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Every Force Evolves a Form: Twenty Essays

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  126 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Guy Davenport demonstrates his unparalleled critical vision as he interprets art, literature, and culture

In this collection of 20 essays, Guy Davenport applies his insightful gaze and critical wisdom to topics including modern art and the effects of the automobile on contemporary society. His work ranges from “What Are Those Monkeys Doing?” in which he links the paintings
Hardcover, 171 pages
Published January 1st 1987 by North Point Press
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4.48  · 
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 ·  126 ratings  ·  10 reviews

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Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: criticism, essays
A core of three intense near-manifestoes – “The Artist as Critic,” “The Scholar as Critic,” “The Critic as Artist” – surrounded by occasional essay-reviews which show us Montaigne’s Italian journey (a “medicine-and-book-laden coach set out for Rome…”), the props and repertoire of third-century Alexandrian mimes, Nabokov teaching Don Quixote at Harvard (“Nabokov was lecturing in the hotbed of Spanish romanticizing. Lowell and Longfellow had invented a Spain which has stuck in the American imagina ...more
Aravindakshan Narasimhan
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Guy Davenport is a genius. He is one of those rare breeds of intellectuals who can straddle between being a literary critic and an art critic. With deep knowledge of classics, keen taste in poems to an acute sense of observation and sensibility to art, Guy Davenport traverses each of these and more diverse subjects effortlessly.
He surprises the reader with the very first chapter "The Champollion of Table manners", which is about Claude Levi Strauss's book "The origin of Table manners", where we
Aug 22, 2018 added it
Shelves: essays
Guy Davenport is one of those people who has such a vast palette of references that he sounds like he's bullshitting even when he's not -- he mentions two Scandinavian semioticians writing a book about the role of pumpkins, squashes, gourds, and cucumbers in world literature, and holy fuck, that was actually a thing.

I know because I wrote that down as a book to read. In fact, I kept writing down references to books to read, because Davenport is above all else a curator of ideas. He comes off as
Feb 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shakers + Charles Ives + Joyce + Levi-Strauss.
Says hilarious old man things about cars.
Apr 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays, ebook
The most enjoyable Davenport [for me] is the critical cat railing on e.e. cummings in "Transcendental Satyr", or Noah Webster in "More Genteel than God". I also enjoyed the opening essay on Levi-Strauss, "The Champollion of Table Manners". The titular essay was brilliant, studying birds as daimons and harbingers in Poe, Whitman, Auden. "Imaginary Americas" also had some great insights.

I read that Davenport's short stories are nothing short of immaculate, so that's likely the next stop with this
Aug 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: essays
alright, some circles to follow (with apologies to those just trying to find out about davenport; often i wish i could make individual reviews private for those times when books have few enough reviews that the diary function of my own sticks out even more sorely than usual)—

i was at powell's today and found two books of short stories by davenport, which i knew would happen, because when one writer you've been vaguely searching for for a while comes into your life via one volume then the rest of
Robespierre Cat
Aug 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was terrific. I was meeting a fellow for lunch and I picked it up at a used bookstore and the day had a magical quality free of the deadening reality of all the gunk in my ordinary life. It carried that on for pages. If you like essays you'll like it.
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Vintage Davenport, which means nourishing and vital.
Dyche Mullins
Jun 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
My second favorite book of essays by Davenport (after "Geography of the Imagination"). The title --a quote from Mother Ann Lee-- is great, but it is the cover art that really captures the essence of the book. The cover depicts a Celtic copy of a Roman coin in which the copyist has misread the head of a Roman emperor as a highly stylized horse. The unifying theme of the essays in this collection is the power of art and imagination to preserve and transmit culture; as well as the inevitable mutati ...more
Oct 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful cover for a beautiful book - I find it impossible to resist the North Point Press titles almost on the strengths of their visual appeal - here one of my favorite literary critics gets to range far and wide on anything that crosses his fancy - and almost all of it sings and soars.
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