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Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life Hardcover – 7 Oct 2011

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; First Edition edition (7 Oct. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226309584
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226309583
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 330,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Intriguing, inquisitive, and erudite. . . . Gross is particularly illuminating about the passionate intensity or violent hunger for being that seems to be the particular characteristic of puppets; it is as though, as the fossilised form of human longing, the puppet longs in turn, vividly and vivaciously, for the life that can never be its own. The most telling insight is about the puppet's intrinsic poverty. For Gross, the puppet is so poor, so close to the condition of deprivation and fragility, that it seems perversely, unnervingly, and triumphantly unkillable. The puppet cackles in the face of death, because it has been killed and revived so many times over. . . . A canny and alert examination of the mechanics of animistic and magical thinking."--Stephen Connor "Literary Review "

"After three readings, my enthusiasm must take the form of a warning, even of a prohibition: do not read Kenneth Gross's energetic, expert, and exhaustive essay as if it were merely--merely!--an ecstatic encomium; "on the other hand" (the puppeteer's constant cry), do not treat this learned and lyrical study as if it were no more than a reference book, though it has all the beneficent earmarks of that dread convenience. Read it as you always meant to read the Bible: by chapters, by pages, persistently by sentences, readily pausing to concur, to contend, to wonder. . . . You will find the author has done that much for you, thereby achieving--by a labor of years as well as of love--the Sacred Book of an entire human undertaking, one which has ensorcelled us for all the recorded ages of what the author calls "uncanny life"."

--Richard Howard, author of Without Saying

"Readers are taking a journey with Gross--one with many curious side trips and satisfying stopovers. . . . Each new topic is a treasure trove of glittering characters and precious stories. . . . "Puppet" is a dense, fascinating read. Gross is not only well read but well-traveled and personally acquainted with most of the puppetry artists featured in his extended essay."

--Andrew Periale "Puppetry International "

"No one better illustrates the evolution of academic literary criticism into poetry than Kenneth Gross. . . . He dreams and muses, offering endless insights into the strange and archaic world of puppets, inanimate things breathed to life. This is a book of literary mysticism, rich with accrued culture yet never weighed down by it. . . . Gross's "Puppet" held in the hand may be a dead thing, but it glows with life."--John Rockwell "New York Times Book Review "

"You have in your hands a uniquely beautiful book, a book of uncommon brilliance and lucidity. It is as wondrous as the theaters of marvels it describes; its leaps and mutabilities provide a thrilling adventure in imaginative thinking. 'How are we devoured by the things we make?' it asks. 'And when might that devouring save us?' My copy burns brightly on my favorite shelf, beside "The Poetics of Space", "Eccentric Spaces", and "In Praise of Shadows". . . a treasure!"--Rikki Ducornet, author of Netsuke and The Fan-Maker's Inquisition

"I for one cannot resist a book whose first chapter is entitled 'The Madness of Puppets, ' with its surely intentional subliminal reference to Metallica. What does a puppet, the English-prof author wonders, know about our world, and why is it keeping quiet about it? . . . The puppet, Gross notes, is political (they were banned in Mussolini's Italy) and demonic. He cites Sesame Street, Cervantes, Kafka, Russell Hoban and Philip Roth, and offers his own morbidly delightful list of 'Fables for a Puppet Theatre.' . . . As one eventually emerges from this hall of puppets, everything seems charged with potential life. I watched my pencil, uncertainly."--Stephen Poole "Guardian "

"Kenneth Gross explains why puppets are so powerful and why puppetry is such a vital part of our culture both past and present. His book is the site of a constant flow of sharp observations and insights. It is part of the exciting exchange of ideas about objects in performance that is influencing the practitioners of contemporary theater in general and puppeteers in particular."

