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The Library of America

Found in 19th Century U.S. History
John Quincy Adams: Diaries 1779-1821 by John Quincy Adams / David Waldstreicher, editor
Latest in the Series

John Quincy Adams: Diaries 1779-1821

Book 293
Hardcover $37.5

The Library of America : Titles in Order

Book 300
America’s most celebrated writer returns with a definitive edition of his essential statements on literature, his controversial novels, and the writing life, including including six pieces published here for the first time and many others newly revised.

Throughout a unparalleled literary career that includes two National Book Awards (Goodbye, Columbus, 1959 and Sabbath’s Theater, 1995), the Pulitzer Prize in fiction (American Pastoral, 1997), the National Book Critics Circle Award (The Counterlife, 1986), and the National Humanities Medal (awarded by President Obama in 2011), among many other honors, Philip Roth has produced an extraordinary body of nonfiction writing on a wide range of topics: his own work and that of the writers he admires, the creative process, and the state of American culture. This work is collected for the first time in Why Write?, the tenth and final volume in the Library of America’s definitive Philip Roth edition. Here is Roth’s selection of the indispensable core of Reading Myself and Others, the entirety of the 2001 book Shop Talk, and “Explanations,” a collection of fourteen later pieces brought together here for the first time, six never before published. Among the essays gathered are “My Uchronia,” an account of the genesis of The Plot Against America, a novel grounded in the insight that “all the assurances are provisional, even here in a two-hundred-year-old democracy”; “Errata,” the unabridged version of the “Open Letter to Wikipedia” published on The New Yorker’s website in 2012 to counter the online encyclopedia’s egregious errors about his life and work; and “The Ruthless Intimacy of Fiction,” a speech delivered on the occasion of his eightieth birthday that celebrates the “refractory way of living” of Sabbath’s Theater’s Mickey Sabbath. Also included are two lengthy interviews given after Roth’s retirement, which take stock of a lifetime of work.
Book 299
For the first time, the complete stories of the master chronicler of tradition and transformation in the twentieth-century South.

Born and raised in Tennessee, Peter Taylor was the great chronicler of the American Upper South, capturing its gossip and secrets, its divided loyalties and morally complicated legacies in tales of pure-distilled brilliance. Now, for his centennial year, the Library of America and acclaimed short story writer Ann Beattie present an unprecedented two-volume edition of Taylor’s complete short fiction, all fifty-nine of the stories published in his lifetime in the order in which they were composed. 

This second volume presents thirty stories including many of his most ambitious works, among them “Dean of Men,” a monologue delivered by a middle-aged father to his long-haired son about the limits of idealism; “In the Miro District,” a parable of the Old South’s enduring persistence in the New; and “The Old Forest,” one of Taylor’s most celebrated works, the story of a young man who jeopardizes his
impending marriage by consorting with a girl deemed beneath his station. Here too are all five of Taylor’s remarkable prose poems, stories in free verse that demonstrate that great fiction is, at its highest pitch, a line-by-line, image-by-image high-wire act. Two of the stories in this volume, “A Cheerful Disposition” and “The Megalopolitans,” are collected here for the first time.
Book 299
For the first time, the complete stories of the master chronicler of tradition and transformation in the twentieth-century South.

Born and raised in Tennessee, Peter Taylor was the great chronicler of the American Upper South, capturing its gossip and secrets, its divided loyalties and morally complicated legacies in tales of pure-distilled brilliance. Now, for his centennial year, the Library of America and acclaimed short story writer Ann Beattie present an unprecedented two-volume edition of Taylor’s complete short fiction, all fifty-nine of the stories published in his lifetime in the order in which they were composed. 

This second volume presents thirty stories including many of his most ambitious works, among them “Dean of Men,” a monologue delivered by a middle-aged father to his long-haired son about the limits of idealism; “In the Miro District,” a parable of the Old South’s enduring persistence in the New; and “The Old Forest,” one of Taylor’s most celebrated works, the story of a young man who jeopardizes his
impending marriage by consorting with a girl deemed beneath his station. Here too are all five of Taylor’s remarkable prose poems, stories in free verse that demonstrate that great fiction is, at its highest pitch, a line-by-line, image-by-image high-wire act. Two of the stories in this volume, “A Cheerful Disposition” and “The Megalopolitans,” are collected here for the first time.
Book 298
For the first time, the complete stories of the master chronicler of tradition and transformation in the twentieth-century South.

Born and raised in Tennessee, Peter Taylor was the great chronicler of the American Upper South, capturing its gossip and secrets, its divided loyalties and morally complicated legacies in tales of pure-distilled brilliance. Now, for his centennial year, the Library of America and acclaimed short story writer Ann Beattie present an unprecedented two-volume edition of Taylor’s complete short fiction, all fifty-nine of the stories published in his lifetime in the order in which they were composed.

This first volume offers twenty-nine early masterpieces, including such classics as “A Spinster’s Tale,” “What You Hear from ’Em?,” “Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time” and “Miss Leonora When Last Seen.” As a special feature, an appendix in the first volume gathers three stories Taylor published as an undergraduate that show the early emergence of his singular style and sensibility.
Book 298
For the first time, the complete stories of the master chronicler of tradition and transformation in the twentieth-century South.

Born and raised in Tennessee, Peter Taylor was the great chronicler of the American Upper South, capturing its gossip and secrets, its divided loyalties and morally complicated legacies in tales of pure-distilled brilliance. Now, for his centennial year, the Library of America and acclaimed short story writer Ann Beattie present an unprecedented two-volume edition of Taylor’s complete short fiction, all fifty-nine of the stories published in his lifetime in the order in which they were composed.

