From Library Journal
It's hard to imagine two poets farther apart in time and space than Simonides, who lived in fifth century B.C.E. Greece, and Celan, a 20th-century Romanian Jew who lived in Paris and wrote in German. Yet Carson connects them through the idea of economy, the management of resources that determines the nature of one's poetry as well as one's life. Carson is an acclaimed poet herself (her Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse, was nominated last year for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry), and if her subject is daunting and her style elliptical, at least she counters scholarly woolgathering with lapidary anecdote: of Simonides leaving a banquet after being told by a stingy host that his fee would be halved only to witness the collapse of the roof and the death of everyone inside; of Celan fleeing before Nazi exterminators and returning to find his house sealed and his parents taken to the camp where they would die. In their work, both writers not only measured off the area "within which word holds good," writes Carson, but also discovered that "it is a limited area." For academic collections only.ADavid Kirby, Florida State Univ., Tallahassee
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"Erudite and entertaining, effortlessly able to play across a range of associations, the book traces a number of similarities in artistic approach between two writers who would seem, on the face of it, to have inhabited very different worlds . . . Economy of the Unlost is a beguiling piece of work, both scholarly and persuasive."--Elizabeth Lowry, London Review of Books
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"This is one of those rewarding, original, rigorously attentive books that only Anne Carson could have written. At its core is an idea-the way the overlapping senses of 'economy' play out in language and in monetary history-that only this brilliant poet/classicist could have come up with. Economy of the Unlost is a strange book, bringing together as it does Simonides and Paul Celan; but its strangeness is one of its great virtues, for startling insights spring uncannily off every page."--Wendy Lesser, Editor, The Threepenny Review
"[A] magnificent and lovely essay. . . . I never wanted [the] book to end. .. ."--Stanley Corngold, Modernism/Modernity
"[Carson] convincingly draws out the fraternity of tone and inclination in two poets far removed in time, experience, and language, a significant accomplishment. It is. . . .difficult to do full justice to her book--rich, delicate, and complex. . . . An act of grace."--Danielle Allen, Chicago Review