The Fine Art of Literary Fist-Fighting: How a Bunch of Rabble-Rousers, Outsiders, and Ne’er-do-wells Concocted Creative Nonfiction (Hardcover)

The Fine Art of Literary Fist-Fighting: How a Bunch of Rabble-Rousers, Outsiders, and Ne’er-do-wells Concocted Creative Nonfiction By Lee Gutkind Cover Image
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Description


An account of the emergence of creative nonfiction, written by the “godfather” of the genre
 
“When [Gutkind] stops to look back on his own evolving perspective . . . [and] reflects upon his writing career, the choices he made . . . he puts himself, and us, right back in the moment—and the results are vivid, ambiguous, emotionally resonant, fascinating.”—Lucas Mann, Washington Post
 
In the 1970s, Lee Gutkind, a leather-clad hippie motorcyclist and former public relations writer, fought his way into the academy. Then he took on his colleagues. His goal: to make creative nonfiction an accepted academic discipline, one as vital as poetry, drama, and fiction. In this book Gutkind tells the true story of how creative nonfiction became a leading genre for both readers and writers.
 
Creative nonfiction—true stories enriched by relevant ideas, insights, and intimacies—offered liberation to writers, allowing them to push their work in freewheeling directions. The genre also opened doors to outsiders—doctors, lawyers, construction workers—who felt they had stories to tell about their lives and experiences.
 
Gutkind documents the evolution of the genre, discussing the lives and work of such practitioners as Joan Didion, Tom Wolfe, Norman Mailer, James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, Rachel Carson, Upton Sinclair, Janet Malcolm, and Vivian Gornick. Gutkind also highlights the ethics of writing creative nonfiction, including how writers handle the distinctions between fact and fiction.
 
Gutkind’s book narrates the story not just of a genre but of the person who brought it to the forefront of the literary and journalistic world.

About the Author


Lee Gutkind has been called the “Godfather behind creative nonfiction” by Vanity Fair. He founded Creative Nonfiction magazine in 1994 and is the editor or author of more than thirty books. He lives in Pittsburgh, PA.

Praise For…


“When [Gutkind] stops to look back on his own evolving perspective . . . [and] reflects upon his writing career, the choices he made . . . he puts himself, and us, right back in the moment—and the results are vivid, ambiguous, emotionally resonant, fascinating.”—Lucas Mann, Washington Post

“Lee Gutkind’s brisk historical account of how a set of borrowed modalities became ‘the fourth genre’ is deftly interleaved with anecdotes and insights drawn from a lifetime as a practitioner.”—J. Michael Lennon, Times Literary Supplement

“An enlightening critical history . . . [that] adds up to a thorough appraisal of the genre.”—Publishers Weekly

“This memoir/critical history will please some readers and tick off others, which seems to be precisely the point. . . . Budding journalists and students of creative writing will find plenty of red meat in Gutkind’s pages.”—Kirkus Reviews

The Fine Art of Literary Fist-Fighting . . . is often a graceful blend of memoir and history. . . . It is both informing and entertaining, and [Gutkind’s] description of his assault on the ivy towers is one that aspiring writers and beginning professors need to hear.”—Michael Pearson, New York Journal of Books

“A chronicle of the pitched battles that took place during a decades-long war of attrition and détente, finally arriving at the culture’s capitulation to the idea of creative nonfiction as a distinct literary form. . . . Gutkind is a feisty pugilist.”—David Daniel, Arts Fuse

Named a Literary Hub Most Anticipated Book of 2024

“Gutkind has done more than trace a shift in academic thinking. . . . He has documented one aspect of a cultural shift toward viewing the stories of outsiders, outcasts, and people without power as valuable, a subversive shift that threatens the primacy of those in power.”—Christy Moore, Hippocampus Magazine

“The ‘fist fight’ seems an apt metaphor to describe Lee Gutkind’s resolute defense of creative nonfiction—in all its forms. His characteristic thoughtful conviction keeps it new and exciting for the rest of us.”—Yvette Benavides, host of Texas Public Radio’s Book Public

The Fine Art of Literary Fist-Fighting offers an insightful overview of the recent history of creative nonfiction and the struggles that early practitioners faced in legitimizing the genre. This is a must-read for all writers.”—Jennifer Anderson, Lewis-Clark State College

“Lee Gutkind is not only a master of creative nonfiction. He’s also a crucial catalyst who has meaningfully advanced the field. This honest, engagingly written book tells how it all happened and why creative nonfiction is so necessary.”—Steven Beschloss, director of the Narrative Storytelling Initiative and author of The Gunman and His Mother



Product Details
ISBN: 9780300251159
ISBN-10: 0300251157
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Date: January 23rd, 2024
Pages: 304
Language: English