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About the book
  • Published: 1 December 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409002185
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 384

A Chance Meeting

Formats & editions

'An absolutely wonderful book' Joseph O'Connor

Each chapter in this remarkable consideration of American culture evokes an actual meeting between two historical figures.
In 1854, as a boy. Henry James has his daguerreotype made by Mathew Brady. We encounter Brady again as he photographs Walt Whitman and then Ulysses Grant. Meanwhile, Henry James begins a lasting friendship with William Dean Howells, and also meets Sarah Ome Jewett, who in turn is a mentor to Willa Gather...
Cohen brilliantly reanimates these unforgettable pairings and those of Edward Steichen and Alfred Stieglitz; Carl Van Vechten and Gertrude Stein; Hart Crane and Charlie Chaplin; Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston; Elizabeth Bishop and Marianne Moore; Richard Avedon and James Baldwin; and John Cage and Marcel Duchamp; Norman Mailer and Robert Lowell. Ultimately, Cohen reveals and long chain of friendship, rebellion and influence stretching from the moment before the Civil War through a century that had a profound effect on our own time. A CHANCE MEETING is an intimate and original act of biography and cultural history that makes its own contribution to the tradition about which Cohen writes.

  • Pub date: 1 December 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409002185
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 384

About the Author

Rachel Cohen

Rachel Cohen grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and graduated from Harvard. She has written for The Threepenny Review, McSweeney's and other publications. She is the author of A Chance Meeting for which she won the 2003 Pen/Jerard Fund Award. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Brooklyn.

Praise for A Chance Meeting

“'vivacious biographical snapshots'”

Helen Zaltzman, Observer

“'The stories are as lively as a novel, the procession of characters fascinating'”


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