A fascinating biography of one of the most popular, colorful, and notorious American poets of our century.The legendary Southern poet James Dickey never shied away from cultivating a heroic mystique. Like Norman Mailer and Ernest Hemingway, he earned a reputation as a sportsman, boozer, war hero, and womanizer as well as a great poet, novelist, screenwriter, and essayist.A fascinating biography of one of the most popular, colorful, and notorious American poets of our century.The legendary Southern poet James Dickey never shied away from cultivating a heroic mystique. Like Norman Mailer and Ernest Hemingway, he earned a reputation as a sportsman, boozer, war hero, and womanizer as well as a great poet, novelist, screenwriter, and essayist. But James Dickey made lying both a literary strategy and a protective camouflage; even his family and closest friends failed to distinguish between the mythical James Dickey and the actual man. Henry Hart sees lying as the central theme to Dickey's life; and in this authoritative, immensely entertaining biography he delves deep behind Dickey's many masks. Letters, anecdotes, tall tales and true ones, as well as the reluctant but finally candid cooperation of Dickey himself animate Hart's narration of a remarkable life. Readers of Dickey's National Book Award-winning poetry, his bestselling novel Deliverance, and anyone who witnessed his electrifying readings of his work will savor this book....
|Title||:||James Dickey: The World as a Lie|
|Number of Pages||:||640 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
James Dickey: The World as a Lie Reviews
Dickey's first marriage, written about by his son Christopher in the dignified yet unsparing SUMMER OF DELIVERANCE, ended with the melodramatic spectacle of the author’s ill-treated wife, Maxine, drinking herself to death while Dickey swashbuckled his way across the American poetry scene. Soon after Maxine’s demise, Dickey married one of his students, Deborah, whose liking for drugs matched his taste for booze. Dickey’s first definitive biographer, Henry Hart, bluntly terms the match ”a nightmare“—the physically imposing poet was hospitalized at least twice after Deborah attacked him.It’s not surprising to learn from Hart’s exhaustive work that the poet, a Vanderbilt graduate, didn’t cotton to biographers: he doubtless feared they’d expose his falsehoods. But Hart believes, perhaps came to believe, that Dickey feared even more that the scandalous details of his life—in its ”real“ as well as fabricated versions—would allow biographers to ”do nothing but wallow in his savagery and cruelty.“Though Hart proclaims himself a proud ”Connecticut Yankee,“ certain lines of New England’s literary heritage prepare him well for the Southern Gothic territory: Hawthorne’s uncle was one of the hanging judges at the Salem witch trials, hence THE HOUSE OF SEVEN GABLES; and Melville, recently discovered to have been a wife-beater, stinted on few of life’s inescapable savageries and cruelties. Hart brought neither the former’s Yankee terseness nor the latter’s Northern wit to his subject, I initially felt. When I reached the conclusion, I wondered if Dickey’s life and work wouldn’t have been better served with a little less detail, thinking anyone’s best and worst moments, if chronicled with monotonous arrays of minutiae, quickly become almost indistinguishable, perhaps even downright dull. But I felt my conclusion somehow inadequate, and finally, finally, I realized why: Hart, a poet, co-founder of the transatlantic journal VERSE, well-regarded teacher, and distinguished scholar and critic, had brought all of his faculties, so to speak, to bear on his subject, one to which Hart would understandably be attracted because he, too, writes poems that frequently behold the natural world and its mysteries. Hart's poems also imply a firm moral center he felt to be utterly lacking in the Georgia poet's life, thus the inevitable, if unforeseeable, result was disgust. My own instincts tell me that Hart began delving into Dickey's life because he wanted to learn more about the human being that produced the art, and whatever recoil and sense of repulsion within Hart, he was too principled, perhaps, to have taken on such a complex character in the first place. His solution was neither to surrender nor to omit anything he found, good or bad. Though the other result, strangely, at least insofar as Jeffrey Meyers is concerned, is a plenitude of mistakes and inaccuracies: http://www.newcriterion.com/articles..... Furthermore, there's a caveat from Dickey's own daughter, Bronwen, a respected journalist, a trade requiring an objectivity that trumps family connections every time: "Word the wise on this one: the biography is rife with error. I wouldn't recommend it."Not being privy to the same information, I can say nothing more than those who love Dickey's poems and have difficulty separating art from its maker are well-advised to stay away from both this biography and Christopher Dickey's SUMMER OF DELIVERANCE. (a portion of this review was originally published in the NASHVILLE SCENE)
James Dickey was a first-class American poet, an impossible person, and a man who took "embroidering the truth" to new lows, or heights, depending on how you look at these things. Hart's biography leaves no stone unturned where it comes to Dickey's drinking, catting around, bullying, betrayals, the utter domestic hell of his two marriages -- one in which he caused great suffering and one in which he suffered greatly -- and his constant lies about virtually everything, from his background to his war record to his achievements. Deception was part and parcel of Dickey, who often seemed to devote his life to the idea that to be a great artist means to be a great liar.Hart becomes, however, a bit too literal-minded in his approach, such as when he starts pointing out that Dickey's fiction and poems are -- surprise! -- made up. One begins to sense a biographer with an axe to grind, and the portrait that emerges begins to seem a little on the mean-spirited side. For the time being, I guess this is definitive, but it just doesn't feel like the whole picture.
best biography, best insight into the life of a writer/poet.
If I could give this book negative stars, I would. I detested the style the biography was written in. It appeared that Hart wanted to show just how much James Dickey information he could pile into one place without really bothering about an order. The book pretends it will be chronological by starting with Dickey's formative years and progressing until his death, but the author jumps around so often between events happening, happened, and will happen that it seems quite thrown together. Also, who edited this book? Seriously. I can summarize the entire book in a few sentences: James Dickey lied a lot, drank a lot, wrote a smattering of poetry some of it good... some of it 'meh'. He was a racist, a sexist, and a sadomasochist... but charmed a lot of people.
It's always a bit of a let down to discover some of the not quite so attractive features of someone whose work I so greatly admired, but Dickey's talent withstood the assault of reality, even made him seem more human at times. I came away impressed with the book's tale. I think it was an honest look into a different kind of man's world.
A hatchet job. Hart runs after every bit of bad behavior he cat track down and somehow never gets around to disucssing Dickey's poetry. Useful only for the sheer amount of raw data. Hopefully, someone with real insights into the poetry will undertake a biography one day.