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on 25 August 2011
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. Art is transcendence; it is play, pose and experiment; its job is Ezra Pound's dictum: to make it new; she has not 'discovered a more energetic space'. All these ideas she has explored more eloquently and convincingly in story.

This is the fundamental disappointment of this collection - that it displays so little of the innovation and linguistic brilliance that characterise her fiction. That and the haranguing tone with which she berates those who expect plot in a novel, those who read her as a lesbian writer, those who prefer 'media moronicness' to the effort of literature. It is not just art that objects in this volume but the author.

Who is she addressing, I wondered. Her readers well know that 'there is such a thing as art and that it is not interchangeable with the word "entertainment".' And surely anyone reading a collection like this does not need to be told that 'art is not a little bit of evolution that late 20th century city dwellers can safely do without'.

Art Objects left this reader longing for less objection and more of the artistry for which I value this great writer.
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on 16 April 2014
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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on 17 August 2001
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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on 17 April 2011
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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on 15 September 2014
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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on 12 November 2010
JUST READING THIS BOOK - FINDING IT VERY GOOD AS I HAVE MOST OF JEANETTE WINTERSON BOOKS - LOVE THEY WAY SHE WRITES - NEVER IN STRAIGHT LINES
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on 10 August 2014
Winterson's observations were very stimulating.
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on 10 February 2016
Excellent condition not my usual type of book. But really enjoyed it. You need to do some research to find out where she is coming from but really worth it.
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on 22 February 2013
Great item, arrived promptly, in good condition, it was very helpful to find the product I wanted at such short notice
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on 18 December 2015
service was really fast - great for christmas
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