Kill All Your Darlings: Pieces 1990-2005 by Luc Sante | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Kill All Your Darlings: Pieces 1990-2005

Kill All Your Darlings: Pieces 1990-2005

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by Luc Sante
     
 

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In his books and in a string of wide-ranging and inventive essays, Luc Sante has shown himself to be not only one of our pre-eminent stylists, but also a critic of uncommon power and range. He is “one of the handful of living masters of the American language, as well as a singular historian and philosopher of American experience,” says the New

Overview


In his books and in a string of wide-ranging and inventive essays, Luc Sante has shown himself to be not only one of our pre-eminent stylists, but also a critic of uncommon power and range. He is “one of the handful of living masters of the American language, as well as a singular historian and philosopher of American experience,” says the New Yorker’s Peter Schjeldahl. Kill All Your Darlings is the first collection of Sante’s articles—many of which first appeared in the New York Review of Books and the Village Voice—and offers ample justification for such high praise. Sante is best known for his groundbreaking work in urban history (Low Life), and for a particularly penetrating form of autobiography (The Factory of Facts). These subjects are also reflected in several essays here, but it is the author’s intense and scrupulous writing about music, painting, photography, and poetry that takes center stage. Alongside meditations on cigarettes, factory work, and hipness, and his critical tour de force, “The Invention of the Blues,” Sante offers his incomparable take on icons from Arthur Rimbaud to Bob Dylan, René Magritte to Tintin, Buddy Bolden to Walker Evans, Allen Ginsberg to Robert Mapplethorpe.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

New York City is fated always to remain my home," writes Sante, who became permanently linked with the city through the underground history he recounted in Low Life, and the lead-off essay in this collection revisits the frame of mind he was in when he conceived that book in the Lower East Side of the early 1980s. The best essays that follow maintain that strong personal connection, such as an eyewitness account of a riot in Tompkins Square Park or the time he lived in the same apartment building as Allen Ginsberg (who "suffered me, if not especially gladly"). The book and music reviews that make up the bulk of the remaining material are usually insightful and occasionally contain striking imagery: he describes, for example, how the punk-country band the Mekons "built an imaginary America out of pocket lint." But collecting disparate pieces in a single volume is a risky proposition, and sometimes an awkward skip, as in a chapter on two books by photographer Michael Lesy, temporarily exposes the anthology's patchwork nature. It's worth working through those rough patches, however, to soak up Sante's various observations on the long legacy of outsider culture, from Rimbaud through Buddy Bolden to Bob Dylan. (Aug. 20)

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Kirkus Reviews
Love letters to the old, weird New York and the old, weird cultural interests it sustained, by a grand centrifugal chronicler. Take a piece that Village habitue Sante (The Factory of Facts, 1998, etc.) wrote for the New Yorker, a "Talk of the Town" feature about going out to grab a midnight snack in 1988 and running into a mini riot centered on Tompkins Square Park and its "latter-day Hooverville." Sante disavows the published version for its introduced constructions ("well nigh," "I decided to investigate") and allows that Reaganville is more to the point, but it's still a brisk report on a New York that has been truncheoned-no, fined-out of existence. Fined? Yes, writes Sante, for the gritty, noisy, beer-on-the-stoop New York of old was quashed during the Giuliani years, when the mayor ordered that tickets be written for every imaginable misdemeanor, including that byword for citizens' rights, jaywalking. "New York's transformation," Sante avers, hinged on "the pedantic obsessiveness with which laws were combed to find a basis for extirpating all manifestations of street life, and the harshly punitive ways in which those sweeps were carried out." Good-bye Tompkins Square squats, good-bye boarded-up buildings on Canal Street; the new New York wasn't even tolerant of smoking, a habit, vice or way of being-take your pick-about which Sante writes a long but user-friendly semiotic analysis in which, among other things, he defends the old European custom of holding a ciggie between thumb and forefinger. (You can smoke more that way.) Alas-or hurrah, take your pick-Sante no longer smokes, and neither does the city. Other pieces touch deftly on matters of musical and cultural archaeology, fromthe origins of the blues to Allen Ginsberg's turning up at Sante's door to demand that the music be turned down. Whatever the topic and mood, these essays are a pleasure-and any work that name-checks the Nightcrawlers' proto-punk classic "The Little Black Egg" deserves the broadest possible readership.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781891241536
Publisher:
Verse Chorus Press
Publication date:
09/18/2007
Pages:
300
Product dimensions:
6.11(w) x 8.59(h) x 0.71(d)

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Meet the Author

Luc Sante’s is a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books and has written about books, movies, art, photography, music, and miscellaneous cultural phenomenon for many other periodicals. Sante has received a Whiting Writer’s Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Grammy (for album notes). He lives in Ulster County, New York, and teaches at Bard College.

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