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Constellation of Genius: 1922: Modernism Year One Hardcover – September 17, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Constellation of Genius . . . is that most counterintuitive of things, an insanely readable book about modernism. Indeed, I think it no disservice to Jackson to say that this is the primer [modernism] has been looking for: a way into its symbolic labyrinth.” —Will Self, The Guardian

“A lively guide to modernism’s heyday . . . Deft, elegant and illuminating.” —Literary Review

“[A] marvelous diary of a single year . . . You will be struck by some startling moment of import in a life of genius or an epoch-making event.” —Sunday Herald

About the Author

Kevin Jackson has written and edited more than twenty books, including The Book of Hours, Invisible Forms: A Guide to Literary Curiosities, and The Worlds of John Ruskin. He has written for The New Yorker, Granta, The Sunday Times (London), The Guardian, and Vogue, among other publications. He lives in Cambridge, England.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (September 17, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374128987
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374128982
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #363,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Charlie on December 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Will Self described this as 'insanely readable', and Will Self is right... This book offers an incredible survey of (mostly) literary events, culled from letters, diaries and other contemporary sources. It's a brilliant drawing-together; I'd advise reading it next to a computer, so you can follow up every musical reference, every obscure German film, as it appears. This is the year of 'Ulysses' and 'The Waste Land', and there's a wonderful feeling of everything in this strand of the culture coming to a head; one of the great joys is following the ripples of critical response, some of it deeply and entertainingly hostile. You could grouse about the fact that this is a scissors-and-paste job, rather than a critical study - but I'd love to have this kind of easy, global knowledge, and the skill to marshal it all: new information is introduced chronologically, but Jackson feels free to break free from this structure in order to flesh out future developments.
I approached this in a partly dutiful spirit, and I certainly got the introduction I was looking for - but this is also the most purely entertaining book I've read this year: gossip from the dinner tables of your dreams.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Daniel W. Pyle on November 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Constellation of Genius is a day-by-day account of the year often cited as giving birth to "modernism" in literature, music, architecture, film and other areas of human endeavor. The book is more than a calendar though. Kevin Jackson is careful to select events that show critical reactions, circles of influence, and the evolution of ideas. He manages to encompass the grand arc of thought along with quotidian everyday life. Thus the year begins in Paris with Ezra Pound working with T.S. Eliot on the text of The Waste Land while Proust, in the same city, is out partying on New Year's Eve. It ends with the film premier of the scandalous, Salome, and with a letter from the unhappily married Eliot discussing his wife's latest in a series of illnesses. An appendix contains capsule biographies of leading players in the year's account. I bought this in hardback rather than on Kindle to better appreciate illustrations and photographs. Alas, the book is not illustrated, and a Kindle version is adequate.

Constellation of Genius demonstrates that using a microscope on a dust mote can reveal relationships and connections that would be missed by using a telescope focused on a whole section of the night sky.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Francesca on November 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most scholarly, presents little details as in in beginning of
maidnenform bra with flappers in mind. To major contributions in art, music and literature . A surprise in every motnth of 1922.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pamela Mia Paul on December 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating book. It is essentially a diary of everything cultural - and some things political and historical - which happened in the very fertile year 1922. It is for people who care about literature, poetry, classical music, and world history. THe author has clearly done an immense of research and he succeeds brilliantly in tying it all together in a way that is fun to read.
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