could not compete with English-language authors writing about the Anglosphere. At the same time, the choice of a non-English colonial setting freed him from an embarrassing division of loyalty:Almayer’s Folly, and later “An Outpost of Progress” (1897, set in a Congo exploited by King Leopold II of Belgium) and Heart of Darkness (1899, likewise set in the Congo), contain bitter reflections on colonialism. The Malay states came theoretically under the suzerainty of the Dutch government; Conrad did not write about the area’s British dependencies, which he never visited. He “was apparently intrigued by… struggles aimed at preserving national independence. The prolific and destructive richness of tropical nature and the dreariness of human life within it accorded well with the pessimistic mood of his early works.”[2]:118–20 [note 9]

Almayer’s Folly, together with its successor, An Outcast of the Islands (1896), laid the foundation for Conrad’s reputation as a romantic teller of exotic tales – a misunderstanding of his purpose that was to frustrate him for the rest of his career.[note 10]

Almost all of Conrad’s writings were first published in newspapers and magazines: influential reviews like The Fortnightly Review and the North American Review; avant-garde publications like the Savoy, New Review, and The English Review; popular short-fiction magazines like The Saturday Evening Post and Harper’s Magazine; women’s journals like the Pictorial Review and Romance; mass-circulation dailies like the Daily Mail and the New York Herald; and illustrated newspapers like The Illustrated London News and theIllustrated Buffalo Express.[citation needed] He also wrote for The Outlook, an imperialist weekly magazine, between 1898 and 1906.[14][note 11]

Financial success long eluded Conrad, who often asked magazine and book publishers for advances, and acquaintances (notably John Galsworthy) for loans.[2][note 12] Eventually a government grant (“Civil List pension”) of £100 per annum, awarded on 9 August 1910, somewhat relieved his financial worries,[2]:420 [note 13] and in time collectors began purchasing his manuscripts. Though his talent was early on recognised by the English intellectual elite, popular success eluded him until the 1913 publication of Chance – paradoxically, one of his weaker novels.

Edward Said describes three phases to Conrad’s literary career.[15] In the first and longest, from the 1890s to World War I, Conrad writes most of his great novels, including The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’ (1897), Heart of Darkness (1899), Lord Jim (1900), Nostromo(1904), The Secret Agent (1907) and Under Western Eyes (1911). The second phase, spanning the war and following the popular success of Chance (1913), is marked by the advent of Conrad’s public persona as “great writer”. In the third and final phase, from the end of World War I to Conrad’s death (1924), he at last finds an uneasy peace; it is, as C. McCarthy writes, as though “the War has allowed Conrad’s psyche to purge itself of terror and anxiety.”[16]

Personal life

Temperament and health

Conrad was a reserved man, wary of showing emotion. He scorned sentimentality; his manner of portraying emotion in his books was full of restraint, scepticism and irony.[2]:575 In the words of his uncle Bobrowski, as a young man Conrad was “extremely sensitive, conceited, reserved, and in addition excitable. In short […] all the defects of the Nałęcz family.”[2]:65

Conrad suffered throughout life from ill health, physical and mental. A newspaper review of a Conrad biography suggested that the book could have been subtitled Thirty Years of Debt, Gout, Depression and Angst.[17] In 1891 he was hospitalised for several months, suffering from gout, neuralgic pains in his right arm and recurrent attacks of malaria. He also complained of swollen hands “which made writing difficult”. Taking his uncle Tadeusz Bobrowski’s advice, he convalesced at a spa in Switzerland.[2]:169–70 Conrad had a phobia of dentistry, neglecting his teeth till they had to be extracted. In one letter he remarked that every novel he had written had cost him a tooth.[7]:258 Conrad’s physical afflictions were, if anything, less vexatious than his mental ones. In his letters he often described symptoms of depression; “the evidence,” writes Najder, “is so strong that it is nearly impossible to doubt it.”[2]:167

Attempted suicide

In March 1878, at the end of his Marseilles period, 20-year-old Conrad attempted suicide, by shooting himself in the chest with a revolver.[18] According to his uncle, who was summoned by a friend, Conrad had fallen into debt. Bobrowski described his subsequent “study” of his nephew in an extensive letter to Stefan Buszczyński, his own ideological opponent and a friend of Conrad’s late father Apollo.[note 14] To what extent the suicide attempt had been made in earnest, likely will never be known, but it is suggestive of a situational depression.[2]:65–7

