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Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences Paperback – July 28, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. From the general mass of heavy-handed, pompous writing about art, Weschler's graceful collection of essays and interviews stands out like a rare bloom. Charming, idiosyncratic and deeply intelligent, the book will likely captivate even readers who usually bypass the art history section of bookstores. The topic at hand is convergence: the visual rhyme between seemingly disparate images, and the way those rhymes stimulate new understanding of the scenes depicted. Take for example, Weschler's talk with photographer Joel Meyerowitz, in which they discuss the similarity between the latter's photo of firemen on a break at ground zero and an anonymous shot of Union soldiers during the Civil War. Looking at the two images, Meyerowitz recalls, "I had the same sense of history repeating itself, people assembled after carnage or destruction or before battle, and they're dispersed in a way that is casual, from fatigue or just..." Elsewhere, Weschler (Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder) examines Polish history through the posters of its Solidarity Movement and compares the doughy physiognomies and political careers of two conservative leaders: Newt Gingrich and Slobodan Milosevic. It's his light touch that allows Weschler to get away with such parallels; he never pushes a point too far. All he does is articulate his own evocative visual and philosophical connections; we can make of them what we will. Color photos. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


Everything That Rises ultimately offers not just the quirks of one man's vision but a sublime way of seeing. -- Boston Globe

In Everything That Rises, Weschler discloses his method: He takes a single knot, worries out the threads, traces the interconnections, follows the mesh and establishes the proper analogies. His world is strange, beautiful and connected. -- The Globe and Mail

Paging through the book is akin to strolling through a museum of the printed page and the painted canvas with a savvy, sharp-eyed curator at your side--one who often "sees" a lot more than may actually meet the eye. -- Chicago Sun-Times

Weschler offers fresh ways to look at images, from Vermeer to Jackson Pollock, from a Mona Lisa-like Monica Lewinsky to the graphic logo of Solidarity, the Polish workers' movement. -- USA Today

[Everything That Rises is a] smart, personal, slightly quirky work that might be expected from a writer whose many works range from reporting on torture and Central European politics to the lives of contemporary artists and histories of oddball museums -- Seattle Times

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: McSweeney's; First Trade Paper Edition edition (July 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932416862
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932416862
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,250,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read reviews on Amazon and other places, I placed this item on my wish list and received it for my birthday. I was really looking forward to reading it - I love stuff like this and read quite a bit as a diversion from business, fiction, and science reading.

Unfortunately I don't share the same level of enthusiasm for this work as the other reviewers here. While there were times the columnist/blogger/casual-essayist style was entertaining, at many points I found it a bit like listening to someone working hard at making connections because he could, not because they really were all there. If I were speaking with the author at a party, I'm uncertain I would listen to him speak about one of his convergences for very long - not because he lacks education and depth and has some cool ideas - it's just that some of them strain to much to convergence. Is it really convergence when someone forces two things together rather than discovering the intersection?

I guess it felt like naming cloud images. Fun, but not for long, and sometimes no matter how hard you try, the other person can't quite see the pattern you see. But I am only one voice out of many, so take my perspective in stride.
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Format: Hardcover
It is difficult to read Lawrence Wechsler's latest book without spinning off into realms of thought that defy description. The well known art historian and writer has gathered a series of essays that while not confined to art commentary still manage to reference 'art' on every level in which it influences our lives, our observations, and our deja vu!

EVERYTHING THAT RISES: A BOOK OF CONVERGENCES begins with the postulate that recognized or not, images rise and fall with some sense of continuity no matter how disparate or how separated in time - or even how ironically dissociative! To even summarize the contents of this book would seem a disservice to the potential reader: the joy in reading Wechsler's erudite yet lighthearted writing must be experienced in the manner in which he lays out his plethora of ideas.

But for teasers, Wechsler's 'conversations' and musings find similarities in such seemingly unassociated images as comparing a Myerowitz color photograph of the 9/11 firefighters resting with an anonymous black and white photograph of Union Army engineers in a nearly identical pose from the Civil War! Rembrandt's painting of the Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp from 1632 is paced side by side with an uncanny photograph from the 1967 black and white photograph of Bolivian soldiers gathered around the slain Che Guevara and the similarity looks as though the latter image was posed with Rembrandt's painting as model!

But these are only two examples of the art related convergences Wechsler addresses. Other forms are from observed cloud formations, political posters, old and new landscapes, etc - or in Wechsler's words 'uncanny moments of convergence, bizarre associations, eerie rhymes, whispered recollections'. The beautifully illustrated book is well designed, richly interesting, and quite unlike any other volume that challenges our senses. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, March 06
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lawrence Weschler has collected convergences throughout his life. With EVERYTHING THAT RISES: A BOOK OF CONVERGENCES, he offers his thoughts on these resonations in a series of essays that are both personal and universal.

Weschler has a distinct knack for seeing in the floating lips of a Man Ray painting or in a photograph of a solitary cloud the backside of a nude Venus but his ruminations are much broader than art history. His agglutinating mind embraces poetry, Einstein, cuneiform tablets, prisons and politics. He skillful links these seemingly disparate subjects with one common element - his human response to them.

The connection of imagery and ideas seems strangely familiar even if one has not previously considered these particular images juxtaposition. It might be human nature to find strange correspondences between things but few have the breadth of knowledge to link such wide-ranging subjects and fewer still would describe them with Weschler's easy elegance. His musings offer delightful possibilities rather than prescriptions and he stops short of any forced conclusions.

Of particular interest are Weschler's his discussion with photographer Joel Meyerowitz, who documented the World Trade Center site, in which he finds the beauty and stylistic echoes of Vermeer and early Civil War photography. Also moving is Weschler's changing response to a photograph of a father and daughter as he and his own daughter reach the relative ages of those in the photograph.

This pleasing volume is bound (with the customary McSweeney's care for design) in black cloth and features color reproductions of the paintings or photographs mentioned in the essays. It is an aesthetic delight to read. The short essays make it an ideal work to pick up and set down and I suspect I will return repeatedly to this unique book.
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Format: Hardcover
Weschler says, in his introduction, that his publisher heard about one of Weschler's notebooks, one full of ideas that had not yet been put into print. The result is this lovely volume, a loose collection of gentle and wide-ranging speculations, most often driven by some kind of visual analogy.

In some, the parallel elements are clear. For example, p.9 shows, a cavernous ruin excavated during cleanup after the World Trade Center attacks. On the same page, it also shows a work by Piranesi, in his Carceri d' Invenzione (forgive my Italian: that may be "Dungeon of Invention"), with the same harsh but ambiguous lighting. There are certainly similarities in the two structures and compositions, but deeper similarities lie in reading each as a technological hellhole. Other sets of pictures, including the portraits on p.62, elude my sense of analogy. That's OK. This is a personal and unpolished set of musings coaxed into publication, possibly before its ideas had ripened fully, and I'm happy to have it be what it is.

I keep trying to liken this book to James Burke's "Connections," but the connection keeps not working. Burke's work is generally taut, sustained, fast-paced, and more or less rigorous in tracing the lineage between successive ideas. This book is unapologetically scattered and subjective. Ideas link to each other along circuitous routes, and with wider concerns than Burke's focus on technology. Weschler's softer topics include "Women's Bodies", in which he addresses his subject lovingly, but as a marvel and a mystery - well, don't we all? At least, all of us who aren't women?

His best writing, however is in the chapter on "Political Occasions." It describes the freeing of Eastern Europe and especially Poland during the 1980s and 1990s.
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