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From the publisher
Life Studies was first published in 1959. 'In Life Studies the pathos of the local colour of the past - of the lives and deaths of his father and mother and grandfather and uncle, crammed full of their own varied and placid absurdity - is the background that sets off the desperate knife-edged absurdity of the jailed conscientious objector among gangsters and Jehovah's witnesses, the private citizen returning to his baby, older now, from the mental hospital. He sees things as being part of history; if you say about his poor detailedly eccentric, trust-fund Lowells: 'but they weren't,' he can answer: 'They are now.'' Randall Jarrell