Da Vinci's Bicycle: Ten Stories

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New Directions Publishing, 1997 - Fiction - 185 pages
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Da Vinci's Bicycle, Guy Davenport's second collection of stories, was first published in 1979, and contains some of his most important fiction. Written with tremendous wit, intelligence, and verve, the stories are based on historical figures whose endeavors were too early, too late, or went against the grain of their time. They are all people who see the world differently from their contemporaries and therefore seem absurd, like Pablo Picasso in "Au Tombeau de Charles Fourier," Leonardo Da Vinci in "The Richard Nixon Freischutz Rag," James Joyce and Guillaume Apollinaire in the marvelous "The Haile Selassie Funeral Train." Hilton Kramer of The New York Times has said, "Davenport's conception of the short story form is remarkable. He has given it some of the intellectual density of the learned essay, some of the lyrical concision of the modern poem--some of its difficulty too--and a structure that often resembles a film documentary. The result is a tour de force that adds something new to the art of fiction."

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Da Vinci's Bicycle: Ten Stories (New Directions Classics)

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This title collects ten short stories "full of allusion and linguistic dazzle." The stories take famous people, e.g., Richard Nixon, Leonardo Da Vinci, and James Joyce, and speculates on how they "relate to contemporary life" (LJ 5/15/79). Read full review


The Richard Nixon Freischiitz Rag
Musonius Rufus
John Charles Tapner
Au Tombeau de Charles Fourier
The Haile Selassie Funeral Train
The Invention of Photography in Toledo
The Antiquities of Elis

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About the author (1997)

Author, artist, literary critic and translator Guy Davenport was born on November 23, 1927 in Anderson, South Carolina. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University in 1948 and was selected as a Rhodes Scholar. He earned a Bachelor of Literature from Merton College, Oxford University in 1950 and a Doctor of Philosophy from Harvard University in 1961. He taught English at several universities from 1951 until his retirement in 1990. He received numerous awards including the O. Henry Award for short stories, the 1981 Morton Douwen Zabel award for fiction from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and translation awards from PEN and the Academy of American Poets. He died on January 4, 2005 in Lexington, Kentucky.

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