Zenosbooks

(03/24/2015) The Manner Music by Charles Reznikoff. Santa Barbara. 1977. Black Sparrow Press. 133 pages. hardcover. 0876853254

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   FROM THE INTRODUCTION by Robert Creeley - A story is an extraordinary human possibility, and people have been making use of its resources no doubt since time, like they say, began. There are, of course, many stories, and many ways of telling each story—many, many variations and points of view and opinions as to what, after all, was the point. What happened? Well, it was like this. .. So the story begins, or might, to tell what happened , or might have happened, or didn't. One had not known, sadly, that Charles Reznikoff wrote novels. That a man should have such quiet and singular genius so modestly put aside (by himself) is regrettable. So much does shout at us, belligerently claiming attention for its style or its intelligence or its newness, that a story such as this one, so shyly assertive of what it so truly knows, is, humanly, such deep relief and reassurance—that one of us can care. The circumstances involved with its writing are briefly summarized by its present publisher, John Martin, as follows: ‘I have recently gone through Charles Reznikoff's lifetime accumulation of manuscript, and was thunderstruck to find a carefully typed, completed novel, which he apparently never mentioned to anyone, or submitted for publication. It was, I think, composed in the early 1950's and is called ‘The Manner Music .’ It is autobiographical, with one character, the narrator of the story, representing an aspect of Charles himself—the Charles who worked as a drummer, selling ladies' hats, who was disillusioned at trying to find the leisure to write, at getting his poetry accepted, etc. The protagonist of the novel, called Jude Dalsimer, is the Charles who never doubted his worth as a poet and who was determined to live out this destiny regardless of circumstance. A third character in the story, called Paul Pasha, is a portrait of Charles' most faithful friend for many years, who was a successful motion picture producer. I believe this novel was written in response to a letter William Carlos Williams wrote Charles in the late 1940's, at a time when Charles' career was at low ebb, urging him to continue writing at any cost, and if possible to write a novel.. .’ Stories are changed in telling, of course, so this one is not a simple rehearsal of a part of a man's life. There are, in fact, many stories here, ‘the manner, music ,’ an interweaving of a complex of ‘things’ happening, being recalled and told. The plot is an ageless one, the story of two men who have known each other since they were boys. One tells us what he knows of the other's life, as he is witness to it but also as the other tells him of it. Times are reasonably good, then are not, then come to the anticipated disaster. Jude Dalsimer, whose life is the novel's center, will not give up his music , which is not a secure means of livelihood as his friend well knows, having himself yielded similar hopes for a more dependable job. But, for Jude, it is the means of transforming all the welter of emotion and event into an articulate form. Neither his wife nor friend, nor anyone else, for that matter, can understand it. But, as his friend finally says: ‘If Jude had wanted to write music and had not done his best to do so, he might have lived longer and more pleasantly but, as he might have explained, it is as if one enlists in an army or perhaps is drafted: he must fight and may fall but may not desert. Most do, of course. I did, I suppose...’

 

  Charles Reznikoff (August 31, 1894 – January 22, 1976) was an American poet known for his long work, Testimony: The United States (1885-1915), Recitative (1934-1979). The term Objectivist was first coined for him. The two-volume Testimony was based on court records and explored the black experience in the United States. He followed this with Holocaust (1975), based on court testimony about Nazi death camps during World War II. When Louis Zukofsky was asked by Harriet Monroe to provide an introduction to what became known as the Objectivist issue of Poetry, he contributed his essay, Sincerity and Objectification: With Special Reference to the Work of Charles Reznikoff. This established the name of the loose-knit group of 2nd generation modernist poets and the two characteristics of their poetry: sincerity and objectification.

 

 

Check zenosbooks.com for either a used or a new copy of this book, or you can add it to your wishlist.

