Subjects Freshman Year Reading African American Studies African Studies American Studies Anthropology Art, Film, Music and Architecture Asian Studies Business and Economics Criminology Education Environmental Studies Foreign Language Instructional Materials Gender Studies History Irish Studies Jewish Studies Latin American & Caribbean Studies Law and Legal Studies Literature and Drama Literature in Spanish Media Issues, Journalism and Communication Middle East Studies Native American Studies Philosophy Political Science Psychology Reference Religion Russian and Eastern European Studies Science and Mathematics Sociology Study Aids

E-Newsletters: Click here to be notified of new titles in your field
Click here to request Desk/Exam copies
Freshman Year Reading
View Our Award Winners
Click here to view our Catalogs
Collected Prose

Collected Prose

Upgrade to the Flash 9 viewer for enhanced content, including the ability to browse & search through your favorite titles.
Click here to learn more!

Order Exam Copy
E-Mail this Page Print this Page
Add This - Collected Prose

Written by James MerrillAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by James Merrill

  • Format: Hardcover, 752 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf
  • On Sale: October 26, 2004
  • Price: $40.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-375-41136-6 (0-375-41136-4)
about this book

Following James Merrill’s widely celebrated Collected Poems and Collected Novels and Plays, this volume gives us, most intimately, the man himself and his charmingly straightforward exploration of how he became himself. As much as any poet of our time, Merrill conceived of his work and his life as warp and woof, and the prose collected here (from his juvenilia and occasional pieces through his critical writings to his interviews and memoir) shows how bound up in his craft (itself a recurrent topic) were his readings and reflections, his travels and friendships. Even Merrill’s most devoted readers will be startled anew at the range of his aesthetic concerns and the depth of his knowledge. Dante and Ponge, Cavafy and Montale, Elizabeth Bishop and Wallace Stevens, all figure prominently here, and the volume is shot through with commentary on music, especially opera, and descriptions of the world’s great cities–including New York, Paris, Istanbul, and Kyoto–and their cultural treasures. The volume closes resoundingly with A Different Person, Merrill’s memoir of his young life, in which he travels to Europe to explore the culture, comes of age as a gay man, and faces down his legacy as the son of the renowned financier Charles E. Merrill.

As Merrill remarks to one interviewer here, a poet is “someone choosing the words he lives by.” This volume, a cross section of a singularly complex literary life, showcases the care for verbal nuance and the inimitably varied tones that distinguish this great American writer.


Acoustical Chambers
The Education of the Poet
Jung Love
On Literary Tradition
On “The Country of a Thousand Years of Peace”
On “Snapshot of Adam”
Foreword to Recitative
From Pourquoi écrivez-vous?
On Allusion
The Poet’s Notebook
On Scripts for the Pageant: The First Five Lessons
On “The Ballroom at Sandover”
Foreword to A Reader’s Guide to James Merrill’s The Changing Light at Sandover

An Interview with Donald Sheehan
An Interview with Ashley Brown
An Interview with John Boatwright and Enrique Ucelay DaCal
On “Yánnina”: An Interview with David Kalstone
An Interview with Helen Vendler
An Interview with Ross Labrie
An Interview with J. D. McClatchy
An Interview with Jack Stewart
An Interview with Fred Bornhauser
An Interview with Jordan Pecile
An Interview with Thomas Bolt
An Interview with Augustin Hedberg
An Interview with Roderick Townley
An Interview with Heather White
An Interview with Justin Spring

Divine Poem
Unreal Citizen
Object Lessons
On Wallace Stevens’s Centenary
On “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
On Montale’s “Mottetti VII”
Foreword to Nineteen Poems
On Elizabeth Bishop
Elizabeth Bishop (1911–1979)
The Transparent Eye
624 White Street
Memories of Elizabeth Bishop
Afterword to Becoming a Poet
Memories of Truman Capote
Memories of Mary McCarthy
Introducing Richard Wilbur
Howard Moss
On W. S. Merwin
Preface to Burning the Knife
Robert Bagg: A Postscript
The Relic, Promises, and Poems

Foreword to The Evolution of the Flightless Bird
Foreword to Navigable Waterways
Foreword to Terms to Be Met
Foreword to Above the Land
Foreword to To the Place of Trumpets
Foreword to Out of the Woods
Foreword to Landscape with Hermit

The Beaten Path
Garlic Soup
Notes on Corot
Ten More
Yannis Tsarouchis
Acceptance Speech, National Book Awards, 1967
Acceptance Speech, National Book Awards, 1979
A Class Day Talk
Foreword to Le Sorelle Brontë
Ravel’s Mother Goose
Barbara Kassel
Memorial Tribute to David Kalstone
Memorial Tribute to John Bernard Myers
Memorial Tribute to Irma Brandeis
A Tribute to Marie Bullock
M. F. K. Fisher (1908–1992)
Memorial Tribute to John Hersey

Peru: The Landscape Game
ass Pages
Selections from Chamfort
C. P. Cavafy, “In Broad Daylight”
Vassílis Vassilikos, “The Three T’s”

Angel or Earthly Creature
Undergraduate Comment
The Transformation of Rilke


Biographical Note