An absorbing, browse-able art study that’s a feast for the eyes and the brain.

READ REVIEW

ART FOLLOWS NATURE

A WORLDWIDE HISTORY OF THE NUDE

Vibrant works of art prove the eternal popularity of nudity in this lavishly illustrated collection of essays.

Gathering his columns from the nudist magazine Naturally, the author explores the social, cultural, and aesthetic significance of nudity in societies around the world as evidenced in the visual arts (pornography not included). It’s a wide-ranging tour, visiting prehistoric cave paintings, the Egyptian fad for spoon handles shaped like naked women, clothing—or, usually, the absence of it—in ancient India, nude figurines from pre-Columbian Mexico, the surprisingly widespread tradition of nude baptism and worship in Christianity, and Lady Godiva’s family tree. LeValley (Seekers of The Naked Truth, 2018, etc.) devotes much space to the Western tradition, from the Greek enthusiasm for nude athletics and nude everything else—he discusses eight styles of naked Aphrodite statues, including “Aphrodite of the Beautiful Buttocks”—to modern and postmodern art. The erudite chapters are thematic, some surveying whole eras and civilizations, others examining particular themes and genres in artistic nudes, like the Christian church’s campaign to clean up racy art by affixing fig leaves and wisps of cloth to offending genitalia or the naked boys at swimming holes that used to decorate middlebrow American magazines. Included are hundreds of vivid, full-color reproductions, from nude icons like the Venus de Milo and Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’Herbe to obscure gems. There’s a pronounced naturist perspective in the author’s commentary, which notes the wholesome moral associations of nudity with innocence, holiness, truth, independence of mind, and revolution. He rhapsodizes that nudity in anti-slavery art reminds “us that a person can throw off his chains like throwing off unwanted clothes, and can burst forth in a more natural and healthy freedom,” and he muses that “a return to simple, honest, athletic nudity” might “lessen some of the corruption” in the modern Olympics. LeValley’s breezy, engaging prose keeps the nudist propagandizing unobtrusive while regaling readers with plenty of intriguing historical lore and sharp-eyed, aesthetic appreciations (Michelangelo’s David “is not David the relieved victor, but David anticipating battle—with the figure’s left side tense and alert, but its right half relaxed and confident”).

An absorbing, browse-able art study that’s a feast for the eyes and the brain.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9992679-0-5

Page Count: 572

Publisher: Edition One Books

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more