Styron, William 1925-
American short story writer, novelist, essayist, and playwright.
Styron is a highly accomplished storyteller whose fiction is remarkable for its power of characterization, the polish of its rhetorical style, and the complexity of its moral vision. Styron's fiction has been well received both in the United States and in Europe. In his stories, as in his novels, one finds Styron's preoccupation with the struggle of the individual against the corruption of societal and institutional conventions. His protagonists, through their rebellion against these strictures, confront the limitations of their own natures and ultimately achieve a redemptive self-awareness.
Styron was born in Newport News, Virginia, the only child of William C. Styron and Pauline Abraham. During World War II, Styron trained as a candidate for officer in the Marine Corps while attending Duke University in North Carolina. At Duke, he became interested in literature and was encouraged to become a writer by Professor William Blackburn. Upon graduating in 1947, he worked briefly and unhappily as an associate editor for McGraw-Hill publishers in New York City. Enrolling in Hiram Haydn's creative writing course at the New School for Social Research, Styron began his first novel, Lie Down in Darkness, for which he received the Prix de Rome from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1952. Styron settled in Greenwich Village to write full time, but was forced to put his literary ambitions aside temporarily when, in 1950, the Marine Corps recalled him to serve in the Korean War. This experience inspired his drama of rebellion against military authority, The Long March, published in 1953. When released from active duty, Styron returned briefly to New York City and founded the Paris Review. After winning the Prix de Rome, he went to Europe for two years. Styron returned to the United States in 1954 and settled in Roxbury, Connecticut.
Major Works of Short Fiction
In his novella, The Long March, Styron skillfully uses poetic description to create a nightmarish world in which the horrors and absurdities of military life are laid bare. Scholars have noted that the novella demonstrates the development of Styron's moral vision, for the story illustrates clearly the themes of mortality and rebellion which underlie all of Styron's fiction. Styron depicts the protagonist, Mannix, as a rebel against the dehumanizing abstractions of modern life. The Long March, as critics have observed, also demonstrates the evolution of Styron's artistry in his deft handling of flashbacks and dream sequences, which allow him to compress radically the time of the story's action. In the collection of stories, A Tidewater Morning, reviewers point out that the theme of mortality is most evident and acts as a linking device for the three short stories that comprise the collection. Originally published separately in Esquire magazine, the stories are united through their protagonist, Paul Whitehurst, who recounts three painful incidents from his youth. These stories examine the power of memory and the unshakable hold of the past on the present. In these coming-of-age stories, the narrator confronts and reflects on the experiences of guilt, sorrow, rebellion, and death. What the narrator gains from his harsh experiences is self-knowledge and the forbearance to face the unknown trials of the future.
Early in his career, Styron met with astonishing critical acclaim and popular success. His first novel, Lie Down in Darkness, garnered international accolades, and literary critics hailed him as a successor to William Faulkner. In interviews, however, Styron observed that despite his debts to Faulkner and other southern writers, he did not consider himself as belonging to any Southern literary tradition or school. Later scholars have generally agreed that although aspects of the Southern literary tradition do inform his writing, Styron is a national writer with a widerranging perspective. They note, for example, that Styron's use of a southern setting in The Long March is relatively unimportant in the novella's exploration of rebellion against authority. Critics have repeatedly returned to this early work, hailed as a minor masterpiece at the time of its publication, for what it reveals of the writer's artistic growth. Styron's aesthetics of style, imagery, and character development can be traced from this early work through The Confessions of Nat Turner and Sophie's Choice and in his collection of short stories, A Tidewater Morning. The cautious optimism that ends The Long March becomes in A Tidewater Morning the hopeful endurance that characterizes the viewpoint of Styron's protagonist. Reviewers of A Tidewater Morning have widely praised this collection for its heartbreaking examination of the individual's struggle and his ultimate discovery of meaning and affirmation in the bitterness of life.
