The Savage God: A Study of Suicide Paperback – 25 Apr 1974
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"A beautifully written book, full of poetic truths. ... It adds a new dimension to the persepctive of suicide." -- New Society
"Alvarez writes a thoughtful and thought provoking narrative that is deeply compelling." -- Student Direct, 9th December 2002
"Widely admired ... Alvares does what Levi says: he writes what the politeness and prevarications of speech might have defeated." -- Guardian --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Al Alvarez, poet, critic, novelist, sportsman, poker player, has for seventy years been hard to categorize. Author of over twenty books including POKER and THE BIGGEST GAME IN TOWN he is one of the great writers of the 20th Century. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The points of interest are mainly in the historical information he produces; before this I was unaware of the frequency of artistic suicides. Moving from period to period, this book is invaluable as an overview of changes in the English Literary tradition, all the time tied to the act of suicide.
So we are treated to chapters on Donne, Chatterton, The Romantics, and most interestingly for me, the Dadaists. The only low point comes in the very last chapter, when the writer becomes all 'confessional' regarding his own suicide, and seems to neglect some of the points he has made in treating other peoples attempts. Still though, a surprisingly relevant and informative book, of interest for anyone who has read the poetry of the last 400 years.
Begining each section with a quote from a notable source ("Dying is an art/Like everything else/ I do it exceptionally well/ I do it so it feels like hell/ I do it so it feels real/ I guess you could say I've a call") sets the mood rathar than acts as eye-candy or space filling.
As someone who hasnt read widely around the subject of suicide, it seems that Alvarez has presented the views of many many people in this book. Obviously he cannot mention all the views of eveyone but most groups, religious and historical seem to be at least nodded to. most are examined in some depth. Conclusions on the subject of suicide are frequent. Unfortunately, it is up to the individual reader how convinced they are. To someone who has read alot of essays on suicide, it may seem a little basic, perhaps, but to the rest of us, it is easy to read whilst maintaining a pleasing technical vocablury which allows us to acces the subject in question easilly. The Savage God is an introduction to suicide that allows people to understand the motivation behind it. If that is what you want... buy It. Simple.
Al Alvarez was one of those "onlookers" who saw some of the "game," and had also had his demons to deal with.
Well worth reading, and thinking about... very deeply.
The sections about Plath are interesting as are some of the historical sections but i would not describe this book as a study, instead I would call it an opinion.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book had to come from the States as it is a rare find in the UK now. It is brilliantly written by A.Alvarez. The copy I received was in good condition.Published 6 months ago by anonymous
It remains a challenging insightful book from an historic perspective on a complex ethical matter which is especially pertinent as the discussions of assisted suicide proceed.Published 13 months ago by john a white
Interesting book that I have read before & bought as an, unusual, present for a friend.Published on 10 July 2014 by Neil Joughin