Manual Mozart and Leadbelly

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They did not make fun of them. They were people - they were good, they were bad. They could be as brutal as any man, they could be as kind. The American, writers in general, the Southern writer in particular, never saw peasantry, especially black peasantry, in this way; blacks were either caricatures of human beings or they were problems. They needed to be saved or they were saviors. They were either children or they were seers. But they were very seldom what the average being was. I liked the real story of his life more than the short stories included in this collection.

Actually I would give 4. Apr 08, Liz rated it it was amazing Shelves: short-stories-and-essays. What a treat!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

There is also a transcription of a conversation between Gaines, Gaudet, and poet Darrell Bourque, both of the latter associated with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where Gaines also teaches. For me, reading this What a treat! For me, reading this book was exciting in the same way that going to hear Stephen Sondheim speak was exciting. Jan 23, Jerry Smith rated it it was ok Shelves: A few essays that had similar points. A couple stories, some of which were like the essays.

An interview transcript. I could have written this, no idea how it got published. Jun 21, Mimi rated it really liked it. Gaines is becoming a favorite author for me.


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This is a collection of essays,stories and an interview. Jan 10, Carol Rizzardi rated it really liked it. I liked his short stories.

Finding Aid

The transcriptions of his speeches were a bit flat because transcriptions of speeches and talks always are. Jan 06, Diane Lloyd rated it liked it Shelves: biography , black-literature. Essays really interesting, especially info about his experiences moving to the Bay Area.

I lived in the area during the same time period, interesting to see if from his point of view. The essay about the influence of his Aunt was great - a call to all of us to always stand up for what is right. He knew people in the Jonestown cult.

Midnight Special Stella/Leadbelly Style - Mississippi Blues

Stories of how he came to write his books and short stories was fascinating. The story of meeting a lawyer who defended a young black man up for the death penalty who Essays really interesting, especially info about his experiences moving to the Bay Area. The story of meeting a lawyer who defended a young black man up for the death penalty who was electrocuted in the traveling electric chair was chilling. Mar 07, Ms W rated it liked it.


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  8. W: This is a collection of short stories and essays written in strong, spare language that explores the author's life and career choice. I picked this book by title alone, what on earth could it imply? Oct 17, Stableboy rated it it was amazing. One of the best still living writers around--Gaines has an evocative style reminiscent of Faulkner and Hemingway but literally sprung directly from the soil and people of Louisiana. A true writer of blood, grit, and heart. Oct 07, Jim rated it liked it Shelves: fiction.

    Not Gaines' best effort, but still better than a lot of stuff out there.

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    I really enjoyed the nonfiction essays the most; the short stories this time did not seem to grab me. This books contains fascinating conversations with Ernest Gaines in addition to several of his short stories. The title essay, which comes next, addresses Mozart and Leadbelly and their music only briefly. They also shed light on the maturation of his themes.

    MOZART AND LEADBELLY by Ernest J. Gaines | Kirkus Reviews

    Gaines considers this story his personal favorite, and the editors assert, rightly, that it belies his conviction that his efforts at California stories are failures. The change from the familiar Louisiana voice startles, but the voice of an urban California down-and-outer seems no less authentic. I have tried to write about California; I was a young man living in California in the fifties when the Beat era was at its apex.

    Hemingway said that if you were a young man in Paris in the twenties, Paris was a "movable feast. So for a while I tried the wine parties, the regular Jazz-club scenes, and sleeping on the floor instead of a bed. After a while I got a bit tired of it. I think what hurried my decision was getting sick on too much salami, cheese, French bread, and white wine. I could see I was not cut out for the Bohemian life.

    I tried to write a novel about an interracial affair with a San Francisco background.

    Ernest J. Gaines

    San Francisco was a cosmopolitan city, and I knew several interracial couples. I worked on this idea for about a year, and I think I went through a complete draft of the novel. But when I began to read what I had written, I saw that I was trying to rewrite Othello, and Shakespeare had done a much better job three hundred years earlier. So I tried writing ghost stories with a San Francisco background. Eventually, I told other people that I put the story down because it was so real that it frightened me.

    But the truth is, it never got off the ground. I tried to write about my army experiences on Guam between the Korean and Vietnam wars, but I put my manuscript aside because I could see that I was trying to rewrite Mr. In the early sixties, many of my colleagues were leaving the United States for Europe, Africa, Mexico, and so on, where they planned to write their great novels.

    They felt that America had become too money-crazed for them to live here and concentrate on their work. I was supposed to leave in the summer of with a man and his wife for Guadalajara, Mexico. I had been working on a novel, Catherine Carrier, for three years but was getting nowhere with it.