Metaphor and Memory

Overview

From the author of The Messiah of Stockholm and Art and Ardor comes a new collection of supple, provocative, and intellectually dazzling essays. In Metaphor & Memory, Cynthia Ozick writes about Saul Bellow and Henry James, William Gaddis and Primo Levi. She observes the tug-of-war between written and spoken language and the complex relation between art's contrivances and its moral truths. She has given us an exceptional book that demonstrates the possibilities of literature ...
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Overview

From the author of The Messiah of Stockholm and Art and Ardor comes a new collection of supple, provocative, and intellectually dazzling essays. In Metaphor & Memory, Cynthia Ozick writes about Saul Bellow and Henry James, William Gaddis and Primo Levi. She observes the tug-of-war between written and spoken language and the complex relation between art's contrivances and its moral truths. She has given us an exceptional book that demonstrates the possibilities of literature even as it explores them.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"As an essayist, Cynthia Ozick is a very good storyteller. Her arguments are plots....They twist and turn, digress, slow down and speed up, surprise with sudden illuminations.... She likes to spin and sparkle.... Insight, feeling, and the writer's art come together."— The New York Times Book Review

"Plenitude...[a] brilliant collection of essays....daring but wholly persuasive." — Chicago Tribune

"To read Cynthia Ozick is to be borne along by a mind passionately and intellectually engaged." — Newsday

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 30 impassioned essays, reviews and orations, Ozick ( Bloodshed ; The Pagan Rabbi ) interprets fiction as a moral battleground. She reads Primo Levi's restrained, lucid testament to Nazi atrocities as a sifting of the criminal imagination and J. M. Coetzee's novelistic portrayal of South Africa as evidence of the hoaxes and self-deceptions of stupidity. She admires Henry James, who is ``more and more our contemporary,'' as well as Chekhov, Cyril Connolly, Italo Calvino, William Gaddis and Saul Bellow. The biblical Book of Ruth, Sholem Aleichem, S. Y. Agnon and Chaim Bialik serve as springboards for her soaring meditations on Jewish identity and culture. Topical pieces broach the problems of translating poetry, American speech patterns, the value of little magazines, postmodernism. Culled from the New York Times Book Review , Partisan Review , New Republic , Harper's and elsewhere, the selections reflect Ozick's interests and commitments. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Readers of Ozick's fiction and previous book of essays ( Art & Ardor , Knopf, 1983) will be prepared for the range and tone of this new collection: appreciation of writers as disparate as Dreiser and Gaddis, a special interest in Jewish themes (Bialik, Agnon, Levi), a recurrent brooding on the relationship of creativity and morality, personal reminiscence, and that special heritage that Ozick has created for herself--an uneasy but fruitful daughterhood of Old Testament covenant and Henry James. The tone will also be familiar: a passionate intelligence energized by language, made manifest in language, and aimed ultimately at language. Occasionally the word -passion becomes self-indulgent and flabby and sometimes the intelligence stiffens into a cold rigidity. But when the passion and the intelligence merge--as they frequently do--Ozick's essays achieve an incandescence that is both heat- and light-bearing.-- Earl Rovit, City Coll., CUNY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679734253
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/1991
  • Series: Vintage International Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Cynthia Ozick
Cynthia Ozick
Long regarded as one of the country’s foremost literary luminaries, CYNTHIA OZICK attracts as much praise for her morally rigorous essays as for her satirically witty fiction. Counted among her impressive works of fiction are The Shawl (1989), which won an O. Henry Prize for both short stories that comprise it. She is a Man Booker International Prize nominee as well as a National Book Critics Circle Award winner.
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