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The Death of Picasso

New and Selected Writing

List Price: $16.00

February 8, 2005 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 384 Pages | ISBN 9781593760564
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"In their language and form, their intelligence and art, his stories remain some of our most eloquent, individual, and lasting..." —Harper’s

When Guy Davenport looks at the world, the world changes, sometimes just a little and sometimes a lot. And no reader is the same after reading his or her first Davenport essay or story. He is a writer perfectly described by the term singular, and in praising his work, from fiction to poetry, from translations to essays, critics all over the world have noted his unique manner, his remarkable erudition, and his startling humor. He is the finely realized perfection of high modernism blended with an American sensibility as old as Emerson’s. For The Death of Picasso, Davenport has gathered twenty-seven essays and stories from throughout his career, more than one-third of which have never before appeared in book form. The whole stands as the author’s choice of the pieces he would have us read today if we are curious about what he’s been up to all this time. The result is an exciting and invigorating selection, a testament to one of the prose masters at work today.

GUY DAVENPORT received an award for fiction from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1981, a MacArthur Fellowship in 1992, and the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets for Seven Greeks in 1996. Author of more than a dozen books, he lives in Lexington, Kentucky.


“If the language of fiction is to be of any lasting use . . . it must struggle to define—and, in so doing, attain—moments of liberty. Davenport has succeeded in that regard, finding new ways to dramatize one, suggestive question: What if we were free? In their language and form, their intelligence and art, his stories remain some of our most eloquent, individual, and lasting answers to that inexhaustible question.” —Harper’s

“Encountering his work one is reminded of how exciting literary modernism can be, how much pleasure it can afford, and how far from moribund are the concerns and methods of Joyce, Pound, and the rest of the modernist gang. . . . And, for those who have yet to discover and jubilate in Davenport’s work, this collection superseded earlier anthologies as the most convenient place to start.” —The Three Penny Review

“Unquestionably brilliant . . .” —Library Journal

“[T]his collection shows [Davenport] to be, above all, a masterful stylist. Like Ezra Pound and the Imagists, he uses precise, rhythmic and visual language. His writing is akin to a drawing or haiku, carefully composed and firmly structured.” —Publishers Weekly

“A stellar stylist with a tantalizingly light touch, rarefied yet relaxed sense of humor, and deep insights into the literary and artistic greats he transforms into fictional characters or boon imaginary companions, Davenport writes with equal imagination and verve about the tanginess of an orange, the mystery of love, quantum physics, music, and a lashing rainstorm.” —Booklist

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