Song Broken, Song

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This study explores the work of Frederic Will, over a period of fifty years. It introduces the reader to the wide range of genres undertaken by this versatile author: poetry, prose fiction, travel essays, labor ethnography, translation, international grammar, memoir, and philosophical rumination.


“It seems a matter of justice as much as art that, having written about more ideas, more people, and more places in more different genres than most writers could even name, Fred Will should at last light on himself as the subject of a book.” – Professor Berel Lang, Department of Philosophy and College of Letters, Wesleyan University

“Song Broken, Song is a comprehensive and studious consideration of Will’s significant body of work. Part fiction, part critique, part (auto)biography, Song Broken, Song employs narrative and critical strategies that are no less varied than Will’s work itself, which incorporates poetry, criticism, and journalism, often between the same covers.” – Dr. Frank Manchaca, Executive Vice President, Gale Publishing

“Will’s oeuvre, as Song Broken, Song documents, is nothing less than a new kind of historiography that will certainly intrigue and illuminate the readers of this extraordinarily sophisticated, lyrical and still homey catalogue raisonné of one of the most unusual literary lives of our times. The text is a much needed guide to Will’s remarkable labors.” – Dr. Robert Hullot-Kentor, Professor of English, Foreign Language and Literature, Long Island University

“When they met, one was a young Australian scholar, the other a well-known scholar and writer. The relatively young Australian developed a mission in that meeting, and that was to explore the life and work of the writer, which he does here in what can best be described as a creative third-person narrative that incorporates criticism with wry commentary on the ways in which Will, the writer, reflected his internal evolution. Shynnagh, who adds to the ambiguity (and creates a mystery, if you are not reading carefully) by using a pseudonym here, introduces readers to Will's cycles of poetry, prose fiction, travel essays, labor ethnography, translation, international grammar, memoir and philosophy. Shynnagh organizes his commentary by delineating the growth of Will's texts and the themes and super themes that wrap themselves around what is an astounding body of work, then sets contexts framed by time, place, and meetings.” – Reference and Research Book News

Table of Contents

Commendatory Foreword by Professor Berel Lang
Part I – The Texts
1 1958-1967 – Finding a Voice
2 1968-1980 – Finding the Past: Being the Present
3 1981-1993 – Parcelling out the Miracles
4 1994-2005 – Work, Love, Death
5 Updating – 2006-
Part II – Dissecting the Monovoice: Themes and Super Themes
1 Super Themes
2 Temporality
3 Quest
4 Solidarity
5 Love / Death
6 Art – Beauty – Truth
Part III – The Writer in His Time
1 The Writer in His Time
2 Writings: First Stage – 1958-1967
3 Writings: Second Stage – 1968-1980
4 Writings: Third Stage – 1981-1993
5 Writings: Fourth Stage – 1994-2005
6 Writings: Update Stage – 2006-
1 Books
2 Articles and Essays
3 Poems
4 Translation and Editorial

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