- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (January 24, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0446199648
- ISBN-13: 978-0446199643
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,465,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
Lastingness: The Art of Old Age Hardcover – January 24, 2011
"The Other Woman" by Sandie Jones
“The Other Woman is an absorbing thriller with a great twist. A perfect beach read.” ― Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of "The Great Alone" Pre-order today
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
In Four Quartets, T. S. Eliot declaims, “Old men should be explorers.” In Delbanco’s twenty-sixth book, he profiles a wide array of men and women who embodied Eliot’s edict—painters, sculptors, composers, and writers who thrived in old age. Delbanco argues for “lastingness: the quality of being lasting; continuance; duration; permanence” and discusses the life-long habits that made his subjects’ late work possible. Even if his examples do not always conform to his thesis, Delbanco’s anecdotes do exhibit his finesse as a storyteller. The great Pablo Casals, for example, drags himself to the podium, then is transformed by music. With joy we learn about the poet Hölderlin and admire the shy Italian novelist Giuseppe di Lampedusa, writing his first book and masterpiece, The Leopard, in blue notebooks while sitting in a favorite café. Rejected twice while he was alive, it was published to great acclaim after his death. Delbanco’s writing grows more urgent near the end of this intriguing study of sustained creativity. --Michael Autrey
About the Author
Nicholas Delbanco has published twenty-four books of fiction and non-fiction. His most recent novels are The Count of Concord and Spring and Fall; his most recent works of non-fiction are The Countess of Stanlein Restored and The Lost Suitcase: Reflections on the Literary Life. As editor he has compiled the work of, among others, John Gardner and Bernard Malamud. Director of the Hopwood Awards Program at the University of Michigan, he has served as Chair of the Fiction Panel for the National Book Awards, received a Guggenheim Fellowship and, twice, a National Endowment for the Arts Writing Fellowship.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Furthermore, some of it is erroneous. For example, Marlowe did not die in a barroom brawl. That is an old and long discredited legend. He was murdered by an assassin hired by Sir Francis Walsingham. But that is only one of numerous mistakes.
There is an annoying amount of self-reference in the book. Delbanco seems to be as or perhaps even more interested in himself than in the various
figures he briefly discusses, mostly to no particular end. His conclusion is commonplace and obvious.
The presence or not of a late style in older or aging artists has long been thought about and discussed. It deserves a truly searching, complex, nuanced, and subtle contemporary study by someone who is aesthetically and philosophical up to the measure of the challenge. Lastingness is a bad book, slapdash and off hand, a hodgepodge of this and that. It is a pity that an important theme as been so idly, even cheaply treated.
But why? The answer seems to flummox Delbanco himself, judging by the way he dances nimbly around it. The book ends up feeling largely like a rehash of the events of some lives of several artists, some better known than others. That's interesting enough, especially to anyone unfamiliar with them, but it's not enough on which to base a book. At times, this reminded me of the potted Ladybird biographies of famous composers that I read at the age of 8 or so.
What's really missing is some theory underlying Delbanco's observations: that some artists stop producing great art; others shift their focus and still others continue to forge ahead despite the physical limitations that age imposes. Why the differences between them? There's a cursory discussion of aging and the brain, but it's never really linked to creativity - I'll have to look elsewhere if I want to find out if there are scientific studies being done on this subject. He observes that some artists seem to create for themselves - but why? Perhaps Delbanco is too ambitious; he needs a narrower focus to explore a part of his theory first. Ultimately, this ended up shedding no fresh light on the subject for me.
There's also a lot in here that is actively irritating. Delbanco muses that Wilfred Owen was killed in the final months of World War I while Robert Graves survived the trenches and died at 90. "Had the trajectory of enemy bullets been infinitesimally altered, the fate of these two poets might have been reversed." Well, yes, of course. And the point is? We've all mused on the random nature of circumstance; few of us try to write books based on those musings. Delbanco says J.D. Salinger's late work, never seen by outsiders, may be worse than his early promise indicated. Or it may be far better. Again, stating the obvious. Add to that some excessively florid turns of phrase, unnecessary anecdotes (I didn't really care much about the author's success in finding four-leafed clovers and found it didn't add to his central argument) and the occasional glaring error (he describes Napoleon's brother, briefly king of Spain as "Joseph Napoleon" - he was, in fact, "Joseph Bonaparte") and the book became harder to struggle through to the end.
I've rated it 2.5 stars; the only reason I'm raising it to 3 here is that Delbanco has the wit to ask the questions in the first place and I imagine this will find many readers among those who are interested in learning more about the arts on a basic level. But it doesn't deliver what it promises, by any stretch of the imagination (artistic or otherwise), and I can't recommend it.
such finess...such lithe and facile use of the language,
from then, to now. i am a fan.