Conversations with Ernest Gaines.John Lowe This article is about the darts player. For other uses, see John Lowe (disambiguation).
John Lowe (born in New Tupton, Derbyshire on 21 July 1945) was one of the main competitors who made darts such a huge spectator sport in the 1970s and 1980s. , ed. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 1995. 354 pp. $15.95.
Valerie Babb Georgetown University Georgetown University, in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C.; Jesuit; coeducational; founded 1789 by John Carroll, chartered 1815, inc. 1844. Its law and medical schools are noteworthy, and its archives are especially rich in letters and manuscripts by and
Devotees of Ernest Gaines Ernest J. Gaines (b. January 15, 1933), a prominent African-American fiction writer, is a writer-in-residence at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. His 1993 novel, A Lesson Before Dying will no doubt welcome John Lowe's collection Conversations with Ernest Gaines. They will be pleasantly reminded of familiar reflections and treated to the new insights of a remarkable writer. Readers unfamiliar with his work will encounter a classic, yet always fresh, literary voice. Underlying the collection's premise is a fact both sets of readers will come to realize that Gaines is a shockingly underrated writer, a situation Lowe's work hopes to correct.
Lowe opens his introduction with an anecdote that captures the essence of Ernest Gaines's fiction. He notes that a recent Chronicle of Higher Education higher education
Study beyond the level of secondary education. Institutions of higher education include not only colleges and universities but also professional schools in such fields as law, theology, medicine, business, music, and art. review of Gaines's latest novel, A Lesson Before Dying (1993), "trumpeted the ascent of a 'new star' on the literary horizon." Those who have enjoyed Gaines's opus over the last thirty years will no doubt find this amusing, but in this assessment is a hint of the "always seeming new" that gives his work an eternally relevant quality. While a notable consistency in themes and setting is evident within the body of his writing, in novel ways this talented writer consistently re-envisions and reworks the material that inspires him. Lowe's collection includes interviews beginning at the end of the 1960s and continuing to the present, some of which offer commentary on Ernest Gaines's craft. The best commentary is Gaines's own, however, as he assesses his art.
Gaines is a writer deeply steeped in place, and readers will come away from Lowe's work realizing that Louisiana is central to Gaines's artistic vision. The importance of the Pointe pointe
In ballet, dancing that is performed on the tips of the toes.
[From French pointe (des pieds), point (of the feet), tiptoe; see point.] Coupee Parish to his writer's imagination is manifest throughout. In a 1974 conversation with Margaret R. Knight, "He Must Return to the South," Gaines observes, "I have to come back to the South again. . . . I must go back to the plantation where I was born and raised. I have to touch, I have to be, you melt into things and you let them melt into you . . . the trees, the rivers, the bayous, the language, the sounds." Gaines's physical and psychic return to Louisiana represents more than nostalgia. For an author keenly interested in how traditions of the past continue to influence the present, Louisiana and its legacies provide a rich area for exploring "the changing same."
While the past is so important to Ernest Gaines, throughout this collection a reader cannot help but note how forward-thinking a writer he is. In "On the Verge On the Verge (or The Geography of Yearning) is a play written by Eric Overmyer. It makes extensive use of esoteric language and pop culture references from the late nineteenth century to 1955. ," a 1973 interview conducted by Forrest Ingram and Barbara Steinberg, he discusses challenges still faced by African American African American Multiculture A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. See Race. males in the 1990s; a 1983 interview with Mary Ellen Doyle, "Other Things to Write About," considers the still-current constrictions placed on African American creators by issues of racial representation. These earlier remarks are complemented by more recent interviews in which Gaines engages topics as varied as the oral tradition in literature and the transformation of his stories into the medium of film. The overall effect is to give the reader an appreciation of the depth and scope of his thinking. He emerges as a writer clearly immersed in and inspired by the world around him.
Later interviews deepen the portrait of this skilled writer. Whereas previous exchanges cite Faulkner, Tolstoy, and Hemingway as influences, a 1994 conversation with John Lowe, for example, reveals Jean Toomer Jean Toomer (December 26, 1894–March 30, 1967) was an American poet and novelist and an important figure of the Harlem Renaissance. Biography
Born Nathan Pinchback Toomer in Washington, D.C. as another literary influence. Given the importance of land and place to the creation of Toomer's Cane, such a connection seems natural and affirms what many readers have long intuited. Later conversations also flesh out Gaines's writing process. Past interviews touch briefly on his works-in-progress, but a discussion with William Parrill affords readers a detailed depiction of his last novel, A Lesson Before Dying, taking shape. If there is a drawback to the numerous interviews assembled in this collection, it is that most of them cover Gaines's early works, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Catherine Carmier, and Of Love and Dust, and too few are devoted to Gaines's later visions of himself as a writer. Some readers might also wish for a firmer editorial hand in selecting interviews to reduce oft-repeated references to subjects such as the inspiration of Louisiana CODE, OF LOUISIANA. In 1822, Peter Derbigny, Edward Livingston, and Moreau Lislet, were selected by the legislature to revise and amend the civil code, and to add to it such laws still in force as were not included therein. , the literary influence of Faulkner and Hemingway, and Gaines's reaction to televised versions of his works.
Overall, Lowe's book is a welcome treasury of Gaines's ideas on culture and the art of fiction. Its creation should negate what Lowe sees as the critical neglect of Gaines's work in an "age that dotes on the pyrotechnical py·ro·tech·nic also py·ro·tech·ni·cal
1. Of or relating to fireworks.
2. pyrotechnic Resembling fireworks; brilliant: a pyrotechnic wit; pyrotechnic keyboard virtuosity. stylistic experimentation of Reed, Baraka, Coover, DeLillo, and Morrison." Lowe's implied cynicism may be precipitous, however. Critiques of racial essentialism essentialism
In ontology, the view that some properties of objects are essential to them. The “essence” of a thing is conceived as the totality of its essential properties. are many, and there is increased scholarly emphasis on finding voice and telling story, two elements that imbue im·bue
tr.v. im·bued, im·bu·ing, im·bues
1. To inspire or influence thoroughly; pervade: work imbued with the revolutionary spirit. See Synonyms at charge.
2. Gaines's works with their own unique pyrotechnics pyrotechnics (pī'rōtĕk`nĭks, pī'rə–), technology of making and using fireworks. Gunpowder was used in fireworks by the Chinese as early as the 9th cent. . With greater appreciation of how small details make great fiction, it seems our critical age is indeed ready to appreciate the fiction of Ernest Gaines.