The Long March (novella) 1953
A Tidewater Morning (short stories) 1993
Other Major Works
Lie Down in Darkness (novel) 1951
Set This House on Fire (novel) 1960
The Confessions of Nat Turner (novel) 1967
In the Clap Shack (play) 1972
Sophi's Choice (novel) 1979
This Quiet Dust and Other Writings (criticism) 1982
Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness (nonfiction) 1990
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SOURCE: "William Styron's Long March: Absurdity and Authority," in The Western Humanities Review, Vol. XV, 1961, pp. 267-72.
[In the following excerpt, McNamara finds that the plot, structure, and metaphors of Styron's novella demonstrate the author's point that both acceptance of and obedience to authority are necessary and that protest is hopeless.]
All works of art reflect and echo the tenor of their time. This is inescapable. There is a certain patterning, a certain cadence of words, a tonal quality which makes a work uniquely itself, and strangely of its time.
Such a work is William Styron's novella, The Long March, called "one of the two or three distinguished novellettes of the last thirty years" by John Aldridge, but otherwise curiously ignored by the critics. I say "curiously" because the pattern of the work so closely reflects the tenor of our own time. This may not be evident after a cursory glance. But if we contrast the central character, Lieutenant Culver, with the central figure in a novel of some ten years ago, Private Prewitt in From Here to Eternity, then the pattern becomes increasingly clearer.
If Prewitt is the archetype of the Individual (even if he is the terminus in a long line of fictional rebels from Natty Bumppo on down), then Culver is the corresponding antithetical myth-figure; the archetype of conformity, of...
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SOURCE: "Cold War, Religious Revival and Family Alienation: William Styron, J. D. Salinger and Edward Albee," in Existentialism and Alienation in American Literature, International Publishers Co., 1965, pp. 211-42.
[In this excerpt, Finkelstein discusses Styron's novella in the context of the Cold War period, and he notes what he considers Styron's accurate portrayal of the military's complete disregard for the value of human life.]
Styron's short novel, The Long March, has the distinction of being one of the few novels registering the actual impact on the American mind of the Korean war. In the course of this war a hysteria was whipped up such as had not been found necessary in the Second World War. In that anti-fascist war, there had been no policy of answering fascist brutality with like brutality and inhumanity. But now, under the assurance that the struggle was against communism and communism was by its very nature the worst barbarism, every barbaric tactic was justified. Overlooked was the fact that our ally, whose government we were supposedly defending, was a notorious dictator and swindler. The Nazis, who had been condemned for ruthlessly carrying the war to civilians, were outdone by napalm bombs that incinerated fields, towns and people. In the anti-fascist war, the aim had been to train an enlightened soldier. Now a soldier had to be trained to be a single-minded killer.. .....
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SOURCE: "The Idea Men," in Man's Changing Mask: Modes and Methods of Characterization in Fiction, University of Minnesota Press, 1966, pp. 251-57.
[In the following assessment of The Long March, Walcutt argues that the author had to sacrifice characterization and credibility to get his point across.]
In his novelette The Long March . . . William Styron has gathered all his forces to dramatize an idea about Jewish character. It is as unsympathetic as it is suggestive. It generates a great deal of imaginative power; and it seems to be going deep into the roots of character until its symbolic purpose takes open charge and reduces the action to an expository contrivance. . . . The characters of significance are just three: the dedicated professional soldier, Colonel Templeton, aged forty-four; Lieutenant Culver, about thirty, who has been snatched from a happy marriage and a promising career to a nightmare of forced training; and Captain Mannix, a huge Jewish bear of a man from Brooklyn, scarred from the last war, passionately rebellious, truculent, sardonic, articulate.
About 5000 men start on the march, in bone-chilling cold and blazing sun, over sandy Carolina roads. It is described as an ordeal for which the men are not ready—certainly not soft reserve officers who have been called back from their comfortable homes—and in fact scarcely 200 of the whole battalion can...
