Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life

4.04 avg rating
( 53 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780226309583: Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

The puppet creates delight and fear. It may evoke the innocent play of childhood, or become a tool of ritual magic, able to negotiate with ghosts and gods. Puppets can be creepy things, secretive, inanimate while also full of spirit, alive with gesture and voice. In this eloquent book, Kenneth Gross contemplates the fascination of these unsettling objects—objects that are also actors and images of life.

The poetry of the puppet is central here, whether in its blunt grotesquery or symbolic simplicity, and always in its talent for metamorphosis. On a meditative journey to seek the idiosyncratic shapes of puppets on stage, Gross looks at the anarchic Punch and Judy show, the sacred shadow theater of Bali, and experimental theaters in Europe and the United States, where puppets enact everything from Baroque opera and Shakespearean tragedy to Beckettian farce. Throughout, he interweaves accounts of the myriad faces of the puppet in literature—Collodi’s cruel, wooden Pinocchio, puppetlike characters in Kafka and Dickens, Rilke’s puppet-angels, the dark puppeteering of Philip Roth’s Micky Sabbath—as well as in the work of artists Joseph Cornell and Paul Klee. The puppet emerges here as a hungry creature, seducer and destroyer, demon and clown. It is a test of our experience of things, of the human and inhuman. A book about reseeing what we know, or what we think we know, Puppet evokes the startling power of puppets as mirrors of the uncanny in life and art.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Kenneth Gross teaches English at the University of Rochester and is the author, most recently, of Shylock Is Shakespeare, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

Review:

“No one better illustrates the evolution of academic literary criticism into poetry than Kenneth Gross. . . . He dreams and muses, offering endless insights into the strange and archaic world of puppets, inanimate things breathed to life. This is a book of literary mysticism, rich with accrued culture yet never weighed down by it. . . . Gross’s Puppet held in the hand may be a dead thing, but it glows with life.”

(John Rockwell New York Times Book Review)

“You have in your hands a uniquely beautiful book, a book of uncommon brilliance and lucidity. It is as wondrous as the theaters of marvels it describes; its leaps and mutabilities provide a thrilling adventure in imaginative thinking. ‘How are we devoured by the things we make?’ it asks. ‘And when might that devouring save us?’ My copy burns brightly on my favorite shelf, beside The Poetics of Space, Eccentric Spaces, and In Praise of Shadows. . . a treasure!”

(Rikki Ducornet, author of Netsuke and The Fan-Maker’s Inquisition)

“Kenneth Gross explains why puppets are so powerful and why puppetry is such a vital part of our culture both past and present. His book is the site of a constant flow of sharp observations and insights. It is part of the exciting exchange of ideas about objects in performance that is influencing the practitioners of contemporary theater in general and puppeteers in particular.”

(Basil Jones, Executive Producer, Handspring Puppet Company)

“After three readings, my enthusiasm must take the form of a warning, even of a prohibition: do not read Kenneth Gross’s energetic, expert, and exhaustive essay as if it were merely—merely!—an ecstatic encomium; on the other hand (the puppeteer’s constant cry), do not treat this learned and lyrical study as if it were no more than a reference book, though it has all the beneficent earmarks of that dread convenience. Read it as you always meant to read the Bible: by chapters, by pages, persistently by sentences, readily pausing to concur, to contend, to wonder. . . . You will find the author has done that much for you, thereby achieving—by a labor of years as well as of love—the Sacred Book of an entire human undertaking, one which has ensorcelled us for all the recorded ages of what the author calls uncanny life.”

