9780679768203 / 0679768203

Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery





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About the book:

In Art Objects, Winterson asks us to ignore the hype and judge her by her words and her words alone. After all, she asks, does anyone ask Iris Murdoch about her sex life? And is Winterson's "diffidence, arrogance, madness" anything more than just the single-mindedness that writing--good writing--demands? After bursting onto the literary scene in 1985 with the highly acclaimed Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit , this "ego-bound" seducer of women has been dogged by a "media moronicness" that focuses on her personal life and often neglects to discuss her work.

But Art Objects is not merely a response to her critics. This collection of essays is a passionate, rousing defence of the elusive pursuit of perfection in language, the sifting of ideas and impressions to create highly charged words that throw you across a room. Her favourites dominate--Virginia Woolf, TS Eliot and Gertrude Stein--and every essay reflects her love affair with literature and language, with words that "work along the borders of our minds". There are also intimate essays on her introduction to art, how she learnt to look into the "deep and difficult" eyes of a painting, and her obsession--the collecting of first editions to read in a red room with deep chairs and a fireplace lit. Of course, Winterson places herself amongst the giants of literature that she worships. There is a slightly unpalatable arrogance about this--would the same be felt if she were a man--but also a humility. She acknowledges that in her "gallop with words" she sometimes goes too fast or takes a high fence badly. But she is trying to gallop. It's this clarity of purpose, along with an appetite for eating words, that distinguish her from others, from the "white-collared cataloguers of crap".--Jane Honey

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