Williams, William Carlos
William Carlos Williams 1883-1963
American poet, novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist, and autobiographer.
An important American poet, Williams also wrote short stories, most notably the collections The Knife of the Times (1932) and Life along the Passaic River (1938). Williams was a devoted, practicing physician during most of his literary career, and much of his work demonstrates his respect and concern for his patients and their life situations. The poverty, suffering, and means of survival among the ordinary, poor people of his native New Jersey inform most of Williams's short fiction, which often features conversations written in "the American idiom," his term for the vernacular language essential to shaping his vision of the American experience. Unconventional in form and episodic in construction, his realistic, and sometimes graphic, stories often juxtapose vivid images from life to convey their messages. Williams received a lukewarm critical reception to his short fiction during much of his career. However, many scholars have since recognized that his stories significantly influenced the development of the short story form in twentieth-century American literature.
Williams was born in Rutherford, New Jersey, where he spent his entire life. During his adolescence, a heart ailment forced him off the sports fields and led him to study literature. Nevertheless, from 1902 to 1906 Williams attended medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, where he made lasting friendships with American poets Ezra Pound and H. D. By the time Williams had established his own medical practice in 1910, he had published his first book, Poems (1909). During the next decade, Williams married Florence ("Flossie") Herman in 1912, started a family in 1914, and published two more books of poetry. In the 1920s Williams extended his literary efforts to prose, producing the prose "improvisations" of Kora in Hell (1920), the short novel The Great American Novel (1923), the historical essays of In the American Grain (1925), and his first full-length novel, A Voyage to Pagany (1928). Williams's short stories began appearing in the 1930s. Scholars have surmised that his growing frustration at the mild response to his poetry prompted Williams to write fiction, including the novels White Mule (1937)—his first popularly acclaimed work—and the first volume of The Stecher Trilogy, which is based on the people and the circumstances of his wife's youth. The 1940s and 1950s marked Williams's most productive period. He published two novels, three plays and a libretto, another collection of stories entitled Make Light of It (1950), his autobiography, and many collections of new and previously published poetry, most notably the five-book epic poem Paterson (1946-1958), which is widely considered a masterpiece of American literature, and Selected Poems (1948), which won the 1949 National Book Award. Following a series of heart attacks and a bout of depression from 1948 to 1953, Williams retired from his medical practice, but continued to write. In 1961 he published his final collections of stories, The Farmers' Daughters, and plays, Many Loves and Other Plays. After he died on March 4, 1963, Williams was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for Pictures from Brueghel (1962) and the National Institute of Arts and Letters gold medal for poetry.
Major Works of Short Fiction
Williams, the doctor-narrator in most of his short fiction, believed that the short story form was "a good medium for nailing down a single conviction. Emotionally." Most of the eleven stories in The Knife of the Times represent Williams's experiences with some of his patients and neighbors during the early years of the Great Depression, showing their fortitude and perseverance while dealing with social and individual suffering. The "knife" in each of these stories refers to more than the hardships of dire economic reversal, often focusing on "couples" and their unions and separations. The title story, for instance, portrays a lesbian relationship between Ethel and Maura, who cope with the "knife" of their homosexuality. "Old Doc Rivers," perhaps the best known story of the collection, relates the anecdotes of a legendary small-town doctor, who "would go anywhere, anytime, for anybody," but tragically succumbs to shifting American cultural values and ultimately to the "knife" of drugs and alcohol. Life along the Passaic River contains nineteen stories about similar themes and situations, but the tone is darker, the focus turned more toward children characters, and the locale assumes significance, reflecting Williams's belief that "In a work of art place is everything." In a series of vignettes that dissolve into one another, the title story offers detailed descriptions of the industrialized riverscape and the people who live there, focusing on the conflict between industry and nature. In "The Use of Force," Williams's most frequently anthologized story, a doctor attempts to diagnose a child's fever, but the child refuses to allow an examination, so the doctor must resort to forceful methods. "Jean Beicke," one of Williams's favorite stories, centers on the life and death of an eleven-month-old girl, including a vivid description of the child's autopsy. Make Light of It comprises the stories from Williams's first two volumes and twenty-one other stories in a section entitled "Beer and Cold Cuts," of which all but two had been previously published. The Farmers' Daughters includes all of Williams's previously collected short fiction and the uncollected title story, which recounts the relationship between two southern farmers' daughters and their doctor. The Doctor Stories (1984) collects several doctor-themed stories from Life along the Passaic River.