(Richard Howard, author of Without Saying)

“Intriguing, inquisitive, and erudite. . . . Gross is particularly illuminating about the passionate intensity or violent hunger for being that seems to be the particular characteristic of puppets; it is as though, as the fossilised form of human longing, the puppet longs in turn, vividly and vivaciously, for the life that can never be its own. The most telling insight is about the puppet’s intrinsic poverty. For Gross, the puppet is so poor, so close to the condition of deprivation and fragility, that it seems perversely, unnervingly, and triumphantly unkillable. The puppet cackles in the face of death, because it has been killed and revived so many times over. . . . A canny and alert examination of the mechanics of animistic and magical thinking.” (Stephen Connor Literary Review)

“I for one cannot resist a book whose first chapter is entitled ‘The Madness of Puppets,’ with its surely intentional subliminal reference to Metallica. What does a puppet, the English-prof author wonders, know about our world, and why is it keeping quiet about it? . . . The puppet, Gross notes, is political (they were banned in Mussolini's Italy) and demonic. He cites Sesame Street, Cervantes, Kafka, Russell Hoban and Philip Roth, and offers his own morbidly delightful list of ‘Fables for a Puppet Theatre.’ . . . As one eventually emerges from this hall of puppets, everything seems charged with potential life. I watched my pencil, uncertainly.”

(Stephen Poole Guardian)

“[Gross] gets to the heart and soul of what the puppet is, referencing a broad range of sources, from folk puppet traditions to high art, literature and opera. It is an impressively detailed book, illuminating aspects of puppetry such as the problem of the puppet and voice. . . . As a puppeteer I found the book inspiring and richly detailed. . . . A book for puppeteers, intellectuals and anyone who is fascinated by puppets and wants to explore this fascination.”

(Puppeteers UK)

“Readers are taking a journey with Gross—one with many curious side trips and satisfying stopovers. . . . Each new topic is a treasure trove of glittering characters and precious stories. . . . Puppet is a dense, fascinating read. Gross is not only well read but well-traveled and personally acquainted with most of the puppetry artists featured in his extended essay.”

(Andrew Periale Puppetry International)

“This is the sort of book you can return to and find inspiration and food for thought, as well as information about an uncanny subject.”

(PopMatters.com)

“Puppets have figured in movies and novels, ballets and plays and operas, and the world of animated cartoons is not very far removed from the puppet tradition. It’s an almost limitless world of wood and wit and paper and fabric and art and imagination. As Gross shows us, it can be dark as sin or bright as love.” (Pasatiempo)

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Gross, Kenneth
Published by University Of Chicago Press
ISBN 10: 0226309584 ISBN 13: 9780226309583
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Paisleyhaze Books
(New Hartford, CT, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University Of Chicago Press. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0226309584 University of Chicago hardcover with dust jacket, 2011, 1st edition, unused, No remainder marks or "shelf wear", as New/as New; New mylar cover, bubble-wrapped and mailed in a BOX with free delivery confirmation. NOTE: If the seller doesn't state the edition, you will likely receive a paperback, a low quality book club edition or an ex-library copy (caveat emptor). Seller Inventory # 67934

More Information About This Seller | Contact this Seller

Buy New
US$ 14.95
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 5.00
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Kenneth Gross
Published by University Of Chicago Press (2011)
ISBN 10: 0226309584 ISBN 13: 9780226309583
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Portland, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University Of Chicago Press, 2011. Hardcover. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0226309584

More Information About This Seller | Contact this Seller

Buy New
US$ 23.10
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Kenneth Gross
Published by The University of Chicago Press, United States (2011)
ISBN 10: 0226309584 ISBN 13: 9780226309583
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository International
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2011. Hardback. Condition: New. New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The puppet can entertain or terrify, evoke the innocence of childhood, or become a magical entity, able to negotiate with ghosts and gods. Puppets are often creepy things, inanimate while also full of spirit, alive with gesture and voice. In this haunting and beautiful book, Kenneth Gross takes us on a meditative journey through the world of puppet theater, exploring the mysterious fascination of these unsettling objects. Engaging particular aspects of the puppet, from its blunt grotesquerie to its talent for metamorphosis, Gross teases out their meanings, showing us the puppet in the guise of angel, seducer, demon, and destroyer. On a global tour of puppets onstage, he takes us to the raucous Punch and Judy show, the sacred shadow theater of Bali, and experimental theaters in the United States and Europe where puppets enact everything from Shakespearean tragedy to surrealist fables of discovery and loss. At the same time, he explores the puppet in poetry and fiction-including Collodi s cruel, wooden Pinocchio; puppetlike characters in Dickens and Kafka; Rilke s innocent puppet-angels; and the dark puppeteering of Philip Roth s Micky Sabbath - as well as in the work of artists such as Joseph Cornell and Paul Klee. A lovely, expressive book about re-seeing what we know, or what we think we know, Puppet evokes the startling power of puppets as mirrors of the uncanny in art and life. Seller Inventory # AAH9780226309583

