- Series: Art of...
- Paperback: 120 pages
- Publisher: Graywolf Press (July 24, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1555974732
- ISBN-13: 978-1555974732
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 0.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 43 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot
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From Publishers Weekly
Though there are passages where this slim, college-lecture-style volume turns facile or tiresome, novelist Baxter's analysis of "the implied, the half-visible, and the unspoken" in literature is saved from irrelevance by a keen sense of pacing and a healthy dose of self-awareness (after confidently zooming through seminal works by Herman Melville, John Cheever, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Baxter confesses, "I feel that ... I am on the verge of what Walt Whitman calls 'a usual mistake.' I don't wish to simplify what is actually intricate"). Indeed, as the brief chapters of this little book build on each other, Baxter's observations-which initially seem more like interesting rhetorical devices than substantive arguments-gain clarity and momentum, and the accumulation of anecdotal asides about writers' workshops and former students turn them from annoying interjections into helpful indicators of Baxter's relationship with literature. Many of the issues raised in this volume are as old as the study of literature itself, but Baxter's ability to ask unusual and incisive questions of familiar topics (Why is the volatility of Dostoyevsky's characters so unpleasant? Why is it so difficult-and yet so vital-to describe facial features?) makes this little volume worthwhile for the engaged student of literature.
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“Baxter is smart about all aspects of craft.” ―The Corresponder
“A wonderful new volume about writing that's also about reading and the ways we make meaning in our lives.” ―The Observer
Top customer reviews
It does not go into great depth about anything, rather skims over, but with even minimal exposure or knowledge on poetry, plays, novels, or any art or literary form, Baxter makes decent sense of crafting subtext with use of a good variety of work.
I would recommend this book for any level writer who is looking to enhance the undertones of their stories and novels.