The technique and style of Williams's stories have often been compared to that of Gertrude Stein, Sherwood Anderson, early Ernest Hemingway, and D. H. Lawrence. The stories of Life along the Passaic River have received the most critical attention, particularly "The Use of Force," which has been interpreted variously in terms of its implications about violence, practical applications in the field of medical ethics, sexual connotations, psychological aspects, and autobiographical factors. Many critics have emphasized the autobiographical quality of much of Williams's work: "His temperament . . . was neatly split between that of a feeling, observing doctor and that of the practicing poet. . . . He was a poet-physician. These two-parted identities stand behind his every word," observed George Monteiro. Most scholars have agreed that Williams's innovations in the short story form were revolutionary. Linda Welshimer Wagner has pointed out that "the apparently effortless telling, the informal (and often unresolved) plot, the emphasis on character presented through salient details, and above all, the reliance on dialogue—these trademarks of a Williams's story occur repeatedly in contemporary writing." James G. Watson has likewise remarked on Williams's contributions to the American short story: "Declining the formulas of tradition and the acceptable contemporary conventions, Williams chose to state frankly the intimate passions and passionate brutalities that he said were flashes struck from the materials of life." Commenting on Williams's literary accomplishments, Wagner concluded that his "short stories may have had as deep an effect on contemporary fiction as his poems have had on modern poetry."
The Knife of the Times, and Other Stories 1932
A Novelette and Other Prose (novella and prose) 1932
Life along the Passaic River 1938
Make Light of It: Collected Stories 1950
The Farmers' Daughters: The Collected Stories 1961
The Doctor Stories 1984
Other Major Works
Poems (poetry) 1909
The Tempers (poetry) 1913
Al que quiere! (poetry) 1917
Kora in Hell: Improvisations (poetry) 1920
Sour Grapes (poetry) 1921
GO GO (poetry) 1923
The Great American Novel (novel) 1923
Spring and All (poetry) 1923
In the American Grain (essays) 1925
A Voyage to Pagany (novel) 1928
The Cod Head (poetry) 1932
Collected Poems, 1921-1931 (poetry) 1934
An Early Martyr and Other Poems (poetry) 1935
Adam & Eve & the City (poetry) 1936
* White Mule (novel) 1937
The Complete Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, 1906-1938 (poetry) 1938
*In the Money: White...
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SOURCE: "Dr. Williams in His Short Stories," in Image and Idea: Twenty Essays on Literary Themes, New Directions Paperbook, 1957, pp. 155-58.
[In the following essay, which originally appeared in Partisan Review in March 1938, Rahv summarizes the themes of Life on the Passaic River.]
In his prose as in his poetry William Carlos Williams is too hardy a frontiersman of the word to permit himself the idle luxuries of aestheticism. There are too many things to be seen and touched, too many cadences of living speech to be listened to and recorded. Kenneth Burke once said of Williams that he was engaged in "discovering the shortest route between subject and object." Perhaps that explains why in Life on the Passaic River, a collection of nineteen short stories, not one imitates in any way the conventional patterns of the genre. The directness of this writer's approach to his material excludes its subjection to the researches of plot and calculated form. What Williams tells us is much too close to him to lend itself to the alienation of design; none of his perceptions can be communicated through the agency of invented equivalents. The phenomena he observes and their meanings are so intimately involved with one another, the cohabitation of language and object is so harmonious, that formal means of expression would not only be superfluous but might actually nullify the incentive to creation....
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SOURCE: "The Novels and Short Stories," in William Carlos Williams, New Directions Books, 1950, pp. 187-246.
[In the following excerpt from a detailed assessment of Williams's fiction to 1950, Koch reviews the stories in The Knife of the Times and Life along the Passaic River, indicating their significance in the development of Williams 's career and of the modern American short story form.]
The logic of Williams' allegiance to the quest for a knowledge of localism, for a defining of the American grain, has compelled in his fiction a restriction to American materials. The notable exception to this is his first novel, A Voyage to Pagany. While its subject-matter is ostensibly Europe, the Old World, it is, in reality, an assessment of that world through the eyes of an American, its hero, and thus, in effect, an assessment of America too. The Jamesian pattern of New World meets Old has in Williams' novel a similar function. While this encounter does not always change the two worlds, it nevertheless mutually illuminates their two systems of value. And with Williams (seemingly the last writer in the world to compare on technical grounds with James) the result, as in James, is a judgment of America, a judgment perhaps as ambivalent as James's although disguised by a more visible affection.
