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A Darkening Green

Un libro in lingua di Prescott Peter S. Prescott Anne Lake (INT) edito da Transaction Pub, 2009

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This is a book about the end of childhood. Much of it isdrawn directly from a diary the author kept while he wasa bright but insecure freshman at Harvard in the 1950s.From these pages emerges a precise description of theraw, half-understood experience of late adolescence--theanguish and arguments, the rivalry and anxiety about sex,the facile cynicism and desperate fumblings for purpose,the bull sessions held late at night--just as Peter Prescottrecorded them only hours after the event.

These diary excerpts are contained in a narrative thatexamines that freshman experience from a vantage pointof twenty years. Thus, we are able to look at the past witha double perspective: Th e exact record, unclouded bymemory or nostalgia, of what was said and done is set ina structure that reveals the form of the experience. Th eresult is an ironic, witty, and often moving book.

Writing with some compassion and even more asperity,Peter S. Prescott not only captures the confl icts andemotions of a single year, but probes beneath the surfaceof memory to explore certain tribal customs and rites ofpassage as they are played out in the classrooms and livingquarters of the college. A few famous people--T. S. Eliotand Edith Sitwell among them--play brief parts in thischronicle, but young Prescott's attention was primarilyengaged in his struggle with his extravagant roommatesand an assortment of eccentric undergraduates.

Peter S. Prescott was book review editorfor Newsweek. His books include Encounterswith American Culture (Volumes 1 and 2),and The Child Savers: Juvenile Justice Observed.His critical essays about books andother cultural phenomena have appeared innumerous magazines and newspapers.

Anne Lake Prescott is Helen GoodhartAltschul Professor of English at Barnard College. She is aspecialist in the English Renaissance and is affi liated with thecomparative literature program and the medieval and Renaissancestudies program at Barnard College. Her most recentbook is Renaissance Historicisms: Essays in Honor of ArthurF. Kinney.

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