The Geography of the Imagination: Forty Essays (Nonpareil Book, 78): 10 (Nonpareil Books, 10)

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The Geography of the Imagination: Forty Essays (Nonpareil Book, 78): 10 (Nonpareil Books, 10)

The Geography of the Imagination: Forty Essays (Nonpareil Book, 78): 10 (Nonpareil Books, 10)

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He voted Democratic until he veered leftward and cast a ballot for Ralph Nader, but he was a regular contributor to the conservative National Review, mostly because the editors there let him say what he wanted about the books he loved.

He’s won several awards, including the Whiting and the National Magazine Award and the Windham-Campbell Prize. As a scholar I have always kept literature and painting together as a compound subject, the one complementing the other: Milton and Dürer, Joyce and Tchelitchew, Apollinaire and Picasso, Kafka and Klee, Whistler and Henry James. Before the internet, Google, and hyperlinks, Guy Davenport was the original polymath, perhaps the last great American polymath, who provided the links between art and literature, music and sculpture, modernist poets and classic philosophers, the past and present. He complained in letters of the stupidity of his students, and he sighed to an interviewer, “I was getting students who had read nothing, knew nothing, and thought the university existed for the sake of the Kentucky Wildcats. Because of this collapse (which may yet prove to be a long interruption), the architectonic masters of our time have suffered critical neglect or abuse, and if admired are admired for anything but the structural innovations of the work.There is no doubt that his restlessly polymathic stories, essays and stories-cum-essays are an acquired taste (albeit one that everyone should strive to acquire). Guy Davenport provides links between art and literature, music and sculpture, modernist poets and classic philosophers, the past and present—and pretty much everything in between. Faustus is a rich composite, an allegory of the German spirit, but we still have to account for descriptions of imaginary music corresponding so eerily to the Fourth Symphony (Ives'). Many reviewers have noted that this is a master class of sorts; well, it is of a certain reading/poetic ideology. to cultural geographer Fernand Braudel's complaint, "We have museum catalogues but no artistic atlases," to the Persephone myth in an O.

In praise of the hand: A philosopher considers the crucial role of the hand in human evolution, particularly with respect to language. The title struck me as a paradox though: geography deals with boundaries whereas imagination is famously boundless. When you see Degas’ dancers or his racehorses, see also his colleague in nineteenth century motion study, Muybridge, the London-born San Francisco bookseller who took up photography after a serious brain injury—he was thrown from a stagecoach whose operator had taken to using teams of half-wild mustangs in a bid to increase speed. Both poems were printed there in their stages of creation - one a work of now recognised genius, the other to receive only a crumb of attention, as both were subsequently printed together in a newspaper and now perhaps again here, in this essay. Absolutely stands with the best work of the great bibliophile poets and critics like Borges and Robert Graves - except Davenport is equally as capable of lapsing into Flannery O'Connor-like Southern humor, in the course of telling you about the perambulations of a Latin botanical name that has its roots in Zeus's testicles, or of a summer-school Kentucky teenager out looking for a "poem book on E.

He serves as our guide through the jungles of history and literature, pointing out the values and avenues of thought that have shaped our ideas and our thinking. Davenport’s criticism feels so self-contained that one swallows it with the hungry thoughtlessness of an eternal student. As The Los Angeles Times Book Review wrote, "There is no way to prepare yourself for reading Guy Davenport. I always seemed to find myself book browsing on rainy afternoons when I would wander up the book shelved hallway into my bedroom where, lying aslant my bed, I'd dip into the bottom shelf of my large bookcase there, in the semi-darkness, and lazily cruise in and out of various volumes. William Blake preceded him here, on the irreality of clock time, sensing the dislocations caused by time (a God remote in time easily became remote in space, an absentee landlord), and proceeding, in his enthusiastic way, to dine with Isaiah—one way of a suggesting that Isaiah’s mind is not a phenomenon fixed between 742 and 687 B.

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