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SOURCE: "The Role of Order and Disorder in The Long March," in English Journal, January, 1967, pp. 54-9.
[In this excerpt, Brandriff describes The Long March as the story of one man's tortured discovery of the disorder and chaos that underlie the surface of civilization.]
There is a natural tendency to dwell upon the one-sided antagonism which springs up between Mannix and Templeton in The Long March, a short novel by William Styron. The conflict between the scarred man of history, and the marine colonel who deifies a system which produced many of these scars, is developed into a major theme in the book. But to contend that this is the most significant theme in the novel is to misrepresent the facts.
Certainly, it is true that Mannix "offers the extreme reaction" to the march [Melvin J. Friedman, "William Styron: An Interim Appraisal," English Journal, 50 (March 1961), 155]. But it is not merely his world which comes apart at the seams; Culver's world also undergoes a chaotic transformation. And then there is another matter which must be taken into account: the significant differences between these two worlds.
Friedman has pointed out in his article that Mannix's extreme reaction to the march results "in probable tetanus, insubordination, and a very certain court martial." So Mannix has been physically disabled and is about to be socially...
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SOURCE: "The Long March: The Expansive Hero in a Closed World," in Critique, Vol. IX, No. 3, Winter, 1967, pp. 103-12.
[Below, Nigro argues that The Long March is about the degeneration of a classical hero type into an "anti-hero" due to the corruption of the military. The critic also suggests that the military is symbolic of American society where, he argues, there is no place for the heroic personality. ]
A close examination of [The Long March] reveals that Styron has written a fable in which a few concrete images and symbols tell at least three related tales: the story of a forced march in a Marine camp, which demonstrates Styron's belief "that military life corrupts and we would be a lot better off without it" [William Styron, "If You Write for Television . . ." New Republic CXL VI (April 1959), 16]; the story of the American experience in which the individual's dream of a free and peaceful Utopia is betrayed by the suppression and bondage of a closed, tightly organized society; and finally the story of the degeneration of the hero in western civilization, from a figure who personifies the aspirations of the common man and the values of society to a grotesque anti-hero who makes a futile, but necessary, attempt to assert his personal freedom and identity in the face of a society which is consistently demanding that he sacrifice both.
The Marine Corps, . ....
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SOURCE: "Limited Man," in The Limping Hero: Grotesques in Literature, New York University Press, 1971, pp. 166-71.
[In this excerpt, Hays demonstrates how Styron's language and symbolism make Mannix a mythic figure comparable to Prometheus and Christ. ]
William Styron's The Long March presents us with three views of rebellion: as seen by the authoritarian establishment, by the passionate rebel, and by the involved but relatively objective observer caught between the two. The novella is about life in a Marine training camp during the Korean War, especially as experienced by Lieutenant Culver and Captain Al Mannix, two World War II veterans who have been recalled from civilian life. Their upset and displacement, and a short mortar round that drops on a chow line and kills eight young soldiers, set the tone of the novel, its sense of uneasiness and horrible, futile waste. The balance of the story concerns a thirty-six mile forced march at night which the Colonel, "Rocky" Templeton, hopes will fuse his men into a self-confident, cohesive unit of fighting men.
The march is horrifying. Men collapse from fatigue, and a nail that has come through Mannix's boot cuts deeper and deeper into the Captain's foot. In defiance of Templeton, the embodiment of authority, whose apparent cold-blooded acceptance of eight boys' death as an unfortunate accident revolts him and whose forced march he...
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SOURCE: "The Rebel Purged: The Long March," in William Styron, Twayne Publishers, 1972, pp. 57-69.
[Below, Ratner provides an overview of the techniques and symbolism that Styron uses in The Long March "enlarging the narrative into his general theme of rebellion." ]
Styron's novella, . . . has been singularly neglected by most critics in its significance to Styron's development and in its thematic parallels to his other works. Generally regarded as a competent literary exercise, it has been damned with the faint praise to which Styron has been occasionally subjected; but, most often, it has been treated as a single piece.
