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The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates 1973-1982 (2007)

by Joyce Carol Oates

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I really enjoyed this volume of journals by Joyce Carol Oates. I think I found the woman I expected to find, and yet somehow her voice in the journals sounded a lot older than she was at the time of writing them, in a sense I saw the JCO of now, but then she was between 35-44 years of age.

I loved her passion for the novels as she was writing. There seems to come a point midway when almost the book becomes her lover and she revels in his attentions and hers to him.

There are explorations about the two JCO's or rather JCO (the writer/public person) and Joyce Smith - the who she is person, and reading this from the 'inside' as it is happening to someone gives a different perspective.

Some interesting thought about her health and her body image.

It is also enjoyable hearing about her relationship with her husband and the contentedness they have found in each other, and yet, writing such a relationship would be impossible because it involved no conflict, and a novel required conflict. or it would bore the reader. I'm not sure that it can't be done, and I am sure JCO has achieved it, but I suppose it can't be the only thing done perhaps.

Two-thirds through there is perhaps an element of repetition as although each novel is different, Oates on the whole has found her most satisfying method of writing and so they rhythm for each novel follows a similar pattern. That said, I am already missing her quiet voice. ( )
1 vote Caroline_McElwee | Apr 23, 2008 |
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Epigraph
A Charm invests a face imperfectly beheld - The Lady dare not lift her Veil for Fear it be dispelled - But peers beyond her mesh - And wishes - and denies - Lest Interview - annul a want - That image - satisfies - EMILY DICKINSON (1862)
A journal as an experiment in consciousness. An attempt to record not just the external world, and not just the vagrant, fugitive, ephemeral "thoughts" that brush against us like gnats, but the refractory and inviolable authenticity of daily life: daily-ness, day-ness, day-lightness, the day's eye on experience.
Balance between private, personal fulfillment (marriage, work at the University) and "public' life, the commitment to writing. The artist must find and environment, a pattern of living, that will protect his or her energies, the art must be cultivated, must be given priority.
The challenge is to wed the naturalistic and the symbolic, the realistic and the abstract, the utterly convincing story and the parable...that is to bring together the psychological and the mythic in one character at all moments...and to wed time and eternity in a seamless whole.
Dedication
For Gail Godwin, and for Bill Heyen- fellow explorers of the landscape within
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When Joyce Carol Oates began her journal on New Year's Day, 1973, she was at the height of her early fame.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061227994, Paperback)

The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates, edited by Greg Johnson, offers a rare glimpse into the private thoughts of this extraordinary writer, focusing on excerpts written during one of the most productive decades of Oates's long career. Far more than just a daily account of a writer's writing life, these intimate, unrevised pages candidly explore her friendship with other writers, including John Updike, Donald Barthelme, Susan Sontag, Gail Godwin, and Philip Roth. It presents a fascinating portrait of the artist as a young woman, fully engaged with her world and her culture, on her way to becoming one of the most respected, honored, discussed, and controversial figures in American letters.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:32 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

On New Years Day 1973, Oates began keeping a journal that she maintains to this day. Far more than a daily account of her writing life, the journals offer a candid discussion of Oates's many friendships with other writers, such as Anne Sexton and John Updike, her teaching, and her relationship with the natural world. Originally published: New York:… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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