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Download The Din in the Head eBook

by Cynthia Ozick

Download The Din in the Head eBook
ISBN:
0618872582
Author:
Cynthia Ozick
Category:
Essays & Correspondence
Language:
English
Publisher:
Mariner Books; Reprint edition (June 2, 2007)
Pages:
260 pages
EPUB book:
1979 kb
FB2 book:
1843 kb
DJVU:
1650 kb
Other formats
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Rating:
4.4
Votes:
314


I cannot say that all the essays in this book are unified by a single theme, though I suppose (like the ass straining to keep up with the ox) I could laboriously invent one for the occasion

For information about permission to reproduce selections from. I cannot say that all the essays in this book are unified by a single theme, though I suppose (like the ass straining to keep up with the ox) I could laboriously invent one for the occasion. On the other hand, most-not all-may be connected by what they are not, what they do not do. By and large, they do not celebrate trivia or hunger after the lesser-not, I hope, out of some monomaniacal purist arrogance to which they are not entitled, but because some matters are, in truth, more urgent, and significant, than others.

Cynthia Ozick is the author of numerous acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction. Henry James, Tolstoy, and My First Novel. The Rule of the Bus. Isaac Babel: Let Me Finish. She is a recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Man Booker International Prize. Her stories have won four O. Henry first prizes and, in 2012, her novel Foreign Bodies was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction.

Cynthia Shoshana Ozick (born April 17, 1928) is an American short story writer, novelist, and essayist. Cynthia Ozick was born in New York City, the second of two children. She moved to the Bronx with her Russian-Jewish parents, Celia (Regelson) and. She moved to the Bronx with her Russian-Jewish parents, Celia (Regelson) and William Ozick, proprietors of the Park View Pharmacy in the Pelham Bay neighborhood. As a girl, Ozick helped to deliver prescriptions

A collection of essays on the joys of great literature from the New York Times–bestselling author and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.

A collection of essays on the joys of great literature from the New York Times–bestselling author and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. One of America’s foremost novelists and critics, Cynthia Ozick has won praise and provoked debate for taking on challenging literary, historical, and moral issues. Her new collection of spirited essays focuses on the essential joys of great literature, with particular emphasis on the novel.

One of America's foremost novelists and critics, Cynthia Ozick has won praise and provoked debate for taking on challenging literary, historical, and moral issues. In her spirited essay collection The Din in the Head, she focuses on the essential joys of great literature. With razor-sharp wit and an inspiring joie de vivre, Ozick investigates unexpected byways in the works One of America's foremost novelists and critics, Cynthia Ozick has won praise and provoked debate for taking on challenging literary, historical, and moral issues

One of America’s foremost novelists and critics, Cynthia Ozick has won praise and provoked debate for taking on challenging .

One of America’s foremost novelists and critics, Cynthia Ozick has won praise and provoked debate for taking on challenging literary, historical, and moral issues. In Highbrow Blues and in reflections on her own early fiction, she writes intimately of the din in our heads, that relentless inner hum, and the curative power of literary imagination. The Din in the Head is sure to please fans of Ozick, win her new readers, and excite critical controversy and acclaim. Open the collection anywhere-I guarantee it-and you will feel the bite of her distinctive voice.

The Din in the Head is sure to please fans of Ozick, win her new readers, and excite critical controversy and acclaim. Ozick's latest work of fiction brings together four long stories, including the novella-length "Dictation," that showcase this incomparable writer's sly humor and piercing insight into the human heart. Each starts in the comic mode, with heroes who suffer from willful self-deceit. From self-deception, these not-so-innocents proceed to deceive others, who don't take it lightly.

Cynthia Ozick has long held her reputation as one of the most acclaimed critics working in America

Cynthia Ozick has long held her reputation as one of the most acclaimed critics working in America. Her essays are, without fail, uncompromisingly optimistic about what literature can do, what literature has done, and the hopes of literature for the future. A Jew, Ozick directly addresses the question of what it means to be a 'Jewish writer' in her essay, Tradition and (Or Versus) the Jewish Writer. She is a recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Man Booker International Prize

Cynthia Ozick is the author of numerous acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction. She was born in 1928 and currently lives in New York.

Other books by Cynthia Ozick at BookBrowse. Membership Advantages.

