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The Death of Picasso: New and Selected Writing

4.46  ·  Rating Details ·  59 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
For The Death of Picasso, Guy Davenport has gathered 27 essays and stories from throughout his career. The whole stands as his 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. As the Louisville Courier-Jour ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 8th 2005 by Counterpoint (first published 2003)
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This should have been a review of The Geography of the Imagination, the Davenport book I set out to read some years ago after a friend had said it was his favourite collection of essays by a contemporary author. I bought that book soon afterwards when I found myself on one of those wonderful London streets full of bookshops that are like islands of calm in the middle of an ocean of billboards and buses. Later, back home again, and far from English language book shops, another friend who reads a ...more
David M
Sep 15, 2016 David M rated it it was amazing
- Franz! Max said before he considered what he was saying, why are there tears in your eyes?
- I don't know, Kafka said. I don't know.

I want to insist (pedantically) on a distinction between erudition and pedantic information-mongering. The first of these can't be googled or faked. There may be intermediate cases, but Mr. Davenport is most definitely on the side of erudition. His learning is vast and it seeps into the deepest parts of his soul. And for that reason, this collection is not alway
Kyle Muntz
Nov 17, 2012 Kyle Muntz rated it really liked it
guy davenport was the last real modernist. one gets the impression he was trying to write as the culmination of the entire tradition of western history/literature--both to embody it and perfect it. he writes with a density that recalls joyce; a breadth of knowledge that recalls borges or pound; a virtuosity that recalls all of them. i'm not nearly as interested in this kind of maximalism as i was in the past, but davenport was very, very good at what he did
It didn't take long to figure out that sticking with The Death of Picasso...was going to be The Death of Me.

What am I missing? Do tell me if you get it.
Oct 20, 2011 James rated it it was amazing
Guy Davenport is a treasure for readers who are interested in words and ideas and combinations of thoughts that have never appeared before nor will again. His writing almost defies description as do most of his pieces in this collection whether they are essays or stories or aphorisms.
The collection opens with "The Owl of Minerva" a playful set of variations on Hegel’s lament that the owl of Minerva-wisdom-flies only at dusk, when events have begun to fade. It can’t describe how the world ought
Mar 04, 2015 Doc rated it it was amazing
Astonisishly erudite and a master stylist, Guy Davenport is the writer whose books should dominate a nightstand if you were allowed one writer only in your life. From his intense, obsesively detailed fictions concerning historical figures to his large-hearted stories of idyllic youth, from his encyclopedic synthesis of his essays to the suprisingly candid memoirs of himself and other literary figures, Davenport's writings comprise a far superior, and a far more delightful, education than can be ...more
David Guy
May 26, 2014 David Guy rated it really liked it
There's nobody like Guy Davenport, and this is apparently what he considered a representative selection of his work. I don't know what to make of him in some of his sexual stories, and they sometimes seem to go on too long without much of a point, but he's always interesting, and writes beautifully. He's one of the most intelligent of modern writers.
Douglas Dalrymple
Jun 13, 2012 Douglas Dalrymple rated it really liked it
3.55 stars. I'm rounding up.

There’s generally something to appreciate in each of Davenport’s essays and non-fiction pieces. His fiction, by comparison, is uneven. I could personally do without the adolescent homoerotic fantasies he so enjoyed writing. “The Owl of Minerva,” for instance, is an odd opening to the volume, and missing (in my opinion) any note of Davenport’s best prose. This is more than made up for, however, by the inclusion here of “The Concord Sonata,” “The Hunter Gracchus,” “Beli
Sep 04, 2008 robert rated it it was amazing
amazing stuff by someone few people have heard of. strange stories, or half-essays, with a strange moral compass and structures that don't make sense. Start with The Owl of Minerva or the title story, The Death of Picasso.
Jan 04, 2009 Ian is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Read the title story. Interesting.
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