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Nation Topics - Biography


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Richard Schickel's biography of Elia Kazan is a laudatory
postscript to a life marked by social turmoil, political strife and
artistic intensity.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton's legacy as both an admirable revolutionary
and a profound thinker is brought to life in Vivian Gornick's The
Solitude of Self

Two new books explore the work of philosophers
Emmanuel Levinas and Martin Heidegger.

A new biography examines the life and work of composer and
theorist Olivier Messiaen, who moved French music out of the cafes and
back to the cathedrals.

Jerome Charyn's Savage Shorthand: The Life and Death of Isaac
examines the life the revolutionary idealist murdered by
Stalin in 1940 and explodes the literary myths that have thus far
defined his works.

Two new volumes in the Library of America series present the life
and work of James Agee, whose flashes of greatness as an essayist,
screenwriter, novelist and Nation film reviewer have
secured his place in the American literary canon.

Andrew Delbanco's new biography of Herman Melville reveals that the
great writer came to realize that what torments men is not the longing
to believe that there is meaning in the universe, but that behind the
longing lies fear of nothingness.

Admired from a distance and reviled up close, Laurence Olivier
could establish a relation with his audience that was like an
infection. His official biography chronicles a personal life of an
actor who altered the cultural compass of a nation.

Vincent Carretta's Equiano, the African is the complex narrative of a Carolina
slave who bought his freedom, married an English woman and published a
memoir on his life as a seafarer and gentleman.

A womanizing gospel king and black-pride pop star, Sam
Cooke led a short life filled with contradiction.


 A look back on John Lennon's New York years.

November 22, 2010