The years 1920-23 . . . were dedicated by Williams to a reconsideration of...
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SOURCE: "A Beginning on the Short Story (Notes)," in Selected Essays of William Carlos Williams, Random House, 1954, pp. 295-310.
[In the following essay, which was originally published in 1950, the author comments on the art of the short story.]
The principal feature re the short story is that it is short—and so must pack in what it has to say (unless it be snipped off a large piece of writing as a sort of prose for quality of writing which might be justifiable).
It seems to me to be a good medium for nailing down a single conviction. Emotionally.
There's "Melanctha" (and there are the Poe stories), a means of writing, practice sheet for the novel one might discover, in it. But a novel is many related things, a short story one.
Plato's discourses: the Republic, a walk up from the port of Athens, the stopping with a friend and talking until morning. Socrates as a hero.
You can't "learn" to write a short story—either from De Maupassant or Henry James. All you can learn is what De M. or H. J. did. Or take a reader of the short story like Charles Demuth—and observe what he did in the way of painting following the texts.
It isn't a snippet from the newspaper. It isn't realism. It is, as in all forms of art, taking the materials of every day (or otherwise) and using them to raise the...
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SOURCE: "The Farmers' Daughters: A True Story about People," in The Massachusetts Review, Vol. III, No. 2, Winter, 1962, pp. 319-24.
[In the following essay, Corman discusses the chief literary qualities of Williams's writing style in The Farmers' Daughters.]
Bill was upstairs. (I was visiting 9 Ridge Road, 1954.) Floss was explaining his nervousness whenever the phone rang. He thinks it's for him, a patient. Few seem to realize that 70% of his life has been given to his practice.
She was implying, perhaps, that writing occupied only part of the remaining 30%. But life, like death, has a funny way of getting round percentages. And to read [The Farmers' Daughters: The Collected Stories of William Carlos Williams], without exception relating, directly or indirectly, to his work as a G.P. in and out of his office (at home) in Rutherford, New Jersey, is to realize rather that writing of this order is an extension, not an escape or evasion or diminution, of a man's days and nights.
These sketches, "verbal transcriptions," histories, anecdotes, tales, are all instances of one man's remarkable capacity for love. Love of people, foremost, but no less—with enduring respect—a love of human expressiveness, of language, particular speech, its trickiness, vivacity, penetration.
If I had to choose which, of all the "pieces," I preferred...
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SOURCE: "Connotations of Rape in 'The Use of Force'," in Studies in Short Fiction, Vol. III, No. 4, Summer, 1966, pp. 446-50.
[In the essay below, Dietrich analyzes sexually suggestive aspects in the language and tone of ''The Use of Force. "]
It is difficult to pick up a collection of short stories these days without finding William Carlos Williams' odd little story "The Use of Force." Its ubiquity in college anthologies is not surprising, really, in that it simply, quickly, effectively illustrates many of the conventions of short story writing, and thus provides easy means for the instructor's first assault on the elements of fiction. Readily identifiable in this thesis story are theme, conflict, character, tone, point of view. The freshman or sophomore feels secure in his mastery of at least this simple little story, however muddy things may get later on. Sadly, however, such undergraduate confidence is unfounded, for the art of this story is more complex than at first seems the case.
My title advertises rape, but it is perhaps best to begin more innocently, as does the tone of the story, and save the sex for later. The physician who tells the story in a very casual and frank manner fashions himself in the familiar image of the family doctor, who of course achieves great villainy only when he collects an exorbitant fee. As for any pain that a physician might cause, we reason...
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SOURCE: "William Carlos Williams and the Modern Short Story," in The Southern Review, Vol. IV, No. 3, July, 1968, pp. 647-64.
[In the essay below, Slate relates Williams's theories about writing short fiction to the stories themselves, demonstrating the modern qualities of Williams's thought and practice.]
William Carlos Williams' "The Use of Force" needs no defense in academic circles. Endorsed by the critics and teachers who print it in anthologies, "The Use of Force" now indisputably belongs. Though the other fifty-one stories in Williams' largest collection are still relatively unknown, fifteen years in the right circles have established this single piece of fiction. Success is always paradoxical for an artist, but Williams' success with "The Use of Force" contains an especially sharp self-contradiction: Williams was an esthetic revolutionary who never stopped thinking of himself as a dangerous outsider or—at the very least—a subversive agent. He usually wrote to attack academic assumptions about the short story and continually questioned the premises of successful fiction.
