The University of Wisconsin Press

Biography / Literature

Privileged Moments
Encounters with Writers
Jeffrey Meyers

Prose portraits of Allen Ginsberg, James Dickey,
Ed Dorn, Arthur Miller, Iris Murdoch, V.S. Naipaul,
Francis King, and J.F. Powers

"Biographer and critic Meyers takes an intimate look at eight important writers as different from one another as the poets Allen Ginsberg and James Dickey. . . . Recommended for all libraries and lovers of literature."Library Journal

"Delicious. . . . A vigilant guide through a mine field of exacerbated egos and absorbing personalities."
Thomas McGuane, author of The Sporting Club

Jeffrey Meyers is the author of thirty-nine books, including the biographies Orwell; Hemingway; Katherine Mansfield; D.H. Lawrence; Joseph Conrad; Edgar Allan Poe; Scott Fitzgerald; Edmund Wilson; Robert Frost; Bogart: A Life in Hollywood; and Gary Cooper: American Hero. He lives in Berkeley, California.

Here are some more reactions to
Privileged Moments:

"Privileged Moments is a delicious book, filled with acute and unpretentious observations of some of our most interesting writers. Jeffrey Meyers, himself one of the book's most scrutinized characters, is a vigilant guide through what is often a mine field of exacerbated egos and absorbing personalities."—Thomas McGuane, author of The Sporting Club

"Full of vivid reminiscence, this book is the next best thing to a series of conversations with Jeffrey Meyers about friendships he forged while going about his work. Here we have entertaining documentation of V. S. Naipaul's deviousness, together with affectionate portraits of Iris Murdoch, Arthur Miller, Francis King, and several other writers."—Ronald Hayman, author of Tennessee Williams and Hitler & Geli

"Jeffrey Meyers is an adept of big and small genres: literary biographies, critical essays, letters from abroad, jokes, and, in Privileged Moments, sketches of friends, nearly friends, and one-time friends. Piquant stuff; immensely revealing." —Denis Donoghue, Henry James Chair of English and American Letters, New York University

"Meyers takes us behind the scenes to record, as Boswell did, interesting private moments when the Great Ones are, as it were, off duty. It is the play of Meyers' intellect that makes the moments revealing rather than random encounters. Several times Meyers praises his subjects for displaying in conversation as in print the novelist's eye for telling details. Again and again Meyers displays what I would call the master biographer's sharp eye."—Paul Alkon, Bing Professor of English, University of Southern California

"Nobody interested in the craft of literary biography could fail to be intrigued and entertained by this startlingly candid book of essays."—Ian Hamilton, author of Robert Lowell, a Biography

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

cover of Privileged Moments is a painting of a middle-aged man, who could be Meyers himself.

September 2000

160 pp.  6 x 9
LC: 00-008609 PS

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ISBN 978-0-299-16944-2
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The cloth edition, ISBN 978-0-299-16940-4 is out of print.

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