ISBN is

9781887178853 / 1887178856

Objects on a Table: Harmonious Disarray in Art and Literature

by

Publisher:Counterpoint

Edition:Hardcover

Language:English

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About the book:

Davenports meditations on the still life dip into the full history of this art formfrom Neolithic cave paintings to the Dutch masters, from Czanne and Van Gogh to photography and the collage.. In a series of four meditations on still-life painting, Guy Davenport blends art history with literary criticism, taking a close look at the iconic and symbolic function of objects and the multiple ways they are represented in culture. Focusing on a genre that is supposedly static, these essays reveal the dynamic forces that motivate and shape the still life, explaining why and how painters have employed this genre to such vital effect. In a series of four meditations on still-life painting, Guy Davenport blends art history with literary criticism, taking a close look at the iconic and symbolic function of objects and the multiple ways they are represented in culture. As always in Davenports eclectic and provocative work, specific themes or images that appear simple on the surface--apple and pear, a bust of Sherlock Holmes--resonate across human history to yield a rich interplay of meaning and story. Whether ancient or modern--an image found within an Egyptian tomb or a painting by van Gogh, a verse from the Book of Amos or a passage from Joyce--the works that Davenport discusses are parsed and analyzed for the clues within silent objects (the fruit basket, the postage stamp, the clock) with brilliant erudition. Feats of maverick detective work, Davenports readings of art never fail to surprise and inform.Focusing on a genre that is ostensibly static, these meditations reveal the dynamic forces that motivate and shape the use of still life, explaining why and how painters have employed this form to such vital effect. As Davenport says here, Culture is like a magnetic field, a patterned energy shaping history. It is invisible, even unsuspected, until a receiver sensitive enough to pick up its messages can give it a voice. When Ezra Pound said that poets are the antennae of the race, he meant radio antennae, not insects only. Readers, whether they are newcomers or devoted fans of Davenports extraordinary work, will discover that Objects on a Table broadcasts the energy of cultural patterns in a way that will awaken them to the music within.

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