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Quarrel & Quandary: Essays

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  112 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Quarrel & Quandary showcases the manifold talents of one of our leading and award-winning critics and essayists.

In nineteen opulent essays, Cynthia Ozick probes Dostoevsky for insights into the Unabomber, questions the role of the public intellectual, and dares to wonder what poetry is. She roams effortlessly from Kafka to James, Styron to Stein, and, in the book's mos
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 13th 2001 by Vintage (first published 2000)
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I should preface this by saying that I'm not even close to being at the level necessary to understand most of Cynthia Ozick's essays, since a great deal of her work comments on literature I haven't read. The four-star review is purely on the strength of a single essay entitled "The Synthetic Sublime", a pre-9/11 piece on the character of New York City. This piece was a revelation to me when I first read it in 2000, demonstrating a command of metaphor and imagery that I hadn't before considered p ...more
Rebecca H.
Quarrel and Quandary, a collection of essays, is the first book by Cynthia Ozick that I’ve read, and I finished it feeling impressed. Perhaps what stands out most strongly to me is her serious, firm, no-nonsense, occasionally devastating argumentation style. I would not ever want to be the subject of Ozick’s critique; she can be frighteningly effective when goes on the attack.

The essays cover a range of material. Many of them are literary in nature, including essays on Kafka, Dostoevsky, Sebald,
Brian Davis
A wonderful book of essays on literature, politics, the tension between reason and imagination, and the role(s) of the intellectual in society. It's nice to read someone who actually still thinks thoughtful writing is important. No surprise that hers turns out to be just that. I recommend "Imaginary People," "Public Intellectuals," "The Posthumous Sublime," and especially "The Impious Impatience of Job."
This is the first thing I've ever ready by Cynthia Ozich. Not sure that I have the background to make an assessment of Ozick's essays in this volume. She has more extensive knowledge of literature than I do. But her writing is interesting and she has some provocative things to say about writing and life.
haven't read this one specifically, but I've dipped into her nonfiction every once in a while. A very impressive prose stylist, but very little substance, and insufferably cynical (in my view).
Critics and her colleagues regularly bestow honors on her. I don't know why. I thought most of these essays were banal and trite and could have been written as well by a talented high schooler.
Josh Hanagarne
One of my very favorite essayists. Ozick has a formidable intellect and wow, she can write. I rarely even care what she writes about, she can make any subject interesting to me.
The essay on Kafka is highly recommended.
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  • Tests of Time
  • Every Force Evolves a Form: Twenty Essays
  • Making Waves
  • The Rush for Second Place: Essays and Occasional Writings
  • To Begin Where I Am: Selected Essays
  • The Primary Colors: Three Essays
  • Hugging the Shore: Essays and Criticism
  • In Joy Still Felt: The Autobiography, 1954-1978
  • The Culture of Lies: Antipolitical Essays
  • Afterwards
  • The Eye of the Story: Selected Essays and Reviews
  • Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews
  • Less Than One: Selected Essays
  • Stranger Shores: Essays 1986-1999
  • The Common Reader
  • Arts of the Possible: Essays and Conversations
  • What Light Can Do: Essays on Art, Imagination, and the Natural World
  • I Could Tell You Stories: Sojourns in the Land of Memory
Recipient of the first Rea Award for the Short Story (in 1976; other winners Rea honorees include Lorrie Moore, John Updike, Alice Munro), an American Academy of Arts and Letters Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Award, and the PEN/Malamud award in 2008.

Upon publication of her 1983 The Shawl, Edmund White wrote in the New York Times, "Miss Ozick strikes me as the best American writer to have emerg
More about Cynthia Ozick...
The Shawl Foreign Bodies Heir to the Glimmering World The Puttermesser Papers The Messiah of Stockholm

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