The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates Summary and Reviews

The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates

1973-1982

by Joyce Carol Oates

The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2007
    528 pages
    Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

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Book Summary

On New Year's Day, 1973, Joyce Carol Oates began keeping a journal that she maintains to this present day. When the journals began, 34–year–old Oates was already a recipient of the National Book Award (1969), with many O. Henry awards, and others, under her literary belt. For all her warm critical reception, however, the author had been (and would remain) fairly reticent about the personal details of her life and background.

Housed in her archive at Syracuse University, the journals run to more than 5,000 single–spaced typewritten pages. This volume focuses on excerpts from that first decade, 1973–1983, one of the most productive of Oates's long career. Far more than a daily account of her writing life, the journals offer a candid discussion of Oates' many friendships with other well–known writers –– Philip Roth, Anne Sexton, John Updike, and many others; she describes her teaching, her relationship to the natural world, her family, her vast reading, her critics, her travels, and other topics central to her life during this time.

What emerges is a fascinating portrait of the artist as a young woman, fully engaged with her world and her culture, a writer who paradoxically fancied herself "invisible" but who was quickly becoming one of the most respected, discussed, and controversial figures in American letters.

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Media Reviews

'Starred Review. [T]his journal immerses the reader in a complex, searching, imaginative personality—an artist who continues to refine her search for literary expression." - PW.

"'Love. Friendship. Art. Work. These are my values,' Oates says. Watching her juggle them in these replete pages is a stimulating experience. " - Kirkus.

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Author Information

Joyce Carol Oates Author Biography

Photo by Marion Ettlinger

Joyce Carol Oates was born in Lockport, New York, in 1938 and grew up on the family farm where she developed a love of literature and writing. She earned a scholarship to Syracuse University and graduated valedictorian. She then took a masters degree, after which she started teaching at the University of Detroit where she met her first husband Raymond J Smith. In the late '60s, they moved to the University of Windsor in Canada, where they were co-editors of the literary quaterly publication The Ontario Review. In the late 1970s she took a teaching position at Princeton University where she is currently the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities.

She published her first book in 1963, and has published over 40 ...

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