By Bernard Malamud, Robert Giroux
Comprises Malamud's novel, The People, which used to be left unfinished on the time of his demise in 1986, with the textual content awarded because the writer left it, in addition to fourteen formerly uncollected stories.
Set within the 19th century, The People has as its hero a Jewish peddler who's followed as leader by way of an Indian tribe within the Pacific Northwest.
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Extra resources for The People: And Other Uncollected Fiction
It is a hymn to the unknown poor of the world who live their lives in quiet isolation without opportunity to develop beyond their station or to express themselves as unique individuals. Lincoln loved this poem because it captured in simple language accessible to the average reader the feeling of human sympathy for the silent suffering and bewilderment of the common person. The poem opens in the setting of a graveyard at the end of the day. With a stately, solemn verbal music the poet, standing among the humble tombs of a simple churchyard surrounded by the soft sounds of nature and the parting day, begins his meditation upon death: b_ch 1 thru end_t5 Pal 3/8/2012 11:38 AM Page 35 Abraham Lincoln | 35 The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea, The plowman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
The last stanza concludes the poem with images that emphasize life’s brevity. Knox repeats his opening question as if to plead with his reader to wake up and heed his warning. Be not confident in your works because life is quickly brought to an end: ’Tis the wink of an eye—’tis the draught of a breath— From the blossom of health to the paleness of death, From the gilded saloon to the bier and the shroud:— Oh! Why should the spirit of mortal be proud? (95–97) Lincoln spent his life trying to find out who the author of “Mortality” was and had asked friends and colleagues to let him know the author’s name if ever they should discover it.
We respect him as an upright and religious man. As a diplomatist and statesman, though not as a poet, he has gained for himself an honorable place in the history of our country; and as a diplomatist and statesman he will be remembered, when this “Historical Tale” shall be, as its hero himself has long been, by the kindness of posterity, forgotten. (24) Even Adams’s son, Charles Francis, regretted the epic’s publication. He confided to his Diary shortly after the poem appeared all the problems he saw with it that the reading public would also find: “There is vigor in the lines, and occasionally a high order of poetry.