Completists' Club discussion

Authors A-D > Guy Davenport

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Eddie (last edited Sep 20, 2012 12:34PM) (new)

Eddie Watkins (eddiewat) | 25 comments Not sure if anyone else has broached this topic, but Davenport presents an interesting example in that I would consider his translations as part of his oeuvre, so to be a strict Davenport completist one would have to read them. Even without them, though, he's a daunting example, but well worth the work.

I've read almost all his fiction, some of his translations, most of the essays, and a few of the fugitive pieces.


Tatlin!: Six Stories (1974)
Da Vinci's Bicycle: Ten Stories (1979)
Eclogues: Eight Stories (1981)
Apples and Pears and Other Stories (1984)
The Jules Verne Steam Balloon: Nine Stories (1987)
The Drummer of the Eleventh North Devonshire Fusiliers (1990)
The Lark (1993)
A Table of Green Fields: Ten Stories (1993)
The Cardiff Team: Ten Stories (1996)
The Death of Picasso: New and Selected Writing (2003)


Carmina Archilochi: The Fragments of Archilochos (1964)
Sappho: Songs and Fragments (1965)
Herakleitos and Diogenes (1979)
The Mimes of Herondas (1981)
Maxims of the Ancient Egyptians (1983)
Anakreon (1991)
Archilochos, Sappho, Alkman: Three Lyric Poets (1980) (adds Alkman to Carmina Archilochi and Sappho: Songs and Fragments)
The Logia of Yeshua: The Sayings of Jesus (1996) (with Benjamin Urrutia)
7 Greeks (1995) (revises and collects the texts—but none of Davenport's drawings—from Carmina Archilochi, Sappho: Songs and Fragments, Herakleitos and Diogenes, The Mimes of Herondas, Anakreon, and Archilochos, Sappho, Alkman)


Cydonia Florentia (1966)
Flowers and Leaves: Poema vel Sonata, Carmina Autumni Primaeque Veris Transformationem (1966)
The Resurrection in Cookham Churchyard (1982)
Goldfinch Thistle Star (1983)

Fugitive pieces

Davenport wrote introductions or contributions to many books:

Jack Sharpless's Presences of Mind
Stan Brakhage's Film Biographies
Will McBride's Coming of Age
Paul Cadmus's The Drawings of Paul Cadmus (1989)
Charles Burchfield's Charles Burchfield's Seasons
Simon Dinnerstein's Paintings and Drawings
Anne Carson's Glass, Irony, and God
Jonathan Williams's Palpable Elysium, Ear in Bartram's Tree, Elite/Elate Poems, and tribute to Edward Dahlberg
Lenard D. Moore's Forever Home
Paul Metcalf's Collected Works, Volume 1
Jonathan Greene's tribute to Jonathan Williams, JW/50
Daniel Haberman's Lug of Days to Come
Burton Raffel's Pure Pagan: Seven Centuries of Greek Poems and Fragments
James Laughlin's Man in the Wall
Vladimir Nabokov's Lectures on Don Quixote
Ralph Eugene Meatyard's Father Louie and Ralph Eugene Meatyard
Aperture's monographs on Eudora Welty's and Ralph Eugene Meatyard's photographs
The University of Virginia's small monograph on Lafcadio Hearn, The Art of Lafcadio Hearn (1983)
Charles L. Rubin's collection Junk Food (1980)
Elizabeth Turner Hutton's Americans in Paris (1921–31): Man Ray, Gerald Murphy, Stuart Davis, and Alexander Calder
Riva Castleman's Art of the Forties
Ronald Johnson's Ark: The Foundations and Valley of Many-Colored Grasses
O. Henry's Cabbages and Kings and Selected Stories (which he also edited)
Davenport's own selection of Louis Agassiz's scientific writings, The Intelligence of Louis Agassiz.

