Historical Fictions

Historical Fictions

by Hugh Kenner
     
 

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In Historical Fictions Hugh Kenner applies his extraordinarily nimble mind and unrivaled style to the alchemy of speech turning into language, language becoming art, and art finally settling down as culture. A variety of literary topics are addressed in forty-three lively, often humorous, and wonderfully informative essays.

With his trenchant, famously

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Overview


In Historical Fictions Hugh Kenner applies his extraordinarily nimble mind and unrivaled style to the alchemy of speech turning into language, language becoming art, and art finally settling down as culture. A variety of literary topics are addressed in forty-three lively, often humorous, and wonderfully informative essays.

With his trenchant, famously entertaining touch, Kenner explores the role of counting in literature (Joyce and St. Augustine shared a preference for the number eleven); the extravagant efforts through the ages to preserve the Iliad and the Odyssey (focusing on Ezra Pound's contributions); and Tom Wolfe's prose through the purple decades (Kenner calls him "the nonchalant master of the neon-piped sentence"). Other writers who fall under Kenner's appraising gaze include Flann O'Brien, H.D., Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath, Dante, Leslie Fiedler, Wallace Stevens, Saul Bellow, William Carlos Williams, Samuel Beckett, and Vladimir Nabokov.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Stick with Kenner's Historical Fictions when you want to remember that literature is not only the best intellectual exercise around, it is also supposed to be fun. . . . What is remarkable is thatr given the pressure of such expansive knowledge, Kenner still manages to write apt, amosing prose."--New York Times Book Review

"A Kenner idea floats gently on the mind, and he often strings together words as beautifully as the poets and novelists he is explicating."--San Francisco Chronicle

"Every page of Historical Fictions is instructive; but, even more important, all of it is exceptionally entertaining."--Washington Post Book World

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
For more than 40 years, the penetrating intelligence and sharp wit of Hugh Kenner have been delighting devotees of his literary criticism. Now, in this companion volume to Mazes , the Johns Hopkins professor brings together 43 more essays and reviews about writers who intrigue him--Beckett, Joyce, Pound, Yeats--and subjects that pique his interest--``fractals,'' poetic closure, romanticism, the mythological method. Whether shrewdly reassessing the bas reliefs of Agostino di Duccio, the poetry of Hopkins, Stevens and Williams, the notions of Wyndham Lewis, Flann O'Brien and Tom Wolfe, whether demonstrating the plagiarism of Coleridge and Heymann, the shortcomings of Deidre Bair, Saul Bellow, Richard Ellmann, Leslie Fiedler and Sean O'Faolain, or the gushiness of Sylvia Plath, Kenner is invariably a pleasure to read and learn from. A zesty, commendable book. (Sept.)
Library Journal
In this companion to his recent Mazes ( LJ 4/1/89), Kenner collects 43 short essays and reviews published between 1970 and 1990. They are informal, often personal in tone. While many have a subterranean link to Kenner's preoccupation with Pound, Joyce, and High Modernism, the range of subject matter and interests is vast, from the sculptor Augustino del Duccio to Samuel Beckett. There are also a number of familiar pieces such as ``Who Was Leslie Fiedler?'' If Kenner is sometimes an intellectual exhibitionist and some of the topical allusions are dated, his essays nonetheless remain a delight to read.-- T.L. Cooksey, Armstrong State Coll., Savannah, Ga.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780820317748
Publisher:
University of Georgia Press
Publication date:
10/28/1995
Pages:
344
Product dimensions:
(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.86(d)

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