Wednesday, May 29, 2019

My former student Kevin Hayes wins $50,000 for book on Washington

Award Ceremony to Take Place at Mount Vernon on May 23
MOUNT VERNON, VA – Author and historian Kevin J. Hayes has won the coveted George Washington Prize, including an award of $50,000, for his new book, George Washington: A Life in Books (Oxford University Press). One of the nation’s largest and most prestigious literary awards, now in its 13th year, the George Washington Prize honors its namesake by recognizing the year’s best new books on the nation’s founding era, especially those that engage a broad public audience. Conferred by George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and Washington College, the award will be presented to Hayes on May 23 at a black-tie gala at Mount Vernon.
In George Washington: A Life in Books, Hayes presents an intellectual biography of Washington that should permanentlydispel popular misconceptions of America’s leading Founding Father as a man of all action and no ideas. Washington scholars have long known that he owned an impressive library of more than thirteen hundred volumes. Hayes has gone further by meticulously paging through Washington’s surviving books held at the Boston Athenæum, the Washington Library at Mount Vernon, and other collections, as well as nearly nine hundred pages of Washington’s notes on his reading, to create a portrait of him as a reader. By closely examining Washington’s notes, Hayes has uncovered an intellectual curiosity that dozens of previous biographers have missed. As a young man, Washington read popular serials such as The Gentleman’s Magazine and The Spectator, which helps to bridge the long-imagined gap between him and his learned contemporaries like Franklin, Jefferson, and Adams.
“Kevin Hayes shattered myths and calumnies against George Washington and has done much more,” said Douglas Bradburn, President and CEO of Mount Vernon. “He’s added to the depth of the man helping to reveal why Washington is such an effective leader.”

Friday, May 24, 2019

2 pictures---Yesterday and Today--Still some food value after all these weeks

Norton has redesigned the cover of the 2nd edition of Melville's THE CONFIDENCE-MAN

Yesterday in the mail, a pleasant surprise.
The Cover Artist was the late Robert Shore. As I understand it, he had lost his suite of illustrations for this book done in the 1970s for a very expensive edition that never appeared. As Kathy Reilly already suspects, I don't often throw things away, even old proofs of pictures from Sendak. In 2004 or so when we were preparing the 2nd edition, with Mark Niemeyer collaborating so as to have a youthful partner carry on in case I did not last long enough to do the 3rd edition, I suggested Shore's work for the cover, and Norton located him in NYC. His payment for the 2006 2nd edition may be the only he ever received.  I like the new design very much.

Many hundreds of the 2nd edition in the cover on the left have been in hands of French academics in the last couple of years because of the book's appearance as one of 5 texts in the national Agrégation exams.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Wild Thing on Piazza 1991

About 1980, the Last House in South-East Pennsylvania

When we lived there, in the 1990s, the white pines had grown up, so the house was secluded. The back yard was flat and falling down 30 or so feet into a forest. You walked out in the woods to the right 500 feet or so and you came to the place where Pennsylvania hit the Mason-Dixon at the point where Delaware and Maryland came together. To get to the University of Delaware, 5 miles away, I had to drive out of Pennsylvania, all across Maryland, and 4 or so miles into Delaware. I regularly ran 3 and a half miles in White Clay Creek, starting a mile south, all the way across Maryland and into Delaware.

The gift that goes on giving--the Seal from Weeks & Weeks ago


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Deeply distressing article about David Milch forthcoming in the New Yorker.

For 3 decades he and his wife and children lived in the 1930s Spanish house in Brentwood I lived in through the 1970s. They enlarged it and added a pool that went almost lot to lot. They had to sell it and now the house is a $5,100,000 vacant lot, the last I looked. For years I consoled myself on the loss of the study by thinking that another writer was using it.

Now the expanded house and study are no more.

Here is an ad before the teardown.
627 Moreno Avenue Brentwood--the $5,100,000 teardown--all gone now

First time on the open market in over 30 years! Fantastic land value opportunity on the sunny, west side of extremely desirable Moreno Avenue -one of the Westside's very finest streets. 13,200 square feet of land (per assessor's map) and 80 feet of frontage, affording the best Brentwood lifestyle within close proximity to the Brentwood Country Mart, Montana Avenue and the Brentwood Country Club. Available with architectural plans for a gorgeous Traditional Estate with over 7500 Square feet of living area and every imaginable amenity on 3 levels that are partially through the plan check process. Very rare opportunity!

Sunday, February 21, 2016
A TEARDOWN--$83,500 in 1968, $5,100,000 in 2015--627 Moreno Avenue--A Dirt Lot Now

Very strange feelings this week. For three decades when I thought of my study I visualized a TV writer working there, continuing a writer's California life. I wished him well, and now see the house, much extended, with a pool on the west (26th Street) side, and yet another family owning the house. No--not another family owning the house. I learn instead that the new owner who paid $4, 900,000 razed it, house and study and every tree. $5,100,000 for a teardown.
I loved my study.
Part of the strange feelings, of course, are about addiction--and in this case addiction of an almost inconceivable magnitude. In the mid-80s the heroin addiction was acknowledged, so I was always a little edgy in thinking about the LA house, but I wanted them to be happy, and wanted David Milch to appreciate the study.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A Book and 2 Articles about to come out.

The first article will be in LEVIATHAN
The book is the Library of America HERMAN MELVILLE: COMPLETE POEMS

Now, I do have a long article out that may very well be published in an excellent place.
I am polishing another long one.

I retired at the end of May 1998.  If you'
re not busy living you're busy dying.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

You never know what is going to come up on the computer. Hemingway? Yes, today, Hemingway.

The smokers nearly killed me. I changed my ticket to leave early but was prevailed upon to change it back. The most aggressive smoker died a few years later of lung cancer. I spent a lot of time running along a little green stream, alone. That may have been the most beautiful place I ever ran.

Projects you are glad you lived long enough to complete . . . . Proof of the Start of July 2019 LEVIATHAN article

What comes next is an image including the two lost books, THE ISLE OF THE CROSS and POEMS, to help Melville lovers think about the full trajectory of his career.