The Broad Picture: Essays 1987-1996


The first collection of essays from one of America's most exceptional writers

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The first collection of essays from one of America's most exceptional writers

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This first collection of previously published essays by American novelist (Cast in Doubt, LJ 9/1/92) and cultural critic Tillman is a paradoxical grab bag. The pieces are original but dated, the style is intriguing but exasperating, the subject matter is serious but, at times, trivial. Tillman's randomly arranged reflections include film and art criticisms (The Bodyguard, Schindler's List, a Matisse exhibit), comments on her philosophy and frustration as a writer, tributes to pop culture icons (Andy Warhol, Ray Charles, and O.J.), opinions on social issues (racism, exhibitionism, gender, and psychoanalysis), and anecdotes about life with her father and with Boots, a crazy cat she once owned. According to Tillman, "Writing allows for the little and big pieces of people's lives and thoughts"a tenet she affirms with this eclectic, erratic compilation of personal opinions. The work will satisfy sophisticated readers interested in contemporary urban culture.Carol McAllister, Coll. of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Va.
Kirkus Reviews
A collection of short personal and cultural essays, including journal-like entries, film critiques, and even an elegy, by novelist and critic Tillman (Motion Sickness, 1991; Cast in Doubt, 1992; etc.), combining a handful of new pieces with those drawn from her writings for such publications as Art in America and the Voice Literary Supplement.

In her title (does it contain a feminist pun?) and in her concerns, Tillman signals a visual approach to contemporary culture and aesthetics. From her dream-sketch of her father, decribed as "a lost and found object," to her review of a film on Caravaggio, to her observation that flashing seems to have gone out of fashion, to a section of photo stills from the Big Board at Times Square, to thoughts on violence, racism, and writing, Tillman draws attention to the forces she is fighting, or imagines that she is fighting. She says that she distrusts words and stories, yet admits the paradox that they are probably what she values most. In one of the best pieces she explores her difficulty in learning how to discuss race and writing. Her constant search for an original angle is refreshing and constructive, permitting Tillman to contribute to our turbulent current cultural dialogue. "Criminal Love" explores the dark side of passion, as it moves effortlessly from the personal to the societal in the O.J. Simpson trial. Simpson appears again in "Telling Tales," as Tillman approaches the Bronco chase as a narrative of reversal of fortune and journey, the odyssey. In other pieces she analyzes her own fiction, describes her work on a book on the early years of Warhol and the Factory, and issues a challenge to writers to serve readers by transcending cultural limitations in their work.

Tillman combines a light, frankly personal touch with an informed aesthetic, reflecting a hip, New York art world perspective.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781852424404
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail Publishing Ltd
  • Publication date: 7/1/1997
  • Series: Broad Picture Series
  • Pages: 250
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface: Mirrors and Screens
An Impossible Man 1
Critical Fiction/Critical Self 18
Love Story: Derek Jarman's Caravaggio 26
Like Rockets and Television 32
My Funny Ambivalence 45
The Pleasure Principle 50
Penis Story 55
Ugly 58
Looking for Trouble (or privileging the subtext) 66
Kiss of Death 75
Ray Charles 79
What Are Values? 81
Hole Story 86
Boots and Remorse 88
Criminal Love 100
That's How Strong His Love Is 105
Call It Local: Specter of the Rose 113
Thoroughly Modern Meals: The Futurist Cookbook 118
The Autobiography of Eve 125
The Real McCoy 130
Telling Tales 134
Like Rockets and Television II 145
Past Shock 158
The Matisse Pages from Madame Realism's Diary 162
In Memoriam: Craig Owens 167
Index 170
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