Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things

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Overview

Gilbert Sorrentino's third novel is about the New York artistic and literary world of the 1950s and '60s, specifically the artists, writers, hangers-on, and the phonies who populated that world. In a prose that is ruthless as well as possessed of an enormous comic verve, the dedicated, the stupid, the rapacious, and the foolish are dissected. Eight major characters, many of whom reappear in Sorrentino's later novels, are employed to allow the reader a variety of views of the ...
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Pantheon Books, 06/01/1972, Hardcover, Good condition.. Poor dust jacket.

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Former Library book. Shows definite wear, and perhaps considerable marking on inside. 100% Money Back Guarantee. Shipped to over one million happy customers. Your purchase ... benefits world literacy! Read more Show Less

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Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. 100% Money Back Guarantee. Shipped to over one million happy customers. Your purchase ... benefits world literacy! Read more Show Less

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New York 1971 Hardcover 1st Edition Very Good. Very Good Dust Jacket 0394471083 LIT 039738 This beige hardback First Edition stated is in very good shape inside and out. The ... boards have a few touches of soiling and the inside is clean of marks though there is offsetting at the front and rear endpapers from three reviews tipped in-The Saturday Review and NY Times Book review of this novel in the back and The NY Times Book Review of "Steelworkers" in the front. The tan dust jacket, made to look like a review copy dust jacket with typed title etc in triplicate on front and an OK stamp, shows some overall soiling and has a short tear, Read more Show Less

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New York 1971 Hardcover 1st Book fine, Dust jacket fine. 243 pp. Bound in the publisher's original white cloth with the spine stamped in black.

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New York 1971 Hard cover First edition. Fine in fine dust jacket. 243 pages First edition, first printing. Dust jacket design by Bob Anthony. His third novel. The story of ... working class Brooklyn in the late thirties and forties. Fine book in a fine dust jacket. A beautiful copy! Read more Show Less

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Possible retired library copy, some have markings or writing. May or may not include accessories such as CD or access codes.

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Condition: Very Good
New York 1971 Hardcover First Edition VG+/VG- 0394471083. Light general wear to the book, dust jacket is quite nice, just a touch of soiling. Unique dust jacket, printed as a ... publishers approval mockup. This copy signed on the flyleaf. It's worth noting that it's impossible to decipher his signature, which is one of his apparent quirks. This copy coming from some who actually new Sorrentino. Only other markings are a small gift inscription, "To Gail, Jane 5/75", likely unrelated. Otherwise interior clean and bright. Uncommon.; 8vo; 243 pages; Signed by Author; RBLIT. Read more Show Less

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Condition: Very Good
1971 First edition. 1st edition 1st printing Very good in very good dust jacket. mylar cover 243 p. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

Gilbert Sorrentino's third novel is about the New York artistic and literary world of the 1950s and '60s, specifically the artists, writers, hangers-on, and the phonies who populated that world. In a prose that is ruthless as well as possessed of an enormous comic verve, the dedicated, the stupid, the rapacious, and the foolish are dissected. Eight major characters, many of whom reappear in Sorrentino's later novels, are employed to allow the reader a variety of views of the same world.
Told in the weary voice of a cynical and sardonic narrator, the novel is crammed with fantastic characters, incidents, and episodes, and moves from wit and satire through elegiac brooding, to bitter invective. It is a superb re-creation of a real time and place.

"Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things is a bitter, funny, and moving work of fiction about . . . the way life and art feed off one another—and starve one another too. . . . The lives of these characters are realized with a remorseless energy that I find admirable." (Robert Scholes, Saturday Review 10-23-71)

"There is a truculent intelligence behind it all, one given to outrage and joy. . . . Its power is unmistakable and its design ambitious, the right sort of antidote for the fakery, the foundation men, and the hangers-on in the literary world." (Paul Theroux, Washington Post Book World 11-7-71)

"The book has aged well: The world may look different now and new fashions may prevail but the phony, like the poor, will be with us always. . . . Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things has that air of astonished contempt that keeps true satire fresh forever." (Michael Heyward, Washington Post Book World 12-22-91)

"[T]he author's fury at it all is tempered . . . and augmented with compassion, understanding [and] wit." (Publishers Weekly 11-1-91)

"His purpose is creative, not destructive, even though his creation will destroy some myths and haze any number of people who care to find themselves embodied here. . . . Gilbert Sorrentino has kept a steady hand on this bucking book and neither reader nor character will take over. This is part of the book's refusal to submit to the age of take-over. . . . The novel is also a kind of destruction of fake, skim-surface symbolism. . . . The richness of this book is hard to describe." (Gregory Rabassa, The Nation 8-21-72)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this episodic 1971 novel, Sorrentino introduces writers and artists of the 1960s, characters representative of all creatives--the aimless, the successful, the failures and the sell-outs. ``The author's fury at it all is tempered . . . and augmented with compassion, understanding and wit,'' said PW. Dec.
From the Publisher
"Has that air of astonished contempt that keeps true satire fresh forever." —Washington Post Book World

Dalkey Archive Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394471082
  • Publisher: S P D-Small Press Distribution
  • Publication date: 10/28/1972
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 243

Meet the Author

Gilbert Sorrentino was born in Brooklyn in 1927. He attended Brooklyn College and served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps for two years. In 1956 he began Neon, a literary magazine. In the early '60s he was an editor and a contributor for Kulchur magazine and served as an editor for Grove Press from 1965. He has published thirty books of fiction and poetry, including two novels that were finalists for the PEN/Faulkner award: Little Casino and Aberration of Starlight. A recipient of the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005, a Lannan Literary Award, and two Guggenheim Fellowships, he was a professor at Stanford University for many years. He died on May 18, 2006.
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