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Wendell Berry: Life and Work (Culture Of The Land) Paperback – June 11, 2010
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"Though the 'characters' herein are real people, there is magic in this book that rivals the best of Wendell Berry's writings. Over and over we see solitary readers grappling with Berry's art and thought amid struggles and in places unknown to the author. The magic is that they receive direction and succor even so. The loving reciprocity of these 'What I've Gained from Wendell' tales is so natural yet powerful it brings to mind planting and harvesting. The integrity-filled life, poetic depth, devastating prophesies, and superlative prose of Mr. Berry long ago achieved a consistency that verges on the relentless. To see his good work gently rise from the page, years and miles later, to touch lives he has not imagined in ways he has not foreseen, converts this near relentlessness into simple grace." ―David James Duncan, author of The Brothers K"
"I can't think of any subject matter more timely, and timeless, than the suite of ideas that Wendell Berry has championed over the years. While giving thoughtful attention to those ideas, this anthology also offers rare insight into the person behind the words. Like the unmistakable laugh of Mr. Berry himself, it is sure to leave readers both invigorated, and basking in the grace of this gentle, wise man." ―Jennifer Sahn, editor of Orion magazine"
"[A] stimulating collection. Berry has long deserved such a masterful collection as this. Peters' volume does what the best of the collections always do: It drives us to pick up Berry's writings and read them over and over again." ―Henry L. Carrigan, Jr., Charlotte Observer"
"The essays collected by Peters unearth a simplicity and unity beneath Berry's complex surface, proffering a source of inspiration for those seeking to live life better and encouraging audiences to forsake worldly consumerism in favor of consumption of Berry's words." ―Kentucky Monthly"
"If it is true that we live lives of noisy desperation, prone to the seductions of fashion and to the 'thrall of our appetites,' we could do worse than to hear a voice that offers an alternative. Wendell Berry: Life and Work is a rewarding way to begin listening to such a voice." ―Paul Doerksen, Winnipeg Free Press"
"The most comprehensive single source evaluating Berry and his impact." ―Whitney Hale, UK News"
"Pairing literary criticism with more personal work, Peters' volume does a remarkable jobn connecting the dots between Berry's physical labors and his intellectual ones." ―The Post and Courier (online)"
"This appreciation of Berry by friends and colleagues is a fitting tribute to a man whose writing truly has the power to change lives." ―Carmichael's Bookstore Catalog"
"Those who admire Berry's work will want to pick up this book even if they may already own some of its contents, because there is no other single volume that paints so complete a portrait of this remarkable man." ―Scott P. Richert, The University Bookman"
"Anyone undertaking a serious study of Berry will want this book. Those familiar with only one of his genres will find it a helpful introduction to the full range of his writing and activism." ―Lisa Woolley, Bloomsburg Review"
"The wonderful thing about this collection of essays is that it demonstrates just how varied and far-reaching Berry's influence has been and how meaningful his work is to his readers in so many different ways." ―Resurgence"
"Taken in sum, these essays illuminate the life and work of one of America's most provocative native thinkers in which the reader senses what the subject professes he lives." ―Richard Taylor, The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society"
"Shuman and Owens . . . presents articles based on how the work of author Wendell Berry can be interpreted in the context of living a true Christian life." ―Book News Inc."