Romance and marriage

Little is known about any intimate relationships that Conrad might have had prior to his marriage, confirming a popular image of the author as an isolated bachelor who preferred the company of close male friends.[19] However, in 1888 during a stop-over on Mauritius, Conrad developed a couple of romantic interests. One of these would be described in his 1910 story “A Smile of Fortune”, which contains autobiographical elements (e.g., one of the characters is the same Chief Mate Burns who appears in The Shadow Line). The narrator, a young captain, flirts ambiguously and surreptitiously with Alice Jacobus, daughter of a local merchant living in a house surrounded by a magnificent rose garden. Research has confirmed that in Port Louis at the time there was a 17-year-old Alice Shaw, whose father, a shipping agent, owned the only rose garden in town.[2]:126–27

More is known about Conrad’s other, more open flirtation. An old friend, Captain Gabriel Renouf of the French merchant marine, introduced him to the family of his brother-in-law. Renouf’s eldest sister was the wife of Louis Edward Schmidt, a senior official in the colony; with them lived two other sisters and two brothers. Though the island had been taken over in 1810 by Britain, many of the inhabitants were descendants of the original French colonists, and Conrad’s excellent French and perfect manners opened all local salons to him. He became a frequent guest at the Schmidts’, where he often met the Misses Renouf. A couple of days before leaving Port Louis, Conrad asked one of the Renouf brothers for the hand of his 26-year-old sister Eugenie. She was already, however, engaged to marry her pharmacist cousin. After the rebuff, Conrad did not pay a farewell visit but sent a polite letter to Gabriel Renouf, saying he would never return to Mauritius and adding that on the day of the wedding his thoughts would be with them.

In March 1896 Conrad married an Englishwoman, Jessie George.[20] The couple had two sons, Borys and John. The elder, Borys, proved a disappointment in scholarship and integrity.[2] Jessie was an unsophisticated, working-class girl, sixteen years younger than Conrad. To his friends, she was an inexplicable choice of wife, and the subject of some rather disparaging and unkind remarks.[21][22] (See Lady Ottoline Morrell’s opinion of Jessie in Impressions.) However, according to other biographers such as Frederick Karl, Jessie provided what Conrad needed, namely a “straightforward, devoted, quite competent” companion.[23] Similarly, Jones remarks that, despite whatever difficulties the marriage endured, “there can be no doubt that the relationship sustained Conrad’s career as a writer”, which might have been a lot less successful without her.[24]

The couple rented a long series of successive homes, occasionally in France, sometimes briefly in London, but mostly in the English countryside, sometimes from friends – to be close to friends, to enjoy the peace of the countryside, but above all because it was more affordable.[2][note 15] Except for several vacations in France and Italy, a 1914 vacation in his native Poland, and a 1923 visit to the United States, Conrad lived the rest of his life in England.

In 1914, Conrad stayed at the Zakopanepension Konstantynówka, operated by his cousin Aniela Zagórska, mother of his future Polish translator of the same name.[2]:462–63

Conrad; Aniela Zagórska(left), Karola Zagórska, Conrad’s nieces. Aniela translated Conrad into Polish.[25]

The 1914 vacation with his wife and sons in Poland, at the urging of Józef Retinger, coincided with the outbreak of World War I. On 28 July 1914, the day war broke out between Austro-Hungary and Serbia, Conrad and the Retingers arrived in Kraków (then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire), where Conrad visited childhood haunts. As the city lay only a few miles from the Russian border, there was a risk of getting stranded in a battle zone. With wife Jessie and younger son John ill, Conrad decided to take refuge in the mountain resort town of Zakopane. They left Kraków on 2 August. A few days after arrival in Zakopane, they moved to the Konstantynówka pension operated by Conrad’s cousin Aniela Zagórska; it had been frequented by celebrities including the statesman Józef Piłsudski and Conrad’s acquaintance, the young concert pianist Artur Rubinstein.[2]:458–63

Zagórska introduced Conrad to Polish writers, intellectuals and artists who had also taken refuge in Zakopane, including novelist Stefan Żeromski and Tadeusz Nalepiński, a writer friend of anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski. Conrad roused interest among the Poles as a famous writer and an exotic compatriot from abroad. He charmed new acquaintances, especially women. However, the double Nobel laureate Maria Skłodowska-Curie‘s physician sister, Bronisława Dłuska, scolded him for having used his great talent for purposes other than bettering the future of his native land[2]:463–64[note 16] But thirty-three-year-old Aniela Zagórska (daughter of the pension keeper), Conrad’s niece who would translate his works into Polish in 1923–39, idolised him, kept him company, and provided him with books. He particularly delighted in the stories and novels of the ten-years-older, recently deceased Bolesław Prus,[2]:463[26] read everything by his fellow victim of Poland’s 1863 Uprising – “my beloved Prus” – that he could get his hands on, and pronounced him “better than Dickens” – a favourite English novelist of Conrad’s.[27][note 17]

