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Book of Portaiture
     

Book of Portaiture

by Steve Tomasula
 

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A desert nomad struggles at the close of the ancient world to inscribe himself into life, and centuries later a Renaissance artist attempts to overcome his lowly origins by painting nobility. Throughout Steve Tomasula's arresting tour de force, human beings seek to become what they are by representing it. An early twentieth-century psychoanalyst in search of a cure

Overview

A desert nomad struggles at the close of the ancient world to inscribe himself into life, and centuries later a Renaissance artist attempts to overcome his lowly origins by painting nobility. Throughout Steve Tomasula's arresting tour de force, human beings seek to become what they are by representing it. An early twentieth-century psychoanalyst in search of a cure for sexual neurosis discovers the reflection of his own yearning in a female client, and an accidental community of twenty-first century image-makers connects the pixels to bring their group portrait into focus.Across a canvas that spans centuries, the several narrators of this novel look through the lens of their own time and portray objects of desire in paint, dreams, photography, electronic data, and genetic code. Together their portraits comprise a collage of styles and habits of mind. The Book of Portraiture is a novel about the irrepressible impulse to picture ourselves, and how, through this picturing, we continually re-create what it means to be human.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A grand historical account of how the act of representing others always includes a representation of the self. . . . Reimagines what the novel, particularly the historical novel, might mean in the digital world, and it does so with verve, gusto, and style."--Bookforum

"Once again, Steve Tomasula has fabricated an incisive and sly commentary on art's way of being in the world, and the manner in which it intersects, and conflicts, with our perceptions. Virtuosic in its execution, and sublime in its discernment, The Book of Portraiture is an able continuation of Tomasula's ongoing project to redraw the boundaries of contemporary fiction."--Christopher Sorrentino

"Think of Swift, Groddeck, Lautreamont, and George Carlin conversing together in a large wastebin--up to their chins in 21st century sweepings--and you will begin to have an idea of Tomasula's very funny, very smart and downright scary epic vision."--Rikki Ducornet

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781573661287
Publisher:
University of Alabama Press
Publication date:
03/01/2006
Edition description:
1
Pages:
350
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

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Meet the Author


Steve Tomasula is the author of the acclaimed novels IN & OZ (Ministry of Whimsy) and VAS: An Opera in Flatland. Among the venues where his short fiction has appeared are McSweeney's and The Iowa Review, where he received the distinguished Iowa Prize. His writings on body art and culture have appeared in Leonardo and numerous arts journals.

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