The novella concerns a thirty-six-mile march ordered by Colonel Templeton to toughen his regiment of marine reservists called up during the Korean War. Lieutenant Culver and Captain Mannix both resent the march; but, while Culver chooses to follow orders, Mannix shows his resentment by driving his men and by cursing Colonel Templeton for his inhuman command. The plot, which seems like a stock situation in a war novel, is quite simple; but the poetic metaphors, . . . enlarge Styron's theme.
If we read the account as a realistic narrative of the conflict of two wills and if we neglect the essential mood of the novella which gives it thematic structure, then the plot does resemble a standard Hollywood product about the marines. Such a...
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SOURCE: "The Symbolic March," in The Achievement of William Styron, University of Georgia Press, 1975, pp. 122-33.
[In the excerpt below, Malin discusses symbolism, characterization, and Styron's use of body imagery and contrast. ]
The opening paragraph of The Long March tells us much about the symbols, themes, and characters of the entire novelette. Styron begins with "noon," the hottest part of the day; the heat is as intense and extreme as the events—and the reactions to these events—he will eventually describe. (Even noon is intensified by the word blaze.) Then Styron introduces the human element: "eight dead boys are thrown apart among the poison ivy and the pine needles and loblolly saplings." The contrasts are vivid—the boys are dead, wasted, "strewn"; the noon burns with energy. Several questions leap to mind. How do men face extinction? What is the role of accident or design? Can death be meaningful?
We would expect Styron to give us more information about the causes of death, but he maintains the suspense. He simply informs us in the next sentence that the boys, only "shreds of bone, gut, and dangling tissue," look as if they had always been dead. Their past lives have disappeared. The continuity between past and present is shattered. (This theme is one of Styron's characteristic ones.) But we do know that the accident occurs in the...
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SOURCE: An interview with Michael West, in Conversations with William Styron, University Press of Mississippi, 1985, pp. 217-33.
[In this excerpt from an interview that was originally published in 1977, Styron speaks of how his resentment of authority figures has been a significant feature of his writing.]
[West]: The themes that have captured your imagination have driven you to complete four novels, if we consider The Long March to be a short novel, and I wonder if there are some themes that recur though the stories differ greatly. I am thinking of themes like the struggle of a man or a woman against authority or an authoritarian system, a system of values which seems to oppress.
[Styron]: Yes, that's been remarked upon before and I think there's some truth in that—a great deal of truth. I have been more or less drawn to human relationships in which there is strong polarity of power and submission, or authority versus subservience, or if not subservience a sometimes unwilling weakness. A long, long time ago, I realized in my own character that, whether I was in the classical sense a radical, I had a very strong streak of rebelliousness in me. And when I was quite young, and in school, or later in the Marine Corps, I realized how powerfully I was repelled by authority myself. I often got into trouble. I never got into major trouble, maybe fortunately, but I had trouble...
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SOURCE: "Styron's Farewell to Arms: Writing on the Military," in William Styron, Ungar, 1987, pp. 71-89.
[Here, Ruderman observes that Mannix, by virtue of his suffering and indomitable will against the impersonality of the military, achieves a heroic triumph.]
Three of Styron's major works of fiction are focused centrally on the military: The Long March, In the Clap Shack, and The Way of the Warrior (in progress). In the first two of these, published twenty years apart, war is emblematic of human existence: its bureaucracy and impersonality represent all institutions; the isolation and fear of its combatants are the primary conditions of modern life.
Lieutenant Culver of The Long March, like many of Styron's protagonists, looks nostalgically from a chaotic present into an Edenic past. He has left behind a law practice, his family, and the strains of Haydn, Bach, and Mozart reverberating through peaceful Sunday afternoons in New York City. Now his companions are his fellow marine reservists in the Headquarters and Service Company in rural North Carolina, his comfortable existence exchanged for endless maneuvers during frigid nights and torrid days in training for possible combat in Korea. The surrealistic pursuit of an imaginary enemy, the relentless exhaustion, and the isolation from all ordinary endeavors fill Culver with confusion, apprehension, and...