Conrad, who was noted by his Polish acquaintances to be fluent in his native tongue, participated in their impassioned political discussions. He declared presciently, as Piłsudski had earlier in 1914 in Paris, that in the war, for Poland to regain independence, Russia must be beaten by the Central Powers (the Austro-Hungarian and German Empires), and the latter must in turn be beaten by France and Britain.[2]:464

After many travails and vicissitudes, at the beginning of November 1914 Conrad managed to bring his family back to England. On his return, he was determined to work on swaying British opinion in favour of restoring Poland’s sovereignty.[2]:464–68

Jessie Conrad would later write in her memoirs: “I understood my husband so much better after those months in Poland. So many characteristics that had been strange and unfathomable to me before, took, as it were, their right proportions. I understood that his temperament was that of his countrymen.”[2]:466

Politics

Conrad [writes Najder] was passionately concerned with politics. [This] is confirmed by several of his works, starting with Almayer’s Folly. […] Nostromo revealed his concern with these matters more fully; it was, of course, a concern quite natural for someone from a country [Poland] where politics was a matter not only of everyday existence but also of life and death. Moreover, Conrad himself came from a social class that claimed exclusive responsibility for state affairs, and from a very politically active family. Norman Douglas sums it up: “Conrad was first and foremost a Pole and like many Poles a politician and moralist malgré lui [French: “in spite of himself”]. These are his fundamentals.” [What made] Conrad see political problems in terms of a continuous struggle between law and violence, anarchy and order, freedom and autocracy, material interests and the noble idealism of individuals […] was Conrad’s historical awareness. His Polish experience endowed him with the perception, exceptional in the Western European literature of his time, of how winding and constantly changing were the front lines in these struggles.[28]

The most extensive and ambitious political statement that Conrad ever made was his 1905 essay, “Autocracy and War”, whose starting point was the Russo-Japanese War (he finished the article a month before the Battle of Tsushima Strait). The essay begins with a statement about Russia’s incurable weakness and ends with warnings against Prussia, the dangerous aggressor in a future European war. For Russia he predicted a violent outburst in the near future, but Russia’s lack of democratic traditions and the backwardness of her masses made it impossible for the revolution to have a salutary effect. Conrad regarded the formation of a representative government in Russia as unfeasible and foresaw a transition from autocracy to dictatorship. He saw western Europe as torn by antagonisms engendered by economic rivalry and commercial selfishness. In vain might a Russian revolution seek advice or help from a materialistic and egoistic western Europe that armed itself in preparation for wars far more brutal than those of the past.[2]:351–54

Conrad’s “Autocracy and War”, Najder points out, showed a historical awareness “exceptional in the Western European literature of his time” – an awareness that Conrad had drawn from his membership in a very politically active family of a country that had for over a century been daily reminded of the consequences of neglecting the broad enlightened interests of the national polity.[2]:352

Conrad’s distrust of democracy sprang from his doubts whether the propagation of democracy as an aim in itself could solve any problems. He thought that, in view of the weakness of human nature and of the “criminal” character of society, democracy offered boundless opportunities for demagogues and charlatans.[2]:290

He accused social democrats of his time of acting to weaken “the national sentiment, the preservation of which [was his] concern” – of attempting to dissolve national identities in an impersonal melting-pot. “I look at the future from the depth of a very black past and I find that nothing is left for me except fidelity to a cause lost, to an idea without future.” It was Conrad’s hopeless fidelity to the memory of Poland that prevented him from believing in the idea of “international fraternity,” which he considered, under the circumstances, just a verbal exercise. He resented some socialists’ talk of freedom and world brotherhood while keeping silent about his own partitioned and oppressed Poland.[2]:290

Before that, in the early 1880s, letters to Conrad from his uncle Tadeusz[note 18] show Conrad apparently having hoped for an improvement in Poland’s situation not through a liberation movement but by establishing an alliance with neighbouring Slavic nations. This had been accompanied by a faith in the Panslavic ideology – “surprising,” Najder writes, “in a man who was later to emphasize his hostility towards Russia, a conviction that… Poland’s [superior] civilization and… historic… traditions would [let] her play a leading role… in the Panslavic community, [and his] doubts about Poland’s chances of becoming a fully sovereign nation-state.”[2]:88–89

