Library of America

  • For the 150th anniversary, Harold Holzer (The Civil War in 150 Objects) presents an unprecedented firsthand chronicle of one of the most pivotal moments in American history. On April 14, 1865, Good Friday, the Civil War claimed its ultimate sacrifice. President Lincoln Assassinated!! recaptures the dramatic immediacy of Lincoln's assassination, the hunt for the conspirators and their military trial, and the nation's mourning for the martyred president. The fateful story is told in more than eighty original documents--eyewitness reports, medical records, trial transcripts, newspaper articles, speeches, letters, diary entries, and poems--by more than seventy-five participants and observers, including the assassin John Wilkes Booth and Boston Corbett, the soldier who shot him. Courtroom testimony exposes the intricacies of the plot to kill the president; eulogies by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wendell Phillips, and Benjamin Disraeli and poetry by Walt Whitman, Herman Melville and Julia Ward Howe give eloquent voice to grief; two emotional speeches by Frederick Douglass--one of them never before published--reveal his evolving perspective on Lincoln's legacy. Together these voices combine to reveal the full panorama of one the most shocking and tragic events in our history.

  • For the first time, the best work of a distinctive master of American noir is available in authoritative e-book editions from The Library of America. In Street of No Return (1954), David Goodis presents a skid row odyssey in which a famous crooner scarred by violence descends into dereliction. From its opening in the freezing wind of a November street corner through its explosive ending, it is imbued with Goodis’s deep identification with “the unchartered society of the homeless and the hopeless.” Other David Goodis novels available as Library of America E-Book Classics include: Nightfall, Dark Passage, The Moon in the Gutter, and The Burglar.

  • For the first time, the best work of a distinctive master of American noir is available in authoritative e-book editions from The Library of America. The Moon in the Gutter (1953) is one of David Goodis’s many tours of the down-and-out neighborhoods of his native city of Philadelphia. William Kerrigan’s pursuit of the riddle of his sister’s death in an obscure alleyway provides the starting point for a tortuous journey into “the darkness of all lost dreams.” Other David Goodis novels available as Library of America E-Book Classics include: Nightfall, Dark Passage, The Burglar, and Street of No Return.

  • Anglais The Burglar

    David Goodis

    For the first time, the best work of a distinctive master of American noir is available in authoritative e-book editions from The Library of America. In The Burglar (1953), first published like all his later novels as a paperback original, David Goodis explores his characteristic notion of the criminal gang as surrogate family, wracked by thwarted aspirations and contradictory desires. Other David Goodis novels available as Library of America E-Book Classics include: Nightfall, Dark Passage, The Moon in the Gutter, and Street of No Return.

  • Anglais Nightfall

    David Goodis

    For the first time, the best work of a distinctive master of American noir is available in authoritative e-book editions from The Library of America. In Nightfall (1947), David Goodis explores the theme of the innocent pursued, as artist Jim Vanning becomes accidentally embroiled in a violent robbery and must evade criminals and police alike. Other David Goodis novels available as Library of America E-Book Classics include: Dark Passage, The Burglar, The Moon in the Gutter, and Street of No Return.

  • For the first time, the best work of a distinctive master of American noir is available in authoritative e-book editions from The Library of America. David Goodis experienced a brief celebrity when his novel Dark Passage (1946) became the basis for a popular movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. The story of a man railroaded for his wife’s murder and forced to assume a different identity after escaping from prison becomes in Goodis’s hands a lyrical evocation of urban fear and loneliness. Other David Goodis novels available as Library of America E-Book Classics include: Nightfall, The Burglar, The Moon in the Gutter, and Street of No Return.

  • From 1915 to 1928, at the beginning of a career that would see him become America’s foremost theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr served as pastor of Bethel Evangelical Church in Detroit, Michigan. This deeply personal book presents his advice and insights for young ministers about the challenges and rewards of pastoral ministry. It is presented in this exclusive Library of America E-Book Classic edition with a preface by Niebuhr's daughter, editor Elisabeth Sifton, plus a chronology of Niebuhr's life and detailed notes.