"[The contributors] discuss [Berry's] placing community and interaction for the common good over the centralization of the work and life of the world." ―Mary Popham, Courier-Journal.com"
"A broad collection of writers examines the famous Kentucky agrarian writer's work through a series of essays." ―Lexington Herald-Leader"
"This collection is a must-read, must-own.It is filled with the richness of writings from the essayists who delineate not only Wendell Berry's great works, but give us a glimpse of the man, one of Kentucky's greatest wonders." ―Mary Popham, Louisville Courier-Journal"
"This is a remarkable collection for reference and reflection."―Mary Popham, The Courier Journal"
"This collection of essays put together by editor Jason Petes are written by 27 scholars, activists, and fellow authors that 'unite considreations on Berry's thinking, friendships, and labor.'. . .[It] is perhaps as good a glance inside the soul of Wendell Berry as one could hope for." ― Modern Mountain Magazine"
"Not only reminds us why it is such a pleasure to read Wendell Berry's work...but it further compels readers to take seriously the implications of his work for their own lives and in their own communities. In doing so, it serves to extend the already considerable reach of Berry's legacy."―Journal of Agriculture and Human Values"
"In many ways, this collection reads like a tribute to Wendell Berry and through this tribute the authors lead the reader into Berry's thoughts on community, responsibility, and fidelity and these qualities are the yardsticks of happiness. One of the points driven home by this collection is that one should not consider the writingsof Wendell Berry without also considering his life, and thus the title of this collection is appropriate. ― Jacob Jones, University of Florida"―Jacob Jones
From the Inside Flap
Essayist, social critic, poet, "mad farmer," novelist, teacher, and prophet: Wendell Berry has been called many things, but the broad sweep of his contemporary relevance and influence defies facile labels. With his unique perspective and far-reaching vision, Berry poses complex questions about humankind and our relationship to the land and offers simple but profound solutions. Berry's essays, novels, and poems give voice to a provocative but consistent philosophy, one that extends far beyond its agrarian core to include elements of sociology, the natural sciences, politics, religion, philosophy, linguistics, agriculture, and other seemingly incompatible fields of study. Wendell Berry: Life and Work examines this wise and original thinker, appraising his written work and exploring his influence as an activist and artist. Jason Peters has assembled a broad variety of writers including Hayden Carruth, Sven Birkerts, Barbara Kingsolver, Stanley Hauerwas, Donald Hall, Ed McClanahan, Bill McKibben, Scott Russell Sanders, Norman Wirzba, Wes Jackson, and Eric T. Freyfogle. Each contributor examines an aspect of Berry's varied yet cohesive body of work. Also included are highly personal glimpses of Wendell Berry: his career, academic influence, and unconventional lifestyle.
These deft sketches of Berry show the purity of his agrarian lifestyle and demonstrate that there is nothing simple about the life to which he has devoted himself. He embraces a life that sustains him not by easy purchase and haste but by physical labor and patience, not by mindless acquiescence to a centralized economy but by careful attention to local ways and wisdom.
Wendell Berry: Life and Work combines biographical sketches, personal accounts, literary criticism, and social commentary. Together, the contributors illuminate Berry as he is: a complex man of place and community with an astonishing depth of domestic, intellectual, filial, and fraternal attributes. The result is a rich portrait of one of America's most profound and honest thinkers.
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Top Customer Reviews
provides additional personal glimpses into the life of the man and his
passionate friendships, as well as revealing the nature of his work as
understood by his colleagues and associates in the fields of agriculture,
poetry, and the art of the essay. For those who have never met him, nor
perhaps ever heard of him, this gem of a book will give them some of
the essence of what he and his work stand for, and will make them want to
seek out the primary texts for themselves. An entertaining and well-
meant tribute to a man who has not only contributed greatly to American
letters, but has turned the ordinary toward the holy (as it was meant
to be) once again.
Maybe you haven't heard of Wendell Berry. There is some discussion in the book of the fact that he is not a household name. However, there are those who believe that this man may be remembered by history as "the single most important and influential political thinker alive today." One states he is important "because although he is not alone in calling for change in the world, he is one of the few whose ideas can touch us at the deepest level of our being; one of the few who is telling us that change must come from the depths of our relationship with nature and ourselves." I was introduced to Berry's writing in the 80s when our small group studied his classic 1977 book, The Unsettling of America, a life-changing experience. I went on to explore his novels beginning with the wondrous, A Place on Earth. Here is a quote from Unsettling that is discussed in this volume: "Once the revolution of exploitation is under way, statesmanship and craftsmanship are gradually replaced by salesmanship -- the craft of persuading people to buy what they do not need, and do not want, for more than it is worth."
Bill McKibben deals with Berry as a citizen of the world. He says that reading Berry is like reading the Gospels in that Berry sees that one's real joy is possible when one takes up one's responsibility -- to the land, to your neighbors, and forward and backward in time.Read more ›
Her is a delightful quote from the essay by Donald Hall, a fellow poet, farmer and teacher.
"Another thing we had in common was good, solid, loving, and companionate marriages. On one of our car trips, I complained over the useless, trivial hyperactivity of my eyes gazing at women, At any conference, or in an airport on the way, I find myself continually checking out the beauty of young women, dwelling on figures and faces. It disturbed me that I wasted time and energy evaluating quarries I would never mine. Wendell agreed explosively, as if he had been waiting for someone to bring up the subject. He suffered from this idle habit himself, and found himself in lecture halls doing inventories of the female audience. One day, he told me, he saw one face that was absolutely perfect and irresistible to him. It was a few seconds before he realized that his eyes had lighted on his wife, Tanya."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Few people manage to set an independent course for their lives. This book demonstrates how Wendell Berry managed to create an authentic life distinctly separated from the... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Terry Mullins
This looks like an interesting book of personal reflections, which are in themselves not particularly open to judgment. Read morePublished on April 13, 2013 by Peter P. Fuchs