Conrad’s alienation from partisan politics went together with an abiding sense of the thinking man’s burden imposed by his personality, as described in an 1894 letter of Conrad’s to a relative-by-marriage and fellow author, Marguerite Poradowska (née Gachet, and cousin of Vincent van Gogh‘s physician, Paul Gachet) of Brussels:

We must drag the chain and ball of our personality to the end. This is the price one pays for the infernal and divine privilege of thought; so in this life it is only the chosen who are convicts – a glorious band which understands and groans but which treads the earth amidst a multitude of phantoms with maniacal gestures and idiotic grimaces. Which would you rather be: idiot or convict?[2]:195

In a 23 October 1922 letter to mathematician-philosopher Bertrand Russell, in response to the latter’s book, The Problem of China, which advocated socialist reforms and an oligarchy of sages who would reshape Chinese society, Conrad explained his own distrust of political panaceas:

I have never [found] in any man’s book or… talk anything… to stand up… against my deep-seated sense of fatality governing this man-inhabited world…. The only remedy for Chinamen and for the rest of us is [a] change of hearts, but looking at the history of the last 2000 years there is not much reason to expect [it], even if man has taken to flying – a great “uplift” no doubt but no great change….[2]:548–9

Death

On 3 August 1924, Conrad died at his house, Oswalds, in Bishopsbourne, Kent, England, probably of a heart attack. He was interred at Canterbury Cemetery, Canterbury, under a misspelled version of his original Polish name, as “Joseph Teador Conrad Korzeniowski”.[2]:573 Inscribed on his gravestone are the lines from Edmund Spenser‘s The Faerie Queene which he had chosen as the epigraph to his last complete novel, The Rover:

Sleep after toyle, port after stormie seas,

Ease after warre, death after life, doth greatly please[2]:574

Conrad’s modest funeral took place amid great crowds. His old friend Edward Garnett recalled bitterly:

To those who attended Conrad’s funeral in Canterbury during the Cricket Festival of 1924, and drove through the crowded streets festooned with flags, there was something symbolical in England’s hospitality and in the crowd’s ignorance of even the existence of this great writer. A few old friends, acquaintances and pressmen stood by his grave.[2]:573

Another old friend of Conrad’s, Cunninghame Graham, wrote Garnett: “Aubry was saying to me… that had Anatole France died, all Paris would have been at his funeral.”[2]:573

Twelve years later, Conrad’s wife Jessie died on 6 December 1936 and was interred with him.

In 1996 his grave became a Grade II listed building.[29]

Critical reception

Style

Conrad, 1916

Conrad, an emotional man subject to fits of depression, self-doubt, and pessimism, disciplined his romantic temperament with an unsparing moral judgment.

Despite the opinions even of some who knew him personally, such as fellow novelist Henry James,[2]:446–47 Conrad – even when he was only writing elegantly crafted letters to his uncle and acquaintances – was always at heart a writer who sailed, rather than a sailor who wrote. He used his sailor’s experiences as a backdrop for many of his works, but he also produced works of similar world view, without the nautical motifs. The failure of many critics in his time to appreciate this caused him much frustration.[2]:377, 562

An October 1923 visitor to Oswalds, Conrad’s home at the time – Cyril Clemens, a cousin of Mark Twain – quoted Conrad as saying: “In everything I have written there is always one invariable intention, and that is to capture the reader’s attention.”[2]:564

Conrad the artist famously aspired, in the words of his preface to The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’ (1897), “by the power of the written word to make you hear, to make you feel… before all, to make you see. That – and no more, and it is everything. If I succeed, you shall find there according to your deserts: encouragement, consolation, fear, charm – all you demand – and, perhaps, also that glimpse of truth for which you have forgotten to ask.”[30]

Writing in what to the visual arts was the age of Impressionism, and what to music was the age of impressionist music, Conrad showed himself in many of his works a prose poet of the highest order: for instance, in the evocativePatna and courtroom scenes of Lord Jim; in the scenes of the “melancholy-mad elephant” and the “French gunboat firing into a continent”, in Heart of Darkness; in the doubled protagonists of The Secret Sharer; and in the verbal and conceptual resonances of Nostromo and The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’.