One of America's foremost novelists and critics, Cynthia Ozick has won praise and provoked debate for taking on challenging literary, historical, and moral issues. In her spirited essay collection The Din in the Head, she focuses on the essential joys of great literature. With razor-sharp wit and an inspiring joie de vivre, Ozick investigates unexpected byways in the works of Leo Tolstoy, Saul Bellow, Helen Keller, Isaac Babel, Sylvia Plath, Susan Sontag, and Henry James, among others. Throughout this bracing collection, she celebrates the curative power of the literary imagination.
  • Kecq
Cynthia Ozick is along with being a distinguished novelist one of the best literary critics in America. Her essays are probing examinations of the art and moral meaning of Literature. In this collection she writes about Bellow, Updike, Babel, the young Tolstoy, Kipling, Delmore Schwartz, Lionel Trilling and of course her great master and teacher, Henry James. In a sense in writing about them she is defending the Literary Tradition, the importance of the Novel, of the inner worlds which only words can make. Her tone can be at times a little too schoolmistressy but she is upholding an idea of Literature as the bright book of life, and as a source of true spiritual sustenance.

She has been chided for again fighting in this work a battle which many claim already won, the battle to preserve the significance of the Novel as a form. She too has been taken to task for that haughty elitist tone, which sets limits and standards, and sees a place in the Tradition as something to be struggled and aspired for.

She is a deep person in feeling and often her prose is complicated and awkward, an overwhelming rush of words upon words upon words. But her mind is a fine and powerful one and she time and again makes the right distinction and perception.

Above all readers of these essays can rest assured that they have entered a kind of small higher world, a world where writing and thought , the search for truth and beauty are given a special measure of devotion. This is very apparent in her long essay on the master scholar of Jewish Mystical Literature Gershom Scholem.

Ozick is like James a writer of great intelligence, and careful moral judgment.

It is just a very great pleasure and privilege to read her work.
  • Stonewing
This is a collection of literate essays about literary characters and subjects. If you think you might never get around to actually reading an entire book by such authors as Henry James, Saul Bellow, John Updike, or Leo Tolstoy - you can read this book instead and get a sense of who these authors are and what they have to say.

It's not that Ozick's book is like a cheat sheet or a Cliff's Notes summary. She focuses on some specifically revealing vignettes from the lives of each of these authors, or on some particularly telling aspect of their styles. You'll get something meaty out of these essays. They'll enable you to hold your own in intelligent conversation about these figures at cocktail parties.

But these essays might give you an itch to actually go back and read these authors. They're not presented here as dry school subjects. They are "as seen by" Ozick. And her commentaries act like a prism, separating the white beacon of fame that has been shone on these iconic literary figures into distinct personal colors.

Even if you don't go anywhere with these essays though, I think you'll enjoy reading them for sheer pleasure. Ozick has a spectacularly limber vocabulary. Her sentences are pirouettes and gran jetes. She has an admitted love affair with words and can arc them across dazzling spans, concluding with fresh twists on her subject matter.

The last essays in this book deal with a Zionist author, and then with a man who single-handedly produced a new translation and gloss of the Bible. These are subjects I wouldn't have ordinarily delved into for casual reading. But in a relatively few pages, Ozick shows some of the interesting insights to be drawn from these men's labors.

Then if you like this book, I highly recommend the essay collections of Thomas Mallon. He is also a master at illuminating literary careers with a turn of phrase.
  • Duktilar
Cynthia Ozick has long held her reputation as one of the most acclaimed critics working in America. Her essays are, without fail, uncompromisingly optimistic about what literature can do, what literature has done, and the hopes of literature for the future. Unlike other academics or critics, Ozick does not bemoan the novel's current lack of favour when compared to movies or the internet - her approach is positive, reasoned, passionate and compelling. The essays contained in The Din in the Head, while not explicitly thematically linked, share a common bond in exploring either less well-known but still luminous authors of the twentieth century, or the minor works of acknowledged and remembered masters.

A Jew, Ozick directly addresses the question of what it means to be a 'Jewish writer' in her essay, Tradition and (Or Versus) the Jewish Writer. She believes that if a Jewish author is not tackling such massive problems as the Holocaust or the creation and stability of Israel, then 'All other subject matter in the so-called Jewish-American novel is, well, American, written in the American language, telling American stories.' She rejects the concept of a Jewish novel unless, as stated, it is forcibly and solely Jewish in origin and intent. Catholic, Protestant, Atheist, etc novels are not usually branded with their religion before being read, and nor should they be - it seems only the Jews and minorities such as colonial literature suffer from this problem. A novel is what it is, the aim of an author is not 'community service or communal expectation.' She finishes by saying that writers 'are responsible only to the comely shape of a sentence, and to the unfettered imagination'.

