The Guy Davenport Reader

The Guy Davenport Reader


View All Available Formats & Editions
Usually ships within 6 days


“The difference between the Parthenon and the World Trade Center, between a French wine glass and a German beer mug, between Bach and John Philip Sousa, between Sophocles and Shakespeare, between a bicycle and a horse, though explicable by historical moment, necessity, and destiny, is before all else a difference of imagination.
The imagination is like the drunk man who has lost his watch, and must get drunk again to find it. It is as intimate as speech and custom, and to trace its ways we need to re-educate our eyes.”—Guy Davenport

Modernism spawned the greatest explosion of art, architecture, literature, painting, music, and dance of any era since the Renaissance. In its long unfolding, from Yeats, Pound and Eliot to Picasso and Matisse, from Diaghilev and Balanchine to Cunningham and Stravinsky and Cage, the work of Modernism has provided the cultural vocabulary of our time.

One of the last pure Modernists, Guy Davenport was perhaps the finest stylist and most protean craftsman of his generation. Publishing more than two dozen books of fiction, essays, poetry and translations over a career of more than forty years, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1990. In poetry and prose, Davenport drew upon the most archaic and the most modern of influences to create what he called “assemblages”—lush experiments that often defy classification. Woven throughout is a radical and coherent philosophy of desire, design and human happiness. But never before has Davenport’s fiction, nonfiction, poetry and translations been collected together in one compendium. Eight years after his death, The Guy Davenport Reader offers the first true introduction to the far-ranging work of this neglected genius.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781619021037
Publisher: Catapult
Publication date: 07/16/2013
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Guy Davenport was born in South Carolina and lived for more than forty years in Lexington, Kentucky, where he died in 2005. The author of more than twenty books, including Geography Of The Imagination, Eclogues and The Death Of Picasso, he was also a distinguished professor at the University of Kentucky and a MacArthur Fellow in 1990.

Erik Reece, himself a student of Davenport and now his literary executor, is also the author of Lost Mountain, An American Gospel and Field Work.

Table of Contents

Editor's Note ix


Robot 3

The Aeroplanes at Brescia 35

The Richard Nixon Freischütz Rag 55

A Field of Snow on a Slope of the Rosenberg 65

The Death of Picasso 101

Bronze Leaves and Red 123

A Gingham Dress 129

Jonah 133

And 139

Belinda's World Tour 141

Gunnar and Nikolai 147

The Concord Sonata 183

August Blue 193

Boys Smell Like Oranges 207

Veranda Hung with Wisteria 219


The Geography of the Imagination 223

The Symbol of the Archaic 239

Finding 255

Ralph Eugene Meatyard 267

Hobbitry 273

The Hunter Gracchus 277

On Reading 293

Spinoza's Tulips 305

A Letter to the Masterbuilder 315

What Are Revolutions? 325


The Medusa 339

The Resurrection in Cookham Churchyard 341

Poetry in Translation

Sappho 351

Anakreon 355

Archilochos 357

Duino Elegy I 361

Logia in Translation

Herakleitos 367

Diogenes 377


Journal I 389

Journal II 399

Afterword: Remembering Guy Davenport 405

Customer Reviews