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

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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….

His longtime partner, whom he never married, was a woman; his short stories are a writhing mass of gay trysts. Davenport’s essay on Eudora Welty, I mean his fantasia on a theme of Eudora Welty, deserves a second look—or a third, or a fourth.Guy Davenport, on the other hand, zips back and forth between the ages, then laterally across genres and mediums, teasing out parallels and themes between such strange bedfellows as, for example, Poe, Grant Wood, and the myth of Persephone, sure-handedly leading the reader through a byzantine maze of arcana and out into fuller perspectives. One of Davenport’s most memorable pronouncements was that modernism represents “a renaissance of the archaic,” and therein lies its saving power. Extremely important in terms of statement of Davenport's aesthetics, a very personal essay, should be read in tandem with Barth's The Self in Fiction.

He conveys, to adopt his own words about painter Paul Cadmus, 'a perfect balance of spirit and information. 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.Who would suspect the influence of Delacroix on Van Gogh; of Dickens on Kafka, of Harriet Beecher Stowe on Tolstoy? In these forty essays we find fresh thinking on Greek culture, Whitman, Spinoza, Wittgenstein, Melville, Tolkien, Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, Charles Olson, Marianne Moore, Eudora Welty, Louis Zukovsky, and many others.

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