New Main Series Authors

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New Main Series Authors

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Dec 14, 2012, 2:32pm

I just received my LOA 2013 calendar. The cover letter mentions some of the authors who will be added to the main series during the coming year. Five of these are one I have not seen announced in any other place. They are:

William Wells Brown
Jonathan Edwards
Ring Lardner
Susan Sontag
John Updike

No word on what the contents are, or how many volumes will be devoted to any of these authors. Other names mentioned in the letter that have already been announced (on the LOA blog in the list of volumes scheduled for the Spring of 2013) are Aldo Leopold, W.S. Merwin and May Swenson.

By the way, the calendar is great. It has illustrations by classic american illustrators that have illustrated various editions of books by LOA authors.

Dec 15, 2012, 10:00pm

Updike? As in an actual complete works series? That would be amazing!

Dec 15, 2012, 10:45pm

David, can you shed any light on these volumes?

Edited: Dec 17, 2012, 10:24am

In summary:

William Wells Brown -- selected writings (including, of course, Clotel)
Jonathan Edwards -- evangelical writings from the Great Awakening
Ring Lardner -- stories and other writings
Susan Sontag -- essays of the 1960s and 70s
John Updike -- collected stories (two volumes)

More details will be coming by February, both on the blog and in the mail to subscribers.


Edited: description of Edwards writings corrected

Dec 16, 2012, 1:51am

Sounds like some great additions to the series. I've have always greatly admired Updike, but have not been fully converted, so to speak. But I look forward to the collected stories and dive a little deeper.

Ring Lardner is one of those writers in which I know the name, but have never read, but seem to think is part of a Midwestern contribution to American lit - if there is such a nebulous category. And for no apparent reason, I always think of boxing whenever I hear his name.

Hopefully more distinctly Midwestern writers (in addition to the the obvious ones such as Willa Cather and Sinclair Lewis) will eventually be preserved by LOA. I would love to have an LOA edition of Raintree Country by Ross Lockridge Jr. And the writings of Garrison Keillor would seem like an inevitable addition, but probably not anytime soon.

Will definitely be adding the Sontag and Edwards to my list.

Having never heard of William Wells Brown, I'm curious.

Edited: Dec 16, 2012, 1:27pm

Two volumes of Updike short stories will be a great addition! Hopefully the pair will exhaustively collect every short story collection and the various uncollected pieces strewn about.

I can see it breaking down like so (with the uncollected pieces added as appendices in their respective time-frames):

Volume 1: Stories (1959-1979)
* The Same Door (1959)
* Pigeon Feathers (1962)
* The Music School (1966)
* Museums and Women (1972)
* Problems (1979)

Volume 2: Stories (1987-2009)
* Trust Me (1987)
* The Afterlife (1994)
* Licks of Love (2000)
* My Father's Tears (2009)

Dec 16, 2012, 1:46pm

> 6 I've also been speculating about the contents of these two volumes. I wonder whether they will also include the Bech stories (3 original volumes -- Bech: A Book; Bech is Back; Bech at Bay) -- they are longer than the typical Updike story and more interconnected (and, indeed, Updike calls Bech at Bay a quasi-novel), so they may be incuded in future volumes with novels (assuming those are actually planned). If a complete Updike is in the works, it would have to include at least one volume of poetry, numerous volumes to accommodate the novels, and 2-4 volumes of critical writings, memoirs, and essays (e.g., Golf, Just Looking).

Dec 16, 2012, 1:55pm

I'm guessing the Susan Sontag volume will include:

* Against Interpretation (1966)
* Styles of Radical Will (1969)
* On Photography (1977)
* Illness As Metaphor (1978)

The latter two are book-length extended essays, but there do not appear to be actual collections of essays published in the 1970s. The book could also include uncollected essays that appeared in periodicals during this period (maybe also some from the posthumous collections edited by her son, David Rieff).

Later essay collections, novels, stories, and other writings would fill at least two additional later volumes.

Edited: Dec 16, 2012, 2:03pm

Yes, euphorb, and not to hijack this thread, because a while ago I started a dedicated Updike thread (, but I've always wondered how many volumes the complete Updike might entail. Maybe David can drop us a hint if that's indeed in the offing down the line and these two upcoming volumes are the first salvo (hopefully they're published together). So we know it will be two volumes for the short stories. I believe Updike's complete verse should fit in a single volume. Updike put out numerous non-fiction books, and these can indeed take up to another four volumes easily. Then I'm counting 23 novels and the three Bech books. If a volume can collect up to four novels, we're looking at an additional 7-8 volumes for the novels. So in all we're looking at approximately 14 volumes. I say, bring it on!

Dec 16, 2012, 9:48pm

>5 brother_salvatore:

Sherwood Anderson is as Midwestern as they come, and (as you may know) we're publishing his collected stories this month:

More to come, both of Midwestern writers we have included and of those who are new to the series.

>6 Pablum:-9

I'll post a bit more information on the Sontag and Updike volumes when I get in the office and can look at the contents.

