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The Friday Book

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  143 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
"Whether discussing modernism, postmodernism, semiotics, Homer, Cervantes, Borges, blue crabs or osprey nests, Barth demonstrates an enthusiasm for the life of the mind, a joy in thinking (and in expressing those thoughts) that becomes contagious... A reader leaves The Friday Book feeling intellectually fuller, verbally more adept, mentally stimulated, with algebra and fir ...more
Paperback, 283 pages
Published January 22nd 1997 by Johns Hopkins University Press (first published October 26th 1984)
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May 02, 2014 Gregsamsa rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Lovers of snark-free lit-chat
Recommended to Gregsamsa by: Mala
Being a major meta-dude, Barth opens this collection of essays with a mini-piece on book titles, followed by one on book sub-titles, which is in turn followed by a short bit on introductions, by way of introduction.

A surprising bit of trivia ends this introduction: he notes that collections such as this usually contain collected book reviews, but this one does not, because, he writes, vows to the muse, made long ago and reasonably well kept, prohibit among other things the giving or soli
Dec 22, 2013 Mala rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Gregsamsa
Recommended to Mala by: Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
"My aspiration was to become a giant truffle, or one of those stones I used to strike with my spade in my salad garden in the Alleghenies: stones that seem like nothing much until you set about to dig them and find that they go to the bottom of the world. Indeed, that they are the bottom of the world.
Bedrock." – From the essay, The Tragic View of Recognition.

Where do I begin! I feel like Ali Baba saying "Open sesame" & getting dazzled by the sparkling array of endless riches in the thieves'
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
This is where it all started, almost. Where it started was Further Fridays but only because it fell into my lap first. With Barth the plethora and the cornucopia of postmodern fiction opened like a cliche’d flower opening. Gass and Gaddis just for beginners. So but this time around, the second through The Friday Book for me, was due to an itch ... and a lack of an index to this collection of essays and etc’s. I wanted to locate the location where I first ran across the name Christine Brooke-Rose ...more
Dec 14, 2013 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jonathan by: Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
There is something about his voice which is just impossible not to warm to - it is so kindly somehow. These are funny, fascinating, engaging pieces - they will bring new authors to your attention (if NR has not done so already!) and get you excited and enthusiastic about the possiblities of the written word. Lovely stuff, well worth tracking down. Reminds me I need to get round to reading more of this fellow's fiction....
Ian "Marvin" Graye
Defining Postmodernism

John Barth was there the whole time Postmodernism was happening. However, I’m not sure whether he's the best person to attempt a definition of the term.

Sometimes, the best people to document history are not those who participated in the events, but those who came afterwards, and can look at the events from different and multiple perspectives.

Frankly, I expected more of Barth, one of my favourite authors. He is/was both a story-teller and a teacher of story-telling.

Ben Winch
Feb 18, 2015 Ben Winch rated it it was ok
Shelves: american, anglo, essays
Drole. Luxuriant. Self-indulgent. 4 or 5 substantial essays padded with 1-, 2- and 3-page transcripts of speeches, often repetitive, often regarding topics which Barth admits hold little interest for him, and which he justifies (in 1-, 2- and 3-page even more drole, luxuriant, self-indulgent introductions) on the grounds of his taste for travel to and from the events at which he delivers said speeches, especially when it’s paid for by arts councils and universities. There’s a few insights here, ...more
Thomas Baughman
An old book ,really, but some of the essays in this book are the best simple explanations of Postmodern literature that i've ever read. Barth was laying out his case for the Postmodern in terms a layman could understnd.
Anthony Crupi
Fun Friday Book drinking game: Every time Barth bangs on about Scheherazade, take a sip of the beverage of your choice that is off-limits to pregnant women and those operating heavy machinery. Oops—now you're dead! No more books for you.
Mar 11, 2008 Dan rated it liked it
Some of Barth’s non-fictional essays and addresses, in many of which he discusses his approach to writing fiction. Includes the important essays “The Literature of Exhaustion” and “The Literature of Replenishment.”
Larry K
Jul 01, 2009 Larry K rated it liked it
The essays are interesting and at times insightful, but he makes writing seem like a herculean task. Therefore, if your interested in writing (and encouraging words from a great writer) this book will be kind of depressing.
Barth's first collection of his non-fiction essays. He has much to say of the literary trends of that day.
Jason Jordan
Jun 18, 2014 Jason Jordan rated it liked it
The essays that I'm interested in are really good, but there are several that don't interest me whatsoever. Worth the read, though.
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John Simmons Barth is an American novelist and short-story writer, known for the postmodernist and metafictive quality of his work.

John Barth was born in Cambridge, Maryland, and briefly studied "Elementary Theory and Advanced Orchestration" at Juilliard before attending Johns Hopkins University, receiving a B.A. in 1951 and an M.A. in 1952 (for which he wrote a thesis novel, The Shirt of Nessus).
More about John Barth...

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“It’s easier and sociabler to talk technique than it is to make art.” 6 likes
“I have remarked elsewhere that I regard the Almighty as not a bad novelist, except that He is a realist.” 5 likes
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