Carl's Reviews > The Geography of the Imagination: Forty Essays

The Geography of the Imagination by Guy Davenport
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's review
Feb 08, 2010

bookshelves: nonfiction, criticism

Quite an experience: almost certainly the most erudite, uncompromising essays I have read. Davenport wears his erudition -- even abstruseness -- like a badge, but without the arrogance that one would expect. He's an elitist in the best, most productive way. He alludes without bothering to translate, effortlessly recalls sparkling anecdotes, ranges as widely as anyone I've read (but definitely hunkers on his few touchstones: Joyce, Tchelitchew, Brakhage, Zukhovsky, the Dogon, Lascaux, Marianne Moore, Olson, especially Pound), and reminisces uncompromisingly.

He proposes theories at a fast and furious pace. His style is to assert, not to wonder. Most of these are wise, although a few seem overly ambitious, especially when unelaborated-upon. I enjoy his writing, which is forceful and crisp.

But it's intellectualism that makes this hum. Not a trek for the uncurious to tackle, it was (to me) incredibly tiring and humbling...but well worth the voyage.
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Reading Progress

February 8, 2010 – Shelved
June 20, 2010 – Started Reading
June 20, 2010 – Shelved as: nonfiction
June 20, 2010 – Shelved as: criticism
July 13, 2010 –
page 100
26.04% "The most erudite writing I have ever encountered. Imposingly so."
July 25, 2010 –
page 220
August 7, 2010 – Finished Reading

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