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Penchants and Places: Essays and Criticism

By Brad Leithauser
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Book Details
  • Author: Brad Leithauser
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Published: 1994-01-01
"Brad Leithauser's criticism and 'high reportage' has a vivid edge over that of most of his contemporaries. We hear in it the voice of a writer and poet, speaking not only to a wider public with authority but also to his peers in poetry and fiction. The result is of compelling intelligence and range (science and the arts, censorship and the spirit of place). Not to be missed."
-- George Steiner
In his first collection of essays and criticism, the celebrated poet and novelist focuses on subjects exceptionally close to his heart. He considers the ghost story as a literary form and through the prism of two of its prominent practitioners -- Henry James and M. R. James. He writes about the spiritual world of Flannery O'Connor, the alternate universe of Salman Rushdie's Satanic verses, the mind of H. G. Wells. He brilliantly makes clear for the layperson the possibilities of computer chess and the future of thinking machines, and acquaints us with the biographies of three mathematical geniuses -- Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, and India's Ramanujan.
He also writes about two countries he's lived in and feels passionate about -- introducing us to Japan through essays on recently published books by Tanizaki, Kobo Abe, and Murakami; and to Iceland with an homage to Independent People by the Nobel Prize-winning Halldor Laxness, the novel Leithauser calls the "book of my life."
Provocative, witty, thoughtful, Leithauser's new book has the power to kindle and ignite our interest in the uncommon people, places, and things that deeply engage him.