Some of these pieces were included in Davenport's collections of essays.
Commentary and essays

The Intelligence of Louis Agassiz (1963)
Pennant Key-Indexed Study Guide to Homer's The Iliad (1967)
Pennant Key-Indexed Study Guide to Homer's The Odyssey (1967)
The Geography of the Imagination: Forty Essays. (1981)
Cities on Hills: A Study of I – XXX of Ezra Pound's Cantos (1983)
Charles Burchfield's Seasons (1994)
The Drawings of Paul Cadmus (1989)
Every Force Evolves a Form: Twenty Essays (1987)
A Balthus Notebook (1989)
The Hunter Gracchus and Other Papers on Literature and Art (1996)
Objects on a Table: Harmonious Disarray in Art and Literature (1998)


A Garden Carried in a Pocket: Letters 1964–1968, ed. Thomas Meyer (2004). Selected correspondence with Jonathan Williams
Fragments from a Correspondence, ed. Nicholas Kilmer (2006, 89–129)
Selected Letters: Guy Davenport and James Laughlin, ed. W. C. Bamberger (2007)

message 2: by MJ (new)

MJ Nicholls (mjnicholls) | 211 comments Davenport completely defeated me in Eclogues. His obsession with Ancient Greece is to me as interesting as Barth's Arabian Nights obsession, i.e. not very interesting. But I might try some of his essays.

message 3: by Tom (new)

Tom Willard | 17 comments With great shame I admit I have read nothing by Davenport, but this will change soon. Thanks for posting this one!

message 4: by Eddie (new)

Eddie Watkins (eddiewat) | 25 comments You know, MJ, he bores me at times too, and I don't even try to follow him down all his obsessive intellectual byways, but I like how he organizes his essays and his fictions, and he's introduced me to so many people, and supplemented what I knew of others I had already read, that I am a confirmed aspiring Davenport completist. He's like the professor I never had...

message 5: by Eddie (new)

Eddie Watkins (eddiewat) | 25 comments Read The Geography of the Imagination, Tom! That's where I started with him, and where others I've talked to did also. The title alone is hard to resist.

message 6: by Tom (new)

Tom Willard | 17 comments Ok I will track that one down! I have DaVinci's Bicycle at home, which looks manageable.

message 7: by Eddie (new)

Eddie Watkins (eddiewat) | 25 comments Da Vinci's Bicycle is a great place to start with his fiction.

message 8: by MJ (new)

MJ Nicholls (mjnicholls) | 211 comments Eddie wrote: "He's like the professor I never had... "

I feel the same way about Mr. Sorrentino. I'll try Geography of the Imagination too, it is a splendid title.

message 9: by Eric (last edited Sep 20, 2012 09:02AM) (new)

Eric | 7 comments It's nice to see Davenport up here, thanks Eddie! I agree that there's an organizational magic, a subtle structural wit, that makes up for his obscurity and occasional tiresomeness. I just read the piece on T.E. Hulme in Eclogues -- a really perfect example of his hybridization of the learned essay and the comic story. After Eclogues I want to read Tatlin!.

message 10: by Eddie (new)

Eddie Watkins (eddiewat) | 25 comments I still don't completely understand how he organizes some of his works, which is one reason why I keep on reading him. There's some esoteric stuff going on like analogy and correspondence, and there's some stuff relating to harmonies derived from Fourier, and there's some straight-up collage stuff, but much of it just goes right over my head, and I'm cool with that - I don't even necessarily want to understand completely what's behind it. In Eclogues he was still incorporating visual works into his pieces, which he considered as integral to the whole as the words, but apparently publishers tired of the extra expense and trouble of including the visual works, so eventually he dropped that aspect. Glad you're getting something out of him, Eric! Tatlin! is one of his best.

message 11: by Eddie (new)

Eddie Watkins (eddiewat) | 25 comments Though I should say I have never been able to make it very far through the long piece, The Dawn in Erewhon, which anchors Tatlin!; but I still enjoy trying, and I'm determined to make it through that and everything else at some point. Just one of the joys of completism: to look forward to something you know you probably won't even like.

message 12: by Eric (new)

Eric | 7 comments look forward to something you know you probably won't even like.

Exactly my prospect of "The Daimon of Sokrates."

back to top