The Singer on the Shore: Essays 1991-2004 (Paperback)
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DescriptionThe novelist Gabriel Josipovici's new book of essays ranges from writings on the Bible, Shakespeare, Kafka, Borges and the Israeli novelist Aharon Appelfeld to considerations of Rembrandt's self-portraits, death in Tristram Shandy, and what Kierkegaard has to tell us about the writing of fiction. From the title piece, which examines the relationship between artists' works and their beliefs, to the concluding meditations on memory and the Holocaust, "The Singer on the Shore" is unified by the twin themes of Jewish experience, with its consciousness of exile and the time-bound nature of human activity, and of the role of the work of art as a toy, to be played with and dreamed about. Josipovici's explorations are informed by his own experience as a novelist. He is thus both authoritative and undogmatic. This volume, like a book of poems, rewards repeated reading: it not only illuminates the topics with which it deals, it also raises the large question of the place of art in life and of the possibilities open to art today.
- Published: 28 May 2006
- Format: Paperback 224 pages
- ISBN 13: 9781857548440 ISBN 10: 1857548442
- Sales rank: 646,471
Reviews for The Singer on the Shore
- Staff review
The Singer on the Shore: Essays 1991-2004
Gabriel Josipovici is one of the finest critics writing in English today. Very few can match his range, his exacting intelligence and the readability of his essays. This collection contains pieces on the Bible, Shakespeare, Kafka, Borges and the powerful Israeli novelist Aharon Appelfeld, a consideration of Rembrandt's self-portraits and the contemporary artist Andrzej Jackowski. It's the ideal introduction to the range of his interests. Josipovici is a critic but he is also, crucially, a wonderful teacher. His criticism doesn't score points, it informs at the deepest level. Whilst his writing is philosophically acute (the works of Maurice Blanchot, Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard inform all that he writes), it is his practice as a (highly underrated) novelist that makes his criticism so persuasive and so deft. Josipovici understands that the challenge of Modernism has not yet been fully answered and writes knowing that the Big Questions that art asks about life are still the most interesting ones. by Mark Thwaite