Antoineonline.com : Essays of leonard michaels (9780374148805) : Leonard Michaels : Books
  Login | Register En  |  Fr
Antoine Online

Essays Of Leonard Michaels

by Leonard Michaels
Our price: LBP 54,600Unavailable
*Contact us to request a special order. Price may vary.
I Add to my wishlist
|

Product Details

  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publishing date: 23/06/2009
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780374148805
  • ISBN: 0374148805

Synopsis

NONFICTION FROM ?ONE OF THE STRONGEST AND MOST ARRESTING PROSE TALENTS OF HIS GENERATION” (LARRY MCMURTRY)
Leonard Michaels was a writer of unfailing emotional honesty. His memoirs, originally scattered through his story collections, are among the most thrilling evocations of growing up in the New York of the 1950s and ’60s?and of continuing to grow up, in the cultural turmoil of the ’70s and ’80s, as a writer, teacher, lover, and reader. The same honesty and excitement shine in Michaels’s highly personal commentaries on culture and art. Whether he’s asking what makes a story, reviewing the history of the word ?relationship,” or reflecting on sex in the movies, he is funny, penetrating, surprising, always alive on the page.

The Essays of Leonard Michaels is the definitive collection of his nonfiction and shows, yet again, why Michaels was singled out for praise by fellow writers as diverse as Susan Sontag, Larry McMurtry, William Styron, and Charles Baxter. Beyond autobiography or criticism, it is the record of a sensibility and of a style that is unmatched in American letters.

Leonard Michaels (1933?2003) was the author of five collections of stories and essays?Going Places, I Would Have Saved Them If I Could, Shuffle, A Girl with a Monkey, and To Feel These Things?as well as two novels, Sylvia and The Men’s Club.
Leonard Michaels was a writer of unfailing emotional honesty. His memoirs, originally scattered through his story collections, are among the most thrilling evocations of growing up in the New York of the 1950s and ’60s?and of continuing to grow up, in the cultural turmoil of the ’70s and ’80s, as a writer, teacher, lover, and reader. The same honesty and excitement shine in Michaels’s highly personal commentaries on culture and art. Whether he’s asking what makes a story, reviewing the history of the word ?relationship,” or reflecting on sex in the movies, he is funny, penetrating, surprising, always alive on the page.

The Essays of Leonard Michaels is the definitive collection of his nonfiction and shows, yet again, why Michaels was singled out for praise by fellow writers as diverse as Susan Sontag, Larry McMurtry, William Styron, and Charles Baxter. Beyond autobiography or criticism, it is the record of a sensibility and of a style that is unmatched in American letters.

"This pungent collection, by a quizzical New York Jew who never quite assimilated, divides into two sections: critical essays and autobiographical essays . . . The best and most penetrating essays come in the second section, as Michaels gives a wincing account of family bedtime stories?on pogroms?a happier set of epiphanies on his father, a wise Yiddish-speaking barber; and yet another describing fish-out-of-water experiences at Berkeley. All told, these are soul-baring occasional pieces by a writer's writer and a master stylist."?Publishers Weekly
"[The Essays of Leonard Michaels] showcases Michaels's timing, wit and instinctively good prose. Whatever the subject matter?and the essays here range from Edward Hopper to the Rita Hayworth vehicle 'Gilda' to Yiddish, his first language?Michaels channels the full force of his intellectual and narrative abilities into a voice that is at once sensitive and unyielding . . . His sarcasm and darkness are deployed in moderation, and this collection?edited by his widow, Katherine Ogden Michaels?steams forward largely on his urgent desire to understand what he can of the world."?Megan Busky, The New York Times Book Review

"A collection of brilliant, funny, uncategorizable pieces published for the first time under one cover . . . The collection is divided into ?critical’ and ?autobiographical’ essays, but the distinction is almost arbitrary . . . Throwing memoiristic associations into pieces?an aside on beautiful women in one about Saul Bellow, for example?Michaels creates intimacy with the reader; it's as if we're looking over his shoulder as he struggles with issues of craft and form. In fact, reading this collection feels less like an encounter with a book whose positions have been carved and sanded than a conversation with a guy in a cafeteria, his hands waving to catch an image, pieces of Danish flying from his fast mouth . . . In 'My Yiddish,' the last piece [Michaels] completed before dying of complications from lymphoma in 2003, his ideas about Jews, language and meaning mount to a stunning crescendo."?Laurie Stone, Los Angeles Times

"A collection of articles by celebrated author Michaels. Divided into two distinct halves, the volume serves as an assemblage of the author's nonfiction work, much of which was published late in his life . . . The best essay is 'The Zipper,' which centers on Rita Hayworth's role in Gilda and the emotional reaction it caused in the teenaged Michaels. The story successfully synergizes the book's two halves, ably combining the critical eye of the first section with the self-reflection of the second."?Kirkus Reviews