  • A definitive collection of the theologian and public intellectual who was the conscience of the American Century. "One of my favorite philosophers," remarked Barack Obama about the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) in 2007. President Obama is but one of the many American political leaders--including Jimmy Carter and Martin Luther King Jr.--to be influenced by Niebuhr's writings. Throughout the Depression, World War II, and the Cold War, Niebuhr was one of the most prominent public voices of his time, probing with singular style the question of how to act morally in a fallen world. This Library of America volume, prepared by Niebuhr's daughter, Elisabeth Sifton, collects four indispensable books: Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic (1929), Moral Man and Immoral Society (1932), The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness (1944), and The Irony of American History (1952), along with a selection of essays, sermons, lectures, prayers, including his world-famous Serenity Prayer, and writings on current events--Prohibition, the Allied bombing of Germany, apartheid in South Africa, the Vietnam War--many of which are collected here for the first time.

  • “The history of Shakespeare in America,” writes James Shapiro in his introduction to this groundbreaking anthology, “is also the history of America itself.” Shakespeare was a central, inescapable part of America’s literary inheritance, and a prism through which crucial American issues--revolution, slavery, war, social justice--were refracted and understood. In tracing the many surprising forms this influence took, Shapiro draws on many genres--poetry, fiction, essays, plays, memoirs, songs, speeches, letters, movie reviews, comedy routines--and on a remarkable range of American writers from Emerson, Melville, Lincoln, and Mark Twain to James Agee, John Berryman, Pauline Kael, and Cynthia Ozick. Americans of the revolutionary era ponder the question “to sign or not to sign;” Othello becomes the focal point of debates on race; the Astor Place riots, set off by a production of Macbeth, attest to the violent energies aroused by theatrical controversies; Jane Addams finds in King Lear a metaphor for American struggles between capital and labor. Orson Welles revolutionizes approaches to Shakespeare with his legendary productions of Macbeth and Julius Caesar; American actors from Charlotte Cushman and Ira Aldridge to John Barrymore, Paul Robeson, and Marlon Brando reimagine Shakespeare for each new era. The rich and tangled story of how Americans made Shakespeare their own is a literary and historical revelation. As a special feature, the book includes a foreword by Bill Clinton, among the latest in a long line of American presidents, including John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Abraham Lincoln, who, as the collection demonstrates, have turned to Shakespeare’s plays for inspiration.

  • Published in 1873, this autobiographical novel has been called the adult Little Women. It follows the semi-autobiographical story of an orphan named Christie Devon, who, having turned twenty-one, announces “a new Declaration of Independence” and leaves her uncle’s house in order to pursue economic self-sufficiency and to find fulfillment in her profession. Against the backdrop of the Civil War years, Christie works as a servant, actress, governess, companion, seamstress, and army nurse--all jobs that Alcott knew from personal experience--exposing the often insidious ways in which the employments conventionally available to women constrain their self-determination. Alcott’s most overtly feminist novel, Work breaks new ground in the literary representation of women, as its heroine pushes at the boundaries of nineteenth-century expectations and assumptions. The novel is supplemented here with all the usual Library of America features, plus a conversation with editor Susan Cheever, and a reading group guide.

  • On March 19, 2013, a distinguished group of writers and critics gathered at the Newark Museum’s Billy Johnson Auditorium in Newark, New Jersey, to celebrate the extraordinary career and lasting literary legacy of Philip Roth on the occasion of his 80th birthday. This keepsake volume gathers remarks from the evening’s speakers, a fitting tribute to the only living novelist whose work is collected in the Library of America series. Here you’ll find Jonathan Lethem, hilariously recounting his first consciousness-raising encounter with Roth’s work through the Kafkaesque novel The Breast; Hermione Lee, tracing the Shakespearian themes in Roth’s books, from Portnoy’s Complaint to The Humbling; Alain Finkielkraut, offering a deep reading of Roth’s final novel, Nemesis; Claudia Roth Pierpont, assessing Roth’s portrayal of women in such books as Sabbath’s Theater and The Human Stain; Edna O’Brien, recalling her long friendship with Roth; and the author himself, offering a quintessentially Rothian valediction.

