The dramatic rise in James Dickey’s reputation in the 1960s and his equally abrupt fall from literary grace during the 1970s is arguably the most distinctive feature of his career. Critics frequently cited alcoholism as the cause for this precipitous decline, which diminished Dickey’s creativity, or they noted his financial success, which undermined his will to achieve. Self-aggrandizement and womanizing, they argued, also contributed to derailing his literary achievements. Gordon Van Ness puts this all in perspective. This literary biography centers on Dickey as poet, novelist, essayist, critic, and teacher, a man who throughout his life did what writers are supposed to do, write. Dickey spent time teaching and discussing writing, which is also part of the profession of authorship. Here, Van Ness shows Dickey’s artistic beginnings and the rise and fall of his career, the man as a writer. Dickey’s life was indeed complicated, but his words endure, and they merit the highest attention.
Publisher: Mercer University Press
Pub Date: 05/2022