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SOURCE: "The Long March: A Failed Rebellion," in William Styron Revisited, Twayne Publishers, 1991, pp. 50-8.
[In this excerpt, Coale examines Styron's polarized vision of rebellion and authority, particularly what he sees as Styron's confusion over whether to portray the rebellious individual as heroic or as existentially absurd.]
The Long March . . . stands as the prototype for several of Styron's later longer novels. Besides the thrust and crisis of rebellion on which the book is based, we also find the bifurcated hero, the observant witness, and the participant rebel, what David L. Minter has described in American literature as the distinction between the man of interpretation and the man of action or design. Such dialectical characters include Ishmael and Ahab in Moby-Dick, Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby, Coverdale and Hollingsworth in Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance, and more recently Quentin Compson and Thomas Sutpen in Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom [The Interpreted Design as a Structural Principle in American Prose (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1969)].
The Long March also looks . . . closely at the individual's relationship with society, at the familiar oedipal struggles of the first novel, at the kind of Manichaean mysteries involving the confrontational polarities and unresolved oppositions in...
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SOURCE: "Styron's Time Past Shows Its Hold on the Present," in The New York Times, September 10, 1993, p. C-27.
[In this review of A Tidewater Morning, Kakutani notes Styron's skillful handling of the themes of mortality and evil, but observes that the collection is largely interesting as an index to his earlier works.]
A key to what made William Styron a writer can be found in a passage from the title story in A Tidewater Morning. All three stories in the book, Mr. Styron says in an author's note, represent "an imaginative reshaping of real events" in his own life, and in this particular tale, his alter ego, a 13-year-old boy named Paul, tries to cope with his mother's cancer and his father's grief, by distancing himself from the situation.
He focuses on the music playing on the family phonograph, and recalls the headlines of that day's morning paper: "My name is Paul Whitehurst, it is the 11th of September, 1938, when Prague Awaits Hitler Ultimatum. Thus lulled by history, I let myself be elevated slowly up and up through the room's hot, dense shadows. And there, floating abreast of the immortal musicians, I was able to gaze down impassively on the grieving father and the boy pinioned in his arms." The boy will learn to use this protective detachment as a means of coping with life's hurts and losses, a means of connecting his own confusions with the alarums of the world...
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SOURCE: "'So Much Like a Lost Boy,'" in The New York Times Book Review, September 12, 1993, p. 15.
[In the following evaluation of A Tidewater Morning, Bausch praises the way in which the three stories compliment each other and together "make one ineffable glow, like facets of the same dark jewel. "]
The three long stories that are collected in A Tidewater Morning appeared in Esquire magazine over the course of roughly a decade, beginning in 1978. In the order in which they now appear, as William Styron tells us in an introductory note, they "reflect the experiences of the author at the ages of 20, 10 and 13." This, would seem an odd juxtaposition, but curiously, when read in this sequence they appear quite linear in theme—and even, in a way, in chronology. It is as if Mr. Styron, by allowing the light of memory and imagination to play on certain crucial and painful moments, has discovered a symmetry that makes a literal recounting of his life somehow beside the point.
Mr. Styron's protagonist and speaker in all three stories is Paul Whitehurst, who, at the age of 13, loses his mother to a slow cancer. This is the calamity that informs every line of A Tidewater Morning, though our sense of it is somehow cumulative; we have to read on to feel it. In the first story, "Love Day," we see Mr. Styron's protagonist as a "lean, mean, splendidly trained" Marine...
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SOURCE: "A Virginia Boyhood," in The Los Angeles Times Book Review, September 12, 1993, pp. 3, 12.
[In this excerpt, Eder extols Styron's deft interweaving of historical occurrences, Southern legend, and his own autobiographical experiences in A Tidewater Morning.]
