Friday, April 15, 2011

Special edition of Hyperion on James Purdy

Many thanks to Rainer, who left a comment on one of my reviews of a James Purdy novel, alerting to me the special edition of Hyperion Writers' Journal dedicated to Purdy. This is a fantastic resource. I've only dipped into some of the papers included, and I'm looking forward to reading them all in detail.

The more I think about Purdy (and I do, frequently, his writing keeps coming back to me), the more I think he is a neglected genius. When I'm done with my PhD I aim to make a fuller study of his work, and I'm really pleased that the Nietzsche Circle, publishers of Hyperion, have produced this special edition.

It is also a wonderful website, and as an amateur dabbler in Nietzsche, I'm much looking forward to browsing further.


Rainer said...

Thanks for the highlight, Tom, and for expressing such admiration for our site. It's much appreciated.

One thing I tried to point out in my intro to the issue is that, while Purdy is in part neglected, that neglect seems to be largely limited to America, although Purdy has had his accolades here too. That aspect of his history had to be recounted, but what I think we see with the translations of his work, all of which were done almost immediately upon their original publication, is that in Europe Purdy's reputation is rather firmly established. The writers and artists from Europe I know all know who Purdy is, and his books remain in print there, thus if we expand our thinking on Purdy and reflect on him more from a global perspective, we can move beyond the rhetoric of neglect, which is what is really necessary. I myself submitted to it, and Purdy continued to reiterate such rhetoric, but I think we must question it in part for the musical and other adaptations of his work also reveal that in fact, Purdy sustained a rather continuous presence around the world.

Rainer said...

O, and here's a pdf of the entire issue, which contains the dedication to Jan Erik Bouman, one of Purdy's European champions and the printer and publisher of many collector's editions of his plays, short stories, and poems:

If anyone is interested in purchasing one of those editions (they are exquisite), see the ad from the publisher in the beginning of the issue.

Tom Conoboy said...

Hmm, I think Nathanael West is another one whose reputation is better on this side of the Atlantic than in America.

And, of the more recent crop, Percival Everett is another one, I think.

All of them satirical writers. I'm not sure if that's coincidental?

Thanks for the added info. Hope the journal is proving popular.