Item description for Dawn Powell: Novels 1944-1962 (Library of America) by Dawn Powell & Tim Page...
"Wittier than Dorothy Parker, dissects the rich better than F. Scott Fitzgerald, is more plaintive than Willa Cather in her evocation of the heartland and has a more supple control of satirical voice than Evelyn Waugh, the writer to whom she's most often compared." (Lisa Zeidner, The New York Times)
For decades after her death, Dawn Powell's work was out of print, cherished by a small band of admirers. Only recently has there been renewed awareness of the novelist who was such a vital presence in literary Greenwich Village from the 1920s to the 1960s.
Dawn Powell was the tirelessly observant chronicler of two very different worlds: the small-town Ohio of her childhood and the sophisticated Manhattan to which she gravitated. If her Ohio novels are more melancholy and compassionate in their depiction of often-frustrated lives, her Manhattan novels, with their cast of writers, show people, businessmen, and hustling hangers-on, are more exuberant and incisive. But all show rich characterization and a flair for the gist of social complexities. A playful satirist, an unsentimental observer of failed hopes and misguided longings, Dawn Powell is a literary rediscovery of rare importance.
Edited by Tim Page.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1.25" Width: 5.25" Height: 8.25" Weight: 1.4 lbs.
Release Date Sep 10, 2001
Publisher Library of America
ISBN 1931082022 ISBN13 9781931082020
Availability 0 units.
More About Dawn Powell & Tim Page
DAWN POWELL, who died in 1965, was the author of fifteen novels.
Reviews - What do customers think about Dawn Powell: Novels 1944-1962 (Library of America)?
An American Novelist Attains Stature (II) Feb 26, 2003
This book is the second volume of the Library of America's compilation of the novels of Dawn Powell (1896 - 1965), a writer whose works have attained deserved if belated recognition. The first volume included five novels of Dawn Powell written between 1930 and 1942. This, the second, volume includes four of Powell's novels written between 1944 and 1965.
Powell's earlier novels generally are set in small-town Ohio in the early 20th Century. They have as themes what Powell saw as the conformity and frustration, sexual and otherwise, of small-town life. The main characters in these books, typically young people, long to escape to make a new life for themselves in the city. The latter novels are, for the most part, set in New York City where Powell lived most of her adult life. The novels are comic and satirical, sometimes sharply so. They reflect loss of innocence and love and, on occasion, fall into cynicism.
The first volume of the Library of America compilation included two early Ohio novels, "Dance Night' and "Come Back to Sorrento" and three novels reflecting Powell's change in style and theme and set in New York City, "Turn, Magic Wheel', "Angels on Toast", and "A Time to be Born."
The second volume opens with a novel in which Dawn Powell returned to the setting of small-town Ohio. The book, "My Home is Far Away" (1944), is a fictionalized account of Powell's early unhappy childhood. The book offers a poignant picture of the death of Powell's mother and of her father's remarriage to a cruel and jealous stepmother. There are excellent scenes of the family wandering through cramped Ohio towns and small dusty hotels and back neighborhoods. The father himself is portrayed as a travelling salesman who generally behaves carelessly and irresponsibly to his three daughters. Powell initially planned this book as the first of a trilogy. This project did not materialze.
In the next book in the collection, "The Locusts have no King"(1948), Powell returned to sharp satire and to New York City. The book is set after the conclusion of WW II and includes a memorable passage of reflection at the end on the United States atomic testing program at Bikini Atoll. The book contrasts the life of serious, scholarly writing and its difficulty with the life of superficial magazine publishing devoted to economic success and to popular culture. There is also a love story, serious to the participants, in which the main character of the book, a serious if unsuccessful scholar, becomes infatuated with a shallow, sexy blonde. This book reminded me of George Gissing's Victorian novel of the literary life, "New Grub Street" as well as of West's "Day of the Locust", which has some of the same themes and the same dark humor as does Powell's book.
Powell wrote "The Wicked Pavilion" in 1954. Unlike most of Powell's works, the book appeared on the best-seller lists for a very brief time. The book is set in New York City in the late 1940s and celebrates, if that is the word, a bar called "The Cafe Julien", located in Grenwich Village, and its patrons. The book is full of would-be artists without talent, unhappy lovers, and people on the lookout for the main chance. It is sharp, astringent satire very close to disillusion. The book is well and convincingly written.
Powell's final novel, and the last in this collection, "The Golden Spur" (1962) was nominated for the National Book Award. As does its predecessor, this novel centers around a drinking establishment which gives the book its title and its patrons. This book also is set in Grenwich Village in the 1950's and records novelistically the passing of an era. This novel, as are some of Powell's earlier works, is a coming-of-age story which tells the story of a young man who comes to New York City from Ohio to learn the identity of his father. In the process, the young man learns about himself as well. This book is impressive less for its story line than for the beautiful writing style Powell achieved in this, her last novel. The book is deliberately light in tone, and I think it ranks with Powell's best.
Dawn Powell produced a substantial body of excellent work describing the places and lives (primarily her own) with which she was familiar. The qualities of growing up, coming-of age, searching and frustration, and the loss of innocence are all well portrayed. The descriptions of New York City, in particular, are themselves irreplaceable. Those readers who enjoy the pleasure of discovering a previously little-known writer will enjoy the novels of Dawn Powell.
A great find! Nov 19, 2002
I jut read Wicked Pavilion and found it to be so very, very well written, funny, ironic and poignant. She is really a master and a great revealer of a certain part of American life that is hardly ever heard from - postwar NY artists & socialites. Wow! I love Dawn Powell and intend to read all her works.
Satiric, witty, sharply written and observant fiction Oct 15, 2001
An author of immense popularity, Dawn Powell (1896-1965) wrote satiric, witty, sharply written and observant fiction that went out of print following her death. Then in the early 1990s a renewed awareness of this major literary figure saw the reissuing of her work, only to have it fall back into obscurity once again. Now The Library Of America has brought her work back into print again and in a format that will insure that her fiction will continue to be available to both scholarship and the general reading public for decades to come. Volume 1: Novels 1930-1942 includes Dance Night; Come Back to Sorrento; Turn, Magic Wheel; Angels on Toast; and A Time To be Born. Volume 2: Novels 1944-1962 features My Home Is Far Away; The Locusts Have No King; The Wicked Pavilion; and The Golden Spur. Dawn Powell: Volumes 1 & 2 is a very highly recommended addition to both academic and community library literary fiction collections.