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On Grief and Reason: Essays Paperback – April 10, 1997

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Art, especially literature, is "a form of moral insurance" that, if widely disseminated, could counteract the worst impulses of societies and governments, declares Brodsky in his eloquent 1987 Nobel lecture. In another essay, "An Immodest Proposal," the eminent poet and essayist suggests ways to make poetry much more available to the public. In an open letter to Czech president Vaclav Havel, Brodsky (who emigrated from Russia to the U.S. in 1972 after spending two years in prison as a dissident) looks squarely at the moral and economic anarchy of post-communist eastern Europe. This miscellany of reprinted essays and speeches reveals an elegant writer and incisive thinker. "Collector's Item" segues from spy novels, to a psychological profile of Cambridge spy Kim Philby, secret agent for Moscow, to an analysis of how espionage becomes a mutually destructive game. Elsewhere Brodsky champions Thomas Hardy as a modern poet of existential truths and follows Rainer Maria Rilke's poetic journey to the netherworld of Orpheus. Other pieces deal with nostalgia, lessons of history, a trip to Rio de Janeiro, Robert Frost's poetry and Roman emperor/poet Marcus Aurelius's Stoic Meditations.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

It is unfortunate that Brodsky (former poet laureate of the United States) would release a literary work with so much potential and so much disappointment. True, this collection represents some of Brodsky's most engaging insights. Pieces like the title essay represents his supreme talents as a writer; "On Grief and Reason" reveals the sagacity of Brodsky's mind by offering the reader a new way of looking at the poetry of Robert Frost through two of Frost's poems, "Come In" and "Burial." Brodsky puts Frost alongside the Virgil of the Eclogues and the Georgics. But most of the other essays fail to demonstrate the richness one expects of Brodsky's writing, e.g., his 1987 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, which lacks literary merit. Ultimately, Brodsky stretches himself too thin. Not a priority purchase.?Tim Gavin, Episcopal Acad., Merion, Pa.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (April 10, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374525099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374525095
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Full of ideas, observations, reasoning, a good philosophical diary of the XX century, from Soviet Union to USA and all in between. If you like intellectual power and exact formulations and easy but teaching reading - this is a book of choice.
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Format: Paperback
This is a most perceptive, thoughtful and beautifully written book. For those of us gifted with a love of and facility with language and discerning thought, this book is truly both pleasurable and informative.

Reading this, I feel as if I am sitting at a master's feet. May I learn from it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I find the book both insightful but inspiring. He leads us though his life in simple honest fashion in a way that lets us feel what it was like as well as what happened.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This edition includes an essay by Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996), selected by the author. For the first time this collection was published in New York in 1995 and was the last book published while a great poet, translator, dramatist was still alive.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Starting with an essay about his early life in Pieter (Saint Petersburg, Petrograd, Leningrad, Saint Petersburg), Nobel-prize-winning Joseph Brodsky explores a variety of topics in great depth, going behind appearances to lasting meaning.
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