Conrad used his own memories as literary material so often that readers are tempted to treat his life and work as a single whole. His “view of the world“, or elements of it, are often described by citing at once both his private and public statements, passages from his letters, and citations from his books. Najder warns that this approach produces an incoherent and misleading picture. “An… uncritical linking of the two spheres, literature and private life, distorts each. Conrad used his own experiences as raw material, but the finished product should not be confused with the experiences themselves.”[2]:576–77

Many of Conrad’s characters were inspired by actual persons he had met, including, in his first novel, Almayer’s Folly (completed 1894), William Charles Olmeijer, the spelling of whose name Conrad, probably inadvertently, altered to “Almayer.”[10]:11, 40 The historic trader Olmeijer, whom Conrad encountered on his four short visits to Berau in Borneo, subsequently haunted Conrad’s imagination.[10]:40–1 Conrad frequently borrowed the authentic names of actual individuals, e.g., Captain McWhirr[note 19] (Typhoon), Captain Beard and Mr. Mahon (“Youth“), Captain Lingard (Almayer’s Folly and elsewhere), Captain Ellis (The Shadow Line). “Conrad,” writes J. I. M. Stewart, “appears to have attached some mysterious significance to such links with actuality.”[10]:11–12 Equally curious is “a great deal of namelessness in Conrad, requiring some minor virtuosity to maintain.”[10]:244 We never learn the surname of the protagonist of Lord Jim.[10]:95 Conrad also preserves, in The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’, the authentic name of the ship, the Narcissus, in which he sailed in 1884.[2]:98–100

Apart from Conrad’s own experiences, a number of episodes in his fiction were suggested by past or contemporary publicly known events or literary works. The first half of the 1900 novel Lord Jim (the ‘Patna’ episode) was inspired by the real-life 1880 story of theSS Jeddah;[10]:96–7 the second part, to some extent by the life of James Brooke, the first White Rajah of Sarawak.[31] The 1901 short story “Amy Foster” was inspired partly by an anecdote in Ford Madox Ford‘s The Cinque Ports (1900), wherein a shipwrecked sailor from a German merchant ship, unable to communicate in English, and driven away by the local country people, finally found shelter in a pigsty.[2]:312–13 [note 20] In Nostromo (completed 1904), the theft of a massive consignment of silver was suggested to Conrad by a story he had heard in the Gulf of Mexico and later read about in a “volume picked up outside a second-hand bookshop.”[10]:128–29 [note 21] The Secret Agent (completed 1906) was inspired by the French anarchist Martial Bourdin‘s 1894 death while apparently attempting to blow up the Greenwich Observatory.[32] Conrad’s story “The Secret Sharer” (completed 1909) was inspired by an 1880 incident when Sydney Smith, first mate of the Cutty Sark, had killed a seaman and fled from justice, aided by the ship’s captain.[10]:235–6 The plot of Under Western Eyes (completed 1910) is kicked off by the assassination of a brutal Russian government minister, modelled after the real-life 1904 assassination of Russian Minister of the Interior Vyacheslav von Plehve.[10]:199 The near-novella “Freya of the Seven Isles” (completed in March 1911) was inspired by a story told to Conrad by a Malaya old hand and fan of Conrad’s, Captain Carlos M. Marris.[2]:405, 422–23

For the natural surroundings of the high seas, the Malay Archipelago and South America, which Conrad described so vividly, he could rely on his own observations. What his brief landfalls could not provide was a thorough understanding of exotic cultures. For this he resorted, like other writers, to literary sources. When writing his Malayan stories, he consulted Alfred Russel Wallace‘s The Malay Archipelago (1869), James Brooke‘s journals, and books with titles like Perak and the Malays, My Journal in Malayan Waters, and Life in the Forests of the Far East. When he set about writing his novel Nostromo, set in the fictitious South American country of Costaguana, he turned to The War between Peru and Chile; Edward Eastwick, Venezuela: or, Sketches of Life in a South American Republic(1868); and George Frederick Masterman, Seven Eventful Years in Paraguay (1869).[10]:130 [note 22] As a result of relying on literary sources, in Lord Jim, as J. I. M. Stewart writes, Conrad’s “need to work to some extent from second-hand” led to “a certain thinness in Jim’s relations with the… peoples… of Patusan…”[10]:118 This prompted Conrad at some points to alter the nature of Charles Marlow‘s narrative to “distanc[e] an uncertain command of the detail of Tuan Jim’s empire.”[10]:119