More Information About This Seller | Contact this Seller

Buy New
US$ 24.48
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Gross, Kenneth
Published by University Of Chicago, Chicago (2011)
ISBN 10: 0226309584 ISBN 13: 9780226309583
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Crowfly Books
(South Portland, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University Of Chicago, Chicago, 2011. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. This is a New and Unread copy of the first edition (1st printing). Book. Seller Inventory # 038433

More Information About This Seller | Contact this Seller

Buy New
US$ 21.00
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.75
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Kenneth Gross
Published by The University of Chicago Press, United States (2011)
ISBN 10: 0226309584 ISBN 13: 9780226309583
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2011. Hardback. Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. The puppet can entertain or terrify, evoke the innocence of childhood, or become a magical entity, able to negotiate with ghosts and gods. Puppets are often creepy things, inanimate while also full of spirit, alive with gesture and voice. In this haunting and beautiful book, Kenneth Gross takes us on a meditative journey through the world of puppet theater, exploring the mysterious fascination of these unsettling objects. Engaging particular aspects of the puppet, from its blunt grotesquerie to its talent for metamorphosis, Gross teases out their meanings, showing us the puppet in the guise of angel, seducer, demon, and destroyer. On a global tour of puppets onstage, he takes us to the raucous Punch and Judy show, the sacred shadow theater of Bali, and experimental theaters in the United States and Europe where puppets enact everything from Shakespearean tragedy to surrealist fables of discovery and loss. At the same time, he explores the puppet in poetry and fiction-including Collodi s cruel, wooden Pinocchio; puppetlike characters in Dickens and Kafka; Rilke s innocent puppet-angels; and the dark puppeteering of Philip Roth s Micky Sabbath - as well as in the work of artists such as Joseph Cornell and Paul Klee. A lovely, expressive book about re-seeing what we know, or what we think we know, Puppet evokes the startling power of puppets as mirrors of the uncanny in art and life. Seller Inventory # AAH9780226309583

More Information About This Seller | Contact this Seller

Buy New
US$ 25.21
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Gross
Published by Univ of Chicago
ISBN 10: 0226309584 ISBN 13: 9780226309583
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Rating
[?]

Book Description Univ of Chicago. Condition: BRAND NEW. BRAND NEW Hardcover A Brand New Quality Book from a Full-Time Bookshop in business since 1992!. Seller Inventory # 2546558

More Information About This Seller | Contact this Seller

Buy New
US$ 25.94
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Kenneth Gross
Published by University of Chicago press
ISBN 10: 0226309584 ISBN 13: 9780226309583
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
INDOO
(Avenel, NJ, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Chicago press. Condition: New. Brand New. Seller Inventory # 0226309584

More Information About This Seller | Contact this Seller

Buy New
US$ 23.26
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.60
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Gross, Kenneth
ISBN 10: 0226309584 ISBN 13: 9780226309583
New Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Paperbackshop-US
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2011. HRD. Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # TX-9780226309583

More Information About This Seller | Contact this Seller

Buy New
US$ 23.14
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Kenneth Gross
Published by University Of Chicago Press (2011)
ISBN 10: 0226309584 ISBN 13: 9780226309583
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University Of Chicago Press, 2011. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0226309584

More Information About This Seller | Contact this Seller

Buy New
US$ 22.38
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Kenneth Gross
Published by University of Chicago Press
ISBN 10: 0226309584 ISBN 13: 9780226309583
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 14
Seller:
THE SAINT BOOKSTORE
(Southport, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Chicago Press. Hardcover. Condition: New. New copy - Usually dispatched within 2 working days. Seller Inventory # B9780226309583

More Information About This Seller | Contact this Seller

Buy New
US$ 22.08
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 9.60
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book