Love and Work Summary

Summary (Masterpieces of American Literature)

Thomas Eborn, Love and Work’s protagonist, is a writer and a professor. Although he is largely an autobiographical reflection of Price, one would be mistaken to presume that he is completely so. He is partially a fiction, so one cannot reach conclusions about Price’s life and personality on the basis of what he tells about this character who is, admittedly, quite like him.

Many writers try to understand their own problems and personalities through writing about situations that have eaten away at them for years. Love and Work is obviously an example of a work by an author who is wrestling with his own past. The past, in Price’s case, became much clearer to him after hypnosis in 1984 (a decade and a half after the appearance of this novel) released from his unconscious mind many details about his past.

Much that Price could not present clearly in Love and Work, because he did not yet have enough information to understand it, he was able to present in clearer perspective in his autobiography, Clear Pictures: First Loves, First Guides, published twenty-three years after Love and Work, when he had come to grips with a past that was lost to him until his hypnosis.

Thomas Eborn is a dutiful son, but his sense of duty sometimes precludes warmth and love. He believes that work frees a person. He becomes so devoted to work that he allows it to intrude upon his life, which becomes...

(The entire section is 491 words.)

Love and Work Bibliography (Masterpieces of American Literature)

Drake, Robert, ed. The Writer and His Tradition. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1969.

Humphries, Jefferson, ed. Conversations with Reynolds Price. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 1991.

Kaufman, Wallace. “A Conversation with Reynolds Price.” Shenandoah 17 (Spring, 1966): 3-25.

Price, Reynolds. Learning a Trade: A Craftman’s Notebooks, 1955-1997. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1998.

Rooke, Constance. Reynolds Price. Boston: Twayne, 1983.

Schiff, James A., ed. Critical Essays on Reynolds Price. New York: G. K. Hall, 1998.

Schiff, James A., ed. Understanding Reynolds Price. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1996.

Shuman, R. Baird. “Reynolds Price.” In Encyclopedia of American Literature, edited by Steven R. Serafin. New York: Continuum, 1999.

Woiwode, Larry. “Pursuits of the Flesh, Adventures of the Spirit.” The Washington Post Book World, April 26, 1981, p. 5.

Wright, Stuart, and James L. West III. Reynolds Price: A Bibliography, 1949-1984. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1986.