Possibility: Essays Against Despair

Possibility: Essays Against Despair

by Patricia Vigderman

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Overview

Possibility: Essays Against Despair attempts to translate some of life's disordered events into the orderly happiness of art. The book includes encounters with manatees, children, and snakes; with Henry Adams, Marcel Proust, and W.G. Sebald ; with Texas landscape, Vertigo, and Vermeer. Adams, in Japan after his wife's death, found in the elaborate ritual of the tea ceremony and in the discomforts of a rural inn, occasions for the wit to face down grief. His letters to friends coax laughter from strangeness and loss. Like Adams, Vigderman has a stylist's passion for revelatory detail, and for the pleasure of immersion in a world. Smart, generous, and probing, her discoveries play with direct experience, exploring the interaction of life and art as "magic you can walk in and out of."

"Vigderman specializes in elliptical, epigrammatic insight that makes connectiosn that readers might not otherwise perceive.... Perhaps the most provocative essay and the emotional centerpiece is "My Depressed Person (A Monologue)," which interweaves a critical assessment of David Foster Wallace's short story "The Depressed Person" with Vigderman's own experience dealing with the depression of someone close to her, and perhaps her own as well."
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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781936747542
Publisher: Sarabande Books
Publication date: 04/02/2013
Pages: 140
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 7.75(h) x (d)

About the Author

Patricia Vigderman is the author of The Memory Palace of Isabella Stewart Gardner (Sarabande Books, 2007), bringing the world of a century-old Boston museum and its eccentric founder into harmony with present reality. Other efforts to reconcile life’s discordant notes have led her to the ruined monuments of antiquity and its beautiful salvaged remnants, to an unexpected love affair with film, and into the endlessly unfolding mysteries of nature, language, art, and love. In 2010 she was a Literature Fellow at the Liguria Center for the Arts and Humanities in Bogliasco, Italy. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Gambier, Ohio, where she teaches in the English department at Kenyon College.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Seeing Double 1

I Internal Conversations

The Task of the Translator 7

A Writer's Harvest 17

Sebald in Starbucks 21

Eye Shadows 27

Monkey Mind 31

Henry Adams in Japan 35

II The Measure of Grief

Genealogy 51

Dixie Diary 55

The Other Side 59

My Depressed Person 63

Not Exactly Kaddish 71

Grace Paley Reading 73

III At Liberty

Eggs 79

Tapping Back 81

What It's Like in Ohio 89

Manatees 93

By the Pond 99

Oxherding in the Chisos Mountains 103

IV Particular Artifice

Boxes in Texas 109

Inventing Cinema 119

Possibility 133

Acknowledgments 139

The Author 141

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