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Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery by [Winterson, Jeanette]
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Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Length: 208 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Amazon Review

In Art Objects, Winterson asks us to ignore the hype and judge her by her words and her words alone. After all, she asks, does anyone ask Iris Murdoch about her sex life? And is Winterson's "diffidence, arrogance, madness" anything more than just the single-mindedness that writing--good writing--demands? After bursting onto the literary scene in 1985 with the highly acclaimed Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit , this "ego-bound" seducer of women has been dogged by a "media moronicness" that focuses on her personal life and often neglects to discuss her work.

But Art Objects is not merely a response to her critics. This collection of essays is a passionate, rousing defence of the elusive pursuit of perfection in language, the sifting of ideas and impressions to create highly charged words that throw you across a room. Her favourites dominate--Virginia Woolf, TS Eliot and Gertrude Stein--and every essay reflects her love affair with literature and language, with words that "work along the borders of our minds". There are also intimate essays on her introduction to art, how she learnt to look into the "deep and difficult" eyes of a painting, and her obsession--the collecting of first editions to read in a red room with deep chairs and a fireplace lit. Of course, Winterson places herself amongst the giants of literature that she worships. There is a slightly unpalatable arrogance about this--would the same be felt if she were a man--but also a humility. She acknowledges that in her "gallop with words" she sometimes goes too fast or takes a high fence badly. But she is trying to gallop. It's this clarity of purpose, along with an appetite for eating words, that distinguish her from others, from the "white-collared cataloguers of crap".--Jane Honey

Review

"Courageous... Her writing is spirited and insouciant in its fusing of love of words and sensual desire" (Scotsman)

"Winterson is in fine form in these essays about art" (Observer)

"Flashes of sly wit have an epigrammatic power... On Joyce, Woolf, Conrad, Dickens and the development of English literature she is acute and always interesting...covetable, infuriating, stimulating" (Independent)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 520 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; New Ed edition (26 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CIXIW6G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #286,044 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read Jeanette Winterston's Oranges are not the Only Fruit some time ago and having seen her interviewed on television,I came to this book of essays knowing the high reputation that she has. Art Objects is a wonderful confirmation of this, being written in the most flowing and fluid prose tackling how we should look at art, how Gertrude Stein's autobiography Alice B Toklas bends the genre, her interest in Virginia Woolf, her addiction to books, underlining how she believes good writing is about the word and even questions about how we should live our day to day lives. This is a book for people who are serious about the arts and although you might not agree with all her ideas it is a brilliant and enlightening read nonetheless.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This collection of essays on the Arts is a refreshingly different take on the place of culture in our lives. The first very witty analysis of the public art gallery experience reassuringly coincided with my own prejudices so I may not be too objective on that one. "Experiencing painting as moving pictures, out of context, disconnected, jostled, over-literary, with their endless accompanying explanations, over-crowded, one against the other, room on room, does not make it easy to fall in love." She then moves on to literature and the defining qualities of good writing, pithy observations on truly reading a text "I do not mean the endless dross-skimming that passes for literacy" (page 111). There is a lovely digression in the essay entitled "The Pyschometry of Books" about her passion for book collecting (pyschometry is the occult power of divining properties of things by mere contact!). Much of what she says will strike a chord and her engaging writing style is very entertaining. But it is a tough read and best taken in small doses
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Format: Paperback
In this collection, Winterson declares herself a neo-modernist, with a commitment to experiment, a disdain for realism and a set of ringing certainties about art and the role of the artist. She can find little to cheer her in English lit between the publication of TS Eliot's Four Quartets (1944) and Angela Carter's The Magic Toyshop (1967).

And postmodern concerns - about the assumed integrity of language, for example, or the roles of reader and author in the production of meaning - are haughtily dismissed as an affront.

Rightly scathing about the excesses of literary biography, the tendency, for example, to consider Virginia Woolf as a 'would-be mother or a would-be lesbian or a would-be well adjusted nobody if only she had not been sexually abused', Winterson insists that 'the intersection between a writer's life and a writer's work is [always] irrelevant' and rejects any questioning of the impersonal, objective artist.

This is curiously undercut by the many glimpses she offers of her own life. Her parents owned 'six books between them', and she had to smuggle books into the house and do her reading in the toilet where they 'kept a rubber torch hung on the cistern'. She had to divide her pocket money between buying books and buying batteries because her mother 'knew exactly how long her Ever Readys would last'. Does this not shed light (sorry!) on her belief in art as a 'source of strength and a place of worship'. Does the fact that she was made to memorise very long Bible passages not illuminate (really sorry!) her language choices and uses?

Is this question, in short, not more nuanced than she allows?

Many of these essays ring with declarative statements.
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By A Customer on 17 Aug. 2001
Format: Paperback
An exciting read- a chance to enter the fascinating realms of Jeanette Winterson's intellect outside of her fiction. Really interesting material and arguments- don't overlook this book if you're a fan of JW.
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A very readable collection of essays,beautifully and clearly written. They touch on some of the troubling debates about the role and significance of art in contemporary culture, while expressing very powerfully the writer's passion for art. A very stimulating and thought-provoking read.
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