Styron has not published much since Sophie's Choice 14 years ago. There was a collection of essays, and a brief, lucid account of an episode of clinical depression. To revive three old short stories might be taken as a minor tidying on behalf of a remarkable but never prolific writer. In fact, read together, the "Tidewater" stories stand as one of Styron's finest works.
Two tell of events in the life of a boy named Paul [Whitehurst] one when he is 10, the other when he is 13; and both set in a small town in Virginia's flat tidewater country. In the third, Paul is 20, a lieutenant serving in the Pacific in World War II. Together they do not make a novel—they are variations on a set of themes—yet they have a compelling unity. All three take a young sensibility, portrayed in winning individual detail, through a series of large happenings: the history of the South, the meaning of war, his mother's death.
They are autobiographical in part; Styron calls them "an imaginative reshaping of real events . . . linked by a chain of memories." The reshaping is consummate and seamless, as if real events were the...
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SOURCE: "Among the Whippoorwills," in Times Literary Supplement, December 10, 1993, p. 4732.
[Below, Leader concludes that, in writing the stories contained within A Tidewater Morning, Styron sought to achieve personal integrity.]
The pivotal moment in each of the three linked stories in William Styron's new book involves a memory of dissolution or release, one accompanied by a sudden rush of strong feeling. These are moments of breakthrough as well as breakdown, though unlike comparable fictional epiphanies (those in John Cheever's stories, for instance) the insights they offer are mostly psychological or social rather than visionary.
The memories in question belong to the narrator, Paul Whitehurst, Styron's thinly disguised fictional alter ego. In the first story, "Love Day", set on board a troopship in the Pacific in 1945, the narrator is twenty, a Marine platoon leader, "incandescent" with health, "golden", "almost fearless". The memory that overtakes the narrator has "a luminous, mnemonic clarity", and concerns an argument between his parents, one in which his normally restrained father denounces his mother's complacent (and complicitous) idealism. The memory binds Paul to his father, flooding him with homesickness and a "ravaging", "desolate" sense of "the power of history to utterly victimize humanity", a sense that instantly undermines his boyish talk of...
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SOURCE: "Looking Back: The Long March," in This Quiet Dust and Other Writings, Vintage International, 1993, pp. 333-35.
[In this essay, which first appeared as the introduction to the Norwegian edition of The Long March in 1975, Styron discusses the autobiographical experiences that inform his work and recounts his own artistic process of shaping these experiences into the novella.]
Although not nearly so long nor so ambitious as my other works, The Long March achieved within its own scope, I think, a unity and a sense of artistic inevitability which still, ten years after the writing, I rather wistfully admire. Lest I appear immodest, I would hasten to add that I do not consider the book even remotely perfect, yet certainly every novelist must have within the body of his writing a work of which he recalls everything having gone just right during the composition: through some stroke of luck, form and substance fuse into a single harmonious whole and it all goes down on paper with miraculous ease. For me this was true of The Long March, and since otherwise the process of writing has remained exceedingly painful, I cherish the memory of this brief work, often wondering why for a large part of the time I cannot recapture the sense of compulsion and necessity that dominated its creation.
Possibly much of the urgency of the book is due to factors that are...
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SOURCE: "Tidewater Tales," in Sewanee Review, Spring, 1994, pp. xlix-li.
[In this excerpt, West discusses the effect of Styron's revisions of these earlier published stories and notes that Styron's message is that art can redeem an otherwise intolerable existence.]
It is good to see these stories made available between hard covers, but one would be mistaken to regard this small collection as a simple recycling of already-published work. The stories need to be read together, in the achronological sequence in which Styron has arranged them, if one is to experience their collective force. A Tidewater Morning is a small, carefully crafted volume of fiction that most closely resembles, in technique, such fictive sequences as Faulkner's Go Down, Moses and Hemingway's In Our Time. Styron has linked his stories together in ways obvious and subtle: this arrangement gives them a cumulative weight and thematic resonance that they would not possess if read separately.
