The Geography of the Imagination: Forty Essays (Nonpareil Book, 78): 10 (Nonpareil Books, 10)

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The Geography of the Imagination: Forty Essays (Nonpareil Book, 78): 10 (Nonpareil Books, 10)

The Geography of the Imagination: Forty Essays (Nonpareil Book, 78): 10 (Nonpareil Books, 10)

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It would feel intimidating and/or wankish, except he comes off like he's probably a super nice guy, so you don't feel threatened at all-- rather, he invites the reader into the dialogue regarding Charles Ives or William Carlos Williams or Stan Brakhage or some facet of everyday life.

Each essay is a tour of the history of ideas and imagination, written with wit and startling erudition. A movement is closed by them, a movement that began with Thoreau and Whitman, when America was opening out and possibilities were there to be stumbled over or embraced.What lives brightest in the memory of these outings is a Thoreauvian feeling of looking at things-earth, plants, rocks, textures, animal tracks, all the secret places of the out-of-doors that seem not ever to have been looked at before. Not for stuffy lowbrow Goodreads shitbird-types who pout about an author being smart and challenging. He complained in letters of the stupidity of his students, and he sighed to an interviewer, “I was getting students who had read nothing, knew nothing, and thought the university existed for the sake of the Kentucky Wildcats. The Geography of the Imagination is a book I often bring with me when I travel because no matter my mood, there’s usually an essay to suit it and because so many of the essays bear reading a third or even a fourth time. All sexual predilections are arranged for and honored for their diversity,” he wrote with a twinge of longing about the society Fourier envisioned.

Shifting perceptions of landscape from topographical features we encounter in space to milemarkers in whole though cannons, Davenport brings readers across bridges linking Olson, Pound, Greek myth, Joyce, traditional symbolism of the Angles, and the revival of Old Russian. Davenport’s criticism feels so self-contained that one swallows it with the hungry thoughtlessness of an eternal student.Yet we constantly see and hear stories of betrayal, and many people have personally experienced a destructive breach of loyalty. Neither of them knew quite what to make of the defiantly literary changeling in their midst, and Davenport soon escaped to study art and classics at Duke, then English at Oxford and Harvard. I was getting students who had read nothing, knew nothing, and thought the university existed for the sake of the Kentucky Wildcats.

He knew better than anyone that there is no tension whatsoever between the cerebral and the sensuous. He can make you yearn to read or look again at neglected masters like the poets Charles Olsen and Louis Zukofsky and the painters Balthus and Charles Burchfield. The remainder of the twentieth century (most miserable of ages since the Barbarians poured into Rome) might profitably be spent putting together the human achievements which tyranny has kept behind walls. I wish every English teacher read this book and shared the insights with their students -- hopefully with shades of enthusiasm and passion like Guy Davenport.And that’s one of the marks of great literature — even after half a dozen readings, it still holds your attention, and you’re still aha-ing over things you missed the last time around. Like their author, who translated the Greeks as he munched fried bologna, they refuse the constraints of classification, preferring to remain marvelously and lavishly multiple. Accordingly, a rumination on cave painting is also a reflection on Pablo Picasso; a musing on the 19th-century art critic John Ruskin is also a meditation on labyrinths…. A poet rhapsodizing about nature is “Wordsworthing around,” and another who praises mountain scenery is “Byronizing. Davenport hailed it as “not so much a book as a library, or better, a new kind of book in which biography, history and analysis of literature are so harmoniously articulated that every page has a narrative sense”—and the same can be said of The Geography of the Imagination.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
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