"The Use of Force" conceals Williams' intentions better than his other stories; and it is not surprising that Williams' destructive role escaped notice, for he often pretended sympathy for the intellectual establishments in order to undermine them from within. When they finally listened to him, though never...
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SOURCE: "On the Ground," in William Carlos Williams, Twayne Publishers, 1968, pp. 97-118.
[In the excerpt below, Whitaker gives a thematic overview of Williams's short fiction.]
Though Williams had written short stories during the previous decade or so, not until the 1930's did this form become of major importance to him. In the people among whom he worked, the Depression was now revealing qualities that demanded a brief narrative form: "brokenness and heterogeneity—isolation, color." Temporary uncertainty about his direction in poetry also led him to prose—as a "laboratory for metrics" in which he could listen to live speech, hoping to discover the new. And behind these immediate reasons there was, I think, his increasing need to explore more intensively the minute particulars of that ground to which Dev Evans had returned—that ground on which Williams walked daily. Indeed, the primary stylistic meaning of these stories results from their movement beyond what he had called in 1927 "my formerly important irritability, diffuseness," toward annihilation of the self-regarding ego and a clearer acquaintance with the ground. This movement required a difficult honesty: "In order to be plain myself I must be assured that I am speaking true. That is the style, true to the sharpest, firmest present vision of which I am capable."
The stories collected in The Knife of the Times...
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SOURCE: "The Shape of Men's Lives'," in The Prose of William Carlos Williams, Wesleyan University Press, 1970, pp. 104-20.
[In the following essay, Wagner surveys Williams's short fiction, relating its subjects and techniques to those of other contemporaneous writings.]
Williams' short stories may have had as deep an effect on contemporary fiction as his poems have had on modern poetry. Denis Donoghue feels that "his stories will wear better than his poems, because the stories keep him rooted in the particular incident" [Connoisseurs of Chaos, 1965]. Many modern writers, ranging from Flannery O'Connor to Robert Creeley, share this view. The apparently effortless telling, the informal (and often unresolved) plot, the emphasis on character presented through salient details, and above all, the reliance on dialogue—these trademarks of a Williams' story occur repeatedly in contemporary writing. Yet mere copying of one stylistic device or another has never insured success, as many imitators of the supposed "Hemingway" style or "Faulkner" style have discovered. There are two primary difficulties in discussing Williams' short stories: first, the great variety of them; and second, the poet's insistence that a story is an amoral art form, that—as the most free of art forms—it has no responsibility to be anything other than a "formal" arrangement of words. Because the tradition in the American short...
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SOURCE: "Further Freudian Implications in William Carlos Williams' The Use of Force'," in The CEA Critic, Vol. 34, No. 4, May, 1972, pp. 20-1.
[In the essay below, Gallagher identifies the characters of the child, the doctor, and the parents in "The Use of Force" with the function of id, the ego, and the superego in the human psyche.]
In his interesting article on William Carlos Williams' "The Use of Force," R. F. Dietrich points out the sexual connotations of the story that "are there because they express the savagery in human nature that, lying so close to the surface, can erupt at any moment in a flow of irrational behavior . . ." (Studies in Short Fiction, Summer 1966). The interpretation of the doctor-child conflict in terms of a sexual encounter does indeed appear to be valid when one considers the sexual overtones of the language of the story as Dietrich does. However, I would like to suggest a further interpretation based upon Freudian theory. I believe that the three sets of characters in "The Use of Force"—the doctor, the parents, and the child—are motivated by the three zones of the human psyche, the ego, the super-ego, and the id, respectively, and I also believe that the doctor, at first governed by the ego, permits his id to dominate him during his encounter with the child.
It is evident that the child, in her unrestrained passion and aggression, is acting...
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SOURCE: "'The Use of Force' and the Dilemma of Violence," in The Psychoanalytic Review, Vol. 59, No. 4, Winter, 1972-73, pp. 617-25.
[In the following essay, Schwartz offers a psychoanalytic reading of "The Use of Force, " focusing on Williams's representation of violence in the story.]
