On Grief and Reason: Essays

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Macmillan, Apr 10, 1997 - Literary Collections - 504 pages
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Joseph Brodsky was a great contrarian and believed, against the received wisdom of our day, that good writing could survive translation. He was right, I think, though you had to wonder when you saw how badly his own work fared in English. But then perhaps the Russians hadn't expelled a great poet so much as exposed us to one of their virulent personality cults. Yet Brodsky's essays are interesting. Composed in a rather heroically determined English, clumsily phrased and idiomatically challenged, they are still inventive and alive. There are suggestive analyses of favorite poems by Hardy, Rilke, and Frost in this book, and a moving meditation on the figure of Marcus Aurelius. Though too often Brodsky goes on at self-indulgent length, he usually recaptures our attention with a characteristic aside: "The fact that we are livingdoes not mean we are not sick."


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On grief and reason: essays

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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 ... Read full review


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About the author (1997)

Joseph Brodsky (1940-96) came to the United States in 1972, an involuntary exile from the Soviet Union. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987 and served as Poet Laureate of the United States in 1991 and 1992.

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