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Rider on the White Horse

ISBN-10: 1590173015
ISBN-13: 9781590173015
Edition: 2009
List price: $15.95 Buy it from $10.23
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Description: The Rider on the White Horsebegins as a ghost story. A traveler finds himself caught in dangerously rough weather. On an island just offshore he glimpses the specter of a rider on a white horse rising and plunging in the wind and rain. Taking  More...

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Book details

List price: $15.95
Copyright year: 2009
Publisher: New York Review of Books, Incorporated, The
Publication date: 1/27/2009
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 288
Size: 4.75" wide x 8.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.858
Language: English

The Rider on the White Horsebegins as a ghost story. A traveler finds himself caught in dangerously rough weather. On an island just offshore he glimpses the specter of a rider on a white horse rising and plunging in the wind and rain. Taking shelter at a local inn, the traveler mentions the apparition, and the local schoolmaster volunteers a story. It is a tale of ambition, of a young man, Hauke Heien, who is out not only to make a name for himself but to remake the world; of love and family, as Hauke and his wife try to come to terms with their late-born child's mental retardation; and of politics, as the community fights back against Hauke's initiatives. It is a story, too, about the crisis of faith, of wanting and missing the presence of the divine, and of the persistence of superstition. It is an appealingly matter-of-fact picture of rural life, a harrowing glimpse of spiritual isolation, and a stark vision of the violence of the natural world. Finally, it is a story about the basis of civilization in the act of human sacrifice. AnticipatingLord of the Fliesand "The Lottery," Theodor Storm's novella, limpidly translated by the American poet James Wright, is not just the ghost story it first appears to be but an economical and gripping dramatization of some of the bloody questions that haunt the disenchanted modern world.

James Wright's work is typified by a humanitarian tenderness, compassion, and a keen sense of man's alienation. He wrote of his efforts: "I have written about the things I am deeply concerned with---crickets outside my window, cold and hungry old men . . . a feeling of desolation in the fall, some cities I have known." His work presents an unusual vision of middle America: the decayed and yet beautiful landscapes of train yards, bars, and red-light districts in Minneapolis. Stylistically, Wright moved from a traditional rhymed and metered verse, drawing on the techniques of the now classic modernists---Robinson, Masters, Frost, and even Thomas Hardy---to experimentalism in form and language. His later poems exhibit a certain delicacy, yet retain the colloquial sense of the native American idiom. Born in Martin's Ferry, Ohio, Wright attended Kenyon College and the University of Washington. Recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Vienna, he was awarded a National Institute of Arts and Letters grant, a Guggenheim grant, the Oscar Blumenthal Award, and a Pulitzer Prize for his Collected Poems in 1972.

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