In keeping with his scepticism[7]:166[10]:163 and melancholy,[10]:16, 18 Conrad almost invariably gives lethal fates to the characters in his principal novels and stories. Almayer (Almayer’s Folly, 1894), abandoned by his beloved daughter, takes to opium, and dies;[10]:42Peter Willems (An Outcast of the Islands, 1895) is killed by his jealous lover Aïssa;[10]:48 the ineffectual “Nigger,” James Wait (The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’, 1897), dies aboard ship and is buried at sea;[10]:68–9 Mr. Kurtz (Heart of Darkness, 1899) expires, uttering the enigmatic words, “The horror!”;[10]:68–9 Tuan Jim (Lord Jim, 1900), having inadvertently precipitated a massacre of his adoptive community, deliberately walks to his death at the hands of the community’s leader;[10]:97 in Conrad’s 1901 short story, “Amy Foster“, a Pole transplanted to England, Yanko Goorall (an English transliteration of the Polish Janko Góral, “Johnny Highlander”), falls ill and, suffering from a fever, raves in his native language, frightening his wife Amy, who flees; next morning Yanko dies of heart failure, and it transpires that he had simply been asking in Polish for water;[note 23] Captain Whalley (The End of the Tether, 1902), betrayed by failing eyesight and an unscrupulous partner, drowns himself;[10]:91 Gian’ Battista Fidanza,[note 24] the eponymous respected Italian-immigrant Nostromo (Italian: “Our Man”) of the novel Nostromo (1904), illicitly obtains a treasure of silver mined in the South American country of “Costaguana” and is shot dead due to mistaken identity;[10]:124–26 Mr. Verloc, The Secret Agent (1906) of divided loyalties, attempts a bombing, to be blamed on terrorists, that accidentally kills his mentally defective brother-in-law Stevie, and Verloc himself is killed by his distraught wife, who drowns herself by jumping overboard from a channel steamer;[10]:166–68 in Chance(1913), Roderick Anthony, a sailing-ship captain, and benefactor and husband of Flora de Barral, becomes the target of a poisoning attempt by her jealous disgraced financier father who, when detected, swallows the poison himself and dies (some years later, Captain Anthony drowns at sea);[10]:209–11 in Victory (1915), Lena is shot dead by Jones, who had meant to kill his accomplice Ricardo and later succeeds in doing so, then himself perishes along with another accomplice, after which Lena’s protector Axel Heyst sets fire to his bungalow and dies beside Lena’s body.[10]:220

When a principal character of Conrad’s does escape with his life, he sometimes does not fare much better. In Under Western Eyes (1911), Razumov betrays a fellow University of St. Petersburg student, the revolutionist Victor Haldin, who has assassinated a savagely repressive Russian government minister. Haldin is tortured and hanged by the authorities. Later Razumov, sent as a government spy to Geneva, a center of anti-tsarist intrigue, meets the mother and sister of Haldin, who share Haldin’s liberal convictions. Razumov falls in love with the sister and confesses his betrayal of her brother; later he makes the same avowal to assembled revolutionists, and their professional executioner bursts his eardrums, making him deaf for life. Razumov staggers away, is knocked down by a streetcar, and finally returns as a cripple to Russia.[10]:185–87

Conrad was keenly conscious of tragedy in the world and in his works. In 1898, at the start of his writing career, he had written to his Scottish writer-politician friend Cunninghame Graham: “What makes mankind tragic is not that they are the victims of nature, it is that they are conscious of it. [A]s soon as you know of your slavery the pain, the anger, the strife – the tragedy begins.” But in 1922, near the end of his life and career, when another Scottish friend, Richard Curle, sent Conrad proofs of two articles he had written about Conrad, the latter objected to being characterised as a gloomy and tragic writer. “That reputation… has deprived me of innumerable readers… I absolutely object to being called a tragedian.”[2]:544–5

Conrad claimed that he “never kept a diary and never owned a notebook.” John Galsworthy, who knew him well, described this as “a statement which surprised no one who knew the resources of his memory and the brooding nature of his creative spirit.”[33]Nevertheless, after Conrad’s death, Richard Curle published a heavily modified version of Conrad’s diaries describing his experiences in the Congo;[34] in 1978 a more complete version was published as The Congo Diary and Other Uncollected Pieces.[35]

Unlike many authors who make it a point not to discuss work in progress, Conrad often did discuss his current work and even showed it to select friends and fellow authors, such as Edward Garnett, and sometimes modified it in the light of their critiques and suggestions.[2]

