The Singer on the Shore: Essays 1991-2004Paperback
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- Publisher: Lives and Letters
- Format: Paperback | 224 pages
- Dimensions: 134mm x 212mm x 30mm | 481g
- Publication date: 28 May 2006
- Publication City/Country: Manchester
- ISBN 10: 1857548442
- ISBN 13: 9781857548440
- Illustrations note: 9 colour plates
- Sales rank: 507,502
The 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.
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Gabriel Josipovici was born in Nice in 1940 and lived in Egypt from 1945 to 1956. He read English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, and is now Professor of English in the School of European Studies at the University of Sussex. Carcanet publish his novels and fictions Contre-Jour (1986), In the Fertile Land (1987), Steps (1990), The Big Glass (1991), In a Hotel Garden (1993), Moo Pak (1995) and Now (1998) and his essays Text and Voice (1993).
By Mark Thwaite 10 Dec 2008
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.
'Josipovici is able to relate ordinary human concerns to some of the most important intellectual issues of the twentieth century. There are few writers in England of whom this could be said.' - Times Literary Supplement.