"In this definitive collection of short nonfiction essays by Michaels, we find two smaller collections of essays?critical and biographical. Michaels analyzes story parts and the origins of the word relationship and its deeper meaning in literature; he pays tribute to an anonymous author, all the while philosophizing and quoting Sartre, Genet, Plato, Joyce, Montaigne, and the Bible. The author writes of being the son of Jewish Polish immigrants, learning English from a neighbor, and growing up in New York City, and he describes his time spent in Michigan, California, and France, among other places . . . Michaels explains that we write about ourselves to learn about ourselves, and he acknowledges that trying to write nonfiction is an act of insanity."?David L. Reynolds, Library Journal

"These essays, spare and elegant as Michaels alights on a range of subjects, follow the late writer's own precept: 'I think we name ourselves, more or less, whenever we write, and thus tend always to write about ourselves.' This pungent collection, by a quizzical New York Jew who never quite assimilated, divides into two sections: critical essays and autobiographical essays. Many of these works first appeared in the Threepenny Review, among other publications. The first part includes a brilliant essay 'On Love' and another on 'Having Trouble with My Relationship.' The latter breezily covers figures as diverse as Pope, Larkin, Heidegger and Kafka. Other figures and subjects blowing through these pages include Bellow, Nabokov, Kubrick, Edward Hopper, Wallace Stevens Rita Hayworth, and how to watch a movie. The best and most penetrating essays come in the second section, as Michaels gives a wincing account of family bedtime stories?on pogroms?a happier set of epiphanies on his father, a wise Yiddish-speaking barber; and yet another describing fish-out-of-water experiences at Berkeley. All told, these are soul-baring occasional pieces by a writer's writer and a master stylist."?Publishers Weekly


Table of Contents

Editor’s Note

I . CRITICAL ESSAYS

What’s a Story?
The Story of Judah and Tamar
The Story of Jonah
Bad Blood
On Love
I’m Having Trouble with My Relationship
On Ravelstein
Legible Death
The Horns of Moses
Beckmann’s Faces
Masks and Lies
The Nothing That Isn’t There: Edward Hopper

II . AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL ESSAYS
To Feel These Things
The Zipper
Literary Talk
My Father
The Abandoned House
A Sentimental Memoir
A Berkeley Memoir
Kishkas
Writing About Myself
My Yiddish

In just a few easy steps below, you can become an online reviewer.
You'll be able to make changes before you submit your review.

  • Pure Enjoyment
    From Amazon

    I found both Michaels's critical and personal essays completely enrapturing. Maybe it was his time period, his NYC, SF, U of Mich perspective, the fact that I'm the opposite of well read (I wrote down countless words and refs and had a blast wiki-ing them later), how easy he is to read, or some other quality I'll put my finger on later, but I thought this collection was amazing. I'd read a handful of his short stories as well as his "Sylvia" and "The Men's Club" novels (both short), and liked them, but something about the essays super clicked. I bought a second copy through Amazon Marketplace and plan on foisting it on friend and foe alike. I'm aghast there aren't more reviews of this title.

  • What's in a word?
    From Amazon

    A few months ago, I had the pleasure of reading The Collected Stories, so I was very interested to see how Michaels' prose work would compare with his fiction. I was not disappointed. Michaels writes with the passion and precision of a highly literate person who realizes the power of language and takes the world of ideas very seriously. The essays assembled here, edited by his wife, Katharine Ogden Michaels and ranging over several decades of the author's career, are witty, erudite, and thought-provoking, touching on topics from art, literary, and film criticism to Heidegger, the cultural and personal significance of Yiddish, and Michaels' experiences writing the screenplay for the movie based on his novel, The Men's Club. Central to his personal and literary development was his Jewish upbringing in New York in the 1930s and '40s, and these autobiographical essays are some of his best. He also has some scathingly funny reminiscences of his years working in academia. I have only two minor criticisms of this book. One is Michaels' seemingly uncritical acceptance of Jewish exceptionalism, and his failure to confront what this has meant in terms of world politics; he could hardly have been unaware of authors such as Noam Chomsky and Edward Said, for instance. Yet, given the time in which he grew up, and his family's personal experiences of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, this is forgivable. Politics, after all, was one topic Michaels didn't write much about. My other criticism has to do with what I see as the culturally conservative stance the author took in some of his later essays, bemoaning a loss of intellectual seriousness and the depreciation of solititude in contemporary culture. Now, I happen to agree with much of what Michaels says on these matters, but I believe some of his comments are too one-sided, and fail to grasp the inherent creative possiblities of modern life, instead harking back to some mythical Golden Age of 1950s intellectualism. All in all, I found reading this collection a rewarding and inspiring experience.

Close
Working on your request