In these ten intertwined essays, one of our most provocative young novelists proves that she is just as stylish and outrageous an art critic. For when Jeanette Winterson looks at works as diverse as the Mona Lisa and Virginia Woolf’s The Waves, she frees them from layers of preconception and restores their power to exalt and unnerve, shock and transform us.
Whether she is writing about the demands paintings make on their viewers, the subversive “autobiography” of Gertrude Stein, the ghettoization of gay and lesbian writers, or the origins of her own defiant love affair with language, Winterson continually reminds us that the term “art objects” denotes not only things but acts. Art objects to the lie that life is small, fragmented, and mean; it instead proclaims the opposite. And so does Winterson’s wise and fiery book.
Roland Barthes - New Critical Essays
New Critical gathers Roland Barthes's essays on classic texts of French literature, works by La Rochefoucauld, Chateaubriand, Proust, Flaubert, Fromentin, and Lori. Like an artist sketching, Barthes in these essays is working out the more fascinating details of his larger theories. In the innocuously names "Proust and Names" and "Flaubert and Sentences," Barthes explores the relation of the author to writing that begins his transition to his later thought. In his studies of La Rochefoucauld's maxims and the illustrative plates of the Encyclopedia, Barthes reveals new vistas on common cultural artifacts, while "Where to Begin?" offers a glimpse into his own analytical processes. The concluding essays on Fromentin and Loti show the breadth of Barthes's inquiry. As a whole, the essays demonstrate both the acuity and freshness of Barthes's critical mind and the gracefulness of his own use of language.
Clifford Geertz - Life Among the Anthros and Other Essays
Clifford Geertz (1926-2006) was perhaps the most influential anthropologist of our time, but his influence extended far beyond his field to encompass all facets of contemporary life. Nowhere were his gifts for directness, humor, and steady revelation more evident than in the pages of the "New York Review of Books," where for nearly four decades he shared his acute vision of the world in all its peculiarity. This book brings together the finest of Geertz's review essays from the "New York Review" along with a representative selection of later pieces written at the height of his powers, some that first appeared in periodicals such as "Dissent," others never before published. This collection exemplifies Geertz's extraordinary range of concerns, beginning with his first essay for the "Review" in 1967, in which he reviews, with muffled hilarity, the anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski. This book includes Geertz's unflinching meditations on Western academia's encounters with the non-Western world, and on the shifting and clashing places of societies in the world generally. Geertz writes eloquently and arrestingly about such major figures as Gandhi, Foucault, and Genet, and on topics as varied as Islam, globalization, feminism, and the failings of nationalism. "Life among the Anthros and Other Essays" demonstrates Geertz's uncommon wisdom and consistently keen and hopeful humor, confirming his status as one of our most important and enduring public intellectuals.
Samuel Beckett - Endgame
The setting for Endgame is a bare, partially underground room, serving as shelter for the four characters: Hamm the master, Clov his servant, and Hamm's father and mother, Nagg and Nell (who live in garbage cans). Hamm is in a wheelchair and makes Clov move him around the room, fetch objects, and look out the window for signs of life. Outside all seems dead and nothing happens. Inside, the characters pass the time mortifying each other and toying with fears and illusions of a possible change, all along sensing the inevitability of their end.
Jonathan Franzen - How to Be Alone
Jonathan Franzen is smart and brash, the kind of person you want as your social critic but not as a brother-in-law. Many of the 14 essays in How to Be Alone, by the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Corrections, first appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, and elsewhere. A long, much-discussed rumination on the American novel, (newly) titled "Why Bother?," is included, as well as essays on privacy obsession, the U.S. post office, New York City, big tobacco, and new prisons. At his best, as in "My Father's Brain," a piece on his father's struggle with Alzheimer's, Franzen can make the ordinary world utterly riveting. But at times, it can be difficult to discern where Franzen stands on any particular subject, as he often takes both sides of an argument. Valid attempts to reflect ambiguity s! ometimes lead to obfuscation, especially in his essays on privacy and tobacco, although his belief that small-town America of years gone by offered the individual little privacy certainly rings true. Franzen can write with panache, as in this comment after he watched, without headphones, a TV show during a flight: "(It) became an exposé of the hydraulics of insincere smiles." A few of the shorter pieces appear to be filler. Franzen shines brightest when he gets edgy and a little angry, as in "The Reader in Exile": "Instead of Manassas battlefield, a historical theme park. Instead of organizing narratives, a map of the world as complex as the world itself. Instead of a soul, membership in a crowd. Instead of wisdom, data."
