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On Late Style: Music and Literature Against the Grain
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On Late Style: Music and Literature Against the Grain

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  131 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In this fascinating book, Edward Said looks at the creative contradictions that often mark the late works of literary and musical artists. Said shows how the approaching death of an artist can make its way into his work, examining essays, poems, novels, films, and operas by such artists as Beethoven, Genet, Mozart, Lampedusa, Euripides, Cavafy, and Mann, among others. He u ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 10th 2007 by Vintage (first published April 11th 2006)
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John David
Edward Said, perhaps best known for “Orientalism,” one of the most-recognized and important contributions to post-colonial studies, wrote the essays in “On Late Style” shortly before his death. The sense of “lateness” – of mortality, of obsolescence – permeates them, and they cover everything from the music of Strauss, Mozart, and Beethoven, to the political activism of Jean Genet, to “Il Gattopardo” (as envisioned by both Lampedusa and Visconti). In many ways, this is Said’s last conversation w ...more
From 2010 reading:I first read Said's On Late Style a few years ago, and returned to re-read it in light of some more recent publications. What is "lateness", as Said defines it? "Lateness" as a concept is not necessarily restricted to an artists's late compositions, but is rather a condition. Said challenges earlier definitions of lateness that focus on maturity and serenity, preferring rather to focus on style characterized by "intransigence, difficulty, and unresolved contradiction". Said tak ...more
Oct 01, 2012 Lobstergirl rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lingerie League refs
Shelves: music
"Lateness" is an interesting prism through which to critically view an artist's works. I'm more familiar with lateness in Beethoven - the way the late piano sonatas, for example, are structurally, thematically, quite odd and different compared to the others. Maturity, senescence, decay, approaching death. (Death in Venice, which Said uses as one of his examples, is actually not a late work of Mann's, but the Britten opera based on it is a late work of Britten's.) These are separate essays previo ...more
I was initially unimpressed -- waiting for the 'oomph' which exists in essays by Adorno and company -- and not finding it. But this collection is remarkably lucid, and definitely worth a read based on its interesting ideas and its emphasis on belatedness. It was very very late night reading for me, so I'm afraid I can't do it justice -- but I was determined to give Mozart a try, after reading his essay on Cosi Fan Tutte. The essay on Glenn Gould is, too, an incredible piece I think, with many ob ...more
سعاد العنزي

It is as sam a as Said's valuable books, and I think we need to apply this great notion of lateness in our cultural productions in order to examine them profoundly by asking how books, or other sorts of culture's productions reflect our time and place's issues in one sense. From another side, we have to investigate the validity of the works of the the writers who write at the late of their life inconsistently with their own previous work in terms of style, structure of the work, and themes as we
Night RPM
For me, this is the seminal text of the last decade, on criticism. The best thing about it? No need to read Adorno to brush up on the late style theory. After reading this book, you will want to lose yourself in the late Mozart operas, Richard Strauss, Cavafy, Glenn Gould recordings, di Lampedusa, Jean Genet, etc. etc. etc. ....
said's elegy to adorno and himself. a couple of beautiful essays on glenn gould and adorno's concept of late style. feels a bit patched together because it was, as said didn't finish it before he died.
The chapter on Genet is the most helpful to my work; for the other chapters I was just along for the [have to take your word for it] ride.
Disappointing work that is bitty and not a really coherent set of insights.
The last chapter was definitely my favorite
A reminder of what we have lost.
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(Arabic profile: إدوارد سعيد)

Edward W. Said was born in Jerusalem and raised in Egypt until his parents sent him to the United States in 1951.

Said graduated from Princeton University in 1957 and earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1964.

He was a professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York and held his chair until his death at 67. His major interests w
More about Edward W. Said...
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