ART OBJECTS

ESSAYS ON ECSTASY AND EFFRONTERY

A self-important grab bag of essays on art, sex, and writing by one of England's preeminent literary talents. Despite her professed admiration for Modernist giants such as Virginia Woolf, Winterson's (Art and Lies, p. 105, etc.) vision is essentially a Romantic one, tricked up with a few stylistic gimmicks to give it a high-gloss experimental veneer. Following in a long, proud tradition from Wordsworth to Eliot, Winterson uses these essays to propound aesthetic theories that, stripped to their essence, are nothing so much as celebrations and justifications of her own work. Still there is something both noble and fussily quaint about her high regard for art and ``the artist,'' her faith that they still hold an overwhelming importance: ``If we say that art, all art is no longer relevant to our lives, then we might at least risk the question `What has happened to our lives?' '' When she neglects her self-conscious stylings and self-preoccupation, when she doesn't try so hard for ecstasy and effrontery, Winterson can be a fine writer. These essays are decorated throughout with sensitive perceptions and beautifully nuanced phrasings (consider the title's subtle pun), but sooner or later she feels the need to be a WRITER again and begins stomping recklessly about her carefully arranged china shop. While we can't usually choose our intellectual influences, Winterson also reflects a particularly insular British kind of parochialism that does not seem to recognize any literature west of the Liffey and later than 1945. Strange for a writer who so strenuously—at least in these essays- -rejects realism and blindly following tradition: ``If prose- fiction is to survive it will have to do more than to tell a story. Fiction that is printed television is redundant fiction.'' Despite their occasional glimmerings, few of these essays measure up to even the briefest paragraphs from one of Winterson's novels.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-44644-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1995

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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