Arundhati Roy - The God of Small Things
'Richly deserving the rapturous praise it has received on both sides of the Atlantic... The God of Small Things achieves a genuine tragic resonance. It is, indeed, a masterpiece.' Observer 'The God of Small Things genuinely is a masterpiece, utterly exceptional in every way, and there can be little doubt that posterity will place it very near the top of any shortlist of Indian novels published this century.' William Dalyrmple, Harpers and Queen. 'The quality of Ms. Roy's narration is so extraordinary - at once so morally strenuous and so imaginatively supple - that the reader remains enthralled all the way through to its agonizing finish ... it evokes in the reader a feeling of gratitude and wonderment.' New York Times
Ronald B. Shwartz - For the Love of Books
For this ultimate book lover's guide, more than one hundred distinguished writers share their personal thoughts in response to the question: what books have left the greatest impression on you and why? The result is not a contrived list of Western civilization's "Great Books," but a heartfelt commentary on works that these lifelong readers most admire.
Irvin D. Yalom - The Spinoza Problem
In The Spinoza Problem, Irvin Yalom spins fact and fiction into an unforgettable psycho-philosophical novel. A psychiatrist with a deep interest in philosophical issues, Yalom jointly tells the story of the seventeenth-century thinker Baruch Spinoza, his philosophy and subsequent excommunication from the Jewish community, and his apparent influence on the Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg, whose einsatzgruppe was dispatched during the Second World War to investigate a mysterious “Spinoza Problem.” Seamlessly alternating between Golden Age Amsterdam and Nazi Germany, Yalom investigates the inner lives of these two enigmatic men in a tale of influence and anxiety, the origins of good and evil, and the philosophy of freedom and the tyranny of terror.
Eric Rohmer - The Taste for the Beauty
The Taste for Beauty is a collection of essays by the film-maker and critic Eric Rohmer which were originally written for the French Film review Cahiers du Cinema between 1948-1979. Rohmer, one of the founding members of the French 'New Wave' cinema, was also one of the journal's original critics and served as its editor. Divided into four sections, the essays deal with fundamental and theoretical questions of film-making from a single theoretical viewpoint. Rohmer, a film-maker of great eloquence and erudition, writes in depth on the issues most fundamental to film: what the camera best portrays; the role of sound and colour; the use of drama and comedy; the role of speech; and the problem of literary adaptation; he also includes a personal defence of his films. The final section is devoted entirely to the film-maker Jean Renoir. The Taste for Beauty will be appreciated by students and critics of film, as well as those who love French cinema in general.
Jean Rhys - Good Morning, Midnight
Sasha Jensen has returned to Paris, the city of both her happiest moments and her most desperate. Her past lies in wait for her in cafes, bars, and dress shops, blurring all distinctions between nightmare and reality. When she is picked up by a young man, she begins to feel that she is still capable of desires and emotions. Few encounters in fiction have been so brilliantly conceived, and few have come to a more unforgettable end.
Noam Chomsky - 9-11
What follows is a set of interviews conducted with Noam Chomsky by a variety of interviewers during the first month following the attacks of September 11, 2001 on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. This expanded edition of 9 - 11 contains "Reflections on 9 - 11", an essay Chomsky wrote for a Swedish publication in August 2002, looking back almost one year after the attacks.
