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The Demon and the Angel: Searching for the Source of Artistic Inspiration Paperback – 1 Apr 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Brace International; New edition edition (1 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156027445
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156027441
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 2.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,282,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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PRAISE FOR"THE DEMON AND THE ANGEL""Unique, exhilarating, and virtuosic."--"Booklist"PRAISE FOR"HOW TO READ A POEM""A lovely book, full of joy and wisdom."--"The Baltimore Sun""A wise, exhilarating book; Edward Hirsch is the most endearing of guides to the ecstasies of reading poetry."--"Susan Sontag"

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
I WISH I HAD BEEN IN Buenos Aires on October 20, 1933, when Federico Garcia Lorca delivered a lecture that he called "Juego y teoria del duende" ("Play and Theory of the Duende"). Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christopher H TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 17 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
This book forms a long rambling discussion upon the way that poets, writers and artists attempt to explain inspiration. The author fixes upon those creators who have claimed that they have been visited by a 'force' or spiritual entity beyond themselves, often describing this as a form of 'demon' or 'angel'. Academics might argue that these writers are inventing a myth about their creativity; but Hirsch delivers fascinating insights into how major writers feel that creativity controls or possesses them, rather than they being in control of their creativity.

Many key figures are touched upon - Keats, Yeats, Rilke - although all hinges upon the initial pithy discussion of Federico Garcia Lorca, and Spanish ideas about the creative 'Duende'. Really, this is an examination of other creators refracted through the lens of Lorca and his views. (Rimbaud's ideas about the poet-as-seer are discussed, but the section is brief, and it becomes a comparison with Lorca's outlook.)

Hirsch organises his book into many chapters of 3 to 5 pages in length, each of them fixing on one author, or a specific work by a major poet. There is some stimulating interpretative criticism in these pages. This is a book of ideas you very much want to discuss with people interested in the creative act.
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By Costas Kalotaris on 26 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
very good
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 0 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Entering the nether world of inspiration 1 July 2002
By Grady Harp - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Flashes of inspiration, of originality, of that conjoining of synapses that transmit creativity to the mind/eye/hand/soul of the receiver and bring forth significant art have been assigned to a Muse, a connection with some other place, always indefineable until this eloquent little book by the intoxicatingly intelligent Edward Hirsch. As erudite as this well researched book is, it is more a companion to the learning eye and mind, much like his other forays into how to read poetry, etc. Using the centuries-old concept of the "daimon" or demon as best illustrated thorugh Lorca's "duende", Hirsch spends the first half of his book drawing us into a familiarity and asks us to be vulnerable to the concept of a mysterious spirit that enters from the bowels of the earth the body of the writer, poet, musician, composer, dancer, and induces creativity. His examples and quotations from a wide range of artists are convincing. And just when we feel sure that we understand the creative source, Hirsch takes us a step further and discusses the Rilke belief that inspiration comes down from the heavens as an angel to soar through the mind of the receptive artist and provides that out of body, inexplicable touch that we call creativity. With both sources - one emerging for the bowels of the earth as a dark demon and the other descending through the firmament to transiently rest inside the soul - Hirsch addresses just what is "creativity" and how we can better find it and embrace it. This small book speaks volumes to artists and readers alike. This is not a "self help" book, but rather a source of inspiration as powerful as any canvas or poem or symphony. Read and improve your connection with art.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Elucidating the Elusive 12 April 2002
By P. L. McNamara - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Employing as touchstones Garcia Lorca's consideration of duende and Rilke's concept of the angel, Edward Hirsch constructs a convincingly argued, evocative "search for the source of artistic inspiration." In lucid, forceful prose Hirsch draws illustration for his argument not only from poetry (art in words)but from all the arts. His thought-provoking investigation deepens our understanding not only of the source of artistic inspiration but also of the interrelation of the arts and their common inspirational wellsprings. His illustations and exemplifications range widely among virtually all modern artistic innovators. By coming at the question of inspiration through all the arts his discussion deepens and enriches the reader's understanding, leaving him or her enlightened and stimulated.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Interesting, if pretentious, look at Lorca's 'Duende' 1 Jun. 2004
By Benjamin Denes - Published on
Format: School & Library Binding
This book allegedly sets out to discover where inspiration for art comes from. In order to do this, the author focuses heavily on the work of Federico Garcia Lorca and his theories of Duende - a dark primal emotional state from which Lorca drew much inspiration. The back cover of the book gives a vast listing of other artists, authors and poets whose names are thrown out teasingly. Unfortunately, people like Hemingway, Plath, Blake and Rimbaud are only briefly touched upon in the book, while heavy emphasis is placed on Lorca's work.
As much as I find the concepts of Duende fascinating, I would rather just read Lorca's books. 'Demon and the Angel' suffers from misrepresentation, and readers should be warned. This is not a search for artistic inspiration. A description that is far closer to the truth would be 'Investigating Lorca's Theories and their Relationships to Other Artists'.
Still, it does prove a fascinating read, and the limited space all the other artists are given is still a decent sampling of their art. Pretentious at times, but still a fairly motivational book for writers and artists. Just be warned who the real star of the book is.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Dark Side of Creativity Revealed 26 Mar. 2013
By Maggy A. Anthony - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful introduction to Lorca's concept of the Duende, aimed at educating the Western mind to what the Spanish gypsies have always known.
Searching and finding 25 Jan. 2015
By Mark Statman - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am teaching this book in my college intermediate poetry writing class. Wonderful thinking on inspiration, the artistic mind. Hirsch knows his stuff.
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