Award-winning novelist Reynolds Price provides “the best of his winning lot” (Dwight Garner, The New York Times) of memoirs—a vivid portrait of his life in the mid-1950s leading up to the publication of his brilliant first novel A Long and Happy Life.
After two earlier autobiographical works—Clear Pictures and A Whole New Life—acclaimed writer Reynolds Price offers a full account of his life from the mid-1950s to the publication of his first novel in 1962.
Oxford University and Britain—which had scarcely recovered from the severe demands of World War II—were places of enormous vitality for Price, both academic and personal. From spotting J. R. R. Tolkien on the street in Oxford to intimate dinners with W. H. Auden and Stephen Spender, young Price was welcomed into the company of the most respected intellectual and artistic circles. Fully entrenched in the culture of his era, Price unfailingly makes clear the connections between his experience and the great tradition of world literature.
In lucid and frequently witty prose, Price offers full access to six years in the early adulthood of a rich life—“a gallery of portraits and sexual discovery” (The Weekly Standard ) and part of the great train of human accomplishment in which Price so ardently believed.
Reynolds Price (1933–2011) was born in Macon, North Carolina. Educated at Duke University and, as a Rhodes Scholar, at Merton College, Oxford University, he taught at Duke beginning in 1958 and was the James B. Duke Professor of English at the time of his death. His first short stories, and many later ones, are published in his Collected Stories. A Long and Happy Life was published in 1962 and won the William Faulkner Award for a best first novel. Kate Vaiden was published in 1986 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Good Priest's Son in 2005 was his fourteenth novel. Among his thirty-seven volumes are further collections of fiction, poetry, plays, essays, and translations. Price is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his work has been translated into seventeen languages.
“His beautiful books, his tremendous productivity, his spirituality and cheerfulness, his abiding friendships—all these generous traits and dynamic accomplishments have characterized Reynolds Price…. Ardent Spirits is … effervescent.”--Edmund White, The New York Review of Books
“Ardent Spirits is Mr. Price’s third memoir [and] it is the best of this winning lot… Price’s warmth, vigor and good humor consistently shine through.”--Dwight Garner, New York Times
“The most compelling book he’s published since Kate Vaiden in 1986. Price has always been one of our finest storytellers, but in Ardent Spirits he rises to new heights, delivering a compelling account of a profoundly exciting period in a young man’s life.”--Charlotte Observer