Zadie Smith - Changing My Mind
Split into five sections - Reading, Being, Seeing, Feeling, and Remembering - _Changing My Mind_ finds Zadie Smith casting an acute eye over material both personal and cultural. This engaging collection of essays-some published here for the first time-reveals Smith as a passionate and precise essayist, equally at home in the world of great books and bad movies, family and philosophy, British comedians and Italian divas. Whether writing on Katherine Hepburn, Kafka, Anna Magnani, or Zora Neale Hurston, she brings deft care to the art of criticism with a style both sympathetic and insightful. _Changing My Mind_ is journalism at its most expansive, intelligent, and funny - a gift to readers and writers both.
Ismeretlen szerző - The Best American Essays 2001
Since its inception in 1915, the Best American series has become the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. For each volume, a series editor reads hundreds of pieces from dozens of periodicals, then selects between fifty and a hundred outstanding works. That selection is pared down to the twenty or so very best pieces by a guest editor who is widely recognized as a leading writer in his or her field. This unique system has helped make the Best American series the most respected -- and most popular -- of its kind. From The New Yorker to The Georgia Review, from Esquire to The American Scholar, the editors of THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS have scoured hundreds of the country's best periodicals in search of the most artful and powerful writing around. This thoughtful, provocative collection is the result of their search.
Ralph Waldo Emerson - English Traits
During two influential visits to England (in 1833 and in 1847) where he met with literary icons such as Coleridge, Carlyle, and Wordsworth, Ralph Waldo Emerson recognized the source of everything American -- from the laws of society to the plot of a novel. Though he admired England's triumphs, he also presciently sensed the demise of a country weighed down by the *drag of inertia.* And though mesmerized by her literature, he would later encourage American writers to forge a style all their own. Written during a decade of great change for America, England, and for Emerson himself, English Traits illuminates Emerson's visionary thought as much as it vividly portrays 19th century England.
John Barth - Final Fridays
For decades, acclaimed author John Barth has strayed from his Monday-through-Thursday-morning routine of fiction-writing and dedicated Friday mornings to the muse of nonfiction. The result is _Final Fridays_, his third essay collection, following _The Friday Book _(1984) and _Further Fridays_ (1995). Sixteen years and six novels since his last volume of non-fiction, Barth delivers yet another remarkable work comprised of 27 insightful essays. With pieces covering everything from reading, writing, and the state of the art, to tributes to writer-friends and family members, this collection is witty and engaging throughout. Barth’s “unaffected love of learning” ( _San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle_ ) and “joy in thinking that becomes contagious” ( _Washington Post_ ), shine through in this third, and, with an implied question mark, final essay collection.
John Barth - Further Fridays
Every Friday for many years, John Barth has exchanged his weekday fiction muse for a nonfiction one. He first collected the fruits of these labors in the critically acclaimed Friday Book and now, in Further Fridays, treats readers to a brilliant encore. This collection features a variety of reflections and ruminations that range as far as Barth's curiosity takes him. Each is a journey, but never quite the one expected one.
Irvin D. Yalom - Lying on the Couch
From the bestselling author of Love's Executioner and When Nietzsche Wept comes a provocative exploration of the unusual relationships three therapists form with their patients. Seymour is a therapist of the old school who blurs the boundary of sexual propriety with one of his clients. Marshal, who is haunted by his own obsessive-compulsive behaviors, is troubled by the role money plays in his dealings with his patients. Finally, there is Ernest Lash. Driven by his sincere desire to help and his faith in psychoanalysis, he invents a radically new approach to therapy -- a totally open and honest relationship with a patient that threatens to have devastating results. Exposing the many lies that are told on and off the psychoanalyst's couch, Lying on the Couch gives readers a tantalizing, almost illicit, glimpse at what their therapists might really be thinking during their sessions. Fascinating, engrossing and relentlessly intelligent, it ultimately moves readers with a denouement of surprising humanity and redemptive faith.