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Higher Gossip: Essays and Criticismby John Updike
Synopses & Reviews
andldquo;Underscores the writerandrsquo;s profound erudition, lively wit, and passion for ideas of all shapes and sizes . . . Ecoandrsquo;s pleasure in such explorations is obvious and contagious.andrdquo; andmdash; Booklist
Inventing the Enemy covers a wide range of topics on which Eco has written and lectured over the past ten years: from a disquisition on the theme that runs through his recent novel The Prague Cemetery andmdash; every country needs an enemy, and if it doesnandrsquo;t have one, must invent it andmdash; to a discussion of ideas that have inspired his earlier novels (and in the process he takes us on an exploration of lost islands, mythical realms, and the medieval world); from indignant reviews of James Joyceandrsquo;s Ulysses by fascist journalists of the 1920s and 1930s, to an examination of Saint Thomas Aquinasandrsquo;s notions about the soul of an unborn child, to censorship and violence and WikiLeaks.
These are essays full of passion, curiosity, and obsession by one of the worldandrsquo;s most esteemed scholars and critically acclaimed, best-selling novelists.
andldquo;True wit and wisdom coexist with fierce scholarship inside Umberto Eco, a writer who actually knows a thing or two about being truly human.andrdquo; andmdash; Buffalo News
andquot;Thought provoking . . . nuanced . . . the collection amply shows off Eco's sophisticated, agile mind.andquot; andmdash; Publishers Weekly
Aand#160; collection of timely essaysand#160;writtenand#160;over the last ten years by Umberto Eco, internationally acclaimed and best-selling author.
Here is the collection of nonfiction pieces that John Updike was compiling when he died in January 2009. It opens with a self-portrait of the writer in winter, a Prospero who, though he fears his most dazzling performances are behind him, reveals himself in every sentence to be in deep conversation with the sources of his magic. It concludes with a moving meditation on a world without religion, without art, and on the difficulties of faith in a disbelieving age. In between are pieces on Peanuts, Mars, and the songs of Cole Porter, a pageant of scenes from early Massachusetts, and a good deal of Updikean table talk. At the heart of the volume are dozens of book reviews from The New Yorker and illustrated art writings from The New York Review of Books. Updike’s criticism is gossip of the highest sort. We will not hear the likes of it again.
A collection both intimate and generous of the eloquent, insightful, beautifully written prose works that John Updike was compiling when he died in January 2009.
This collection of miscellaneous prose opens with a self-portrait of the writer in winter, a Prospero who, though he fears his most dazzling performances are behind him, reveals himself in every sentence to be in deep conversation with the sources of his magic. It concludes with a moving meditation on a modern world robbed of imagination--a world without religion, without art--and on the difficulties of faith in a disbelieving age. In between are previously uncollected stories and poems, a pageant of scenes from seventeenth-century Massachusetts, five late "golf dreams," and several of Updike's commentaries on his own work. At the heart of the book are his matchless reviews--of John Cheever, Ann Patchett, Toni Morrison, William Maxwell, John le Carré, and essays on Aimee Semple McPherson, Max Factor, and Albert Einstein, among others. Also included are two decades of art criticism--on Chardin, El Greco, Blake, Turner, Van Gogh, Max Ernest, and more.
Updike's criticism is gossip of the highest order, delivered in an intimate and generous voice.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
John Updike was the author of more than sixty books, including collections of short stories, poems, and criticism. His novels have been honored with the Pulitzer Prize (twice), the National Book Award, and the Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Hugging the Shore, an earlier collection of essays and reviews, received the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. He died in January 2009.
Christopher Carduff, the editor of this volume, is a member of the staff of The Library of America.
From the Hardcover edition.
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