 

 

 

 


Search

Zeno's Picks

Neglectedbooks.com

The Neglected Books Page

22 January 2019

www.NeglectedBooks.com: Where forgotten books are remembered
  • Quiet Street, by Michael Ossorgin [Mikhail Osorgin] (1930)

    I’ve been saving Mikhail Osorgin’s novel, Quiet Street, for a quiet break. There is something about a good, thick Russian book — things like Anna Karenina, Life and Fate, or Konstantin Paustovsky’s autobiography — that demand you set aside distractions and carve out hours to let it take over your life, and I could tell... Read

    ...
  • Theme with Variations, by G. E. Trevelyan (1938)

    “Samuel Smith was the best part of thirty before anyone told him he was a wage-slave.” With opening sentence of Theme with Variations, G. E. Trevelyan tells her readers they’re not in typical British women’s middlebrow territory anymore. This is not a book about tea parties or sitting rooms: this is book simmering with anger... Read

    ...
  • Ragged Regiment, by George Marion (1981)

    Since the Fifties, there have been plenty of junk or ‘Pulp’ novels depicting the Second World War from American and, to a lesser degree, British & Australian authors. (Yes, even Australia had pulp war novelists. Owen Gibson was one writer who, during the Fifties, churned out about 25 slim novels about Aussies in WW2. Totally... Read more

    The post ...

  • A Family Failure, by Renate Rasp (1970)

    Kuno, the son in Renate Rasp’s novel, A Family Failure, wishes he could be as lucky as Gregor Samsa. When Gregor was transformed into a monstrous cockroach, at least his family had the decency to reject him. Kuno’s family — specifically his stepfather (who prefers to be referred to as “Uncle Felix”) — wants to... Read more

    The post ...

  • Carrington: A Novel of the West, by Michael Straight (1960)

    For an obscure novelist, Michael Whitney Straight (1916- 2004) had an extraordinary life and career. A member of a distinguished family, his maternal grandfather was William C. Whitney, Secretary of the US Navy in the late 1800s, his mother was Dorothy Whitney, the famous philanthropist and his father William (who died of Spanish Flu in... Read

    ...
  • Stunning Portraits from Hungary, by Adrian and Marianne Stokes (1909)

    My wife and I had the chance to spend a few days in Budapest recently, our first visit to Hungary. One afternoon, we visited the M?csarnok Kunsthalle museum, which includes an exhibit of works related to the discovery of Hungarian folk art and lore by artists, musicians, and writers in the early part of the... Read more

    The post ...

  • New Years, 1948 (Boston: Washington and Dover Streets), from Hello, Darkness, by L. E. Sissman (1978)

    Three Stanzas from “New Years, 1948 TWO ‘“Well, happy birthday,” Sally Sayward says, Endowing me invisibly with bays, Each leaf to mark a year. “Now, go away,” She tells me, twenty, but, near-man, I stay To press my case with passive rhetoric Where deeds are needed. Nonetheless, her quick Rejection is retracted. By degrees, I... ...

  • Island in Moonlight, by Kathleen Sully (1970)

    With this, I reach the end of this year’s longest exploration, that into the oeuvre of the utterly forgotten novelist, Kathleen Sully. There is one more of her 17 novels I haven’t read, but the one copy of Not Tonight that was available five months ago has since been snatched up. You have to check... Read more

    The post ...

  • Lou Gehrig’s Last Christmas, from Christmas with Ed Sullivan (1959)

    Dear Ed, Lou died on June 2, 1941. He was unmercifully young — only thirty-eight. Our last Christmas together was in 1940, and to keep Lou occupied I held open house at our home in Riverdale, as I frequently did that last year of his life. He was not bedridden at the time, and he... Read more

    The post ...

  • Dear Wolf, by Kathleen Sully (1967)

    Nob Caldar, the wolf in Kathleen Sully’s Dear Wolf, could be the hero of a 1950s R&B song — the Dominoes’s “Sixty Minute Man” or anything by Bo Diddley (“A young girl’s wish and an old woman’s dream”). He’s the local lovin’ man, who manages to bed at least a dozen different women in the... Read more

    The

    ...
Copyright © 2019 Zenosbooks. All Rights Reserved.
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU General Public License.