This first volume offers twenty-nine early masterpieces, including such classics as “A Spinster’s Tale,” “What You Hear from ’Em?,” “Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time” and “Miss Leonora When Last Seen.” As a special feature, an appendix in the first volume gathers three stories Taylor published as an undergraduate that show the early emergence of his singular style and sensibility.
Book 297
The star-spanning story of humanity’s colonization of other planets, Ursula K. Le Guin’s visionary Hainish novels and stories redrew the map of modern science fiction, making it a rich field for literary explorations of “the nature of human nature,” as Margaret Atwood has described Le Guin’s subject. Now, for the first time, the complete Hainish novels and stories are collected in a definitive two-volume Library of America edition, with new introductions by the author. This second volume in a definitive two-volume edition gathers Le Guin’s final two Hainish novels, The Word for World Is Forest, in which Earth enslaves another planet to strip its natural resources, and The Telling, the harrowing story of a society which has suppressed its own cultural heritage. Rounding out the volume are seven short stories and the story suite Five Ways to Forgiveness, published here in full for the first time. The endpapers feature a full-color chart of the known worlds of Hainish descent.
Book 296
The star-spanning story of humanity’s colonization of other planets, Ursula K. Le Guin’s visionary Hainish novels and stories redrew the map of modern science fiction, making it a rich field for literary explorations of “the nature of human nature,” as Margaret Atwood has described Le Guin’s subject. Now, for the first time, the complete Hainish novels and stories are collected in a definitive two-volume Library of America edition, with new introductions by the author. This first volume in a definitive two-volume edition gathers the first five Hainish novels: Rocannon’s World, in which an ethnologist sent to a bronze-age planet must help defeat an intergalactic enemy; Planet of Exile, the story of human colonists stranded on a planet that is slowly killing them; City of Illusions, which finds a future Earth ruled by the mysterious Shing; and the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning masterpieces The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed—as well as four short stories.
Book 294
For the 250th anniversary of John Quincy Adams’s birth, a landmark new selected edition of an American masterpiece: the incomparable self-portrait of a man and his times from the Revolution to the coming of the Civil War.

The diary of John Quincy Adams is one of the most extraordinary works in American literature. Begun in 1779 at the age of twelve and kept more or less faithfully until his death almost 70 years later, and totaling some fifteen thousand closely-written manuscript pages, it is both an unrivaled record of historical events and personalities from the nation’s founding to the antebellum era and a masterpiece of American self-portraiture, tracing the spiritual, literary, and scientific interests of an exceptionally lively mind. Now, for the 250th anniversary of Adams’s birth, Library of America and historian David Waldstreicher present a two-volume reader’s edition of diary selections based for the first time on the original manuscripts, restoring personal and revealing passages suppressed in earlier editions.

Volume 2 opens with Adams serving as Secretary of State, amid political maneuverings within and outside James Monroe’s cabinet to become his successor, a process that culminates in Adams’s election to the presidency by the House of Representatives after the deadlocked four-way contest of 1824. Even as Adams takes the oath of office, rivals Henry Clay, his Secretary of State, John C. Calhoun, his vice president, and an embittered Andrew Jackson, eye the election of 1828. The diary records in candid detail his frustration as his far-sighted agenda for national improvement founders on the rocks of internecine political factionalism, conflict that results in his becoming only the second president, with his father, to fail to secure reelection. After a short-lived retirement, Adams returns to public service as a Congressman from Massachusetts, and for the last seventeen years of his life he leads efforts to resist the extension of slavery and to end the notorious “gag rule” that stifles debate on the issue in Congress. In 1841 he further burnishes his reputation as a scourge of the Slave Power by successfully defending African mutineers of the slave ship Amistad before the Supreme Court. The diary achieves perhaps its greatest force in its prescient anticipation of the Civil War and Emancipation, an “object,” as Adams described it during the Missouri Crisis, ”vast in its compass, awful in its prospects, sublime and beautiful in its issue.”
Book 293
For the 250th anniversary of John Quincy Adams’s birth, a landmark new selected edition of an American masterpiece: the incomparable self-portrait of a man and his times from the Revolution to the coming of the Civil War.

The diary of John Quincy Adams is one of the most extraordinary works in American literature. Begun in 1779 at the age of twelve and kept more or less faithfully until his death almost 70 years later, and totaling some fifteen thousand closely-written manuscript pages, it is both an unrivaled record of historical events and personalities from the nation’s founding to the antebellum era and a masterpiece of American self-portraiture, tracing the spiritual, literary, and scientific interests of an exceptionally lively mind. Now, for the 250th anniversary of Adams’s birth, Library of America and historian David Waldstreicher present a two-volume reader’s edition of diary selections based for the first time on the original manuscripts, restoring personal and revealing passages suppressed in earlier editions.

Volume I begins during the American Revolution, with Adams’s first entry, as he prepares to embark on a perilous wartime voyage to Europe with his father, diplomat John Adams, and records his early impressions of Franklin and Jefferson and of Paris on the eve of revolution; it details his abbreviated but eventful years of study at Harvard and his emergence into the world of politics in his own right, as American minister to the Netherlands and to Prussia, and then as a U. S. senator from Massachusetts; and it reveals a young man at war with his passions, before finding love with the remarkable Louisa Catherine Johnson. In passages that form a kind of real-world War and Peace, the diary follows the young married couple to St. Petersburg, where as U.S. minister Adams is a witness to Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. Its account of the negotiations at Ghent to end the War of 1812, where Adams leads the American delegation, is the perhaps the most detailed and dramatic picture of a diplomatic confrontation ever recorded. Volume 1 concludes with his elevation as Secretary of State under James Monroe, as he takes the fore in a fractious cabinet and emerges as the principal architect of what will become known as the Monroe Doctrine.
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