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On Late Style: Music and Literature against the Grainby Edward W. Said
Synopses & Reviews
In his fascinating last book, Edward Said looks at a selection of essays, poems, novels, films, and operas to determine what late style may explain about the evolution of the creative life. He discusses how the approaching death of an artist can make its way with anachronism and anomaly into his work, as was the case in the late work of Thomas Mann, Richard Strauss, Jean Genet, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, and C. P. Cavafy. Said examines Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, Genet's Le captif amoureux and Les paravents, Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, Visconti's film of Lampedusa's The Leopard, Euripides' The Bacchae and Iphigenia at Aulis, and Thomas Mann's Death in Venice, among other works.
He points out that one can also find an unearthly serenity, in last works, for example, in Sophocles, Shakespeare, Rembrandt, Matisse, Bach, and Wagner, which, as Said puts it, crown a lifetime of aesthetic endeavor. But in On Late Style he concentrates on artistic lateness as intransigence, difficulty, and unresolved contradiction. He also writes about Theodor Adorno and about Glenn Gould, who chose to stop performing, thereby creating his own form of lateness. Said makes clear that most of the works discussed are rife with deep conflict and an almost impenetrable complexity. In fact, he feels that lateness is often a form of exile. These works frequently stood in direct contrast to what was popular at the time, but they were forerunners of what was to come in each artist's particular discipline--works of true genius.
Eloquent and impassioned, brilliantly reasoned and revelatory, On Late Style is Edward Said's own great last work.
From the Hardcover edition.
Edward W. Said was University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He was the
A collection of essays by the late cultural critic explores great works of music and literature produced by Beethoven, Schoenberg, Mann, Cavafy, Beckett, Gould, Straus, Genet, and others at the end of their creative lives, analyzing how these works differed from previous ones and what they reveal about each musician's or writer's artistic evolution. Reprint.
In this fascinating book, Edward Said looks at the creative contradictions that often mark the late works of literary and musical artists.
Said shows how the approaching death of an artist can make its way into his work, examining essays, poems, novels, films, and operas by such artists as Beethoven, Genet, Mozart, Lampedusa, Euripides, Cavafy, and Mann, among others. He uncovers the conflicts and complexity that often distinguish artistic lateness, resulting in works that stood in direct contrast to what was popular at the time and were forerunners of what was to come in each artist's discipline–works of true genius. Eloquent and impassioned, brilliantly reasoned and revelatory, On Late Style is Edward Said's own great last work.
Table of Contents
Timeliness and lateness — Return to the eighteenth century — Cos fan tutte at the limits — On Jean Genet — A lingering old order — The virtuoso as intellectual — Glimpses of late style.
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