IRONWEED WILLIAM KENNEDY PDF

At age fifty-eight Francis Phelan is an alcoholic vagrant, the murderer of three men with a share of responsibility in several other deaths, and a twenty-year deserter of his wife and children. And yet Kennedy creates him as a plausibly heroic figure holding to an austere set of values … through the course of … forty-eight hours, Francis meets and converses with all of the important ghosts of his past—from his parents, to companions of his youth, to those in whose violent deaths he has been implicated. The quality of the writing makes the question irrelevant. There is eloquence in Ironweed , and it blesses characters, situations, events from which it is much harder to extract human dignity and elicit compassion … that is, the lives and deaths of people on the teetering edge of humanity … Kennedy manages to bless these unpromising materials by authorial intrusion, and his methods are lyricism and metaphor … Along with considerable talent, such bold intrusion reveals a high level of confidence about the medium of fiction. And so we have the Albany novels, which mix hard, gritty realism with a surreal lyricism of great beauty in the depiction of, among other things, an Irish-American underclass of ruthless criminals, gamblers, and homeless bums, the lowest of the low. His load is light, every page.

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At age fifty-eight Francis Phelan is an alcoholic vagrant, the murderer of three men with a share of responsibility in several other deaths, and a twenty-year deserter of his wife and children.

And yet Kennedy creates him as a plausibly heroic figure holding to an austere set of values … through the course of … forty-eight hours, Francis meets and converses with all of the important ghosts of his past—from his parents, to companions of his youth, to those in whose violent deaths he has been implicated.

The quality of the writing makes the question irrelevant. There is eloquence in Ironweed , and it blesses characters, situations, events from which it is much harder to extract human dignity and elicit compassion … that is, the lives and deaths of people on the teetering edge of humanity … Kennedy manages to bless these unpromising materials by authorial intrusion, and his methods are lyricism and metaphor … Along with considerable talent, such bold intrusion reveals a high level of confidence about the medium of fiction.

And so we have the Albany novels, which mix hard, gritty realism with a surreal lyricism of great beauty in the depiction of, among other things, an Irish-American underclass of ruthless criminals, gamblers, and homeless bums, the lowest of the low. His load is light, every page. Pure light. And surely he changes our lives, enriches our understanding of the madness of one drunk in a fellowship of rock-bottom boozers during the Great Depression.

We become Francis Phelan, a deep-witted walking grave, lighted up with family ghosts like fireflies in twilight.

Selected Resources.

BK PRECISION 9130 PDF

Ironweed Reader’s Guide

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover.

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From a fortune cookie to a Pulitzer: the story behind William Kennedy's Ironweed

Ironweed is a novel by William Kennedy. It is included in the Western Canon of the critic Harold Bloom. Ironweed is set during the Great Depression and tells the story of Francis Phelan , an alcoholic vagrant originally from Albany, New York , who left his family after accidentally killing his infant son while he may have been drunk. The novel focuses on Francis's return to Albany, and the narrative is complicated by Phelan's hallucinations of the three people, other than his son, whom he killed in the past. The novel features characters that return in some of Kennedy's other books.

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