- Paul Veyne, ed., A History of Private Life I:From Pagan Rome to Byzantium (Belknap Press, 1987).
- Georges Duby, ed., A History of Private Life II: Revelations of the Medieval World (Belknap Press, 1988).
- Robert Chartier, ed., A History of Private Life III: Passions of the Renaissance (Belknap Press, 1993).
- Michelle Perrot, ed., A History of Private Life IV: From the Fires of Revolution to the Great War (Belknap Press, 1990).
- Antoine Prost, ed., A History of Private Life V: Riddles of Identity in Modern Times (Belknap Press, 1991).
- Bill Bryson, At Home: A Short History of Private Life (Doubleday, 2010).
- Jonathan Sperber, Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life (Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2013). “Marx is committed to revolution, without being a monomaniac. He is an intensely loving father, playing energetically with his children and later grandchildren, but also suffering what would now be diagnosed as a two-year depression following the death of his 8-year-old son Edgar. He is clearly also an infuriated colleague . . .”
It is certain, that if Ravaillac had not assassinated Henri IV., there would have been no documents in the trial of Ravaillac deposited in the clerk’s office of the Palais de Justice, no accomplices interested in causing the said documents to disappear; hence, no incendiaries obliged, for lack of better means, to burn the clerk’s office in order to burn the documents, and to burn the Palais de Justice in order to burn the clerk’s office; consequently, in short, no conflagration in 1618. [Victor Hugo, Notre-Dame de Paris, or, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831), Volume I, Book First, Chapter I, “The Grand Hall”.]
- Gish Jen
Gish Jen has written a series of novels about Chinese immigrant life in the United States.
- Gish Jen, World and Town (Knopf, 2010).
- Gish Jen, Typical American (Tuirtleback Books, 1992).
- Gish Jen, The Love Wife (Knopf, 2004).
- Gish Jen, Mona in the Promised Land (Knopf, 1996).
William Trevor has written at least 2,000 pages of short-story fiction. "The default condition in his stories is loss and disappointment." He writes directly, allowing simple observations to tell his stories.
- William Trevor, The Collected Stories (Viking, 1992).
- William Trevor, Selected Stories (Viking, 2010).
- William Trevor, Last Stories (Viking, 2018): “This truthfulness of fragility is William Trevor’s credo. It is why we honor him as the supreme master of his honest art.”
Other novels and stories:
- Douglas Kennedy, Leaving the World (Hutchinson, 2009).
- Geraldine Brooks, March (Viking, 2005): Brooks won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize with this novel about a man who leaves his family to support the Union in the Civil War.
- Michael Chabon, Moonglow: A Novel (Harper/HarperCollins Publishers, 2016): “‘After I’m gone, write it down,’ the narrator’s grandfather tells him. ‘Explain everything.’”
- Jennifer Egan, Manhattan Beach: A Novel (Scribner, 2017): “For Anna the sight of the sea provides an ‘electric mix of attraction and dread’ while for Eddie it’s ‘an infinite hypnotic expanse’ and for Dexter it’s ‘never the same on any two days, not if you really looked.’ Egan really looks, and so do her characters. Turning their backs on the crowded constraints of their urban lives, all three look to the ocean as a realm that while inherently dangerous also promises the potential for personal discovery and an almost mystical liberty.”
- Namwali Serpell, The Old Drift: A Novel (Hogarth, 2019): “The people and the ideas in ‘The Old Drift,’ like dervishes, are set whirling. When that whirling stops, you can hear the mosquitoes again. They’re still out there.”
- Margaret Drabble, The Dark Flood Rises: A Novel (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2017): “ . . . this humane and masterly novel by one of Britain’s most dazzling writers is something else as well, deeper than mere philosophy: a praisesong for the tragical human predicament exactly as it has been ordained on Earth, our terminal house.”
- Namwali Serpell, The Old Drift: A Novel (Hogarth, 2019): “ . . . an intimate, brainy, gleaming epic, set mostly in what is now Zambia, the landlocked country in southern Africa. It closely tracks the fortunes of three families (black, white, brown) across four generations.”
- Tishani Doshi, Small Days and Nights: A Novel (W.W. Norton & Company, 2020): “. . . about a woman whose mother’s death prompts her to leave her unhappy married life in America and rebuild her home and family back in India.”
