Soundings

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Anita Brookner is a Fellow of New Hall, Cambridge University. She is widely admired for her novels, including Hotel du Lac, which won the Booker Prize in 1984.
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PAPERBACK New 1860465102 Never Read-may have light shelf or handling wear-has a price sticker or price written inside front or back cover-publishers mark-Good Copy-I ship FAST ... with FREE tracking! ! Read more Show Less

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Trade Paperback New The essays and articles on art and literature assembled here have been written over the last twenty-five years by a writer who has earned recognition as ... much for her academic achievements as for the accomplishments of her literary career. Anita Brookner begins with the lives and work of the three great nineteenth-century French painters Gericault, Ingres, and Delacroix, using them as the springboard for an analysis of the complex dashes between the romantic and classical movements. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Anita Brookner is a Fellow of New Hall, Cambridge University. She is widely admired for her novels, including Hotel du Lac, which won the Booker Prize in 1984.
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Editorial Reviews

Brian Sewell
A great work of art history.
Evening Standard
Library Journal
Some of the best art writing is not in art magazines but in the weekly and fortnightly general literary journals that continue to traffic in fine essays. These two new collections feature the best work from two masters of the trade. Fenton (poetry, Oxford) writes intricate, erudite essays for the New York Review of Books in enjoyably nimble prose that retains a pellucid accessibility for college-level readers. The density of his pieces, laden with retorts and counterclaims directed at other critics, belies the fact that some of them are as short as ten pages. His intellectual reach is impressively broad, exemplified here by 15 essays covering territory ranging from Jasper Johns to Egyptian funerary statues. Brookner--known both as a scholar of art and a Booker Prize-winning novelist--contributes regular reviews to both the London Review of Books and the Times Literary Supplement. Her style evinces a contagious love of culture, with a tendency toward the ascerbic cri de coeur. One title under consideration she calls "badly produced, badly written and undeniably brilliant." In 22 compact essays, Brookner considers such diverse topics as Delacroix, Doris Lessing, and Dr. Herman Tarnower. It's to her credit that many of these reviews, some dating back to 1975, are far less stale than their onetime targets. Both of these books are comparable to recent collections by Robert Hughes, Lucy Lippard, and Andrew Graham-Dixon--good purchases for academic and large public libraries.--Douglas F. Smith, Oakland P.L., CA
Brian Sewell
"No book has given me greater pleasure than Soundings, a collection of essays, lectures and reviews that, apart from the introduction of Berenson, the benighted Job and Doris Lessing, are refined art history, elegantly put, offering such insights into French art as are never to be found in the vulgar and distorted work of the politically correct." -- Financial Times (Books of the Year)
Paul Durcan
"Ms. Brookner is Robert Hughes' partner in virtuoso art history writing."— Irish Sunday Independent
Kirkus Reviews
An opinionated, if somewhat professorial, collection of essays on French art and literature by the Booker Prizeþwinning novelist and art historian. Before Brookner had ever penned Hotel du Lac or any other work of fiction, she wrote about Watteau, Greuze, G‚ricault, and David. The essays collected here were written during the past quarter-century and published originally in the Times Literary Supplement or the London Review of Books. Although no one could call these pieces spellbinding, they're written with a suave clarity and subtle wit. In counterpoint to heavily theoretical art history, Brookner allows herself a novelist's pleasure in biographical detail. From a traditional perspective, unabashed interpolation of art and life may be fraught with danger, but Brookner never abandons her intellectual rigor or critical distance. She just closes in on her subjects with an ardent curiosity. Thanks, perhaps, to her work as a writer of fiction, her essays on 18th- and 19th-century art and literature benefit from her sensitivity to the interplay of philosophy, politics, culture, social change, and personality. Time and again, she focuses on tensions evident in the work itself, as well as in the creator. Her essay on Delacroix, for example, explores the dual threads of Classicism and Romanticism's restraint and self-revelation that remain visible in his writing, if not in his art. When she keeps to art history, Brookner's proclamations amuse and inform; unfortunately, she also veers into contemporary subjects. It's anyone's guess why she chose to toss in a piece about Diana Trilling's book on the trial of Jean Harris, for example. The cumulativeeffect of Brookner's critical boldness is less heavy-handed and overbearing than fiercely, even warmly pedagogical. (3 b&w illustrations)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781860465109
  • Publisher: Random House Adult Trade Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.53 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
1 Gericault 3
2 Ingres 19
3 Delacroix 33
4 Rousseau's Social Contract 50
5 The Rhetoric of Sensations 70
6 The Observer Obliviated 78
7 Propagandist of the Pauvre Moi 86
8 The Master of the Attributions 93
9 The Eye of Innocence 103
10 The Last of the Old Masters 110
11 Incantation to Inertia 115
12 Ploughing a Provincial Furrow 121
13 The Willing Victim 129
14 Descent into the Untestable 136
15 Sick Servants of the Quill 144
16 In Pursuit of Happiness 153
17 Corinne and Her Coups de Foudre 162
18 A Nun of Art 171
19 On High Heels up Vesuvius 178
20 Scarsdale Romance 185
21 Women Against Men 196
22 God's Great Wager 206
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