That being said, a number of her essays do directly deal with leading Jewish authors such as Saul Bellow, Delmore Schwartz, Lionel Trilling, Isaac Babel, Gershom Scholem. Other authors include Updike, Tolstoy, Kipling, Plath and Henry James. Roughly half of the book deals with Jewish authors or themes, the other half with novels in general. While the book cannot honestly be claimed as Jewish - witness Ozick's own attack on the concept, but also consider the inappropriateness of a book on literary criticism not analysing the works of such masters as Saul Bellow - Ozick's pride in her heritage is plain. But it is not the pride that comes from grandstanding or self-propelling ambition, rather, Ozick discusses these things because they have merit to herself, and by extension, to others.

Her essay, John Updike: Eros and God, is a remarkable piece of sustained admiration for an author who, sad as it is to say, seems to be less appreciated than in his due by today's younger authors, who value the flash and fire of literary psuedo-pyrotechnics, all the while ignoring Updike's supreme command of the English language, his ease and skill and, dare it be said, grace in composing sentences that show us the ordinary in a way we couldn't - wouldn't? - have looked at it ourselves. 'Language in all its fecundity is Updike's native country, and he is its patriot.' Fecundity is right, Updike language grows and stagnates, flourishes and falls, but it is always abundant and verdant, ripe to read and delicious to see.

One of the primary questions Ozick is attempting to answer throughout this book is the deceptively simple: What is a novel? She baldly states it only once, but every essay dances around the topic before culminating in yet another insightful, illuminating aspect of an answer. Granted, there may never be a complete, coherent response to the question, but beautiful, intelligent and important attempts may be given. The novel is, she writes, 'A persuasion towards dramatic interiority. A word-hoard that permits its inventor to stand undefined, unprescribed, liberated from direction or coercion.'

Lionel Trilling, a once-famous critic whose star has long since dimmed, is given a twenty-page examination, and is the saddest essay in the novel. Trilling, though respected, even revered in his own time, always chafed against the mantle of 'critic'. He wanted to be a novelist, and envied Hemingway beyond all others. His own novel, The Middle of the Journey, which is by Ozick's account a certainly capable novel, was not received well. Trilling, writing in his diary, noted, 'The attack on my novel, that it is gray, bloodless, intellectual, without passion, is always made with great personal feeling, with anger. -How dared I presume?' The weight of a man's sadness, heavy to behold and difficult to read.

There are small pieces scattered throughout the novel. Kipling's essay is very short, a mere two pages, Plath receives five, miscellaneous topics stay under ten. But even these remain worthwhile and interesting. I am lucky in that I am familiar with most, though not all of the authors, but even those about whom I know little, the encouragement to explore their works is vast. A difficulty in any collected work of criticism is the reader's potential unfamiliarity with the subject matter - the question of, 'If I have not read the author, why would I read criticism of them?' - is firmly answered by the exuberance and enthusiasm of Ozick's prose. She captures not the essence of the writer, necessarily, but the essence of what it meant to them to write, how important it was to be writing, and how important is it to read their work.

Ozick shows a clear preference for literature above all other forms of entertainment and communication. 'The din in our heads, that relentless inward hum of fragility and hope and transcendence and dread - where, in an age of machine addressing crowds, and crowds mad for machines, can it be found? In the art of the novel...And nowhere else.' And she's right. Literature speaks to the interiority of ourselves, that endless, limitless space in which we define who we are, what we are about, why we are here and what it is that we hold closest to ourselves. Literature, more than any other medium, directly address this interior, it furnishes it with rooms and chairs, carpets and chandeliers, mountains, lakes, rivers and cities. It makes of the blankness of our births a glorious empire, but an empire that we create. Literature is our friend and our confidante, it is our enemy and our attackers. It challenges, harmonizes, repudiates and chastises. It is capable of all this and more - endless reams of purple prose, all for the sake of novels and reading. Ozick may be preaching to the converted with her book of essays, but the enjoyment, exuberance and passion she receives from reading is so beautifully conveyed that I cannot help but suggest it to people who are non-readers, as a way of allowing them into the realm of the written word. Ozick kindles - or rekindles - the love of literature until it is a raging fire alongside which we could warm ourselves forever.