My subject is a very short story by William Carlos Williams called "The Use of Force," about a doctor who forces a spoon into a little girl's mouth to reveal diphtherial membranes that she has been hiding for three days. But, as so much else in Williams' art, it also represents the dynamics of violence, the convergence of motive and situation which transforms the apparently ordinary into the revelation and partial recognition of sadistic desire enclosed by it. In this condensed expression of a critical incident in the life of a doctor we see the precarious closeness of therapeutic and destructive motives. I want to subject the story to a detailed psychoanalytic reading, to identify its core fantasies, to explore the relationship between manifest and unconsciously acted roles, and to suggest some explanations of its violence. In spite of its brevity, "The Use of Force" brings together central aspects of our current concern with the psychodynamics of aggression. It provides the literary critic with an opportunity to relate careful textual analysis to the more comprehensive concerns usurping our energies.
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SOURCE: "The Man Who Loved Women: The Medical Fictions of William Carlos Williams," in The Georgia Review, Vol. 34, No. 4, Winter, 1980, pp. 840-53.
[In the essay below, Perloff examines psychosexual aspects of the doctor-patient relationships in several medical stories from Life along the Passaic River.]
In one of William Carlos Williams' autobiographical sketches about the world of the big city hospital, a story called "World's End," the doctor-narrator recalls a particularly difficult little girl about six years old who was brought to the hospital kicking and screaming so violently that she could not be placed in a ward. The doctor decides to see what he can do: he takes the child to his office where she promptly bites him in the thigh, knocks off his glasses, and carries on like a wild little animal. Finally, not knowing what else to do, the doctor opens his desk drawer, takes out some crackers, and starts to chew on one. Here is the sequence that follows:
The child quit her tantrums, came over to me and held out her hand. I gave her a cracker which she ate. Then she stood and looked at me. I reached over and lifted her unresisting into my lap. After eating two more crackers she cuddled down there and in two minutes was asleep. I hugged her to myself with the greatest feeling of contentment—happiness—imaginable. I kissed her hot little head and decided nobody...
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SOURCE: "The Doctor's Black Bag: William Carlos Williams' Passaic River Stories," in Modern Language Studies, Vol. XIII, No. 1, Winter, 1983, pp. 77-84.
[In the essay below, which originally was presented as a paper at the Eastern Comparative Literature Meetings in May 1980, Monteiro shows how Williams's own identity as "poet-physician" informs several of his doctor stories.]
All day long the doctor carries on this work, observing, weighing, comparing values of which neither he nor his patients may know the significance. . . . He is half-ashamed to have people suspect him of carrying on a clandestine, a sort of underhand piece of spying on the public at large. . . . His only fear is that the source of his interest, his daily going about among human beings of all sorts, all ages, all conditions will be terminated. That he will be found out.
William Carlos Williams, Autobiography (1951) Black bag (adj., as in black bag jobs): illegal, surreptitious, undercover operations with the purpose of securing information, such as warrantless wiretaps, break-ins, and mail-openings.
William Carlos Williams was luckier than most people. He seemed always to know what he was about. Or at least, writing at the age of sixty-eight, he knew what he had been about. "As a writer, I have been a physician, and as a physician a...
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SOURCE: 'The American Short Story: 1930-1945," in The American Short Story, 1900-1945: A Critical History, G. K. Hall & Company, 1984, pp. 103-46.
[In the following excerpt, Watson surveys Williams's contributions to the short story form.]
Other native sons and daughters whose work significantly contributed to the contours of the short story between the wars include two at apparently opposite ends of the spectrum: the American expatriate writer, Kay Boyle, and the doctor-poet of Rutherford, New Jersey, William Carlos Williams. Expatriate and poet are delimiting labels for these two, but they help to account for divergences in the pattern I have been tracing. In her stories, many of them in the 1930s and 1940s written in England and Austria and France, Kay Boyle appeals obliquely to the rich resources of the Adamic myth. Her sophisticated short fiction draws on the American Adam as a frame or context for plots and values in the way that the poetry of T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound draws on myth and literary precedent as artificial ordering devices. It is a sign of her modernity and her Americanness.
William Carlos Williams commonly abjures such literariness. He relies instead on acute attention to the telling concrete details of American life to give his stories their shape and significance. His long battle against Eliot's classroom classicism carried naturally from his poetry into his...
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SOURCE: "An Analysis of William Carlos Williams' 'Mind and Body'," in Studies in Short Fiction, Vol. 22, No. 3, Summer, 1985, pp. 347-51.
