Process : A Novel

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"Process" is the first novel written by Kay Boyle, one of the most enduring writers of modernist American literature. Written in 1924 and 1925, when Boyle was a young American living in France, "Process" was circulating among potential publishers when the manuscript disappeared. Three-quarters of a century later, Sandra Spanier, preeminent authority on Boyle, discovered a carbon copy of it while preparing an edition of Boyle's letters. Set off by Spanier's substantial introduction, it is published here for the first time. "Process" is a classic Bildungsroman and " a portrait of the artist as a young woman." Like James Joyce's Stephen Dedalus, Kerith Day is a sensitive youth, self-consciously in search of her own identity and place in the world. Observing with a keen and critical eye the dreary industrial landscape and the beaten-down inhabitants of her native Cincinnati, Ohio, Kerith determines to discover something better. She sets off for France, where workers and radicals are on the same side, and places her faith in art and politics. This lyrical first novel captures the passionate indignation and urgency to independence that propelled the young Kay Boyle toward radical politics and literary experimentation. Part of the legendary circle of expatriate writers and artists in Paris in the 1920s, Boyle published some of her early poetry and fiction in the avant-garde little magazines, alongside the work of Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, Hart Crane, William Carlos Williams, and Ernest Hemingway. After the appearance of Boyle's first published novel in 1931, Katherine Anne Porter signaled her as one of the " most portentous" talents of her generation. Like other cutting-edge work of its time, "Process" pushes the envelope of genre, blurring the boundary between fiction and poetry. Spanier calls this long-lost first novel the purest, most sustained example we have of Boyle's high modernist work. Its recovery marks a significant addition to the body of early twentieth-century American literature. As a political novel that predates the radical literature of the 1930s, as a novel of development written by an American woman, and as a startlingly innovative experiment, "Process" is a pivotal text for reassessing literary more

Product details

  • Hardback | 144 pages
  • 153.2 x 237.2 x 16mm | 373.24g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252026683
  • 9780252026683

Review quote

"Though Process was completed nearly 80 years ago, it could easily qualify as the most innovative and challenging work to come out this year... Boyle is striving to use the language in new and striking ways. The poetic daring of the writing is one of the book's most compelling qualities... Qualifies as a genuine literary find." -- John Martin, The Bloomsbury Review "Valuable for scholars of modernism and Boyle's work and life, the volume complements Boyle's autobiographical early fiction. Undergraduates in particular will appreciate Spanier's explanatory footnotes." -- Choice "Anything that keeps Boyle -- prolific writer, humanitarian, and fascinating human being -- before the public eye is worthwhile, but Spanier's discovery of the typescript of Boyle's long-lost first novel is truly significant." -- Booklist Process has finally been published in an excellent edition and with a superb introduction by Spanier... This novel is important for what it shows about Boyle's writing and how she adopts and adapts modernist language and techniques. While most of Boyle's work remains out of print, Process is a novel that deserves and demands a place in the modernist canon." -- Jason D. Fichtel, Review of Contemporary Fiction "The 2001 publication of Process is an event of great literary significance, not just for Boyle scholarship but also for the study of American modernism as a whole... The sheer variety [of literary genres explored] highlights ... Boyle's sensitivity to the plethora of intellectual ideas swirling around her... As an apprenticeship piece, however, this novel is unusually accomplished... Process's most remarkable aspect ... is its language." -- Thomas Austenfeld, South Atlantic Review "'I believe we can assert our own life, our own antithesis to what now exists.' Characters just don't talk that way anymore, do they? This improbable sampling of dialogue comes from the recently unearthed first novel by Kay Boyle, one of the great -- and underappreciated -- American writers of the 20th century... In this minuscule novella ... Boyle indeed asserts her own life." -- Mark Rozzo, LA Times "The publication of Kay Boyle's lost first novel, Process is an important contribution to our understanding of her creative process and of the emergence of literary Modernism. Beautifully edited by Sandra Spanier, this book is a treat." -- Shari Benstock, author of Women of the Left Bank: Paris, 1900-1940 "Aside from the historical value of Process as a pure, untouched example of early high modernism, it has a genuine literary value of its own. One wishes people of the 1920s could have read the book at the time Boyle wrote it... Could any of the readers of nearly 100 years ago have doubted that they were meeting a new, delightful talent?" -- Hope Hale Davis, The New Leadershow more

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15 ratings
3.26 out of 5 stars
5 0% (0)
4 53% (8)
3 27% (4)
2 13% (2)
1 7% (1)
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