He also borrowed from other, Polish- and French-language authors, to an extent sometimes skirting plagiarism. When the Polish translation of his 1915 novel Victory appeared in 1931, readers noted striking similarities to Stefan Żeromski‘s kitschy novel, The History of a Sin (Dzieje grzechu, 1908), including their endings. Comparative-literature scholar Yves Hervouet has demonstrated in the text of Victory a whole mosaic of influences, borrowings, similarities and allusions. He further lists hundreds of concrete borrowings from other, mostly French authors in nearly all of Conrad’s works, from Almayer’s Folly (1895) to his unfinished Suspense. Conrad seems to have used eminent writers’ texts as raw material of the same kind as the content of his own memory. Materials borrowed from other authors often functioned as allusions. Moreover, he had a phenomenal memory for texts and remembered details, “but [writes Najder] it was not a memory strictly categorized according to sources, marshalled into homogeneous entities; it was, rather, an enormous receptacle of images and pieces from which he would draw.”[2]:454–7

But [writes Najder] he can never be accused of outright plagiarism. Even when lifting sentences and scenes, Conrad changed their character, inserted them within novel structures. He did not imitate, but (as Hervouet says) “continued” his masters. He was right in saying: “I don’t resemble anybody.” Ian Watt put it succinctly: “In a sense, Conrad is the least derivative of writers; he wrote very little that could possibly be mistaken for the work of anyone else.”[2]:457[note 25]

Conrad, like other artists, faced constraints arising from the need to propitiate his audience and confirm its own favourable self-regard. This may account for his describing the admirable crew of the Judea in his 1898 story “Youth” as “Liverpool hard cases”, whereas the crew of the Judea’s actual 1882 prototype, the Palestine, had included not a single Liverpudlian, and half the crew had been non-Britons;[2]:94 and for Conrad’s turning the real-life 1880 criminally negligent British Captain J. L. Clark, of the SS Jeddah, in his 1900 novel Lord Jim, into the captain of the fictitious Patna – “a sort of renegade New South Wales German” so monstrous in physical appearance as to suggest “a trained baby elephant.”[10]:98–103 Similarly, in his letters Conrad – during most of his literary career, struggling for sheer financial survival – often adjusted his views to the predilections of his correspondents.[2]:105 And when he wished to criticise the conduct of European imperialism in what would later be termed the “Third World“, he turned his gaze upon the Dutchand Belgian colonies, not upon the British Empire.[2]:119

The singularity of the universe depicted in Conrad’s novels, especially compared to those of near-contemporaries like his friend and frequent benefactor John Galsworthy, is such as to open him to criticism similar to that later applied to Graham Greene.[36] But where “Greeneland” has been characterised as a recurring and recognisable atmosphere independent of setting, Conrad is at pains to create a sense of place, be it aboard ship or in a remote village; often he chose to have his characters play out their destinies in isolated or confined circumstances. In the view of Evelyn Waugh and Kingsley Amis, it was not until the first volumes of Anthony Powell‘s sequence, A Dance to the Music of Time, were published in the 1950s, that an English novelist achieved the same command of atmosphere and precision of language with consistency, a view supported by later critics like A. N. Wilson; Powell acknowledged his debt to Conrad. Leo Gurko, too, remarks, as “one of Conrad’s special qualities, his abnormal awareness of place, an awareness magnified to almost a new dimension in art, an ecological dimension defining the relationship between earth and man.”[37]

T. E. Lawrence, one of many writers whom Conrad befriended, offered some perceptive observations about Conrad’s writing:

He’s absolutely the most haunting thing in prose that ever was: I wish I knew how every paragraph he writes (…they are all paragraphs: he seldom writes a single sentence…) goes on sounding in waves, like the note of a tenor bell, after it stops. It’s not built in the rhythm of ordinary prose, but on something existing only in his head, and as he can never say what it is he wants to say, all his things end in a kind of hunger, a suggestion of something he can’t say or do or think. So his books always look bigger than they are. He’s as much a giant of the subjective as Kipling is of the objective. Do they hate one another?[7]:343

In Conrad’s time, literary critics, while usually commenting favourably on his works, often remarked that many readers were put off by his exotic style, complex narration, profound themes, and pessimistic ideas. Yet, as his ideas were borne out by ensuing 20th-century events, in due course he came to be admired for beliefs that seemed to accord more closely with subsequent times than with his own.

