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Bento's Sketchbook (Vintage International) Paperback – 30 Aug 2016

3.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books (30 Aug. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307745376
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307745378
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,138,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

I admire and love John Berger's books. He writes about what is important, not just interesting. In contemporary English letters, he seems to me peerless; not since Lawrence has there been a writer who offers such attentiveness to the sensual world with responsiveness to the imperatives of conscience. He is a wonderful artist and thinker. --Susan Sontag --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Storyteller, novelist, essayist, screenwriter, dramatist and critic, John Berger is one of the most internationally influential writers of the last fifty years. His many books include Ways of Seeing, the fiction trilogy Into Their Labours, Here Is Where We Meet, the Booker Prize-winning novel G, and, most recently, the Man Booker-longlisted From A to X. He lives in France. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
'Bento's Sketchbook' is John Berger's imagined recreation of the lost sketchbook of Baruch Spinoza, also known as Benedict or Bento. It is, of course, not a literal recreation - the real thing vanished on Spinoza's death and we have no idea of its contents - but an imaginative device that enables an attempt to bring together three aspects of Berger's own practice: drawing, reasoning, and the telling of stories.

The book is constructed of three elements: Berger's drawings; quotations from the works of Spinoza; and Berger's prose reflections, which revolve around the art of perception and the practice of drawing, the lives of persons he has met and others he has encountered only in paintings or the pages of books. Stitching these disparate elements together is the armature of Berger's view of the world, which is profoundly political and yet humane; and Spinoza's conviction that the world is a single timeless substance, in which all experience is potentially available simultaneously. The result is a meditation on human experience that approaches certain religious perspectives without explicitly invoking the divine.

'Bento's Sketchbook' is a relatively brief book, but the mosaic or collage structure, which forces the reader to move between reading and seeing and thinking, encourages a slow encounter and frequent pauses for reflection. Berger is less impressive as a draughtsman than as a writer; but there is a resonance between text and images that amplifies both.

Not perhaps the place, then, to begin with Berger. But readers already familiar with the cast of his mind will find this a characteristic and satisfying book.
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Format: Hardcover
"if we imagine the stories being told across the world tonight and consider the outcome, I believe we'll find two main categories: those whose narratives are emphasising something essential that is hidden, and those which emphasise something revealed" - p.72.

- This book does both.
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Format: Hardcover
"Lace is a kind of white writing which you can only read when there's skin behind it"

Wow. Another masterpiece of observation, drawing and emotional consciousness.
Truly through the door of human perception.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent, exciting book. I've always admired Berger. Wonderful observations about drawing, fiction, life.
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Format: Hardcover
A long while ago I too was introduced to 'Ways of Seeing' which delivered exactly what it 'says on the tin'. I can't say that of 'Bento's Sketchbook'. In the bookshop I thought the cover inviting and had a quick look inside. There were sketches and the short extract of prose I read seemed interesting.I had expectations based on the hardback cover which promises 'an exploration of the practice of drawing and a meditation of how art guides our gaze on the world'. I was disappointed, I found it self indulgent, patchy and pretentious. The disparate anecdotes have a passing interest, but fail to connect, with one exception. OK, self indulgence is to be expected and it may be Berger's way of delivering, but it wasn't for me and I wouldn't recommend a product where there is a mismatch between the contents and the promise.
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