  • The classic trilogy, in a hardcover collector's edition complete with the original illustrations. From the incidents of her own remarkable childhood, Louisa May Alcott fashioned a trilogy of novels that catapulted her to fame and fortune and that remain among the most beloved works in all of American literature. Here, in an authoritative single-volume edition, is the complete series. In Little Women, set in New England during the Civil War, Alcott introduces the unforgettable March sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. Little Men follows Jo, now married, into adulthood, as she finds herself the caretaker of a houseful of rambunctious children at Plumfield School. Jo's Boys returns to Plumfield a decade later; now grown, Jo's children recount adventures of their own.

  • Gwendolyn Brooks was one of the most accomplished and acclaimed poets of the last century, the first black author to win the Pulitzer Prize and the first black woman to serve as poetry consultant to the Library of Congress--the forerunner of the U.S. Poet Laureate. Here, in an exclusive Library of America E-Book Classic edition, is her groundbreaking first book of poems, a searing portrait of Chicago’s South Side. “I wrote about what I saw and heard in the street,” she later said. “There was my material.”

  • Experience the creative explosion that transformed American art, in the words of the artists, writers, and critics who were there: In the quarter century after the end of World War II, a new generation of painters, sculptors, and photographers transformed the face of American art and shifted the center of the art world from Paris to New York. Signaled by the triumph of abstraction and the ascendancy of painters such as Pollock, Rothko, de Kooning, and Kline, this revolution generated an exuberant and contentious body of writing without parallel in our cultural history. In the words of editor Jed Perl, "there has never been a period when the visual arts have been written about with more mongrel energy--with more unexpected mixtures of reportage, rhapsody, analysis, advocacy, editorializing, and philosophy." Perl has gathered the best of this writing together for the first time, interwoven with fascinating headnotes that establish the historical background, the outsized personalities of the artists and critics, and the nature of the aesthetic battles that defined the era. Here are statements by the most significant artists, and major critical essays by Clement Greenberg, Susan Sontag, Hilton Kramer, and other influential figures. Here too is an electrifying array of responses by poets and novelists, reflecting the free interplay between different art forms: John Ashbery on Andy Warhol, James Agee on Helen Levitt, James Baldwin on Beauford Delaney, Truman Capote on Richard Avedon, Tennessee Williams on Hans Hofmann, Jack Kerouac on Robert Frank. The atmosphere of the time comes to vivid life in memoirs, diaries, and journalism by Peggy Guggenheim, Dwight Macdonald, Calvin Tomkins, and others. Lavishly illustrated with scores of black-and-white images and a 32-page color insert, this is a book that every art lover will treasure.

  • Revisit the Golden Age of classical music in America through the witty and adventurous reviews of our greatest critic-composer: For fourteen memorable years Virgil Thomson surveyed the worlds of opera and classical music as the chief music critic for the New York Herald Tribune. An accomplished composer who knew music from the inside, Thomson communicated its pleasures and complexities to a wide readership in a hugely entertaining, authoritative style, and his daily reviews and Sunday articles set a high-water mark in American cultural journalism. Thomson collected his newspaper columns in four volumes: The Musical Scene, The Art of Judging Music, Music Right and Left, and Music Reviewed. All are gathered here, together with a generous selection of Thomson's uncollected writings. The result is a singular chronicle of a magical time when an unrivaled roster of great conductors (Koussevitzky, Toscanini, Beecham, Stokowski) and legendary performers (Horowitz, Rubinstein, Heifetz, Stern) presented new masters (Copland, Stravinsky, Britten, Bernstein) and re-introduced the classics to a rapt American audience.

