OVERRIDE

James Dickey

The World as a Lie

Henry Hart

Picador

A fascinating biography of one of the most popular, colorful, and notorious American poets of our century.

The legendary Southern poet James Dickey never shied away from cultivating a heroic mystique. Like Norman Mailer and Ernest Hemingway, he earned a reputation as a sportsman, boozer, war hero, and womanizer as well as a great poet, novelist, screenwriter, and essayist. But James Dickey made lying both a literary strategy and a protective camouflage; even his family and closest friends failed to distinguish between the mythical James Dickey and the actual man. Henry Hart sees lying as the central theme to Dickey's life; and in this authoritative, immensely entertaining biography he delves deep behind Dickey's many masks. Letters, anecdotes, tall tales and true ones, as well as the reluctant but finally candid cooperation of Dickey himself animate Hart's narration of a remarkable life.

Readers of Dickey's National Book Award-winning poetry, his bestselling novel Deliverance, and anyone who witnessed his electrifying readings of his work will savor this book.

REVIEWS

Praise for James Dickey

"This is an exemplary work."--Erica da Costa, The New York Times Book Review

"Fascinating . . . Henry Hart has done a first-rate job."--George Garrett, Washington Times

"Exemplary . . . This is the biography the poet deserves."--Steve Oney, LA Weekly

"This book is destined to become the standard Dickey biography."--Library Journal (starred)

"Weaving Dickey's own writing into this biographical narrative, Hart provides glimpses of his incisiveness as a critic, his lyric grace as a poet and his dazzling inventiveness as a novelist."--Henry L. Carrigan, Chicago Tribune

"Thorough and unflinching . . . One finishes this biography with a sense of the enormity of James Dickey's talent and with an equally strong sense of the great waste of his later years."--Stephen Ennis, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"This new biography by Hart undertakes a meticulous unveiling of the man behind the many masks."--Kirkus Reviews

"Hart quietly corrects as well as establishes the record. More tellingly, he links the sometimes ugly forces that inspired Dickey's antics--his public acting out, his aggressive competitiveness and his sometimes unbridled determination to dominate people around him--to the wellsprings of his art. As a result, we can now say of James Dickey . . . if we want to take the good by honoring his art we must be willing to accept the bad, and that no biographer could responsibly have told one part of Dickey's story without telling the other."--David Minter, Washington Post Book World

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Henry Hart

  • Henry Hart is the author of critical books on Seamus Heaney, Robert Lowell, and Geoffrey Hill, as well as two books of poetry. Hart is a professor of English at the College of William & Mary, and lives in Virginia.
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Available Formats and Book Details

James Dickey

The World as a Lie

Henry Hart

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

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