Dec 17, 2012, 12:27pm

As of now, we have cleared the permissions only to publish Updike's stories, and the two volumes will be published together. The stories (both collected and uncollected) will be published chronologically, according to the date Updike sent the final manuscript off to The New Yorker, which he assiduously noted on the manuscript.

This set will not include the Maples stories and the Bech books (except for the characters’ first appearances in “Snowing in Greenwich Village” and “The Bulgarian Poetess,” respectively), which we hope to publish as a future volume. Similarly, the final Rabbit novella ("Rabbit Remembered") has been saved for a future volume.

Euphorb nailed it: The Sontag volume will include the essay collections Against Interpretation and Other Essays, Styles of Radical Will, and On Photography (a collection of six essays originally published in the New York Review of Books between 1973 and 1977). It will also include Illness as Metaphor and a number of uncollected essays. The volume will be edited by David Rieff, her son.

Also note that I originally mischaracterized the Jonathan Edwards volume. This volume will include a selection of his evangelical writings rather than his theological works.


Edited: Dec 17, 2012, 1:26pm

David, that's great information about Updike! Thanks! I have the Everyman collections of the Complete Bech and the recent Maples Stories volume, which indeed is best read as a separate work. But of course I'll pick up the LOA edition as well. I suspect they would be included the the future novels volumes. But if so, why are the first Bech and Maples stories being included? Why the overlap?

Dec 17, 2012, 2:34pm

>12 Pablum: Why are the first Bech and Maples stories being included? Why the overlap?

I wasn't privy to the development of the plan by the estate and the editors, but my understanding is that we would include the initial Bech and Maples stories in both volumes (assuming we are able someday to publish the Bech & Maples volume).

Updike included a number of the Maples stories in his "Early Stories" collection, but he seems to second-guess this decision in the foreword, saying, "perhaps the stories concerning Joan and Richard Maples, scattered herein, . . . do gain from being grouped." He also included the first Bech story in that collection, noting that Bech "is represented only by his first manifestation, when I didn't know he was going to star in an ongoing saga."

The two initial stories are relatively short, so the overlap is fairly minimal.

Dec 17, 2012, 3:27pm

David, thanks for the exhaustive answer. I can't wait to add these to my shelf, as well as any and all subsequent Updike.

Dec 17, 2012, 8:07pm

Talking of new titles.... Some while ago, David, you posted that there's a second Shirley Jackson volume in the works. Any idea of the status?

Dec 17, 2012, 8:34pm

I've mentioned this before, but I see no reason why the Library of America could not include Robert Louis Stevenson in its pantheon.

Stevenson, though a Scot to the core, was in reality a journeyman. He married an American, was married in America, honeymooned there, explored the west, rode the train from east to west, disembarked like other immigrants from a Glasgow steamer. He spent time in the Pacific American Islands like Hawaii and traversed that great Ocean for years. He wrote whilst he was there most importantly.

An initial volume might include the The Amateur Emigrant, Across the Plains, The Silverado Squatters. Stevenson spent a year in the States and he developed a love for the racial variety and mourned for the loss of the Redwoods and Redskins.

Dec 17, 2012, 10:36pm

>15 CurrerBell:

The second Jackson volume is tentatively scheduled (pending rights negotiations) for Summer 2014.

Dec 18, 2012, 7:18pm

David, you mentioned uncollected Updike short stories, which is great. Does that include things collected within his non-fiction volumes, such as the late playlet "Nessus at Noon" and things like that?

Edited: Dec 19, 2012, 10:00pm

>18 Pablum:

Last I saw the contents listing (which, although virtually final, is still being massaged), there were about half a dozen short stories that had not been collected by Updike in book form. (See update, #21 below.)

I think the final number of stories is 186. To my knowledge, none of these are items from his non-fiction collections, although I'm not familiar enough with Updike's non-fiction to say for sure. The editors have yet to write the "Note on the Text," which will clarify these types of questions.


Dec 18, 2012, 8:23pm

Thanks as always, David. Sorry to be annoying you with these details, I'm just really excited about Updike finally joining LOA.

Dec 19, 2012, 6:01pm

An update on the Updike volumes, from the editors:

The LOA edition will contain more than a dozen stories that were not collected in Updike's story collections. Two of them have never before appeared in a trade book edition; the others have appeared in Updike's prose miscellanies (Assorted Prose, the posthumous Higher Gossip, etc.).


Dec 19, 2012, 7:30pm

Excellent news, David! Just as I'd hoped, a truly complete collection of all of Updike's short fiction (of course, again, save for Bech and the Maples). Now to wait for the preorder!

Dec 20, 2012, 7:59am

Just a quick note, David: The Updike stories will essentially be in the order of original magazine publication (the vast majority were in The New Yorker but some appeared elsewhere)?

Dec 20, 2012, 10:59am

>23 Pablum:

More accurately: the stories will be in the order of the date on each manuscript, which is the date he sent the final manuscript to The New Yorker, which had a first-refusal contract with Updike beginning when he was 22 years old--only a year after he published his first story while a senior at Harvard--until the end of his life.

Dec 21, 2012, 5:40pm

Would be great if we got the Updike volumes in a slipcase like the Little House set.