Source of Light
By Reynolds Price
(Scribner, Paperback, 9780684813387, 336pp.)
Publication Date: May 1995
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Though a novel independent from "The Surface of Earth, The Source of Light" continues the saga of the Mayfield family, here focusing on Hutchins Mayfield, whose desire for self-knowledge removes him from his secure existence as a prep school teacher and takes him on a journey to Oxford and Italy to study and write. Hutchins comes back home for a family crisis but ultimately returns to England, where he achieves a maturity that enables him to cope with commitments, abandonments, and the creation of an honest personal agenda.
In "The Source of Light, " Reynolds Price combines gravity and buoyancy, a mythic sense of the past with the mysteries of place, to forge an encompassing portrait of the strange and various world one travels through in the quest for self-fulfillment.
Reynolds Price (1933-2011) was born in Macon, North Carolina. Educated at Duke University and, as a Rhodes Scholar, at Merton College, Oxford University, he taught at Duke beginning in 1958 and was the James B. Duke Professor of English at the time of his death. His first short stories, and many later ones, are published in his Collected Stories. A Long and Happy Life was published in 1962 and won the William Faulkner Award for a best first novel. Kate Vaiden was published in 1986 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Good Priest's Son in 2005 was his fourteenth novel. Among his thirty-seven volumes are further collections of fiction, poetry, plays, essays, and translations. Price is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his work has been translated into seventeen languages.