Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in
Pub Date: 10/01/1995
List Price: $34.95
In Historical Fictions Hugh Kenner applies his extraordinarily nimble mind and unrivaled style to the alchemy of speech turning into language, language becoming art, and art finally settling down as culture. A variety of literary topics are addressed in forty-three lively, often humorous, and wonderfully informative essays.
With his trenchant, famously entertaining touch, Kenner explores the role of counting in literature (Joyce and St. Augustine shared a preference for the number eleven); the extravagant efforts through the ages to preserve the Iliad and the Odyssey (focusing on Ezra Pound's contributions); and Tom Wolfe's prose through the purple decades (Kenner calls him "the nonchalant master of the neon-piped sentence"). Other writers who fall under Kenner's appraising gaze include Flann O'Brien, H.D., Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath, Dante, Leslie Fiedler, Wallace Stevens, Saul Bellow, William Carlos Williams, Samuel Beckett, and Vladimir Nabokov.
Stick with Kenner's Historical Fictions when you want to remember that literature is not only the best intellectual exercise around, it is also supposed to be fun. . . . What is remarkable is thatr given the pressure of such expansive knowledge, Kenner still manages to write apt, amosing prose.
—New York Times Book Review
A Kenner idea floats gently on the mind, and he often strings together words as beautifully as the poets and novelists he is explicating.
—San Francisco Chronicle
Every page of Historical Fictions is instructive; but, even more important, all of it is exceptionally entertaining.
—Washington Post Book World