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- Publisher: Other Press (NY)
- Format: Paperback | 240 pages
- Dimensions: 127mm x 201mm x 20mm | 249g
- Publication date: 15 March 2011
- Publication City/Country: New York, NY
- ISBN 10: 159051291X
- ISBN 13: 9781590512913
- Sales rank: 678,277
"Departures "is Paul Zweig's celebration of life and love. Zweig thought of himself as a sojourner, a contemporary Wandering Jew, a man with "a loose wire in his genes." He led a number of distinct lives: as a Jewish child in Brooklyn and on a farm in the Catskills; as a literature student at Columbia; as a young exile who spent a decade in Paris transforming himself into a French intellectual, absorbing the language, sex, culture, and leftist politics; and as an American man-of-letters who produced a steady stream of poems, essays, and wide-ranging works of literary scholarship and criticism. In 1978, at the age of forty-three, he abruptly entered a new life--"the life of the dying"--which he inhabited for the next six years. His writing was guided by a steely determination to hold the more pressing and distorting sentiments--self-pity, regret, anger, fear--at bay for the sake of his lucidity, which became his way through the world of cancer. This memoir stands as a testament to the passion and spirit with which Zweig lived and to the dignity that he brought to his final years.
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Paul Zweig grew up in Brooklyn, but left New York to explore Paris in the 1950s. After a decade in France, he returned to America and established himself as a respected poet, critic, and professor. He wrote five books in the last ten years of his life: "Departures, Walt Whitman: The Making of a Poet, The Heresy of Self-Love, Three Journeys: An Automythology, "and "The Adventurer: The Fate of Adventure in" "the Western World."
"An elegant and moving memoir." --"USA Today" "At a time when writers often write with calculated eccentricity rather than out of a fateful obsession, and compose memoirs that seem devoid of self-understanding, [Zweig's] raw, original studies of culture and his masterly autobiographies provide a rich diet for famished readers." --Lee Siegel, "New York Times" " " "[Zweig] was never more expressive or appealing than in these final memoirs . . . A moving document of personal integrity." --Joseph Frank " " "The essays are so evocative of their time and place, so perfectly pitched, so persuasive and intense that they form a brilliant kaleidoscopic glimpse of a man in search of himself . . . A remarkable literary legacy." --"Newsday" "There is no better vision of the ecstasy and wonder of our lives. There is no better chronicle of lost youth." --Gerald Stern