A favorite of library and community reading groups, William Kennedy is best known for his novels Ironweed and his most recent, The Flaming Corsage. This eminently readable book provides a helpful introduction to students and others interested in his work. With engaging candor, Michael Patrick Gillespie provides a keen analysis of Kennedy’s best-known works, a firm base for interpretation, and a better understanding of the cultural world that shapes the characters and informs the plots of Kennedy’s novels.
Rather than prescribing what one should see when reading Kennedy’s works, the book moves to the next stage of exploring diverse responses to Kennedy’s canon, broadening the reader’s awareness of the range of alternative strategies and perspective. Gillespie begins with an introduction that outlines the imaginative context for Kennedy’s work. Subsequent chapters, in three parts, provide extended treatments of his early work, key elements in the first three Albany novels, and finally the maturity of his overall fiction, including his new play, Grand View.
Michael Patrick Gillespie is the Louise Edna Goeden Professor of English at Marquette University. He is the author of books on James Joyce and Oscar Wilde and numerous essays on British and Irish writers.