- Hillary Leichter, Temporary: A Novel (Coffee House Press, 2020): “. . . a brisk, wildly imaginative first novel by Hilary Leichter, the unnamed protagonist is a temp worker who trudges between 23 jobs.”
Film and Stage
Seeds in a dry pod, tick, tick, tick,
Tick, tick, tick, like mites in a quarrel--
Faint iambics that the full breeze wakens--
But the pine tree makes a symphony thereof.
Triolets, villanelles, rondels, rondeaus,
Ballades by the score with the same old thought:
The snows and the roses of yesterday are vanished;
And what is love but a rose that fades?
Life all around me here in the village:
Tragedy, comedy, valor and truth,
Courage, constancy, heroism, failure--
All in the loom, and oh what patterns!
Woodlands, meadows, streams and rivers--
Blind to all of it all my life long.
Triolets, villanelles, rondels, rondeaus,
Seeds in a dry pod, tick, tick, tick,
Tick, tick, tick, what little iambics,
While Homer and Whitman roared in the pines?
[Edgar Lee Masters, “Petit, the Poet”]
Music: songs and other short pieces
- Carole King, Tapestry
Music: Composers, artists, and major works
Frédéric Chopin, 24 Preludes, Op. 28 (1839-1841), reflect many moods in short duration. Chopin wrote 24 of them because there are 24 musical keys: he was modeling them after Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. Yet they are personal, “deeply tied with upheavals in Chopin's personal life . . .” at the time he composed them. Top recorded performances are by Alfred Cortot (1926), Benno Moiseiwitsch (1949), Maurizio Pollini (1974), Rudolf Serkin (1976), Martha Argerich (1977), Evgeny Kissin (2000), Nikolai Lugansky (2002), Rafał Blechacz (2007), Alexandre Tharaud (2008) and Nelson Goerner (2015).
Ludovico Einaudi, “Seven Days Walking”, is a musical journey through seven days of lived experience, symbolizing the components of a life. “The meandering flow of his thoughts as he walked in the Swiss countryside was something he wanted to capture in music.”
Frank, Hilos (Threads) for clarinet and piano trio (2010): “Scored for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano, the eight movements mix and match the players to allude to the beauty of Peruvian textiles both in their construction and in their pictoral content of everyday life.” [the composer]
- Hanson, Mosaics (1958)
- Bargiel, 3 Character Pieces (Drei Charakterstücke), Op. 8, present the individual as a tapestry.
- Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, For Piano (1992): “. . . like life itself, full of contrasts and clashes.” [Jens Cornelius, from the booklet accompanying this album.]
- Górecki, String Quartet No. 2, "Quasi una Fantasia", Op. 64 (1991): many dark-hued themes with no apparent unifying thread
- Goldenweiser, Piano Trio in E Minor, Op. 31
- Fauré, 13 Barcarolles (1881-1921)
- Prokofiev, War & Peace (1942): an opera based on Tolstoy’s novel (performances conducted by Wanamaker, Temirkanov, Gergiev and Bertini)
- Enescu, Symphony No. 2 in A Major, Op. 17 (1914)
- Berg, Chamber Concerto for Piano and Violin with 13 Wind Instruments (1925)
- Coles, Overture "The Comedy of Errors"
- Vaughan Williams, The House of Life (1903)
- Michael Maier (1569-1622) composed “The Fifty Fugues of Atalanta Fugiens”, the titles of which refer to episodes in someone’s life.
- Lera Auerbach, 24 Preludes for piano, Op. 41 (1998) (here they are with violin and piano, also here): these are “short tone-poems that feature polystylistic writing, harmonic contrasts, color, and texture”, expressing a wide variety of moods. Extending on these are her 10 Dreams for piano, Op. 45.
- John Adams, Harmonium (1980)
- Alexander Tcherepnin, Eight Pieces for Piano, Op 88 (1954/1955): eight moods, essentially, evoking episodes in life.
- Paccione, Tapestry Studies
- Nastasia Kruscheva, The Book of Grief and Joy
Here are two string quartets from Romantic era composers, which sound more like Modern-era works. They suggest the vicissitudes of life.
- Rahsaan Barber, “Mosaic”