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What the Twilight Says (Signed First Edition, Mint)

Derek Walcott

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ISBN 10: 0374288410 / ISBN 13: 9780374288419
From Dan Pope Books (West Hartford, CT, U.S.A.)

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NY: Farrar Straus Giroux, Inc., 1998. First edition. First printing. Hardbound. New in dust jacket. SIGNED BY AUTHOR on title page. A pristine unread copy. 0.0. Bookseller Inventory # 893

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Bibliographic Details

Title: What the Twilight Says (Signed First Edition...

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: F....

About this title


The first collection of essays by the Nobel Laureate.

Derek Walcott has been publishing incisive essays in The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, and elsewhere for more than twenty years. What the Twilight Says collects Walcott's outstanding contributions to form a volume of remarkable elegance, concision, and brilliance. It includes Walcott's moving and insightful examinations of the paradoxes of Caribbean culture, including his noted Nobel lecture, and his reckoning of the work and significance of such poets as Robert Lowell, Joseph Brodsky, Robert Frost, Seamus Heaney, and Ted Hughes, and of prose writers such as V. S. Naipaul and Patrick Chamoiseau. Walcott as a prose writer has the same lyric power and syncretic intelligence that have made him one of the major poetic voices of our time.


Derek Walcott's identity as a poet is evident even in his literary criticism. Who else would produce a sentence such as "Let the shaggy, long horde of spiky letters and the dark rumbling of hexametrical phalanxes rise over the outback towards the capital of the English language" to describe the work of a fellow poet--in this case, Australian Les Murray? Indeed, each of the essays in What the Twilight Says is at least as rich in language as it is in ideas; so much so, in fact, that at times the view is obscured by the verbiage. Nevertheless, beneath the loco rococo turns of phrase Walcott has some serious points to make. In his discussion of V.S. Naipaul, for example, he offers some telling insights into the effects of colonialism on his subject's psyche: "What is the cost to his Indianness of loving England?" Walcott asks; "To whom does he owe any fealty? Ancestors? The surroundings that history placed them in, the cane fields of Trinidad, were contemptible, as they themselves would have to be, having lost both shame and pride. Therefore, the only dignity is to be neither master nor servant, to choose a nobler servitude: writing. The punishment for the choice is the astonishment of gratitude; to be grateful to the vegetation of an English shire. Not to India or the West Indies, but to the sweet itch of an old wound." Walcott praises Naipaul's genius while calling him on his racism, selfishness, and disdain for his roots--in effect loving the sinner while hating the sin. His essay on Joseph Brodsky is an intelligent meditation on the art of translation while "The Muse of History" looks at the influence of history in New World literature. From a discussion of the poetry of Ted Hughes to an open love letter to Martiniquan writer Patrick Chamoiseau, Derek Walcott provides plenty of provocative food for thought wrapped in poetical prose. --Alix Wilber

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