  • An All-Pro line-up of writers including Red Smith, Frank Deford, Jimmy Breslin, George Plimpton, Richard Price, Charles Pierce, Michael Lewis, and Roy Blount Jr tackle our most popular pastime: Since football's meteoric rise in the mid-twentieth century, the standout writers on the sport have gone behind and beyond the spectacle to reveal the complexity, the contradictions, and the deeper humanity at the heart of the game. Now, in a landmark collection, The Library of America brings together the very best of their work: gems of deadline reportage, incisive longform profiles of football's storied figures, and autobiographical accounts by players and others close to the game. Celebrating the sport without shying away from its sometimes devastating personal and social costs, the forty-four pieces gathered here testify to football's boundless capacity to generate outsized characters and memorable tales.

  • Pioneering feminist novels and rare stories from the author of Little Women: After the success of her beloved masterpiece Little Women, Louisa May Alcott brought her genius for characterization and eye for detail to a series of revolutionary novels and stories that are remarkable in their forthright assertion of women's rights. This second volume of The Library of America's Alcott edition gathers these works for the first time, revealing a fascinating and inspiring dimension of a classic American writer. The first of a trio of novels written over a fruitful three-year period, Work: A Story of Experience (1873) has been called the adult Little Women. It follows the semi-autobiographical story of an orphan named Christie Devon, who, having turned twenty-one, announces "a new Declaration of Independence" and leaves her uncle's house in order to pursue economic self-sufficiency and to find fulfillment in her profession. Against the backdrop of the Civil War years, Christie works as a servant, actress, governess, companion, seamstress, and army nurse--all jobs that Alcott knew from personal experience--exposing the often insidious ways in which the employments conventionally available to women constrain their selfdetermination. Alcott's most overtly feminist novel, Work breaks new ground in the literary representation of women, as its heroine pushes at the boundaries of nineteenth-century expectations and assumptions. Eight Cousins (1875) concerns the education of Rose Campbell, another orphan who, in her delicate nature and frail health, seems to embody many of the stereotypes of girlhood that shaped Alcott's world. But with the benefit of an unorthodox, progressive education (one informed by the theories of Alcott's transcendentalist father Bronson Alcott) and the good and bad examples of her many crisply drawn relations-- especially her seven boy cousins--Rose regains her health and envisions a career both as a wife and mother and as a philanthropist. Further advancing Alcott's passionate advocacy of women's rights, Rose insists that she will manage her own fortune rather than find a husband to do it for her. This Library of America edition includes several noteworthy features. All three novels are presented with beautifully restored line art from the original editions and are supplemented by seven hard-to-find stories and public letters (two restored to print for the first time in more than a century), an authoritative chronology of Alcott's life, and notes identifying her allusions, quotations, and the autobiographical episodes in her fiction.

  • Samuel Menashe (1925-2011) was the first recipient of The Poetry Foundation's Neglected Masters Prize in 2004 and this volume was published in conjunction with that award. Born in New York City, Menashe practiced his art of "compression and crystallization" (in Derek Mahon's phrase) in poems that are brief in form but startlingly wide-ranging and profound in their engagement with ultimate questions. Dana Gioia has written: "Menashe is essentially a religious poet, though one without an orthodox creed. Nearly every poem he has ever published radiates a heightened religious awareness." Intensely musical and rigorously constructed, Menashe's poetry stands apart in its solitary meditative power. But it is equally a poetry of the everyday, suffused, in the words of Christopher Ricks, with "the courage of comedy, flanked by the respect of innocence." The humblest of objects, the minutest of natural forms here become powerfully suggestive, and even the shortest of the poems are spacious in the perspectives they open.

  • The most comprehensive one-volume selection of Jefferson ever published. Contains the "Autobiography," "Notes on the State of Virginia," public and private papers, including the original and revised drafts of the Declaration of Independence, addresses, and 287 letters.

