Dream of a House: The Passions and Preoccupations of Reynolds Price
Poems and texts from the works of Reynolds Price
Reynolds Price (1933–2011), who authored forty-one acclaimed novels, memoirs, plays, and collections of poetry and essays, was one of America's most notable writers of the past half-century. His works have a home on the shelves of millions of admiring readers worldwide. Fueled by a brilliant mind and exuberant spirit, Price’s singular literary voice not only shines a light on the land and people of his native South, but also on the inherent worth of every person. His enduring belief in beauty, courage, grace, and hope transcends time and circumstance.
Confined to a wheelchair for the last twenty-seven years of his life, Price surrounded himself at home with art and objects that he loved. His eclectic and expansive collection—from the etchings of Picasso to photographs of James Dean, from Greek sculpture to religious icons, from busts of his literary heroes to African masks—created a salon-like refuge in which every wall, bookshelf, and piece of furniture signaled some aspect of his essential self. Through his home, Price conveyed his interior life in a way that few were able to experience—until now.
After Reynolds Price died, Alex Harris was asked by the Price family and Duke University, where Price taught for more than five decades, to document the house before it was sold and the artwork as a living collection disassembled. In this creative work, forty carefully selected excerpts from Price’s writings are interwoven with sixty-one of Harris’s exquisite, meticulous photographs. As we turn each page, it is as if Reynolds Price himself is taking us on a guided tour of his home. And as we move through his rooms, Price reveals his private world, recounts significant episodes in his life, and speaks with wisdom and humor about the people, places, ideas, and beliefs most important to him. We also glimpse vital truths about the human condition, finding meaning in our own lives.
Dream of a House is a remarkable book and a surprising tribute to the passions and preoccupations of this uncommonly gifted writer. Here is a work that speaks to long-time fans of Reynolds Price and to those discovering him for the first time. Alex Harris and Margaret Sartor have done what only true friends and fellow artists could provide: a chance to share in the dream of Reynolds Price’s house and his abiding genius.
To view a slideshow: http://www.gftbooks.com/Slideshows/Harris/books_Harris-slideshow.html
Available in August 2017 in bookstores or by ordering from the University of North Carolina Press
An exhibit of selected photographs from the book will be on view at the Rubenstein Library at Duke University from July 15 through November 5, 2017, with a reception, talk, and book signing event on September 28, 5–7 p.m.
“These images of our dear friend and native son, Reynolds Price, are precious reminders of a lovely life, fully lived and generously shared with those of us lucky enough to have known him. Every page summons the memory of that indomitable spirit and wry conspiratorial humor. How could he be both compassionate and wicked? It is even good to miss him.”
“This is a completely original concept—a biography told through interior photographs of the house Price lived in for forty-six years, literally every inch of it occupied by the art he loved . . . artifacts of a passionate life fully lived. . . .”
—Lee Smith, author of Key West
“Reynolds Price was my friend for fifty years. . . . With Dream of a House, what we now have is a look inside his personal world. We can see what he chose and what he valued and what reinforced him. And we can see the connections between those things. Alex Harris and Margaret Sartor help us to see the man in a wider light and to appreciate a huge idea—that is, the connection between the exterior and interior life, between what we know and what we had not known before.”
“This is a beautiful and moving book. I know Reynolds would be proud.”
“I have never had the privilege of witnessing such artistic care and grace taken in the name of another man’s journey, legacy, triumph, tragedy, and all that lies in between. . . .”
“A writer’s home is the familiar place where their deepest spirits reside, where they craft their creative work. . . . By pairing photographs of the home with text from Price’s fiction, poems, and interviews, Harris and Sartor offer a hauntingly beautiful tour of the artistic world that nurtured Reynolds Price.”
—William Ferris, author of The South in Color: A Visual Journal
“Reynolds Price collected passionately all his life, not as an investor but as a man who loved ideas. It’s good that his assembly of thoughtful objects has received this beautiful commemoration.”
—Matthew Spender, sculptor and author of A House in St John's Wood
“[Reynolds Price’s] home was a kind of tactile museum of his large and generous mind. That museum is gone now, but we are fortunate to have a record of it preserved in this beautiful book. . . . In addition, we have Price’s own words to help guide us from room to room.”
—Paul Hendrickson, author of Hemingway's Boat: Everything He loved in Life, and Lost
Published by George F. Thompson Publishing and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University