All three of the stories are narrated by an autobiographical character named Paul Whitehurst. In "Shadrach" Paul is ten years old, in "A Tidewater Morning" he is thirteen, and in "Love Day" he is twenty. Styron might have arranged the stories in this straightforward chronological order, but he seems to have recognized that he could make his structure more dramatic and throw his themes more sharply into relief were...
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SOURCE: A review of A Tidewater Morning, in World Literature Today, Vol. 68, Summer, 1994, pp. 571-72.
[Here, Curran finds in Styron's latest collection an essential optimism that underlies the dark and painful fictionalized memories of the author's boyhood.]
"We each devise our means of escape from the intolerable." So begins the closing paragraph in the title story of William Styron's collection Tidewater Morning. Each of these three tales from youth holds in its own fashion to the truth in Styron's closing observation. They evoke Styron's experience of the 1930s at ages ten, thirteen, and twenty (even though "Love Day" carries us up to 1945 and the invasion of Okinawa). As the author looks back on his youth, he informs it with a hindsight the appreciation of which finds what is timeless in uniquely personal moments warmly set in social and personal history. The cumulative effect of the stories is to make it painful to think that one may not have had anything comparable to cherish. Styron's is a prose that validates the bittersweet privilege of being alive. He personifies time as a heartless thief with a taste of a connoisseur.
"Love Day" finds Paul Whitehurst a twenty-year-old platoon leader in the Second Marine Division. He is ready to be a part of the largest invasion since Normandy. "Never again," he feels, "would [his] health have such incandescence as it did...
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SOURCE: "Signs of a Shift: The Long March," in The Novels of William Styron: From Harmony to History, Louisiana State University Press, 1995, pp. 45-67.
[In this excerpt, Cologne-Brookes sees in The Long March signs of a change in Styron's emphases, from his earlier view that literature is a way to achieve harmony in a chaotic world to his later conviction that art is necessarily part of a dialogue with sociohistorical matters.]
As Styron's career progressed, the discourse toward harmony was dislodged from setting the underlying direction of his fiction to being one part of a more complex dialogue. The Long March shows signs of this shift, since a conflict emerges between the textual movement toward verbal and social reconciliation and the novella's subject matter. As in Lie Down in Darkness, a struggle is waged between the centripetal and the centrifugal, this time with Tom Culver, as a "critic" ostensibly on the margins of the conflict, having a personal interest in—and as a lawyer, a professional disposition toward—finding a stable outcome. Since the novella continues the shift toward social and historical preoccupations that was incipient in the latter parts of Lie Down in Darkness, a conflict arises between Culver's personal drive to harmonize voices—the text's fundamental shaping movement—and the political struggle between Mannix and Templeton....
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Leon, Philip W. William Styron: An Annotated Bibliography of Criticism. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1978, 129 p.
Detailed bibliography, including a biographical chronology, primary and secondary sources, an index of critics' names, and a subject index.
Casciato, Arthur D., and James L. W. West III. Critical Essays on William Styron. Boston: G. K. Hall & Co., 1982, 318 p.
A collection of reviews and essays, including several essays on The Long March.
Coale, Samuel. William Styron Revisited. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1991, 149 p.
Biocritical study of Styron.
Crane, John Kenny. "Forced Marches: 'Marriot the Marine' and The Long March" In The Root of All Evil: The Thematic Unity of William Styron's Fiction, pp. 59-77. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1984.
Discusses the contradiction of Mannix's self-canceling heroism and Templeton as a symbol of the church.
Firestone, Bruce M. "The Early Apprenticeship of William Styron." Studies in Short Fiction (Fall 1981): 430-43.
Considers Styron's earliest short stories as a testing ground for new material.
Fossum, Robert H. "Christ on a Crutch: The Long March." In William Styron: A Critical...
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