Conrad’s was a starkly lucid view of the human condition – a vision similar to that which had been offered in two micro-stories by his ten-years-older Polish compatriot, Bolesław Prus (whose work Conrad greatly admired):[note 26]Mold of the Earth” (1884) and “Shades” (1885). Conrad wrote:

Faith is a myth and beliefs shift like mists on the shore; thoughts vanish; words, once pronounced, die; and the memory of yesterday is as shadowy as the hope of to-morrow….

In this world – as I have known it – we are made to suffer without the shadow of a reason, of a cause or of guilt….

There is no morality, no knowledge and no hope; there is only the consciousness of ourselves which drives us about a world that… is always but a vain and fleeting appearance….

A moment, a twinkling of an eye and nothing remains – but a clod of mud, of cold mud, of dead mud cast into black space, rolling around an extinguished sun. Nothing. Neither thought, nor sound, nor soul. Nothing.[7]:166

Conrad’s friendCunninghame Graham

In a letter of late December 1897 to Cunninghame Graham, Conrad metaphorically described the universe as a huge machine:

It evolved itself (I am severely scientific) out of a chaos of scraps of iron and behold! – it knits. I am horrified at the horrible work and stand appalled. I feel it ought to embroider – but it goes on knitting. You come and say: “this is all right; it’s only a question of the right kind of oil. Let us use this – for instance – celestial oil and the machine shall embroider a most beautiful design in purple and gold.” Will it? Alas no. You cannot by any special lubrication make embroidery with a knitting machine. And the most withering thought is that the infamous thing has made itself; made itself without thought, without conscience, without foresight, without eyes, without heart. It is a tragic accident –and it has happened. You can’t interfere with it. The last drop of bitterness is in the suspicion that you can’t even smash it. In virtue of that truth one and immortal which lurks in the force that made it spring into existence it is what it is  – and it is indestructible!

It knits us in and it knits us out. It has knitted time space, pain, death, corruption, despair and all the illusions  – and nothing matters.[2]:253

Conrad is the novelist of man in extreme situations. “Those who read me,” he wrote in the preface to A Personal Record, “know my conviction that the world, the temporal world, rests on a few very simple ideas; so simple that they must be as old as the hills. It rests, notably, among others, on the idea of Fidelity.”

For Conrad fidelity is the barrier man erects against nothingness, against corruption, against the evil that is all about him, insidious, waiting to engulf him, and that in some sense is within him unacknowledged. But what happens when fidelity is submerged, the barrier broken down, and the evil without is acknowledged by the evil within? At his greatest, that is Conrad’s theme.[1]

What is the essence of Conrad’s art? It surely is not the plot, which he – like Shakespeare – often borrows from public sources and which could be duplicated by lesser authors; the plot serves merely as the vehicle for what the author has to say. A focus on plot leads to the absurdity of Charles and Mary Lamb‘s 1807 Tales from Shakespeare. Rather, Conrad’s essence is to be sought in his depiction of the world open to our senses, and in the world view that he has evolved in the course of experiencing that outer, and his own inner, world. An evocative part of that view is expressed in an August 1901 letter that Conrad wrote to the editor of The New York Times Saturday Book Review:

Egoism, which is the moving force of the world, and altruism, which is its morality, these two contradictory instincts, of which one is so plain and the other so mysterious, cannot serve us unless in the incomprehensible alliance of their irreconcilable antagonism.[2]:315 [note 27]

Language

Conrad spoke both his native Polish language and the French language fluently from childhood and only acquired English in his twenties. Why then did he choose to write his books in, effectively, his third language? He states in his preface to A Personal Record that writing in English was for him “natural”, and that the idea of his having made a deliberate choice between English and French, as some had suggested, was in error. He explained that, though he was familiar with French from childhood, “I would have been afraid to attempt expression in a language so perfectly ‘crystallized’.”[38]:iv-x In a 1915 conversation with American sculptor Jo Davidson, as he posed for his bust, in response to Davidson’s question Conrad said: “Ah… to write French you have to know it. English is so plastic—if you haven’t got a word you need you can make it, but to write French you have to be an artist like Anatole France.”[39] These statements, as so often happens in Conrad’s “autobiographical” writings, are subtly disingenuous.[2] In 1897 Conrad was paid a visit by a fellow Pole, Wincenty Lutosławski, who was intent on imploring Conrad to write in Polish and “to win Conrad for Polish literature”. Lutosławski recalls that during their