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Dzanc Books is nonprofit press specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. In addition to publishing activities, Dzanc Books also supports the Disquiet International Literary Program.

John McPhee, by Michael Pearson

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John McPhee, by Michael Pearson

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John McPhee, by Michael Pearson

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In this first full-length study of McPhee, Michael Pearson argues that the writer successfully employs the techniques of fiction writing in his journalistic art while honoring his obligation to fact. In exceptionally lucid and entertaining prose, Pearson approaches his subject thematically, examining McPhee's lifework in the realms of personal profiles, sense of place, science and technology, and nature. In a comprehensive biographical chapter, Pearson traces the chief influences shaping McPhee's works, including his virtually lifelong residence in Princeton, New Jersey, his 30-plus years as a staff writer for the New Yorker, and his experiences as camper and later counselor at Keewaydin, a boys' camp in Vermont. Separate chapters examine the development of literary nonfiction as a genre and the techniques that distinguish McPhee's writing from other journalists'. Informing the discussions throughout are quotations from personal interviews Pearson conducted with the writer; of special interest is "The Shape of the Future," a concluding chapter in which Pearson synthesizes the comments of other literary journalists interviewed for their insights into McPhee's works. Highly accessible to students yet of distinct appeal to scholars, John McPhee provides a valuable supplement for journalism classes and courses in advanced expository writing. 


From Booknews

A study of the contemporary American non-fiction writer whose 23 books and collections of essays have been popular among both critics and the public. Argues that he successfully employs techniques of fiction while honoring his obligation to fact. Approaches his work from such themes as sense of place, science and technology, and nature. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.


Michael Pearson teaches creative writing and American literature at Old Dominion University. He has published essays and stories in The Boston Globe, The Baltimore Sun, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Southern Literary Journal, Shenandoah Review, and Creative Nonfiction, among many others. He is the author of five nonfiction books - Imagined Places: Journeys into Literary America (1991 -- listed as a notable book by The New York Times Book Review), A Place That's Known: Essays (1994), John McPhee (1997), Dreaming of Columbus: A Boyhood in the Bronx (1999) and, most recently, Innocents Abroad Too (2008), which recounts two journeys around the world by ship on the Semester at Sea Program. Pearson has also written a novel, Shohola Falls (2003), a coming-of-age narrative that imagines the hidden life of Mark Twain and the journal of Thomas Blankenship, the real-life Huck Finn. Willie Morris, the former editor of Harper's said, "Michael Pearson is one of our nation's finest memoirists."