In an age defined by hyper-connectivity and constant stimulation, Francine Prose makes a compelling case for the solitary act of reading and the great enjoyment it brings. Inspiring and illuminating, What to Read and Why includes selections culled from Prose’s previous essays, reviews, and introductions, combined with new, never-before-published pieces that focus on her favorite works of fiction and nonfiction, on works by masters of the short story, and even on books by photographers like Diane Arbus.
Prose considers why the works of literary masters such as Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Jane Austen have endured, and shares intriguing insights about modern authors whose words stimulate our minds and enlarge our lives, including Roberto Bolaño, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Jennifer Egan, and Mohsin Hamid. Prose implores us to read Mavis Gallant for her marvelously rich and compact sentences, and her meticulously rendered characters who reveal our flawed and complex human nature; Edward St. Aubyn for his elegance and sophisticated humor; and Mark Strand for his gift for depicting unlikely transformations. Here, too, are original pieces in which Prose explores the craft of writing: "On Clarity" and "What Makes a Short Story."
Written with her sharp critical analysis, wit, and enthusiasm, What to Read and Why is a celebration of literature that will give readers a new appreciation for the power and beauty of the written word.
Robert Hass—former poet laureate, winner of the National Book Award, and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize—illuminates the formal impulses that underlie great poetry in this sophisticated, graceful, and accessible volume of essays drawn from a series of lectures he delivered at the renowned Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
A Little Book on Form brilliantly synthesizes Hass’s formidable gifts as both a poet and a critic and reflects his profound education in the art of poetry. Starting with the exploration of a single line as the basic gesture of a poem, and moving into an examination of the essential expressive gestures that exist inside forms, Hass goes beyond approaching form as a set of traditional rules that precede composition, and instead offers penetrating insight into the true openness and instinctiveness of formal creation.
A Little Book on Form is a rousing reexamination of our longest lasting mode of literature from one of our greatest living poets.
The texts gathered in this extraordinary collection range from philosophy to poetry, to theater, to cognitive sciences, to art criticism, to fiction, and their authors rank amongst the most significant figures in their fields, in France, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
Topics covered include an assessment of the role of literary narratives in contemporary writing, new considerations on the novel, a redefinition of the "poetic" factor in poetry and life, and a discussion of how literature engages with contemporary forms of individuality.
Under the auspices of literary luminaries Hélène Cixous and the late John Ashbery, these new pieces of writing bring to light contributions by innovative and well-established authors from the English-speaking sphere, as well as never-before translated prominent new voices in French theory.
Featuring original work from some of today’s most influential authors, Ways of Re-Thinking Literature is an indispensable tool for anybody interested in the future and possibilities of literature as an endeavor for life, thought, and creativity.
With special cover artwork by Rita Ackermann, the volume includes contributions from Emily Apter, Philippe Artières, John Ashbery, Paul Audi, Dodie Bellamy, Tom Bishop, Hélène Cixous, Laurent Dubreuil, Tristan Garcia, Stathis Gourgouris, Donatien Grau, Boris Groys, Shelley Jackson, Wayne Koestenbaum, Camille Laurens, Vanessa Place, Maël Renouard, Peter Schjeldahl, Adam Thirlwell, and Camille de Toledo.
*What is it that writers do? Are they responsible for all the uses to which their writing might be put? Or no more responsible than their readers?
*How are a writer's responsibilities compromised or defined by commercial or political pressures, or by notions of tradition or originality?
*How does a writer's audience affect their responsibilities? Are these the same for writers in all parts of the world, under all political and social systems?
The first part of this book defines responsibility and looks at its relation to ideas such as power, accuracy, kitsch and political correctness. The second part examines how particular writers have dealt with these issues through a series of often-controversial case studies, including American Psycho, Crash and The Tin Drum.
Writing and Responsibility encourages its readers to interrogate the choices they make as writers. A fascinating look at the public consequences of the private act of writing, Carl Tighe's book is a must-read for everyone who writes or studies writing.
The result is nothing less than a philosophy of the novel—plainspoken, funny, blunt—in the traditions of E. M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel and Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. It sums up two decades of insight with wit and concision. It will change the way you read.