Double Lives

(Nonfiction; Random House, 2006)

Given popular culture’s current obsession with celebrity, it is inevitable that literary studies too are turning to investigations of writers as famous people whose associations and fumbles somehow illuminate their works; at worst this branch of literary criticism seems more like high-minded gossip than thoughtful reading. The history of American literature is rich with friendships between giants, fertile hunting ground for such investigations of personality and persona. In Double Lives, Richard Lingeman writes about eight sets of friends, among them Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville; Edith Wharton and Henry James; and Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Neal Cassady.

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