--Basil Jones, Executive Producer, Handspring Puppet Company

No one better illustrates the evolution of academic literary criticism into poetry than Kenneth Gross. . . . He dreams and muses, offering endless insights into the strange and archaic world of puppets, inanimate things breathed to life. This is a book of literary mysticism, rich with accrued culture yet never weighed down by it. . . . Gross s "Puppet" held in the hand may be a dead thing, but it glows with life.
--John Rockwell "New York Times Book Review ""

You have in your hands a uniquely beautiful book, a book of uncommon brilliance and lucidity. It is as wondrous as the theaters of marvels it describes; its leaps and mutabilities provide a thrilling adventure in imaginative thinking. How are we devoured by the things we make? it asks. And when might that devouring save us? My copy burns brightly on my favorite shelf, beside "The Poetics of Space," "Eccentric Spaces," and "In Praise of Shadows." . . a treasure!
--Rikki Ducornet, author of Netsuke and The Fan-Maker s Inquisition"

Kenneth Gross explains why puppets are so powerful and why puppetry is such a vitalpart of our culture both past and present. His book is the site of a constant flow of sharp observations and insights. It is part of the exciting exchange of ideas about objects in performance that is influencing the practitioners of contemporary theater in general and puppeteers in particular.
--Basil Jones, Executive Producer, Handspring Puppet Company"

After three readings, my enthusiasm must take the form of a warning, even of a prohibition: do not read Kenneth Gross s energetic, expert, and exhaustive essay as if it were merely merely! an ecstatic encomium; "on the other hand" (the puppeteer s constant cry), do not treat this learned and lyrical study as if it were no more than a reference book, though it has all the beneficent earmarks of that dread convenience.Read it as you always meant to read the Bible: by chapters, by pages, persistently by sentences, readily pausing to concur, to contend, to wonder. . . . You will find the author has done that much for you, thereby achieving by a labor of years as well as of love the Sacred Book of an entire human undertaking, one which has ensorcelled us for all the recorded ages of what the author calls "uncanny life."
--Richard Howard, author of Without Saying"

Intriguing, inquisitive, and erudite. . . . Gross is particularly illuminating about the passionate intensity or violent hunger for being that seems to be the particular characteristic of puppets; it is as though, as the fossilised form of human longing, the puppet longs in turn, vividly and vivaciously, for the life that can never be its own. The most telling insight is about the puppet s intrinsic poverty. For Gross, the puppet is so poor, so close to the condition of deprivation and fragility, that it seems perversely, unnervingly, and triumphantly unkillable. The puppet cackles in the face of death, because it has been killed and revived so many times over. . . . A canny and alert examination of the mechanics of animistic and magical thinking. --Stephen Connor "Literary Review ""

I for one cannot resist a book whose first chapter is entitled The Madness of Puppets, with its surely intentional subliminal reference to Metallica. What does a puppet, the English-prof author wonders, know about our world, and why is it keeping quiet about it? . . . The puppet, Gross notes, is political (they were banned in Mussolini's Italy) and demonic. He cites Sesame Street, Cervantes, Kafka, Russell Hoban and Philip Roth, and offers his own morbidly delightful list of Fables for a Puppet Theatre. . . . As one eventually emerges from this hall of puppets, everything seems charged with potential life. I watched my pencil, uncertainly.
--Stephen Poole "Guardian ""

Readers are taking a journey with Gross one with many curious side trips and satisfying stopovers. . . . Each new topic is a treasure trove of glittering characters and precious stories. . . . "Puppet" is a dense, fascinating read. Gross is not only well read but well-traveled and personally acquainted with most of the puppetry artists featured in his extended essay.
--Andrew Periale "Puppetry International ""

About the Author

Kenneth Gross teaches English at the University of Rochester and is the author, most recently, of Shylock Is Shakespeare, also published by the University of Chicago Press.


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Format: Hardcover
At last! A wonderfully poetic book about puppetry. Each page is full of metaphors and literary references both clear and obscure. Critics and academics should read this so that they find a language to describe the power of the puppet. Artists should read this to inspire their work and have a deeper understanding of the power of the object. Interested readers will get a glimpse at this wonderful art from and its potentials. Highly reccommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
almost weird enough for me. Great book if you are into puppets, puppetry or just plain weirdness.
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