[In the essay below, Gratto details the autobiographical, medical, and literary components of "Mind and Body."]
William Carlos Williams' short story "Mind and Body" takes a vignette about a woman who obviously fascinated Williams, melds it with the substance of a chapter from a highly popular medical book of the depression era, and illustrates in a very effective literary way the main elements of an important medical issue—the relationship of psychiatric medicine to general practice.
The case of Martha Darby, first mentioned by Williams in his essay "Jataqua," provides the general biographical outlines of a character whom Williams would subsequently develop into the central figure in "Mind and Body."
Intelligent, our girls are, their minds are whip-like, if they don't rot, as did Martha's, she who beat the record of all years at Cornell; was secretary to Altman; was graduated as a trained nurse and, what a volcano of energy! taught Greek in a school till she went mad at the slowness of the pupils—and married that marvelous little lame Irishman, Darby—who has the moods of a rose. What a woman! spending her life now as servitor to women in the Insane Hospital on Ward's Island—after being an inmate there...
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SOURCE: "La Giaconda's Smile," in William Carlos Williams Review, Vol. XI, No. 2, Fall, 1985, pp. 55-60.
[In the following essay, Mariani closely analyzes Williams 's use of language and its effect on meaning in "Country Rain."]
"Why don't you write a story about the place while it's raining, now you've got your typewriter set up." So Williams has his wife, Floss, ask him in his short story, "The Country Doctor."
And Williams, art reflecting life: "Country Rain, said I, looking out of our bedroom window over the ploughed field. Or, The Dark Helen, huh?"
In early August, 1946, with the hardest part of the war rationing all but over, Williams and his wife drove up along the Mohawk Trail in western Massachusetts to Charlemont for a two week's vacation. Two young women, Helen Grieder and Ruth Borklund, who had formerly worked in the Passaic National Bank, had decided to settle up in Charlemont and earn a living by converting an early nineteenth century house located on upland pasture into an inn. They called the place Viewcrest and they had learned to run it pretty much themselves, keeping only one man on the place, Helen Grieder's eighty-three-year-old father, an old Swiss from Basle, whose job it was to prepare the vegetables for the guests and keep an old tom named District out of the house. The only other man around was a neighbor, Horace...
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SOURCE: "Rare Presences: The Knife of the Times and Life Along the Passaic River," in William Carlos Williams, A Study of the Short Fiction, G. K. Hall & Co., 1989, pp. 39-78.
[In the following excerpt, Gish elucidates the thematic, stylistic, and technical characteristics of Williams's short fiction.]
Williams's first two volumes of short stones, The Knife of the Times (1932) and Life Along the Passaic River (1938), represent the kinds of "rare presences" he found as a doctor in his various encounters with his patients and with people in general; in listening to what they said and how they said it—with the ear not just of a physician formulating a diagnosis or prescription but of a poet tuned in for the music and dance of their words and voicings. Williams's stories are records of those times, those meetings, those places, and of his remembering of them; they are his attempt to turn case history into story and back again through writing. His stories become their own kind of rare presences both as things in and of themselves and in relation to each other. Williams's own rare presence permeates all of the stories—a "new meaning beginning to intervene," the "poetry" under the language that represents the lives of the people who are his characters, his life and his character as author-narrator.
Outside of two or three of the eleven stories...
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Baker, William. "Williams' 'The Use of Force'." Explicator 37, No. 1 (Fall 1978): 7-8.
Suggests that "the power of the story is its sense of urgency and its brevity."
Bell, Barbara Currier. "Williams' 'The Use of Force' and First Principles in Medical Ethics." Literature and Medicine, Vol. 3, edited by William Claire, pp. 143-51. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984.
Demonstrates the value of "The Use of Force" to the field of medical ethics.
Breslin, James E. "The Fiction of a Doctor." In his William Carlos Williams: An American Artist, pp. 125-67. New York: Oxford University Press, 1970.
Surveys Williams's fiction of the 1930s, including his short stories.
Deutsch, Babette. "Gusty Tales from over Passaic Way." New York Herald Tribune Book Review 27, No. 16 (December 3, 1950): 5.
Asserts that Make Light of It "helps us to realize the distinguishing features of [Williams's] contribution to American writing."
Gott, Peter H. A review of The Doctor Stories, by William Carlos Williams. Saturday Review 10, No. 2 (November/December 1984): 76-7.
Mixed review, claiming that "as...
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