Terrence Des Pres Writing into the World

ISBN 13: 9780670804641

Writing into the World

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Essays discuss the author's childhood, the function of literary criticism, poetry and politics, and modern literature and writers

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From Library Journal:

These 22 essays by the late scholar-author reflect on writing and criticism, poetry and politics. Subjects include Ophuls's film The Memory of Justice , the novels of John Irving, The Hour of Our Death by Phillipe Aries, George Orwell, W.H. Auden, and Bruno Bettelheim, whose views on the Holocaust and attack on Des Pres's The Survivor: An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps ( LJ 9/15/76) are refuted at length. In all cases, the author speaks against subjective, academic, self-referential tendencies, searching instead for writing that focuses on the "struggle for spiritual autonomy," for "engagement with the world rather than envisionment of a world elsewhere." His touchstones are the Holocaust, the tension between intellectual inquiry and power, the overarching nuclear threat. Despite the grimness of his subjects and our situation, he passionately feels the need to act for the victim and "to begin again to believe that decency is possible." Foreword by Elie Wiesel.
- Richard Kuczkowski, Dominican Coll., Blauvelt, N.Y.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

Writing with concentrated energy and clarity of moral vision, Des Pres engages the reader in these impassioned, eloquent essays on politics, history, literature and the modern condition. Best known for The Survivor: An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps , he stresses the duty to speak out against evil, be it manifested as the Nazi Holocaust, Stalin's bloodbath, genocide in Armenia or repression in South Africa, Iran, Turkey or Chile. Des Pres, who died in 1987, dismisses most modern American poetry as a self-referential discourse. He champions W. H. Auden, "a poet for all weathers," and identifies a small group of American writers--John Irving, Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Pynchon--whose fictions are "useful to spiritual need." Whether he is discussing the sublime in Turner's landscapes, Marcel Ophuls's film The Memory of Justice or the threat of nuclear annihilation, Des Pres strikes a responsive chord.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Terrence Des Pres
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