  • This first volume of The Library of America's three-volume edition of the complete prose works of Herman Melville includes three romances of the South Seas. Typee and Omoo, based on the young Melville's experiences on a whaling ship, are exuberant accounts of the idyllic life among the "cannibals" in Polynesia. They remained his most popular works well into the 20th century. Mardi("the world" in Polynesian) is a mixture of love story, adventure, and political allegory, set on a mythical Pacific island, that looks forward to the complexities of Moby-Dick. Together, these three romances give early evidence of the genius and daring that make Melville the master novelist of the sea and a precursor of modernist literature. Two companion volumes--Herman Melville: Redburn, White-Jacket, Moby-Dick and Herman Melville: Pierre, Israel Potter, The Piazza Tales, The Confidence Man, Uncollected Prose, and Billy Budd complete this edition of Melville's prose.

  • In a lifetime of exploration, writing, and passionate political activism, John Muir became America's most eloquent spokesman for the mystery and majesty of the wilderness. A crucial figure in the creation of our national parks system and a far-seeing prophet of environmental awareness who founded the Sierra Club in 1892, he was also a master of natural description who evoked with unique power and intimacy the untrammeled landscapes of the American West. The Library of America's Nature Writings collects his most significant and best-loved works in a single volume, including: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth (1913), My First Summer in the Sierra (1911), The Mountains of California (1894) and Stickeen (1909). Rounding out the volume is a rich selection of essays--including "Yosemite Glaciers," "God's First Temples," "Snow-Storm on Mount Shasta," "The American Forests," and the late appeal "Save the Redwoods"--highlighting various aspects of his career: his exploration of the Grand Canyon and of what became Yosemite and Yellowstone national parks, his successful crusades to preserve the wilderness, his early walking tour to Florida, and the Alaska journey of 1879.

  • This Library of America book, with its companion volume, is the most comprehensive collection ever published of Mark Twain's short writings -- the incomparable stories, sketches, burlesques, hoaxes, tall tales, speeches, satires, and maxims of America's greatest humorist. Arranged chronologically and containing many pieces restored to the form in which Twain intended them to appear, the volumes show with unprecedented clarity the literary evolution of Mark Twain over six decades of his career.
    The nearly two hundred separate items in this volume cover the years from 1852 to 1890. As a riverboat pilot, Confederate irregular, silver miner, frontier journalist, and publisher, Twain witnessed the tragicomic beginning of the Civil War in Missouri, the frenzied opening of the West, and the feverish corruption, avarice, and ambition of the Reconstruction era. He wrote about political bosses, jumping frogs, robber barons, cats, women's suffrage, temperance, petrified men, the bicycle, the Franco-Prussian War, the telephone, the income tax, the insanity defense, injudicious swearing, and the advisability of political candidates preemptively telling the worst about themselves before others get around to it.
    Among the stories included here are "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog," which won him instant fame when published in 1865, "Cannibalism in the Cars," "The Invalid's Story," and the charming "A Cat's Tale," written for his daughters' private amusement. This volume also presents several of his famous and successful speeches and toasts, such as "Woman -- God Bless Her," "The Babies," and "Advice to Youth." Such writings brought Twain immense success on the public lecture and banquet circuit, as did his controversial "Whittier Birthday Speech," which portrayed Boston's most revered men of letters as a band of desperadoes.

  • Incomparable in their dramatic clarity and emotional force, the nine gems in this 1944 collection, now available in an exclusive Library of America e-book edition, affirm Katherine Anne Porter’s genius for writing stories, as Eudora Welty observed, “with a power that stamps them to their very last detail on the memory.”

  • Published in 1939, this landmark collection of three short novels, now available in an exclusive Library of America e-book edition, elevated Katherine Anne Porter, in the words of one contemporary reviewer, “into the illustrious company headed by Hawthorne, Flaubert, and Henry James.”

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