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College years-when ideas collide, literature intrigues and inspires, lasting passions are first fired-can stamp a young writer for life. This extraordinary book contains the work of dozens of writers whose experiences at Yale over the past three centuries exerted a powerful force on their writing lives. Formed and nurtured by the unique intellectual community of the university, writers as diverse as Noah Webster and Gloria Naylor emerged from Yale to make their own fresh contributions to our nation’s remarkable literary heritage.

From the galaxy of authors Yale has produced, J. D. McClatchy selects a rich and varied sample. He includes sermons, essays, poems, short stories, and excerpts from novels. The book opens with a section devoted to the work of four great teachers of writing at Yale in recent decades: John Hersey, Robert Penn Warren, John Hollander, and Robert Stone. The middle and most generous section of the volume focuses on writers who have been working since the end of the Second World War. Each of these selections casts a strong light on its author and his or her work. In the final section, McClatchy draws on the work of earlier literary figures from James Fenimore Cooper to Thornton Wilder, in many cases retrieving little-known material.

A stroll through the pages of this bountiful anthology, dazzling in the diversity of its offerings, will appeal to any reader. Each of the authors was challenged and inspired by Yale. In this volume, each in turn challenges and inspires us.

Among the authors and poets in this volume:
Jonathan Edwards, Sinclair Lewis, Cole Porter, Robert Penn Warren, Brendan Gill, Robert K. Massie, William F. Buckley, Jr., Calvin Trillin, Paul Monette, Garry B. Trudeau, Claire Messud, Chang-rae Lee

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