James Jones (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
George Garrett’s James Jones is the third in a series of “album biographies” published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich under the general editorship of Matthew J. Bruccoli. An oversize book with a generous selection of photographs of Jones at various stages of his life, Garrett’s study begins with a reevaluation of Jones’s place in the history of the post-World War II American novel and then proceeds to describe his life. Garrett gives a brief discussion of each novel as it appears and a summary of critical commentary, but his focus is on Jones’s experience, not his writing. The book is clearly directed at the general audience, not at literary critics.
It is clear from his introductory comments that Garrett is aware of the problem his subject presents. Jones burst on the literary scene in 1951 with his first novel, the best-selling From Here to Eternity. He would publish a total of eight novels, most of them highly popular, as well as a collection of short fiction and two nonfiction books about war before his death a quarter of a century later. He would be a favorite subject for Life magazine and would live much of his adult life in the public eye. His fiction, however, never attracted respectful attention from professional critics, and this indifference has continued since his death. Garrett’s bibliography lists a single critical study of Jones (part of a series which includes virtually every notable American writer...
(The entire section is 1897 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
Booklist. LXXX, June 15, 1984, p. 1430.
Choice. XXII, November, 1984, p. 423.
Horizon. XXVII, May, 1984, p. 66.
Kirkus Reviews. LII, May 15, 1984, p. 477.
Library Journal. CIX, July, 1984, p. 1327.
Los Angeles Times Book Review. September 2, 1984, p. 9.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXIX, September 30, 1984, p. 48.
(The entire section is 38 words.)